Thursday, 28 September 2017

Birch @ Damansara City Mall

Opened a little over a month ago, Birch @ Damansara City Mall is supposedly by the same people who brought us Huckleberry Food & Fare, Huckleberry After Dark, Mezze and Skullduggery.

I was attracted by the photos of the place, so I googled their menu and saw that they offer inventive dishes and creative I chose this place for my next meet-up with friends.

The exterior of the place reminded me of Botanica + Co with its beautiful natural greenery that's both calming and picturesque.

Absolutely loved the lush greenery surrounding the restaurant and the interior with floor-to-ceiling glass walls.  Lots of charming photo-taking spots :)

We arrived around 7 pm without making any reservations (wrong move!) like we always do at any place coz my friends are never on time (so it's pointless to make any reservation).  Alhough I saw lots of empty tables, they were all our horror! O_o  They showed us a low table (which was available) but we felt that was more suited to having snacks and drinks than a proper dinner.

We were also asked if we'd like to sit at the bar which we graciously declined as well.  Our only hope was for a group of diners to finish their meal in the next one hour but that could be wishful thinking seeing that the lovely ambience beckons one to linger and stay.  So, we were put on a waiting list and that they'll call us as soon as something opens up.

So, we wandered off thinking we'd walk around the mall but soon realised that there's really nothing to see nor shop as the mall is extremely quiet at night + it's more of a dining hub than anything else.  We stopped by at Bila.Ba for some drinks (just some local coffee and tea) to wait it out.  I'm not sure if it was just that night but the drinks were horrible and undrinkable (so sweet it'll send you to diabetic heaven...and not in a good way)! :P

We finally got a table after about 1 1/2 hours...which is the longest time I've ever waited for seats.  Yeah, we could have gone elsewhere but we were already in the mall.  And yeah, we could have eaten elsewhere in the mall but the other potential places here are even more expensive, I think.  We had no choice but to wait since we didn't have a plan B.  The table we managed to secure was initially reserved...either the diners didn't turn up or were late in turning up...sorry, their loss, our gain! ;P  Let's hope the wait was worth our wait.

By the time we got our table, it was already dark and the restaurant had transformed into a rather intimate and romantic setting.  The interior and ambience of the restaurant was both alluring and stunning =)  My photos didn't do the place justice as there were many beautiful corners to photograph which I obviously couldn't coz it was just full of people.

Our weekend visit also happened to be just two days after they launched their full dinner menu (on 7 Sept), so I guess we were among the first few to try some their dinner dishes.

We started with a couple of small plates for sharing, the first was the Tempura Squid @ RM20 with Japanese vinegar salt and served with an Asian spicy sauce.

The squid was very tender and the batter crisp (but not super crunchy) and went well with Asian spicy sauce. Loved the addition of crispy, fragrant curry leaves in the mix...but the serving was pretty small.

The Oriental Duck Rilletes Tacos @ RM26 featured three soft tacos with shredded spice-marinated duck, finely shredded romaine lettuce, julienned Japanese cucumbers and a Mexican tomato salsa served with an Oriental thick sauce.

The sauce coated shredded duck was very tender and tasty.  The crunch of the cucumbers, the lovely tomato salsa and the freshness of the lime lifted up the flavours of the taco.  These were very good tacos! ^.^

Next, I ordered the Cornbread @ RM16 baked with fresh jalapenos and chillies served with truffle honey butter.  I've always seen fresh cornbread (in cooking shows) served with barbequed meats (but those meats usually come with a sauce).  Made in a cast iron skillet, it developed a slightly crispy crust at the bottom but I couldn't taste the jalapenos or chillies in the bread.  The butter was much needed to lubricate the cornbread. Made with cornmeal (ground, dried corn), let's just say the taste of it is not to everyone's liking.

Although the savoury taste of cornbread usually goes well with smoky flavours of barbequed meat, it's a bit dry eaten on its own.  I think it would have been much better with something like a chili, soup or stew.  I should have ordered the Pit Bean Stew (RM28) or Triple Chilli Con Carne (RM32), something to dip the cornbread in.

For a Josper oven speciality, we decided to have the Spatchcock @ RM50, a spring chicken marinated in ancho chile, chipotle powder, jalapeno powder, smoked paprika and orange juice.  Spatchcock is just a term used to refer to butterflied poultry.

The grilled spatchcock was so good on every level....smoky, juicy, tender, delicious.  Just look at that supreme charring on the chicken...charcoal-grilled to perfection in the Josper oven! ^o^

The spring chicken was topped with a bit of what I believe was chimichurri sauce and served with grilled pineapples, cherry tomatoes, green zucchini, romaine lettuce and a dipping sauce (that I didn't even taste) as I didn't need the dip.  The spatchcock was great just as it was.

Other Josper items include grilled seabream (RM65), ribeye (RM110) and Josperised skewers of beef (RM10), lamb (RM10), chicken (RM7) and mussels (RM11), prices are per stick.

For our other main, I went with the Vermicelli Paella @ RM105 coz I was intrigued by how a paella will taste like with vermicelli instead of the usual traditional recipe made with rice.

The paella pan came fully loaded with chicken wings, prawns, mussels, pipis, squid and long beans with vermicelli cooked in a seafood saffron broth.  There were three fairly large-sized prawns but the slightly spicy chicken wings (two wingettes and two drumettes) were the best tasting items in the paella (for me).

The vermicelli at the bottom of the pan, though tasty and slightly crusty, were all broken up in short strands (not something I was expecting).  The paella is probably good for sharing between two not-very-hungry people as the portion of vermicelli wasn't very substantial (I would have appreciated a bit more vermicelli actually).  It was something different but I think I prefer rice (over vermicelli) for a fuller meal and that crusty rice bottom + they're a better vehicle to absorb all the flavours of the broth.  Having said that, this was still a very enjoyable paella...a vermicelli paella, that is. ^_^

The Huckleberry Burnt Cheesecake @ RM18 (a slice) looked ever so inviting in the cake counter to my friends, so they wanted that.  Made with French cream cheese and organic eggs, with a burnt sugar crust, my friends absolutely loved good, they gasped!  Even I (a non-cheese eater) was convinced to try...and I was surprised I didn't dislike it (yay to that!).  In fact, it tasted rather good...and coming from a non-cheese lover, it must be pretty awesome.

I must say it did look very similar to that cheesecake by Tokyo Restaurant (in Isetan, Lot 10, which also costs RM18 a slice) that many people are saying is the best cheesecake in KL.  But I wouldn't know since I'm no authority on cheesecake by virtue I don't eat them.  Perhaps you can try this one out to see if it can compare to that excellent one in Isetan.  There was a table that was having some sort of birthday celebration and they went for the whole cheesecake (the server mentioned it was RM200 for the whole cake).  Whoa...that's like half our total bill already! O_o

If you're a sucker for cakes and cupcakes, there's a cake counter at the entrance of the restaurant (of course, where else could it be) that'll certainly entice you and make you go gaga with the choices.

Only after our meal did we order our drinks as the lovely ambience of the place beckons you to linger...and sip! ;)  So, my friends had wine, a glass of Sottano Malbec 2014 @ RM27.

And a glass of Chateau Saillans AOC Bordeaux 2015 @ RM28.  Why are there tiny bubbles in my friend's wine? Is that a wine flaw or a flawed pouring?  I don't know about these things, I'm a noob when it comes to drinking since I'm a non-drinker.

We also had two mocktails, Twisting My Melon @ RM15 (of watermelon, burdock, lemon, aloe vera & soda) and Tickle My Bell @ RM15 (of yellow bell pepper, orange, sweet corn & lemon).

My Personal Opinion

The fabulous ambience, innovative menu with lots of vegetarian options, coupled with attentive and great service, will attract a legion of fans in the foreseeable future.  Perfect for a date night with its dim setting or simply great for that special celebration with family or friends.

Their menu with quite a selection of small plates are ideal bar snacks for drinkers with a glass of wine or cocktail in hand.  I'd recommend the duck tacos and you won't go wrong with anything from the Josper oven for that smoky, charred deliciousness.  Oh, and don't forget the burnt cheesecake if you're a die-hard cheesecake fan! ^o^

But, please don't attempt to walk-in without reservations (at least not for now) or you might end up having to wait longer than you would have wanted.

Though prices may be at the higher end (at least for the dinner menu), their breakfast and lunch options seem similarly priced to places like Wild Honey, Common Man Coffee Roasters or Breakfast Thieves.  Some say Birch may be the next hottest brunch place.  With creative dishes, superb ambience, attentive service....they may very well be just that but I'd have to check out the brunch menu for myself, won't I? ^_~

G-10, G-10B & G11 Ground Floor
Damansara City Mall
Jalan Damanlela
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2011 5966



  1. i think i'd order exactly what you ordered here from the dinner menu! i love tacos, but many tacos in kl end up tasting a bit too one-dimensional, with mediocre-quality protein soaked in a cloying sauce in mass-market tortillas. the one you had here sounds like a more satisfying balance of zesty flavours! :D

    1. I've not tried as many tacos as you have, so I hope the ones here meet your approval. I loved the freshness of the salsa with the shredded duck :)

  2. Thanks for the look inside. I've been wanting to try this spot. The bartenders here I know from Case Study and they are a skilled duo.

    1. I'll take your word for it that the bartenders here a skilled duo as you've drunk many a cocktail...hehe! ;)

  3. Very classy looking place. From what you ordered, I would be very interested in the tacos, grilled spatchcock and vermicelli paella. I am very curious about the cheesecake. Does it have a vanilla aroma or just cheese? I am not partial to cheesecakes that don't have vanilla to mask the cheese smell. But since you are not a cheese person and yet you liked the cake, it might be ok for me too.

    1. Yeah, I think it should be ok for you too since it was ok for me, a non-cheese fan. I can't remember if there was any vanilla aroma but this one certainly doesn't have any of that cheesy smell that we dislike.

  4. The name BIRCH itself sounds classic like a food fashionista place. I love their floor to ceiling glass concept with abundance of greens! Even the menu is so creative with names like Oriental Duck Rilletes Tacos with horny & fun mocktail names like Twisting My Melon and Tickle My Bell!!!

    I am a real die hard fan of good cheesecakes & seldom had good ones in KL. So I must head to BIRCH and Tokyo Restaurant @ Isetan.

    1. Birch sounds like a tree to me. Trust TM to make the horny association with the drink names....kekeke! ;D Oh, if you're a real die-hard cheesecake fan, then you must go try this one...and the one in Isetan. And do write about it so that we'll know if they're really that good like people say they are.

  5. DC Mall indeed a very "death" mall, I've been there twice and it's very quiet :P
    Friend that never punctual, hmmm..... If I were you I will remind her the booking time again and again to make sure she/he reached on time >_<
    The Taco remind me of Peking Duck wrap but I think I never have ornbread before, it looks quite big in portion, how many of you sharing it?
    Vermicelli Paella? My 1st time heard about it, it's originally with vermicelli version other than rice version or the restaurant created it?
    I'm interested to try the 'best cheesecake in town' that raved by many :P

    1. It's a mall for dining...not shopping! ;)
      We never make bookings, the first one to arrive will get a table while the rest will trickle in at different times...I guess I have to get used to my friends' non-punctuality. :(
      The corn bread wasn't very big, probably good for four sharing as a side dish.
      Paella (as I know) has always been done with rice, so I believe the vermicelli version here is their creation.
      If and when you try both the cheesecakes (the one in Isetan and the one here), do let us know how it compares (as they look eerily similar to me).


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