Director’s Cut TTDI – Prime Steaks & Artisan Pasta
Words: Karen Santosuosso
Photos: Rich Callahan
At the base of the Menara KEN building in TTDI, you’ll find the Werner Group’s newest addition to our city’s ever-expanding dining scene – Director’s Cut – Prime Steaks and Artisan Pasta. An expansive space with a bar (formerly Refinery Cafe and Bistro) inspired by 1920s nostalgia, along with a romantic dining space, creates the perfect atmosphere for a date or gathering of friends. An outdoor seating space would make for a great spot to enjoy one of the Culinary Lab’s creative cocktails and handcrafted pasta at sundown.
Director’s Cut TTDI Bar
The operations manager, Aizzar, greets us enthusiastically for what’s to come this evening. We begin at the bar – think lush leather chairs and bold gold accents. It reminds me a bit of a Great Gatsby aesthetic. There are three private rooms dedicated to famous whiskey founders of the past, which are available to reserve, or you can connect all three rooms if you’d like to host a larger gathering. There is also a cigar menu of over 20 options for any stogie enthusiasts.
If you’ve enjoyed the Whiskey Bar KL on Changkat, you’ll definitely enjoy the bar at Director’s Cut. With over 800 labels from around the world, Director’s Cut is definitely the place to go for whiskey in TTDI. You can order by the glass or get a whiskey flight if you can’t decide on just one. We begin with the TTDI Flight of Four Flavours (RM 98 for 15 ml or RM 198 for 35 ml). The bar has thought of a clever way to present our flight as the whiskey labels in order spell out TTDI – The Irishman, Timorous Beastie, Deanston, and Ichiro’s to finish. Monica and I both enjoy the floral and peppery notes of The Irishman 12-year-old whiskey. We are excited by the chance to try four distinct profiles in one sitting. The bar offers a variety of flights based on themes, such as by region or age – it’s an excellent way to expand your palate and discover new labels.
Whiskey aside, I can’t ignore the most exciting aspect of the bar at Director’s Cut, which is the Culinary Lab (originally housed in the Whiskey Bar KL) in the back. The bar houses its own chemist(!), Miss Chong, who fashions various concoctions and flavour extractions from unique local ingredients. Never have I ever been to a bar with an in-house chemist, so this is quite intriguing. Miss Chong shows us how she extracts the essence of ingredients like orange peel and coffee with her mad scientist-looking machine, also known as a rotary evaporator, at the bar. She tells us it takes three hours for a complete essence extraction via ‘vacuum distillation’ – similar to the extraction process for creating perfumes. Resident bartender Marcus then uses these delicate flavour extractions to create a unique twist on traditional cocktails.
We try the Crystal Espresso Martini (RM 52), a slow extraction of Scotch, espresso, Kahlua, and extra virgin organic coconut oil. Topped with Malibu liquor jelly, it is a fun take on the Espresso Martini. It’s impressive that Chemist Chong and Mixologist Marcus have created a crystal-clear cocktail with such a bold espresso taste. We also try the New York Upside Down (RM 52), coming in two options: the 1.0 Shiraz Reduction with rye whiskey, lemon, orange and bitter, or the 2.0, which also includes an egg white for extra creaminess. I enjoy the 2.0 version with a profile that reminds me of the warmth and spice you get from a comforting mulled wine in less tropical regions during wintertime.
If you’re not an alcohol drinker, you can still enjoy the sultry atmosphere at the Director’s Cut bar and indulge in one of their many mocktail options. We go for the Virgin Strawberry Margarita (RM 25) – a tart and refreshing, bright pink mixture of fresh strawberry, lime juice and soda. We also try the Love At First Sight (RM 23) – a cranberry and lime concoction with ‘lots of love’. Both options are surprisingly not too sweet.
Director’s Cut TTDI Appetizers
After our whiskey and cocktail journey, we’re ready to dive into some dishes. With a separate dining room from the bar, Director’s Cut also offers a pork-free and alcohol-free food menu. The restaurant has a handful of appetizer options that are also some fun twists on classics. We begin our meal with the Prawn Cocktail 2.0 (RM 58), which delivers a bit of a kick with a creamy and spicy sauce akin to Sriracha mayonnaise served with beetroot, fresh fruit, and toasted quinoa for a satisfying crunch. We also try the Burrata (RM 58) served atop a mushroom terrine with fresh cherry tomatoes and a balsamic glaze – both beautifully plated and delicious. We have this alongside Red Vine Tomatoes & Watermelon (RM 36) which are all fresh, light options great for sharing before the main course.
Our glasses of Ederra Verdejo Do Rueda, 2020, from Spain (RM 35) go well with our starters, but the wine is also quite quaffable all on its own. Citrus, tropical fruit and herbs interplay on the nose, while the palate is pleasant and fresh with nice acidity.
I’m a sucker for any pasta with a descriptor of ‘artisan’ or ‘handmade’ attached, so Director’s Cut’s artisan pasta offerings made from a 24-egg dough from their Penang Hill Farm do not disappoint. Mon is also a carb-loving foodie, so we try not one but three recipes! Our first is the Pappardelle Duck Confit (RM 68), a deliciously intense red sauce with rich duck meat cooperating well in coating every strand of the wide-ribbon pasta strands.
Ravioli Ai Pere e Gorgonzola (RM 78) is a warm and comforting combination of creamy gorgonzola and herb filling, gently sweetened by slices of marinated pear. Walnuts add some texture, and a butter sage sauce completes the dish.
The first two are excellent, but my favourite pasta is the Tortelloni di Spinachi Ricotta (RM 78). Baby spinach and ricotta stuffed pillows of perfection are served with a marinara sauce that tastes like a loving Italian nonna’s creation.
Steaks & Sides
The signature menu item at Director’s Cut is their range of steaks, which are certified Australian Black Angus. The steaks are prepared in a charcoal Josper oven and finished with a high-heat flash sear, resulting in “a perfectly tender interior with a rich, caramelized crust.” Director’s Cut has recently moved towards serving grass-fed beef as a healthier and more sustainable option – news that we are pleased to hear. Not only are grass-raised cows happier, but they have more flavour, too.
We delight in the Tenderloin (RM 318 for a minimum of 600 grams), which is tender, lean, juicy, flavourful and nicely browned around the edges. It’s served with a side of green asparagus, potatoes, and a green peppercorn sauce. All the steaks come with your choice of two sides and a sauce.
Tempranillo is a match made in heaven for steak, and our glasses of Ederra Crianza Do Rioja, 2018, from Spain (RM 35) demonstrate this. Mature red fruits, a whisper of oak and gentle chocolate aromas greet the nose. The wine offers good structure, silky tannins and a persistent finish. Besides our steak, it’s also quite lovely with the rich red sauces on our pasta plates.
Onto my favourite course of any meal – dessert. I wish we could try them all, but alas, we go for the Tiramisu with Mango Sauce (RM 32), satisfying any tiramisu lover’s palate. There is also the Kaiserschmarrn (RM 48), a rum and raisin pancake originating from Austria and something rare on a dessert menu in Malaysia. I’m sure this would pair perfectly with a cup of coffee, a glass of whisky or another concoction from the Culinary Lab, such as the Crystal Espresso Martini, to end the evening. The Belgium Dark Chocolate Mud Pie (RM 32) seems to be the star of the show, though. Rich politely asks, “Is anyone going to have more? If not, I’m about to destroy the whole plate.”
Director’s Cut TTDI Review
Director’s Cut impresses with its abundant whiskey selection, knowledgeable and friendly staff, classy seating, and high-quality steaks and pasta. We know a lot of love and science goes into the Culinary Lab’s inventive cocktail creations, too. The nostalgic atmosphere is perfect for an intimate dinner or larger gathering. The commitment to quality and creativity sets Director’s Cut apart, making it a noteworthy addition to TTDI’s dining scene.
Reasons to visit Director’s Cut TTDI: over 800 labels of whiskey to discover – go for one of their whiskey flights; find the ‘rotavap’ science equipment that is used for flavourful cocktail infusions at the bar; a variety of high-quality grass-fed steaks; great atmosphere for a night out, especially if you plan on going to see a show at the performing arts theatre in the Menara Ken afterwards!
Director’s Cut TTDI
G3A & G5, Menara Ken TTDI, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 12 800 5902
Director’s Cut TTDI Opening Hours
12 pm – 1 am daily