True to our food-loving nature, the Malaysian makan scene sees the coolest new food ideas practically on a daily basis
From the advent of minimalistic-chic coffee joints mushrooming in every nook and corner...
...to the recent preference for meals on wheels, thanks to the growing fleet of food trucks
And now, here comes another unusual form of dining for the curious foodie: a pop-up menu that travels from one restaurant to another!
1. So, what is a pop-up restaurant exactly?
Pop-up restaurants allow chefs - both aspiring and professional - to open their own restaurants without the typical constraints typically associated with permanent, brick-and-mortar establishments.
A particular concept within the pop-up restaurant industry is the "restaurant-within-restaurant," where chefs rent out portions of existing restaurants for an evening to open their multi-course pop-up.
2. Whoa, way cool! Anyone doing this in KL?
Check out Pop Up Dining KL, a collaboration between three young chefs to share their passion for food at cosy, pop-up venues. It is almost as if they are ninjas appearing whenever they so please to serve a fine dinner for private guests, and once they leave, they disappear with the night till the next session.emilychoong.com
3. Who are the masterminds behind Pop Up Dining KL?
Head chef Daniel Yap bounces ideas off partners Miki Lie and Amanda Huang in coming up with a memorable meal for the guests. Occasional guest chefs join in the fun in crafting the menu.
Graduating from ALMA International School of Italian Cuisine, Daniel's culinary experience includes staging at Piccolo Lago, one of Italy's 2 Michelin Star restaurants. Miki and Amanda are part of the IMI University Centre alumni, with Miki having staged at the award-winning Nahm in Thailand.
4. How did their pop-up idea, erm, pop up?
Daniel returned home from Parma with a head full of menu ideas, looking to host guests hungry for top-notch Italian cuisine. Joining forces with Miki and Amanda, there was only one issue left for this compact kitchen team: space.
After getting in touch with potential venues, they got their first greenlight from Jaslyn Cakes Bangsar, and never looked back.
5. How does it work?
There is no fixed schedule, which makes the chase for dinner all the more fun! The menu is ever-changing, and they pop up at different locations around Klang Valley.
You can stalk Pop Up Dining KL on Instagram to find out what's on the menu, as well as when and where they'll be serving at next. Seats are limited, so if you're keen to join in on a particular night, get in touch with them to reserve your seats.
6. Where do they usually pop up at?
After a few pop-ups at Jaslyn Cakes Bangsar, they also hosted dinner at a private house in Bangsar called Sebelas. A few cafes have started approaching them to host pop-up dinners at their space too, which led them to host meals at cafes like Chinatown's Einstein Cafe.
7. Let's get to the good stuff! What's on the menu?
Snacks include the carefully-concocted Cinnamon Egg Pudding, served with Parmigiano cracker and an Italian breadstick.
Bagna Cauda 'Banana' remains as one of the favourite Antipasto platters. The Italian dish's unique component is the fondue-like sauce, traditionally made of salted anchovies, garlic and olive oil. The dish is made even more outstanding here with the added banana and cream for a touch of sweetness.
Then there's the picture-perfect Chicken Leg Confit in Onion Bowl, served on a bed of 200°C rock salt.
8. What can sweet tooths look forward to?
Coffee fans will probably relish the artistically-constructed Tiramisu Forest.
Fancy lemon served three ways? Try a jar of lemon mascarpone, lemon sponge cake, and mint gel lemon meringue.
Here's the brown butter cake soaked in carrot syrup, served with sweet carrot puree, carrot peels, candied sweet potato, and white chocolate.
9. Is it halal?
The menu is pork-free. Some dishes do contain alcohol, however, but you can let the chefs know to leave it out of your dishes.
10. What's the best way to get in touch with them?
What's next on the unusual to-eat list? This dinner-in-the-sky takes atas food to a whole other level...