The latest offering from the Samhadi group, the people behind the ever-popular Tamarind restaurants, FOOK (meaning prosperity in Chinese) is a laid back yet fancy restaurant snuggled into the hillside on Jalan Sultan Ismail. Situated on the floor below Tamarind Hill, Fook has the style and grace of its older sibling but with a fresh and contemporary feel.
Murals with water cascading down them, booths that hang out over the street below and trees with glittering red lights are some of the decorative features that help to set the tone. Casual luxury is the overall vibe.
My companion Azeem and I were to be treated to a selection of their signature dishes and due to my allergies and vegetarianism, a selection of specially adapted dishes. While waiting we ordered a cocktail each. Azeem, a lover of gin, chose the V4 - a mix of gin, broccoli, apple, cucumber and lime while I opted for the Oishii which combines Pisco, watermelon, gari, strawberry puree and blueberry syrup.
As expected with its all green ingredients, Azeem’s drink had a similar hue to lime juice. Its fresh flavours combined beautifully with the gin and provided a light easy to drink cocktail. My Oishii was a triumph of fruit and spice and provided the perfect stimulation to my taste buds prior to the commencement of my feast.
Chef Sombat Kokasemkul himself stepped out of the kitchen to bring us a tasty morsel to start our epicurean journey in the form of a delicate tortilla bowl filled with zesty salsa and creamy guacamole. He then further impressed me by sending out one of my most hated foods and yet I enjoyed it! A plate stacked high with deep-fried, crispy mushrooms that looked like fries and didn’t taste like mushrooms were my biggest surprise of the evening.
While I was reeling in shock, Azeem got stuck into a platter of appetisers and his delight at each mouthful was evident on his face. He sampled lobster tail topped with sambal, a chicken ball with sweet chilli sauce, a cheese ball in a salted egg sauce and a mini fruit bowl drizzled in a sesame sauce. While he loved them all he was particularly enamoured with the lobster and the perfectly spiced sambal.
Moving on to the main courses, Azeem was encouraged to try the beef brisket in charcoal buns served with the best chips (yes chips not fries as these were chunky and made from real potatoes) I have had in Malaysia apart from the ones I cook myself. He confirmed that the brisket was tender and full of flavour and he agreed that the chips were amazing - but not better than mine or he may have been in trouble!
While he was tucking into his burger of sorts, I was tasting what I would call a de-constructed hash brown made with carrot, potato and ginger. This stack of stir-fried slivers of vegetable was tasty of their own accord but really came into their own when paired with my favourite thing of the night - the Sambal eggplant tofu dish.
Anyone who knows me realises that as much as I hate mushrooms, I love cheese. My excitement bubbled much like the cheese on the top of the stone bowl of ecstasy that was placed in front of me. I dug beneath the gooey goodness to find an absolutely delightful concoction of tasty tofu, appetising aubergine (eggplant) and scintillating sambal. The level of spice was fairly mild but enough to make my taste buds sing.
Whilst I would have been happy to end there and never eat anything else for the rest of my life, still, more food poured from the kitchen. A big bowl of a chilli fried rice and a platter with grouper fish coated in sambal arrived for us to try. Azeem set upon the fish and we shared the rice. I still had some of my tofu dish and eating it with the delicately flavoured rice was another moment of pure joy. Meanwhile, the sounds of satisfaction across the table were attributed to what Azeem claimed was one of the best sambals he had ever tried. A bold claim for a native Malaysian.
Just when we thought we could eat no more without bursting, dessert was presented. Earlier we had watched the pastry chef perform a dessert opera (the dessert is placed onto a special tablecloth in the middle of the table consisting of a range of fruits, sauces, chocolate and other treats) but we were far from disappointed when we were given “normal” desserts. Nothing here is normal.
Again, being a cheese lover, I was thrilled to get the “Not yet a cheesecake” made up of delicate biscuit soil, sweetly enhanced cream cheese, berries, compote and the lightest fluffiest Italian meringue I have ever tried. Each mouthful was a delight.
For Azeem, it was time to clean up with the Scrub-a-Dub dessert. His plate came with a cleverly created dishwashing sponge made from a coconut and pandan cake balanced atop a swirl of cream, compote and berries and topped with foamed milk to create the dish bubbles. The smile on his face said it all as he demolished the final bites of the evening.
Fook takes traditional Asian cuisine and has fun with it. The menu has cheeky references and puns, the food is delicious and the surroundings are conducive to a relaxed night out. What is not to love?
Fook KL: 19, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Phone: +603 2148 3700
Open Daily 5 pm - 12 am