Words: Monica Tindall
Photos: Rich Callahan
We’ve long been fans of VCR. From their first venture in Jalan Galloway to their expansion in Bangsar and offshoots such as VCR Stacks and VCR Bakehouse, they have a solid product worth returning for. We’re feeling fortunate that they have finally chosen our neck of the woods as their new home – Ampang!
The latest outlet in Persiaran Ritchie is their largest yet. The minimalist Nordic design is home to a variety of seating – outdoors, indoors, communal tables and spots just big enough for two. The restaurant is decked in pale wood complemented by black metal, warm lighting, a grey mosaic tiled floor and several potted plants. It’s a relaxed setting, perfect for the casual dining restaurant they aim to create here.
VCR Ritchie Menu
Currently, VCR Ritchie serves a compact menu in their soft launch phase. Here we find favourites from other outlets around the city, such as their avocado chicken sandwich and crab burger, alongside some new introductions such as handmade pasta. You might say chef Ivan found some additional passions over the pandemic, and diners are blessed to see the fruits of his latest experiments here.
Before diving in too fast, though, be open to some changes. VCR Ritchie is a growth of the brand, aiming to provide a pleasant casual dining experience. We went in expecting their fantastic brunch menu. Those well-loved items will return when they extend their hours (with enough staff). However, they are focusing on growing their offerings to provide more lunch and dinner items for now. One day soon, they also hope to offer wine with meals. The space is very conducive to such an experience.
Sandwiches & Burgers
One new recipe is the Wagyu Cheeseburger (RM 38). A VCR sourdough brioche bun holds the double smashed wagyu patty, cheddar, shack sauce, tomato and lettuce. Seasoning is simple, allowing the richness of the 120-gram patty to fill the mouth with happiness. The patty is literally smashed twice and quickly cooked (less than three minutes) – when you have quality meat, that’s all that is needed.
If you time your visit well, you might catch a glimpse of chef Ivan rolling, stretching and slicing his house-made pasta in the open kitchen. Made fresh on-site, it would be remiss of you to not order at least one pasta dish. For us, it’s the meat-free VCR Pesto (RM 30). Wide ribbons of pappardelle are coasted in just the right amount of basil pesto. There’s a sourdough hazelnut crumble that gives a lovely spot of crunch. When in season, ulam raja (love) will top the plate, but for today it’s arugula. A grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano and drops of basil oil finish it all off.
In the salad section, we find something old and something new. Beginning with the latter, the Akami Tuna Nicoise Salad (RM 35) could be a complete meal for a moderate eater. Seared shio koji akami tuna is placed carefully over a bowl of French beans, olives, potatoes, a soft-boiled egg and Cultiveat’s tomatoes and baby spinach. I usually insist that dressings are served on the side. Still, the team at VCR Ritchie are light-handed, with the anchovy dressing adding just enough to enhance rather than drown the flavours. It’s perfect for piling on top of slices of VCR’s signature sourdough toast (one of the best in the city).
We’re happy to see one of our veg favourites make it to VCR Ritchie’s menu, the Handsome Caesar Salad (RM 30). It’s a vibrant compilation of romaine, kale, crunchy cauliflower, purple cabbage, Caesar dressing, a soft-boiled egg, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and sourdough toast. It’s superbly balanced and refreshing.
Moving onto heavier menu items at VCR Ritchie, the Gochujang Roast Lamb (RM 55) makes a good-sized main. The richness of the tender lamb shoulder is brightened with green chutney and gochujang sauce (Korean red pepper paste). On the side are two slices of toasted sourdough and a bowl of Cultiveat’s leafy greens. You could make your own sandwich if you please.
Another satisfying option and a first for VCR is the inclusion of a local dish, Classic Curry Laksa (RM 30). Chef Ivan puts his pasta-making skills to work to produce the handmade egg noodles for this dish. They’re soaked in an aromatic curry soup with sliced chicken breast, tiger prawns, a soft-boiled egg and sambal belacan. It’s a little spicy but balanced and flavourful with a soft sweet finish. The gravy is so good! And so is VCR’s bread. Rich and I scout the leftover slices from our other dishes and mop up that sauce. Actually, we think a bowl of gravy and a couple of pieces of sourdough could be a perfectly satisfying meal all on its own.
VCR Ritchie Drinks Menu
Coffee is always good at VCR, and Ritchie is no exception. Actually, partner Kenneth thinks that this is their best brew yet with their new water filtration system! I am a fan of their house blend of Brazilian beans. It’s mildly sweet with a nutty aftertaste and goes great with milk (dairy alternatives are available, too!). Alternatively, Niko Neko Ajisai (RM 16) is quality matcha. Valrhona Chocolate (RM 14) makes a great gentle dessert or hot low-caffeine bevvie.
VCR Ritchie Review
The team at VCR aim to give the “best customer experience in Malaysia.” They have not succumbed to QR code menus or distancing staff from customers. Instead, they see human interaction as a top priority. Kenneth says they want to be attentive and lovable and build relationships with diners. We think they’re achieving this goal and see great staff as a common thread across all outlets.
The plan for VCR Ritchie is to first foster this new casual all-day-dining experience with meals and wine (to come) in the evenings. As they recruit more staff, they will extend the hours to open for breakfast and brunch. There will be freshly baked items coming hot out of their on-site bakehouse and a small retail section where you can grab and go some bread or a pastry.
We feel happy here, relaxed, nourished, cared for and excited to see the team grow.
Reasons to visit VCR Ritchie: great coffee, reliable and consistent food, handmade pasta, look forward to an expansion of both the menu and opening hours in upcoming months.
319, Ritchie’s Pavilion, Persiaran Ritchie,
Desa Pahlawan, 55000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 3 4265 2008
VCR Ritchie Opening Hours
10 am – 10 pm