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Review: Ampersand by Culinary Rebels, Damansara Uptown

>> Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Overall comment: It's not just your usual 'cafe' after all! This cosy place serves delicious food & really delicious dessert (can't wait for it to be on the menu!) with some simple, aromatic coffee. They'll be focusing on their food & coffee during the day (weekend brunches) & food + alcohol from dinner onwards *thumbs up*
Halal: No

Not everyone would have thought that such a simple-looking place could offer such classy-looking dishes. Located at the previous lot of Ecole P Cafe at Damansara Uptown, Ampersand is one great potential to share with all who fancy good food in a simple, cosy ambiance. This cafe cum bistro started only mid December last year & I'm really keen to see how it'll grow & flourish!



The deco is fairly simple yet comforting


Carlsberg (RM13.00/bottle), Erdinger Dunkel (RM27.00/bottle), Hoegaarden (RM20.00/bottle), Kronenbourg Blanc (RM18.00/bottle), Asahi (RM15.00/bottle), Savanna (RM20.00/bottle)

Flat White (RM8.00/cup)
They have good enough coffee for those who aren't overly particular with their coffee as Steven, one of the co-founders, is more focused on the food than the coffee.

Coffee-art
video

Now, let me take you on a journey to discover their food!

Brunch Menu: XXXL Breakfast for 3-4 pax (RM58.00/serving) ~ photo below is for 2-3 pax
Generous portion of scrambled eggs, crispy grilled bacon, tomato relish, grilled mix mushrooms of portobello, button & shimeji, jumbo grilled bratwursts to down with mildly toasted buttered capati
I have to say that they have a really interesting-looking & fantastic-tasting brunch menu! Being truly passionate about food & culture, Steven carefully laid out the various items of this dish as he explained each ingredient to us. You can expect a satisfying, good quality brunch that's fun to be shared with your family/friends. No cheapo sausage nor canned mushrooms that some cafes serve as part of their 'big breakfast'.

Love the home-made tomato relish above everything else on this spread - tangy, naturally-sweet (uses cherry tomatoes) & well-balanced in flavors.

Steven laying out the spread of the next item on the menu...

Brunch Menu: Chicken Feast (RMRM36.00/half bird; RM64.00/full bird)
Brined for 24 hours with our signature ingredients & roasted to tenderness, this dish is served full on with braised phoenix claws, seared chicken necks & gizzard. Spiced up with pickled herbed purple cabbage, carrots, daikon, onion jam & creamy chicken liver pate, accompanied with mildly toasted bread. *waiting time: 30 minutes*
This is such a guy's meal! It's "meaty", hearty & really filling, certainly something that carnivores would love :D I thought the chicken didn't look very appealing as it's not roasted 'til golden brown, but oh boy, the taste was great! I enjoyed the tender, moist chicken meat (even the breast meat wasn't dry) that went through the overnight brining process of salt + sugar + lemon grass/herbs - simple, tender chicken bursting in flavor if you enjoy every mouthful :) Really, take time to enjoy this dish...oh, the MUST have is the creamy chicken liver pate! Some people find foei gras very pungent in the iron smell & taste, but this chicken version is nicely cooked & balanced that you won't realize it's chicken liver; it's smooth as silk & easy on the palate. The added alcohol in the pate makes it a "side dish" that you MUST NOT MISS! Even the braised phoenix/chicken feet, chicken necks & gizzards were very tasty; reminded me of the Teochew-style soya-sauce braised chicken.

Fennel Ribs (RM26.00/half rack; RM48.00/full rack)
Fennel & paprika spice rub served with special sauce, pickled vegetables & ulam
This is more of their dinner menu. I love it that the pork ribs were tender & uniquely flavored & each plating was given much thought when it comes to presentation of the dish.

Cacao Ribs (RM26.00/half rack; RM48.00/full rack)
Varlhona cacao & chili spice rubs with balsamic chocolate glaze, pickled vegetables & ulam
I wouldn't have thought of chocolate with pork ribs. Those who are more adventurous will find this highly fascinating & exciting to taste. Older generations who are more traditional will struggle to accept such combinations in their mind until they actually taste the ribs & find that "Hey, it's actually good!" I could taste the rich chocolaty taste, yet it wasn't over-powering & strange to a savory dish.


Snacks/Starters: Wings Platter (RM45.00/serving of 10 pieces/5 sets of wing+drummet)
5 flavors in a service! 2 pieces per flavor with mystery sides.
Thom Thom Wings: Glazed with garlic sauce & garnished with garlic chips & pegaga
Devil Wings: Charred scallions, lemons & topped with Szechuan pepper oil
CCB Wings: Chicken Coated with Belacan! Belacan, shrimp paste & palm sugar marinated wings served with pegaga
Siracha Buttermilk Wings: Brined wings with buttermilk & mustard, served with Siracha sauce & pegaga
Sinful Wings: Spiced wings, Nestum sprinkle, crispy pork lard & pegaga
All I can say is that every flavor has its own character & every piece of deep-fried chicken wing is crispy on the outside, moist on the inside - a must have starter platter!


Side: Spaghetti Aglio Olio (RM9.90/serving)
Added bacon (RM3.50/slide), Mixed mushrooms (RM6.90/portion)
The sides that are served here are pretty interesting. You can order your ribs & add on some sides like this spaghetti to complete your meal! A single serving is good enough to be shared by 2 persons as a side or eaten as a main :D

Side: Sweet Potatoes (RM6.50/serving)
Sweet potatoes, cucumber tatziki, & ulam
Delicious & nutritious sweet potatoes with a twist of cucumber tatziki & ulam - Ampersand's version of local touch.

Special experimental dessert - may not be on the menu
I thought that this should go on the menu as it was lip-smacking! Warm, fudgy, chocolaty & peanuty goodness that comes with alcohol-soaked fruits....oolala...I really wish they'll put this on their menu...


I'm truly looking forward to more innovative dishes by the team at Ampersand. Give this place a try & you'll be surprised with what this humble place has to offer!


Ampersand by Culinary Rebels
1st Floor, 19, Jalan SS21/37
Damansara Utama
Petaling Jaya
Selangor.
Tel: (+603) 7732 9711
Business hours: Mon - Fri: 5:00p.m. - 11:00p.m., Sat: 10:00a.m.- 3:00p.m., 5:00p.m.- 11:00p.m., Sun: 10:00a.m. - 3:00p.m. (close on Wednesdays)
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ampersandbyculinaryrebels/
Note: Above Restoran Khalifah, same row as the famous Village Park Nasi Lemak


Ratings:
Presentation: * * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * * 1/2
Taste: * * * 1/2
Service: * * * 1/2


Overall:






Excellent place for weekend brunch & daily dinners,

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