Hidden on the alley of Jalan Bedara is a restaurant nestled on the ground floor of a building, and herein sits Drift Dining and Bar, the epitome of Modern Australian Cuisine. Being only 6 months old, this restaurant offers not only a delicious menu, but an overall casual-fine dining experience, one that you do not find easily. As most people who are amateur eaters, the term Modern Australian Cuisine is somewhat of a puzzle as most are familiar only to the traditional Australian barbecue, but it is so much more than that.
Headed by Robert Gilliland and at the helm of the kitchen Angus Harrison, the quality of food here is understated and refined, not thanks to his time at some of the top restaurants in Sydney including The Boathouse, Longrain, Jimmy Licks and Luke Mangan’s Salt Tapas and Bar in Bali.
The ambiance of the restaurant is very telling of the amount of work and detail put into the thematic feel of the restaurant. This place highlights the casual while keeping in tone to the refine qualities of a fine dining restaurant.
“The tables are all a little smaller, forcing people to almost sit together. Many items on the menu were created for sharing. We wanted to force people to get closer, sit closer, bonding and getting to know each other better.” – Robert Gilliland, Managing Director of Drift Dining & Bar.
The concept of this restaurant is pretty complete, which is rare in the case of restaurants. Drift has really taken all necessary steps to ensure that you have the best dining experience, and their impeccable attention to detail from the bar that has been custom-made so that you are able to sit around it, almost behind the bar. At Drift, you experience a tour de force of international cuisine, ranging from Turkish inspired to the modern Italian, from classical Japanese to fusion Spanish, which pretty much describes the modern Australian experience.
For our first destination, we start off with a Turkish delight, the Seared Haloumi. This has to be one of the most understated dishes with the most interesting texture, where the firmness of the brined cheese is well balanced with the acidity of the semi-dried tomatoes. The sweetness of the tahini and eggplant further tilts the flavour in tangent directions ensuring an equally pleasing flavour on the tongue.
We then get a taster of the Italian fair of the Truffle Mushroom Arancici, little crispy golden orbs that feel crunchy to bite, but with a surprise, the molten slow cooked risotto, which takes 2 days to cook. The sweet salad cream base softens the crunch of the golden fried batter, and is topped off with generous shavings of parmesan, with its strong, sharp and soft texture as the final component. This is probably one of the best arancini you can find in town.
The Crushed Chat Potatoes is another delightful simple dish, dressed with dukkha, an Egyptian spice and nut blend, enveloping the potatoes, served with a side of Tunisian harissa aioli. This dish serves as a great light snack, fluffy to the bite, and flavoursome with aroma.
If you are looking for a more eclectic selection, the Charcuterie Board, a mixture of San Daniele prosciutto, bresaola, Finocchiona salami, served with a side of ripened cherry tomatoes and home-made foccacia bread.
For those hankering for a starch dish, not to worry as the Pumpkin Ravioli does not disappoint. This seem like a simple dish, but is genius in its complexity. The textures and temperatures are perfectly in harmony, with the sweetness of the pumpkin balanced by the umami of the burnt butter on the outside. The fried sage brings a nice deep flavour to the dish only to be complimented by the tenderness of the broken goat feta.
The Torched Salmon is made with only the finest sashimi grade, and is springy and soft to the bite. The burned surface, or as the Japanese call it, aburiyaki, gives it a nice mouth-feel, while complemented with the home-made seasoning of cucumber and fresh horseradish, drizzled in black vinegar.
One of the most iconic dish here would be the Slow Braised Baby Pork Ribs seasoned in Japanese yakiniku sauce. The pork is slowly braised until the meat falls off the bone with the slightest tug of the fork. What stands out with this dish is that the sweet and savouriness of the yakiniku sauce is balanced out with creamy and tangy flavour of the red radish, apple and fennel salad.
An understated item on the menu is the Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower, which is cooked and served in a saffron yoghurt sauce and rum soaked raisins. As cauliflower is quite a bland vegetable, Drift has managed to elevate this dish by pumping it with the right choice of piquant and spices.
You cannot end your meal without a dessert, and the Cinnamon Spiced Spanish Doughnut, essentially churros, do not disappoint. This dish is served with a home-made caramel and their very own Drift strawberry jam, a must try.
According to Angus Harrison, Head Chef at Drift: –
“For me there is such an amazing variety of cultures and cooking styles from all over the world that converge in Australia, especially Sydney. ‘Modern Australian’ is influenced by many cultures and nationalities using the freshest and finest ingredients, and prepared by chefs who have trained & dined all over the world.”
Drift has also a nice selection of cocktails, and if that’s your thing, I have selected a few you must try when you do get a chance. Modelled so you can almost sit behind the bar, the slate table gives it a classy feel, like you could be at any bespoke cocktail bar in the heart of New York or on the fringes of central Tokyo.
One of the more unique drinks with a tribute to the Tinder app is the Swipe Right. This cocktail is made with Hendricks Gin as its base, a liberal tearing of kaffir lime leaves, and topped with Elderflower. This cocktail is build over ice with a cucumber sliver. The kaffir lime leaves add a nice tropical kick to the drink with its tinge of bitter and spicy notes. This simple yet complex drink is great to start off the night before anything else.
The Albino is an original concoction, based with, yes, you guessed it, gin, Bombay Sapphire Gin to be exact. As the Albino is a twist on the Negroni, the use of Antica Formula, a red vermouth made by Benedetto Carpano in 1786. Aperol is then layered into it and finally topped with a dash of Wattle Extract, a nod to their Australian roots.
If you are a Martini lover, the Espresso Martini brings a nice kick with its creamy texture topped with coffee beans and the Blueberry Cheesecake Martini is rimmed with actual cheesecake, serving you your just desserts.
The Drift Dining & Bar Experience
Drift definitely is worth a visit if you want to be acquainted with Modern Australian Cuisine for a better feel of the culture. The diversity on Drift Dining & Bar’s Menu is seen in its flavours, heavily influenced by international cuisine and not just limited to cafés and barbecues, but has over the past few years developed into something that is increasingly unique and vibrant.
Drift Dining and Bar
38, Jalan Bedara,
50200 Kuala Lumpur,
+603 2110 2079
Opening Hours: 6:30 pm to late.
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: DRIFT DINING & BAR, AND DANIEL LAI | WEBSITE: DRIFT DINING & BAR |