January 8th, 2021
Drift Dining at 38 Bidara, Jalan Bedara: Restaurant Review
A slice of Sydney surfaces in KL: Four Australians with wide experience in the restaurant business have combined forces to spearhead Drift, where modern Aussie cooking shines in a relaxed & inviting setting. It’s poised to be a place to watch in 2015.
Drift Dining & Bar opens this week at 38 Bidara Condominium off Jalan Nagasari, pretty near Changkat Bukit Bintang. It’s a familiar spot for KL’s long-time foodies – this was formerly Chiaroscuro, once one of the city’s most reliable Italian restaurants.
For now, the restaurant opens only in the evening, but there are also plans for an adjoining space – nicknamed ‘Ebb & Flow’ – that’ll host a providore where customers can grab sandwiches, smoked meat, cheese & wine during the daytime. There’s also a speakeasy-style lounge hidden behind the bar, where mural portraits inspired by Chaplin & Hepburn stare out from the walls.
Influences From Across The Globe
Sydney-born chef Angus Harrison helms the kitchen here, the latest move in a career that has taken him from Tetsuya’s in Sydney to Luke Mangan’s Salt tapas in Seminyak, Bali. The menu is still being fine-tuned, but expect a focus on local produce with influences from across the globe. Asian flavours take centre stage for these Manila clams (RM35++), briny & nourishingly juicy, steamed with soy sauce, garlic & ginger & served piping-hot for rainy-night comfort.
Succulent Baby Back Pork Ribs
Guests are encouraged to drift from course to course, sharing wine & conversation while grazing on platters of baby back pork ribs (RM35++), ravishingly marinated to full flavour & slow-braised to supreme succulence, soaked in savoury yakiniku sauce, then crowned with a crisp fennel-&-apple salad. Easily our favourite Drift dish so far.
Char-Grilled Pork Chop
The char-grilled pork chop (RM35++) is a little less memorable, suffering from comparisons to the ultimate sticky-sweet Chinese char siu found elsewhere in the city. This may appeal to folks who prefer their meat lean & mean. It showcases Thai touches, with pickled baby mango, cucumber & nam prik sauce that’s too mild & not fiery enough for Malaysian taste buds.
Moroccan-spiced crunchy cauliflower, made creamy with saffron yoghurt & supplied with a sweet spark from rum-soaked raisins (RM25++). Drift’s founders are hands-on with their new outlet – you’ll find most of them here each evening, with restaurant CEO Robert Gilliland & manager Ric Patterson chatting with customers to ensure everyone has a satisfactory time.
There’s only one dessert on the menu, but it’s a triumph – cinnamon-spiced Spanish doughnuts, a.k.a. churros, nicely straddling the line between dense & fluffy, served with dulce de leche & kitchen-made strawberry jam, both thick & tasty without being cloying. At RM19++, it illustrates how prices at Drift are mercifully not too intimidating.
Diversely International Wine List
We haven’t forgotten the fourth member of Drift’s Australian collaboration, the fairest of them all, sommelier Donna Freeman, who directs Drift’s diversely international wine list. Expect thoughtfully curated vintages by both the bottle & the glass, with Australian, French, Californian, Spanish, Italian & Argentinian varieties ranging between RM19++ & RM36++ for the latter.
Lots of fun cocktails too, from the Blueberry Muffin Martini with cake crumbs lining the rim (RM32++; Absolut, blueberry jam, creme de cassis, lime) to the Espresso Martini (RM32++; vodka, kahlua, double espresso, maple syrup). Expect to hear much more about Drift in the months to come.
Location and Contact Details
Drift Dining & Bar
38 Bidara, Jalan Bedara, Off Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur. Behind Istana Hotel.
Now open with a limited menu for dinner, except Mondays