Ampersand & Cafe 5: CNY home meals review
Bringing home a meal this month from Damansara Uptown’s Ampersand by Culinary Rebels: The restaurant’s Chinese New Year Yee Sang – ravishingly designed to resemble a colourful pair of koi fish – was one of the tastiest, most textured tosses we’ve enjoyed in 2016, with no fewer than 18 ingredients, filled with the freshness of jicama, purple cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, chewy fu-chuk and more, with crunchy sweet braised shredded pork to replace the customary seafood – it conveyed a more substantial savouriness in each bite compared to the typical yee sang, but it made for a nice, nuanced change from the norm.
Succulent chicken, pork and sweet mashed potatoes
A strong start to a dinner that also included Ampersand’s increasingly renowned chicken wings (CCB Belacan and Devil Szechuan Peppercorn Oil) and super-succulent pork ribs (fennel-rubbed), partnered with the double-carb whammy of Japanese sweet potatoes and chive-mashed potatoes.
We over-ordered, so we ended up with leftovers – that’s not to disparage the pastas, which were both well-prepared (the aglio olio is above average, and the kimchi with cumin cream is an interesting experiment).
Talk about guilty indulgences – the bacon-wrapped pork balls with mozzarella cheese were total calorie bombs; but in the end, the eating was worthwhile, thanks to surprising pleasures like the deep-fried sliced lotus roots – order these for certain; they’re almost guaranteed to be gigantically crowd-pleasing in any group that loves the Chinese New Year season’s arrowhead chips.
Pearl International Hotel’s Cafe 5 was a conveniently located choice for us to attempt a takeaway spread; we’re thankful that it turned out to be a (mostly) satisfactory choice for a reasonable budget of below RM500.
Seafood poon choy
The Yee Sang with jellyfish and baby octopus could have been skipped (too cloying), but the Seafood Poon Choy was a worthwhile bet for slightly south of RM300, brimming with a total of 10 sizeable prawns, as well as sufficient dried scallops, mussels and sea cucumber, plus slices of smoked duck, chicken, lotus roots and broccoli too.
Herbal chicken and lotus leaf glutinous rice
Again, the food proved too much, but in any other situation, we’d have utterly devoured the fall-off-the-bone herbal steamed whole chicken (coupled with chunks of arrowhead, a distinctively flavoursome alternative to the common potato) and lotus leaf-wrapped glutinous rice (an addictive match with pieces of punchy waxed duck).
Location & Details
Ampersand by Culinary Rebels
First Floor, 19, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Above Restoran Khalifah.
Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday: Lunch and dinner. Saturday-Sunday: Brunch and dinner.
Batu 5, Jalan Klang Lama, 58000 Kuala Lumpur
Daily: 6am – 10pm
Tel: 7983 1111 ext. 3205