PETALING JAYA, March 19 — Eating for sustenance can be done basically anywhere but there are times when eating for enjoyment, the epicurean equivalent of stopping to smell the roses, can be just as crucial for mental nourishment.
Do truffle orzo and in-house dry aged Australian beef hold the key to #selfcare? Maybe not, but I think it’d be hard not to enjoy both of those things.
Tucked away behind the many towering condominiums and lush, green hills of Damansara Perdana is Rare The Food Company. Walking into the place is literally a breath of fresh air: a wide, sweeping open-air patio greets you with a view of the surrounding area. Inside, a wall of windows reveal the kitchen with its own dry-aging chamber.
Accessible via QR code, the menu reads like an endless collection of rare and unique ingredients. Specials include Japchae with Giant Indian Scampi, Hungarian Duck or Goose Foie Gras, but the incredible ingredients don’t end there.
Indeed, Rare takes pride in sourcing quality produce from all over the world and you can even buy said produce from them. The best way to sample them all when you’re here is to share your meal with family or friends, as the portions here are built best for it.
Beef Cecina with Manchego and Truffle Honey (RM98) is a positively Spanish way to start the meal, and it will certainly be a crowd pleaser.
The open and inviting alfresco dining space at Rare.
Salty, smoky, razor-thin slices of air-dried beef, from the region of León, dotted with crumbly bits of buttery, slightly sweet Manchego cheese and drizzled with truffle-infused honey with that distinct fragrance.
It was a rich way to begin the evening, and to balance it out we went halfway around the world for the Japanese Fruit Tomato (RM29).
Is a tomato a fruit? Before I can even think of answering that, a bite into its sweet, delicate, juicy flesh quells my need for answers and instead leaves me wanting more.
Unlike jamón, beef cecina has a smooth texture without a lot of fat, lending itself well to a combination with manchego and truffle honey.
Truly, a tomato unlike any of you’ve ever eaten before.
Unlike the usual sour, tangy taste one might expect from tomatoes, this tastes like something you’d eat in a dessert rather than a salad. However, the yuzu jelly more than takes care of the citrus component, bringing a different kind of acidity to make it a refreshing salad.
Moving onto the small plates, many will find a taste of familiarity in the Japanese Oyster Omelette (RM35). However, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find any place with oysters as fat, juicy and plump as these in an oh chien.
Every bite is bursting with trademark briny and ocean-salt flavours, and the omelette itself is nicely dark and caramelised.
Pimp my 'oh chien' with the plumpest oysters you’ve ever seen in one!
Something a little less familiar, the Truffle Orzo (RM90) offers a lot more than its name suggests. It may look like rice, but orzo is actually a variety of pasta that’s shaped like rice, which allows itself to be evenly coated with flavoured oils (such as truffle) as opposed to soaking them up.
On top, hunks of rich, nutty and succulent acorn-fed Iberico secreto, considered the Wagyu of pork, and a generous helping of dried sakura ebi, which is like the biggest, crispiest har mai you can find. Trust me, it’s hard not to cop some extra bites when sharing this.
Getting into the meat(s) and potatoes of the night, acorn-fed Iberico made another appearance, this time coming from the collar (RM66) of the pig.
It looks like rice, kinda acts like rice but it’s definitely not rice. Orzo, truffled no less, is not something we get often over here.
It’s honestly absolutely nuts how rich and flavourful the 100 per cent acorn-fed Iberico collar is.
Part of the “Kosei Chargrilled” section of the menu, the intensely buttery and well-marbled meat gets a hefty hit of smoke and char from a famous Japanese brand of charcoal grill.
This prized meat is air-flown in by Rare. Yuzu-kosho, a spicy, citrusy and slightly bitter condiment, and some pickled fruits make the perfect accompaniment to balance out the richness of flavour.
And for the pièce de résistance: dry aged Australian Angus Ribeye (RM310 for 300 grams). There’s a simultaneously impressive and connecting quality about sharing a quality piece of meat at the dinner table, whether that’s steak or suckling pig, and that remains true here.
Look for the sign of the restaurant when you get off on the second floor, though it’s pretty hard to miss.
Dry aged in Rare’s own ageing chamber, the steak’s impossibly tender, bursting at the seams with flavour and simply delightful with a bevy of pickled accoutrements and yuzu-kosho.
Ultimately, a night at Rare is an indulgent one from start to finish. The finest produce, sourced from different corners of the globe, executed with masterful precision.
It’s a tour de force in curating one of the fundamental pleasures of life, all in a beautiful and inviting space.
Rare The Food Company
2nd Floor, The Club@ Empire Residence, Jalan PJU 8/1, Damansara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm-11pm; Closed on Monday
Tel: 016-670 4257
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