Words: Caroline Lee Photos: Monica Tindall
The premise and promise of a Drift brunch is a leisurely afternoon of love and laughter with free flowing food and drink from a menu meticulously curated, and meant to be shared amongst friends and family.
Robert Gilliland and Chef Angus Harrison are the guys behind Drift, and with a specific audience in mind, designed the venue to provide a place to gather, to create conversation, to feast and to forge relationships. Six different spaces and clever seating arrangements in a long narrow room has enabled Drift to deconstruct the formality of a restaurant while providing a space that protects the experience of the customer, whether it is a party of 20 or two. So as Robert puts it, “matching amazing people, with amazing experiences.”
I had no idea that this Sunday brunch session was going to be a Tudor-style royal feast (albeit with better manners), and the menu calmly informed that we were going to have two starters, seven mains and a dessert: food and free flow – which actually meant that the food was also free flow along with wine, and selected cocktails. Yes, you read right… you can have as much as you can eat of everything on the menu but I really would advise taking it slow despite the temptation to polish off as many of those fresh juicy, earthy-flavoured oysters as you can. There is much to leave tummy space for.
Not one to hurry through my food, and noting the abundance of items I wanted to try, it was quite a relief to note that brunch lasts from 12pm – 4pm, which gave me ample time to savour and not just swallow.
I love love love oysters and clutching a Fine de Claire oyster in one hand and a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc in the other, my Sunday and I were off to a flying start! Keeping it cool, alongside the oysters came Spiced Gazpacho Crab Claw Shooters. Brimming with chunky crab, this shot of delicate white meat was beautifully balanced in a light base soup with just a hint of heat coming in right at the end.
Of course, one would need some libation and on offer were white and red wines as well as cocktails. The aforementioned Savvie B was a Chilean Narrow Valley 2015, no doubt chosen for its fresh, fruity finish, which complemented both appetizers as well as the Poached Atlantic Salmon Seeded Mustard Potato Salad Watercress from the mains. If I had to pick just one word to describe the first main, it would have to be balance. The suppleness of the perfectly poached salmon with creamy potato pieces laced with Dijon mustard, together with the crunchy, peppery nuttiness of the watercress was pure harmony.
The other mains such as the delicate Pomelo Cucumber Mint Coconut Poached Chicken Salad and the Drift French Toast Vermont Maple Syrup Crispy Bacon quickly followed; and oh, much restraint had to be exercised with the latter because when three of the most lust-worthy, heaven-sent things (yes, I’m fresh out of vocabulary at this stage) are on one plate, one does not waste time. Sweet brioche halves toasted, crispy (real!) bacon sliders gleaming with nectar of the gods… Monica was wise to whip the plate away when she did, to take her photos.
The pork parade continued with the appearance of a generous portion of the Crispy Skin Pork Belly sitting pretty on a bed of cumin spiced carrot. While my preference for the belly of tuna rather than pork may have had some bearing on this, I actually preferred the carrot to the belly! We were all quite fond of the carrot actually, so much so that we’d like to see it on the menu too.
At this point I had begun to wonder whether I was going to be able to manage the last two main dishes with the food coma that was threatening to descend upon me so I took a large swig of the Bloody Mary (that miraculously appeared) and suddenly I was awake. This cocktail, also on the list of bevvies that you can drink to oblivion, should have come with a warning to say, “instant hairs on chest,” but it was by far the best mid-point pick-me-up drink ever.
Thus revived, I was now ready to tackle the Conchiglie Pasta with crushed peas, feta and mint tossed with basil pesto and finished with a handful of Parmesan. In keeping with the fundamentals of modern Australian cuisine for which Drift is known, the freshness and quality of the produce used here really made this plate sing. I was also told later that all pasta and sauces are made in house. Naturally, with pasta, one reaches for wine and I decided to indulge in a drop of Laviña, a lush Catalan beauty featuring the tempranillo and merlot varietals. Medium bodied and lush, this soft wine was also a flawless accompaniment to the Black Olive Goats Cheese Wild Mushroom (button, enoki and portobello) Frittata.
And finally, we were at dessert! All concern (if it ever existed) for the waistline was now truly out the window because when Spanish Doughnuts with Rum-Infused Caramel are presented, there is no turning back. These deep-fried (as I said, out the window) crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside churros also came with strawberry jam but, who are we kidding…
I finally stagger out of Drift, and as I drive away that late Sunday evening feeling thoroughly well fed, watered and entertained, Robert’s words ring true and I realize the key to Drift’s success: they deliver exactly as promised – an amazing experience with amazing people.
Brunch is served monthly, on the first Sunday of the month and priced at RM250++ for all you can eat and drink, or RM120++ for food only. I’d say its pretty good value! There is also a Champagne option upon request. The next brunch will be Sunday November 6, 2016. Advance bookings are recommended.
Reason to visit: leafy peaceful setting for a late, long Sunday brunch; free flow of freshly prepared food and drinks; good for families, friends, couples; easy parking.