Wizards at Tribeca might actually have been crafted by real-life wizards, because I swear, you feel magic in the air when you walk into this place.
The space is bright and airy, with lots of natural light filtering in from large windows. Feelings of calmness and contentment envelop you as soon as you enter this oasis, punctuated only by the gentle buzz of conversation forming the background soundtrack to your meal here. It isn’t a huge space, but there is so much character oozing out of it, it might as well be the size of a dinosaur’s lair.
The restaurant, which opened in January this year, is a collaborative effort between the Low Yat Group and the team behind popular local eateries The Red Beanbag and Yellow Brick Road – Lee Hai Lin, Lee Yew Kheong, Jason Loo, Shaun Liew and Ryan Cheah.
“In May last year, the Low Yat Group approached us and said they were opening a serviced residence in KL, and asked if we were interested in coming on board. They wanted something a little bit different and they wanted us to cater for the residents’ breakfast. Like a brunch kind of thing, which is what we’re good at,” says Liew, who is Wizards’ social and coffee wizard.
Wizards only caters to Tribeca’s guests from 7am to 10am. From 10am onwards, the eatery is open to everyone.
Coffee and cocktails are a major highlight at Wizards and are guided by probably the most knowledgeable hands in Malaysia at the moment. Both Loo and Liew are Malaysian barista champions – Loo is the 2013, 2015 and 2017 Malaysia Barista champion and has represented Malaysia at the World Barista Championship (in 2017, he placed seventh among 60 competitors!).
Liew, meanwhile, won the Malaysian Brewers Cup 2017 and represented Malaysia at the World Brewers Cup last year. Liew was also a lecturer at Berjaya University College of Hospitality, and one of the subjects he lectured on was mixology!
To get a sip of what they’re capable of, try the flat white (RM12). The coffee is a luscious, bold affair that is clearly not afraid to announce its presence. It makes a strong statement from the get-go and has an unforgettable quality that will leave you hankering for more.
Then there is the hot chocolate (fruity, RM16). The drink is made using local brand Chocolate Concierge’s Pahang-sourced single origin chocolate.
“There are options for bold and fruity hot chocolates, and these two chocolates are fermented in two different barrels. So there are distinct profiles – one gives you a bolder, easier-to-drink hot chocolate and the fruity character is for people who enjoy acidity in chocolate,” says Liew.
The fruity hot chocolate is phenomenally good, like a eureka moment that pops up when you least expect it. I was tapping out an urgent message on my phone when I started drinking this, but this hot chocolate was so decadent, so indulgently rich and chocolatey, that I left my phone untended and clean forgot about the formerly urgent message I was composing.
For a taste of something utterly invigorating, try the cascara soda (RM18), made using the husks of the prized Geisha varietal coffee from a farm in Panama.
“Cascara means coffee husk. It’s a by-product of the coffee and is normally discarded. But instead of discarding the husk, it is turned into cascara tea, which is basically coffee-tea. So what we do is we take that, brew it with hot water and reduce it with brown sugar to turn it into syrup, and then you get a cascara soda,” says Liew.
The sheer volume of work involved in making this soda sounds crazy and labyrinthine, but it will all start to make sense when you have a sip of this complex drink that is sweet, refreshing and has almost caramel-like undertones.
If drinks form the heart of Wizards, food is its lungs. The two function as inexorable partners in crime, reliant on each other to boost the eatery’s appeal. Food-wise, Wizards serves up refined comfort food and a host of brunch delights, all concocted by head chef Cheah, who worked at fine-dining mecca Cilantro and helmed the kitchen at The Red Beanbag.
For a sample of the best from Wizards’ repertoire, try the Wizards foie gras brioche (RM44). The dish is a lesson in textures and layers, made up of luxurious, velvety foie gras, soft, dense brioche, crispy beef bacon, creamy duxelle mushrooms and a mixed berries reduction. This is a dish that is unapologetically perfect. When you eat it, you’ll experience that elusive feeling of having searched for something your whole life, only to realise you’ve found it in this dish, with its alchemy of pure magic.
With the taro mish mash (RM28), you’re likely to think “What sort of strange bedfellows are these?” when you see the ingredients sharing the plate here. The dish consists of yam mash, French sourdough, diced avocado pesto, tomato salsa, feta cheese and poached eggs. The taro mash especially, seems incongruous in this constellation, but once you taste it, you’ll realise it actually works, offering a starchy-soft sumptuousness that contrasts well with everything else once you break the eggs apart and they coat everything in yolky-albumen goodness.
The buttermilk fried chicken (RM28) is essentially a burger which pairs a chunk of buttermilk fried chicken with brioche, kimchi cabbage and mango relish. The star player here is the fried chicken, which is as crunchy and crusty as even your loftiest hopes for it could be. All the other accoutrements are clearly just sideshow attractions for the main star.
Then there is the cheekily named tree hugger (RM28), an allusion to vegetarianism that takes the shape of a pizza dolloped with pesto, avocado, tomato, baby spinach and buffalo mozzarella. The confluence of flavours show thoughtfulness, as each ingredient doesn’t jostle for your attention like a needy toddler. Instead, everything inhabits the pizza evenly and without any favouritism, so you can enjoy the flavours harmoniously.
From the desserts on offer, I would strongly urge (read: insist) that you try the chocolate molten (RM24). The molten lava cake is made using Maracaibo 65% criollo chocolate from Venezuela and is served with vanilla ice cream and a red berry compote. This cake is sensational, a gushing chocolatey affair overflowing with intense cocoa flavours. The quality of the chocolate makes all the difference here, and you’ll detect its richness and superiority from the first bite. Do not – I implore you – miss out on this!
You could also opt for the deconstructed tiramisu (RM22) which features chocolate ladyfingers soaked in the espresso of the day, with mascarpone crème, German cocoa powder, chocolate soil and caramelised roasted cocoa nibs. While this iteration nails all the flavours of the traditional tiramisu, it is also decidedly less rich than the original, and while they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’m not sure this ultimately works in this dessert’s favour.
End your meal at Wizards with possibly the most fun night cap in town – the Wizard’s potion (RM42). Made with house-pour red wine, Campari, passion fruit, blood orange syrup and rosemary, this riotous celebration of flavours instantly calls to mind the phrase, “Let’s get this party started!”
Wizards at Tribeca
Ground Floor, Residensi Tribeca
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2715 5308
Open daily 10am to 10pm
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