I am writing this entry in a half-dazed state of mind because looking after an active toddler is no walk in the park I tell you! I figured I had better start writing something again soon before I completely lose track of time! So anyway, nowadays whenever I think of somewhere to dine, call it old age or something but I always think of convenience and its distance! Naturally, Topshelf scored a few points because it is right behind the row of pubs in Taman Tun and parking is not too bad. The restaurant’s interior is in line with the faultless and always beloved minimalist design that is favoured by countless of eating spots. It has an open atmosphere and you definitely won’t have to worry about dining in a stuffy, formal eatery.
Topshelf has a lovely menu comprising of mostly French classics that I have always personally wanted to try but never got round to doing it for fear of busting my wallet. I think it’s a nice concept by the owners to offer French cuisine to the local neighbourhood without charging crazy-high prices.
On this particular occasion, I had dinner with Sandee, a childhood friend who after all these years is still an amazingly warm, generous and kind soul. I kid you not. She also happens to be a lighting expert and is passionate about theatre, be it behind-the-scenes or acting in one!
So back to the food. What is French food without escargots right? Topshelf’s entrees comprised of Les Escargots Au Beurre which is snails served with butter and fresh herbs as well as Crispy Aromatic Duck (Quite similar to Peking Duck), Pesto Capellini and Moules Mariniere (Mussels cooked in white wine, butter, parsley and shallots). For those who wrinkle their noses in distaste on eating snails, maybe the fact that it is high in protein and low in fat may just allow you to see it in a more positive light!
I’ve always wanted to try Boeuf Bourguignon or Beef Burgundy (RM34) after watching the movie Julie & Julia. The movie is fabulous by the way; I always recommend it to foodies. It is just sheer joy to watch! Directed by the lovely Nora Ephron, it is a movie starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie. In short, Julie attempts to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ cookbook in 365 days and records them on her blog. This is a real story by the way and is apparently the first motion picture based on a blog! Julia Child is the high-spirited American chef who famously introduced the wonders of French cooking to the Yankees. Beef Bourguignon is from the Burgundy region in France and is a rich stew whereby the beef is braised in red wine. It is simmered slowly with mushrooms, onions and garlic. Similar to any stew, this cooking method allows tough cuts of meat to disintegrate and was favoured by peasants. The Beef Bourguignon that was served in Topshelf also had tender chunks of celery and carrots. You can definitely taste the wine as you sip the stew and it was definitely a rich and hearty dish. Since this was my first time tasting this French classic, I am definitely keen to try versions done by other restaurants as well.
Sandee ordered the Linguini Ai Fruitti Mare (RM36) which is served with fresh water baby lobster, mussels and calamari in tomato sauce. The pasta was served in an Al Cartoccio manner which is an Italian term for baking food in a paper wrapper. This method creates steam and preserves the moisture of the food within the wrapper. Their other notable classics include the Coq Au Vin which is chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, onions and garlic. This dish was also made popular by Julia Child in her 1960s TV show, “The French Chef”. Funnily enough, Coq means rooster or cock and was the preferred choice for this dish as it required extensive simmering and braising for that extra flavour. Naturally, this would be such a painful process so chickens are a welcomed substitute.
One can also order the Bouillabaise with Spicy Rouille, a seafood stew cooked in white wine and saffron served with toasted bread. Bouillabaisse is actually a traditional Provencal stew that originated from Marseille, a port city in France. What makes it unique is its cooking method whereby different fish is added one at a time and brought to a boil and then the heat is lowered. You simply can’t help but marvel at the colourful history which makes these dishes the classics that they are.
The Steak Au Poivre is probably the priciest dish in the menu at RM89. It is a 220gm Black Angus filet mignon served with fries and bordelaise sauce. However, most people are willing to pay for a good steak so I’m sure this dish is probably a favourite among its diners.
For dessert, one can order their Mousse Au Chocolat, Crème Brulee, Apple Tarte Tatin, Champagne Mille Feuille (Puff pastry with champagne-poached berries, lemon curd and chocolate glaze) and Straits Panna Cotta. We indulged in the decadent chocolate mousse that was served with almond biscotti to cap the night. So while the menu at Topshelf may not be as diverse as compared to other restaurants, the quality of the food and its casual setting more than makes up for it. Bon appétit!
61 Lorong Rahim Kajai 13
Taman Tun Dr Ismail KL
03 7727 7277