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Friday, 24 October 2014

Sitka @ Damansara Heights

Sitka @ Damansara Heights is an intimate, 40-seater neighbourhood restaurant situated in the 30-year old shop lots of Jalan Batai...

.....and, so the exterior (and surroundings) is not exactly aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, I must say (coz when my friends and I were there last Saturday, there was a lot of construction going on).
 
But, once inside, the interior exudes a casual yet edgy dining environment with a predominantly black (and slightly white) dĂ©cor.  Ooo...I love baby's breath....and this jar of fresh baby's breath flowers (so simple and pretty) was a nice contrast to the black furniture and surroundings.
 
This restaurant is about combining traditional ingredients with modern techniques...it's about preparing good food with fresh produce and it can't get any fresher than local produce (much like the market trend of farm-to-table concept, I guess).  As the ingredients (where possible) are sourced locally, eating here means we're supporting our local producers and small farms....and that's a good thing ;)

And since we were in a group and were sharing the food, we requested for individual plates and were given these.  I absolutely love these metal plates...so 'old school' and rustic (I remember eating off these type of plates when I was a kid.  In fact, my mother-in-law still have some these old-fashioned plates).

The service staff brings the menu to you once you're seated but, when you're ready to order, you do so at the counter (and pay there as well)...maybe they want to tempt you with their array of cakes at the counter :D!  This service concept may not sit well with some people but I think it's acceptable since they (currently) do not impose service charge or govt tax.

We started our lunch with an order of salad, the Mango with Charred Red Onion @ RM20 with an additional 63-degree egg @ RM4.  [#Tip: A 63 degree egg is an egg cooked in its shell in a water bath that is kept at a constant 63 degrees Celcius for about an hour.]  This salad came with mango cubes, charred red onions, baby spinach, chopped red chillies and couscous, and some fresh herbs of cilantro and green onions.  Prick the yolk and the flawlessly cooked 63-degree egg will ooze a creamy dimension to your crisp salad.

The dressing is so light and subtle, my friends couldn't even taste any dressing.  This will appear very bland in taste for those who like big bold flavours but heavenly to those who like the fresh ingredients (to stand out) with minimal dressing.  Unfortunately, I was the only one who enjoyed this and I practically had to eat the whole salad by myself (I've been wanting to try couscous for a while now and, I must say, I liked it).  [#Note: I probably chose a salad with the least 'unfamiliar' ingredients (like couscous), coz the other salads have more funky stuff like beetroot, hummus, millet, quinoa that we're not used to eating...what to do, we've hardly seen or eaten these ingredients (what we call salads here are just a bunch of lettuce thrown together).]
 
The Fish Tacos @ RM21 came with a piece of tempura coated, fried local fish fillet with apple slaw, thinly sliced radish and shredded purple cabbage, in a smoked red pepper aioli (which resembled and tasted quite similar to cocktail sauce), and served in a soft taco shell with a side of salad.
 
Just hold the taco with your hands and take a bite of everything...the crispy tempura fish, coupled with the crunchy apple, radish and cabbage, within a soft, fresh, homemade tortilla and creamy aioli makes it a helluva good bite!  [#Note: They also have beef, lamb and mushroom tacos.]
 
This dish was served with a side salad (that looked more familiar) of shredded iceberg lettuce, very fine shreds of carrot, some mango cubes, couscous and a pc of roasted beet on top (I think coz I didn't eat it).  I'm not sure if there was any dressing on the salad and (if there was) it was so light until you couldn't taste it at all or figure out what the dressing was.

We sampled the Buttermilk Fried Chicken @ RM23 next which was also served with a side salad.  The half spring chicken (cut into 2 pcs), seasoned with honey and thyme, was probably soaked in buttermilk (which helped tenderise the chicken) before deep frying.

You can definitely taste the honey and thyme in the battered chicken.  The fragrance of the thyme and sweetness of the honey made it taste really good and flavourful.  The exterior of the chicken was fried till very crunchy while the inside remained tender and moist.  However, I found the crunchy batter a bit hard (and greasy but forgivable...what do you expect, it's fried chicken after all) but the batter didn't adhere very well to the chicken...it was falling apart as we were cutting into the chicken.

It was also served with a side salad.
 
We also ordered the Steamed Bao Platter @ RM30 which consisted of 3 "baos" (steamed buns), one with soft shell crab, the other with fried chicken and the final one with Korean brisket.

This first one was a soft shell crab bao with pickled cucumber, cilantro and tamarind sauce.  Although most reviews rave about this one, the taste of the soft shell crab didn't quite come through (for me) + the battered crab wasn't crispy :(

The second was a fried chicken bao with shredded purple cabbage, green onion and sriracha aioli.  This is similar in taste to our Fried Chicken order earlier.  The texture (crunchiness of the fried chicken and cabbage) and taste (of the spicy sriracha aioli) complemented each other well and made this the best tasting one of the 3 (in my opinion).

The last one was a Korean brisket bao with green onion and kimchi.  The beef brisket was tender and the kimchi provided a spicy-sourish component to the dish.

I've seen some reviews that say the desserts here (cakes and pastries) are really good, so we made sure we left some stomach space for them.  My friends and I tried 2 of them but I wasn't super impressed though.

The first one was the Raspberry Pound Cake @ RM12.  It's like a butter cake, with a crumble on top, plus raspberries infused in between the cake.  It was ok although I found the texture of the cake to be a bit crumbly.

The other cake we tried was the Chocolate Mousse Meringue with Raspberries @ RM15.  I certainly liked this better than the other cake.  The raspberries brought a zesty-tangy flavour to the somewhat rich chocolate layers with a crunch and sweetness from the meringue on the side.  Only disappointment was the chocolate layer on top...it was kinda 'elastic' (with a consistency like chewing gum) and you can't quite cut through it with a fork.

The drinks we ordered for our lunch were pretty decent.

Tea Soda @ RM10 (Top Left)
Iced Latte @ RM11 (Bottom Left)
Iced Mocha @ RM12 (Top Right)
Hot Cappuccino @ RM10 (Bottom Right)
 
My Personal Opinion

Overall, the food is good but different.  When I say different, I mean it's not the usual fare we find at most western-type eateries (where flavours have been 'localised', so to speak).  I especially liked the salads and tacos...and their dinner menu sounds really interesting!  [#Note: The restaurant is not open for dinner (it closes at 6pm daily) but their dinner service (which they aptly refer to as Test Kitchen) is available on Fridays and Saturdays.]

If you want something that's not the run-of-the-mill western-type food, you can certainly give this restaurant a try.  It will certainly appeal to those looking for healthy alternatives and those who appreciate fresh ingredients, clean taste without 'over-the-top' punchy flavours =)

This place is worth a visit....coz, at the same time, you'll be supporting sustainable food practices and local producers!

Sitka Restaurant
8-5 Jalan Batai
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2011 1117

8 comments:

  1. I remember that Super Gym 5 - some blogger friends have blogged about this place before. Would love those steamed paos - they look great but to me, the price tag's a bit on the high side. Should be fine for a change, once in a while.

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    1. Actually, the prices are quite reasonable for a nice restaurant.....about RM35 per pax (no service charge & govt tax for now). Considered average based on KL prices....their dinner menu is a lot more expensive!

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  2. Photo 1 - Super Gym 5 - is the exterior of this Sitka Restaurant? I can't believe I have actually eaten all the items in your list of beetroot, hummus, millet and quinoa and I like them except for quinoa - I find them too hard and coarse for me.

    At first I though couscous is a type of grain but later I found out that they are just tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat so I prefer to eat pasta made durum wheat instead of couscous.

    Thanks for sharing but I think I will give this place a miss as I don't order salad and I am keeping myself from eating deep fried meat products because I am keeping my quota to eat deep fried food for eating desserts.

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    1. Yes, this is the (not pleasant) exterior of the restaurant. I guess the owners have not gotten round to changing the previous Super Gym 5 signboard. Those items I've listed I would say are quite uncommon in western-type restaurants here (though it's common every day food for westerners).

      For someone who eats healthy food, I'm surprised you don't like salads. For me, I'd rather eat deep fried food and forego desserts :D

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    2. I like to eat salad but I don't order salad when I am eating out because I think it is very easy, just to easy to make my own salad as no cooking is involved so why pay for it when I can make my own. Just not worth the money. As I don't like sauces I just eat my salad without any sauces so basically I am just eating plain raw leafy vege which I like.

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    3. I also do not normally order salads (those that you can throw together yourself or those you can buy pre-packaged off the shelves) but this one was different, so I did. Hats off to you for being able to eat raw leafy vege (without any sauce) coz I certainly can't do that...I would feel like an animal eating grass! :D

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  3. I know this area. Very old and I used to pass by when I was working in another company. The salad looks interesting. I would like to try the buttermilk fried chicken.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, the salads here are quite different from the norm....and, oh, you like fried stuff too (like me).

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