Words: Monica Tindall
Photos: Rich Callahan
KARA, Conceptual French Cuisine in Kota Damansara, boasts to be more than just a restaurant with good food. Rather, the team here like to see the restaurant as a collaboration among artists.
The artistry of the chef is matched with founder Brandon Wong’s sound engineer background and other collaborators with expertise in graphic design and lighting. The simple yet elegant design reflects this with soft lighting, a fantastic music playlist and an excellent sound system. Kara’s Latin base means loved or dear and with this naming, they hope everyone will extend good feelings towards the setting, food and experience.
The artistry of the chef is matched with founder Brandon Wong’s sound engineer background and other collaborators with expertise in graphic design and lighting. They like to see the restaurant as a gathering of artists. The simple yet elegant design reflects this with soft lighting, a fantastic music playlist an excellent sound system. Kara’s Latin base means loved or dear and with this naming, they hope everyone will extend good feelings towards the setting, food and experience.
KARA-Conceptual French Cuisine Menu – Drinks
KARA-Conceptual French Cuisine has a compact drinks menu offering an affordable wine list and a few non-alcoholic beverages. Two of such, Elderberry (RM15) and Elderflower (RM15), are a simple mix of soda topped with sugar-free cordials. Served in Champagne flutes they make for pretty sipping as we browse the menu.
KARA-Conceptual French Cuisine Menu – Food
The food menu mirrors the drinks menu in its clarity of focus – traditional French fare, minimal fuss. We leave the decisions to the chef and are offered some bread to begin. Gee, it has been a while since I’ve had simple garlic bread. Crushed garlic and herbs on a French baguette with loads of butter reminds me of ‘fancy’ meals of days long past.
First out is the Petits Chèvres Chauds et son Confit de Gésiers (RM32), baked goat’s cheese with gizzard confit salad. It’s vibrant with greens, reds and browns in its combo of veggies, mushrooms and gizzard. Bitterness from radicchio balances the richness of the crumbed warm cheese and the textured bird’s stomach. Finely cut cucumber gives a good crunch and a garlicky dressing contributes its own pungency.
Salad is quickly followed by Soupe à L’oignon Gratinée (RM14), gratinated French onion soup. It’s packed with onion, loaded with cheese and topped with the obligatory bread slice. It’s another rich recipe and even though the bowl appears moderate, we are both satisfied sharing the portion.
Fish and Crustaceans
The fragrance of the Bouillabaisse (RM54) immediately wafts tempting the nose as the soup is revealed beneath the lid of a clay pot. Alive with herbs – saffron, star anise and parsley– the soup is more herbaceous than seafoody, which should make fussy eaters happy. An abundance of tiger prawns, scallops, salmon and a mélange of veggies make this broth easily the main meal.
Meat and Poultry
Tournedos de Boeuf à la Sauce Béarnaise (RM58), beef tenderloin is luscious in its proportions and soft as we slice in. Full of flavour on its own, the sauce is not needed but so worthy of some sopping up with some of those soft house-made buns from earlier on. While Rich polishes off the beef with contented murmurs of satisfaction, I fork in for more of the cheesy potato side. Crisp broccoli, cauliflower, beans and carrots make a fine contrast to the decadence of the rest of the plate.
The Magret de Canard Au Poivre Vert (RM52) is also of a generous portion. The duck breast is pink in the middle, cooked medium-rare, and balances atop a pile of thinly sliced potatoes and finely diced veggies. The green peppercorn sauce has quite a bite to it and slices through the natural oils of the duck.
We end our meal with another classic, Crêpes Compote Sauce à L’Orange (RM18) and swiftly understand why it has become their best-seller. Thin crepes wrap a delicious sweet and tangy apple compote, velvety ice cream slowly melts and we swirl it through the wonderful orange sauce. Rich half-jokes that we need straws to not waste a drop of that sauce and we both gaze longingly at the plate wondering if anyone would notice if we just picked it up and drank from the rim.
Coffee revives us before we depart with a rich, dark brew roasted by a local lady who has been in the bean business since 1956! The only hint of Malaysian on the menu, the iced coffee comes with condensed milk, just like tradition. The beans are from Kuantan and its roasted Hainanese style. Since the rest of the meal has been authentic French cuisine, it is only fitting that we end with a little homage to local.
On a side note, a small salad buffet with a main dish (RM25) offered daily for lunch is great value. We think it a fantastic way to get a taste of the menu.
Reasons to visit KARA-Conceptual French Cuisine: value-for-money quality French cuisine; classic French dishes honouring tradition; you must order the crepes!
KARA-Conceptual French Cuisine
A-05-01 Sunway Giza Mall
(Same side of the mall as Barfly. Above Orange Boutique, near TM Net)
47810, Kota Damansara
+6 016 357 9213
+6 03 7622 2868
KARA-Conceptual French Cuisine opening hours:
Wednesday to Monday
Lunch: 11:30 am – 3 pm
Dinner: 6 pm – 10:30 pm