WESTERN dining with authentic European flair and affordable pricing do not often come together.
Diners craving Western cuisine usually find one of those components missing, where they either savour fine dishes at a steep price or spend frugally for a meal that is not satisfying enough.
Two men aim to change such scenarios and have teamed up to prove to Malaysian gourmands that one can get authentic Western fare at reasonable price.
Chef Gary Chang together with pastry chef Kingsley Kwoh are committed to offering Western cuisine with an affordable price tag at the restaurant they co-own --- Taste by Champignons.
“Champignons” is French for mushrooms.
“Mushrooms will only pop up from the ground if the humidity, temperature and rainfall are right.
“After experiencing various culinary landscapes globally, we believe that it is the right time for us to start this restaurant, ” said Chang.
He said Malaysians had an increasingly sophisticated palate for food and were willing to pay for a good meal but at the same time, they want the best value for their money.
“They are looking for fine food priced reasonably, ” he added.
Taste by Champignons’ decor embraces simplicity in modernity while its food packs a punch.
The same could be said of the restaurant’s signature pork sausages that come in two flavours with a side of mustard and pickles.
Jammed packed with filling, the meat mixed with garlic has a pleasant aroma while the one with English curry pork filling has a spiced fragrance.
My colleague was surprised that the simple dish was brimming with flavours and she definitely enjoyed the juicy meat bursting from the sausage casing.
A must-have on the menu is the Squid Ink Pasta loaded with squid, mussels, prawns and cubed salmon.
The black-coloured spaghetti was cooked to perfection, striking that al dente balance of firmness.
It was topped with cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and basil with a tomato-based seafood stock to reinforce the seafood flavour.
A crowd-puller here is its Big Breakfast of eggs, homemade pork sausage, streaky bacon, sauteed mushrooms, pork bolognese, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns and country bread.
The appetising dish tantalised and awakened customers’ taste buds as they begin their day with a generous breakfast portion.
Another main option --- the grilled homemade burger that sandwiched sauteed onion, iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes and grilled bacon comes with a thick patty in choices of Spanish pork with sage, crispy red snapper or Australian beef.
We had the succulent and tender pork-with-sage patty that was flawlessly grilled with lightly charred surface adding a smoky aspect to the dish.
The meal is not complete without desserts from The Champignons cake shop next to Taste by Champignons, which served a range of petit gaetuex (small cakes) and French patisserie.
Kwoh’s creations come with a mid-autumn theme as desserts are made based on recent local festivities and happenings.
The Bunny, an orange ganache, apple compote-infused orange, orange butter cake as well as orange pearls, was shaped like the head of a rabbit with two pointy ears.
The fruity flavour from the compote was heavenly match to the ganache, giving it a refreshing twist.
We also tried the Teapot and Elderflower and both provided a satisfying end to the filling meal.
“The elderflower is piped individually to shape it and form a spiky dome.
“It contains elderflower mousse, guava compote, strawberry and pink guava jelly with vanilla genoise and biscuit.
“The technique is modern French but I play around with European ingredients, ” said Kwoh.
The fruity and piquant taste of guava and strawberry complemented each other well with a hint of floral fragrance from the elderflower.
Diners can also try out Taste by Champignons’ weekday Executive set lunch that comes with a starter and beverage each. Available selections are Grilled Chicken Leg, Fried Chicken Berempah, Pork Shoulder with Spaghetti Abrabiata, Mexicana Beef Burger, Pan-seared Salmon and Garlic Shrimp Tortilla that are priced between RM19 and RM25.
The Go Green Day Special on Mondays features either a two-course (RM30) or three-course meal (RM38).
Starters include Roasted Root Vegetables Salad or 18 Vegetables Soup while the main dish is Grilled Pork Shoulder with herbs or Seared Salmon with Pesto Cream Angelhair Pasta.
TASTE BY CHAMPIGNONS, G31, Ground Floor, Ekocheras Mall, 693, Batu 5, Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03 91343288). Business hours: 10am to 10pm daily. Non-halal.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.
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