Sharing East Asian sensibilities at Shhhbuuuleee
East Asian restobar Shhhbuuuhleee on the top floor of REXKL, is all about small sharing plates, done by the same guys who started Chocha in Petaling Street, KL. After hearing so much about Chef Mui Kai Quan’s prowess in the kitchen, I finally managed to try his food.
Skimming on the edge of exotic, be prepared for food that borders on Fear Factor-ish themes such as Tempura Pig Eats, Pig Head Terrine and smoked beef tongue. Experimenting with such ingredients is very much Mui’s style, a distinct departure from his French culinary training. Despite growing up in a typical Chinese family from Johor, he travelled the world to hone his skills to return all the more adamant to explore and represent his Chinese roots in his food.
My favourites were Tsukune, a chicken and oyster patty in chicken jus and egg yolk puree, topped with Tempura Shungiku – mellow and melty in texture – the ingredients came together brilliantly; Seabream in subtle vinaigrette made with chrysanthemum vinegar and fermented cucumber juice – the charred fish skin lent texture, contrasted against the slippery flesh with the slightest firm crunch; and Sweet Argentinian Red Prawns flavoured by aged Shao Xing wine, soy sauce and vinegar – quite delightful but expensive for just two prawns.
Down the list and no less delish was Pig Head Terrine – nose, ears, cheeks, jowl and tongue were brined for 48 hours, simmered in a stock with spices and herbs. A bit spicy and tangy, thanks to a vinaigrette of Szechuan pepper oil, this was delicious.
Something classic – Stuffed Quail with Glutinous Rice – and no less appealing in taste.
Not your ordinary munchines, Tempura Pig Ears were crunchy and tasty, perfect to go with beer or sake.
One of the larger plates/main courses, Wild Caught Snapper with fish maw and dried seafood, was an interesting pairing with pumpkin congee, not of rice but barley – very likable indeed.
Thick-cut Smoked Gyutan was beef tongue that had a lovely smokiness and texture. I enjoyed this though my dinner mate found this a bit tough and chewy.
Tea Smoked Chitose Tomatoes with salted kumquat, sea grapes and lemon dressing gave a different presentation to an otherwise ordinary vegetable, but for me, didn’t shine.
Dessert was Red Koji Ice Cream with a salted plum drizzle, puffed rice and dragon fruit. This was an acquired taste – reminds you of the red wine chicken dish, except that this was sweetish savoury. If you have distinct ideas about dessert being traditionally sweet, then this is not for you.
I preferred the Oolong Ice Cream which was more pleasing, refreshing with a sweet broth of wintermelon (braised in tea), pomelo and yuzu jelly.
Cocktails such as Sake Negroni and Lavender made the night go by faster, especially amongst good company. With such an exotic menu, how could one resist exploring?
Add: REXKL, 80, Jalan Sultan, City Centre, Kuala Lumpur. hp: 0126120786