The City List was recently invited to a rather special dining experience right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, and we couldn’t say no. We’re talking about Drift Dining and Bar, just off Jalan Raja Chulan. This restaurant and bar were started by a group of Australians who wanted to re-create some of the more familiar aspects of Australian dining.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the vibe of this place when I visited. It’s located along a little path beside Hotel Istana and even though it’s so near the nightlife hotspot of Changkat Bukit Bintang, the restaurant was quiet and peaceful. There usually isn’t much activity around the place and this gave it a relaxed, slow paced atmosphere.
Whether you choose to sit inside or outside, the raised platform of the restaurant gives one a clear view of the street below, so you can people watch as you savour your food and drinks. On the evening we were there, we were fortunate to meet Robert Gilliland, owner and CEO of Drift Dining. He explained the vision he had for Drift, which was for a cosy spot in KL serving fine dining food and drinks, but with a more easy-going style that wasn’t stuffy or overly formal.
Drift Dining truly embodies a dining experience that’s truly unique. Apart from welcoming families among its customers, most of its food plates are designed for sharing. The food menu includes smaller appetizers as well as large plates which are suitable to be shared as you enjoy your drinks. The bar includes a wide selection of cocktails, red wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine, rose wine and white wine.
Truffle Mushroom Arancini
The setup ensures that you’ll be able to chat casually over your drinks while your food arrives. One of the first things we sampled was a small appetizer plate of Truffle Mushroom Arancini (RM21). It was a delight to explore. The Arancini balls were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were flavoured with parmesan and truffle oil, as well as a generous amount of salad cream on the bottom. There’s even a wedge of lemon for you to squeeze on top for a light, zesty kick.
Moroccan Spiced Cauliflowers
For the large plates, we had Moroccan Spiced Cauliflowers (RM27) and Slow Braised Baby Pork Ribs (RM44). The cauliflowers were well seasoned and served with saffron yoghurt. Rum soaked raisins scattered through the dish gave it some sweet highlights.
Slow Braised Baby Pork Ribs
The Baby Pork Ribs were really tender and delicious, cooked to perfection in a Yakiniku sauce. It was topped with a refreshing salad of fennel and apple. This is apparently one of their best sellers, and you’ll want to take your time and savour each rib.
Dessert was one of the highlights of the night, and we had the Chocolate Pudding (RM28), made with a bed of walnut crumble and a body of chocolate mousse. It was served with some raspberry sauce which added a hint of sourness to even out the sweetness.
Swipe Right Cocktail
For drinks, we sampled their best selling cocktails, Swipe Right (RM34) and Raspberries Etc. (RM34). Swipe Right was a mix of Kaffir Lime-infused Hendricks, Gin and Tonic. I was expecting it to be very bitter, but to my surprise, the Kaffir Lime turned it into a refreshing drink that had very subtle hints of the bitters. Neither flavour overpowered the other which was great. It was served with Kaffir Lime leaves and pink peppercorns which made it visually pleasing as well.
Raspberries Etc Cocktail
Raspberries Etc. is a mixture of Aperol, Prosecco and Raspberries, as well as fresh lemon and grapefruit. It was fruity and refreshingly sweet, just like something you would enjoy beside the beach on a sunny summer holiday.
Drift Dining is a restaurant that excels in terms of service, and we were made to feel right at home by the staff. The warmth and generosity of this restaurant make it popular among expats looking for some home away from home dining experience, as well as anyone that appreciates fine dining in more relaxed surroundings.
Drift Dining and Bar
- Address: 38, Jalan Bedara, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Phone: +60 3-2110 2079
- Opening Hours: 7 days a week 12 noon till late