casual french-italian dining: topshelf @ ttdi.
29 Apr 2012 § 4 Comments
Topshelf first appeared on my food radar after I read a review about their desserts at Eat Drink KL (scroll down, the review is at the bottom). It was immediately added to my in-no-particular-order-but-I’ve-gotta-try-these-places list on my BlackBerry.
After a lazy Saturday afternoon that saw us meandering around the older parts of KL, the boyfriend and I decided to stop by Topshelf for an early dinner. The restaurant is located behind the ‘pub row’ of TTDI along the quieter lane facing the residential area and was blissfully peaceful.
I love the decor of the place – very simple and very open, though I have a feeling it may get a tad bit hot during the day despite the air curtain.
Their menu is simple, with a variety of dishes for entrées, and what looks to be one of each type of meat for mains (duck, chicken, fish, beef, pasta…)…casual French-Italian fare with some classics like Coq au Vin and bouillabaisse according to their website.
Due to my predilection for any form or variation of Peking duck (if it’s on the menu, I’ll inevitably order it) and our mutual fondness for duck confit, we ended up ordering three duck dishes between the two of us!
Topshelf’s version of Peking duck (I totally have no recollection of what it was called on their menu – this is why I have long since given up trying to be a food blogger. Other reasons include my extremely limited palate and tummy capacity, but I digress…) took a leaf out of Ikea’s books, ie. self-assembly required! The dish was served on a wooden chopping board with julienned spring onions and cucumbers, a generous serving of shredded duck meat, steamed Chinese pancakes and a bowl of hoisin sauce. Halfway through, we gave up using our cutlery and devoured everything using our fingers instead (the Chinese pancakes ran out long before the duck meat did!).
The duck confit was a melt-in-your-mouth affair of tender duck meat and crispy skin, served with a side of sliced potatoes, french beans, greens and – if my taste buds were right – cranberry sauce. Needless to say, we both polished off our individual plates.
We returned for dinner on a separate occasion during the following week and I tried the Linguine Vongole this time around. The pasta was nice and al-dente and was served with plenty of clams (one or two were a little gritty, unfortunately), though I did find it slightly on the ‘soupy’ side.
Topshelf’s dessert menu may not be substantial, but what they do have on the menu is exceptionally yummy. Definitely a case of quality over quantity, which should be the case in any restaurant. We’ve managed to sampled three desserts so far: Champagne Mille-Feuille, Apple Tarte Tatin and Chocolate Mousse, and I’m dying to go back for more.
Personally, I feel that the Apple Tarte Tatin wins hands down amongst the three – thinly-sliced, sticky-sweet, slightly caramelized apples laid on top of a crispy tart base, topped with a generous scoop of ice cream…oh my. I actually felt reluctant to share after taking my first bite! We ordered this again on our second visit, it was that good.
The Champagne Mille-Feuille was a concoction of puff pastry, strawberries and lemon curd piled haphazardly upon one another – it was a nice mix of sweet and tangy, and the pastry was so deliciously light that it felt as if it would topple over with the merest puff of breath (pun unintended!).
The Chocolate Mousse was exactly how a chocolate mousse should be – slightly bittersweet and extremely decadent (with a slight tinge of liquor if I tasted correctly). One serving was more than enough to satisfy the sin-food quota for the week!
I think there’s a space within the TTDI food scene for unpretentious French/Italian cuisine in a casual setting, and Topshelf fills it pretty nicely. At the very least, it’s a nice change from the onslaught of B.I.G. establishments that has been popping up (a case of quantity over quality, but that’s another post for another day). I’m definitely looking forward to the next visit – I have my eye set on that bouillabaisse and panna cotta!
(My apologies for the quality of some of the photos – Samsung Note + dimly lit places is equivalent to a disaster that no amount of Photoshop-ing can fix…)