Taman Tun Dr Ismail is well known for its many watering holes (including the infamous Sid’s, of course) and hipster coffee joints. But behind the busy Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, there is a lovely French restaurant called Topshelf, run by Chef Christopher and Hairenna, a friendly duo who is passionate about food and hospitality. I have been to Topshelf once but as I was also performing that night for a private even, I didn’t get to try a range of their food. Although I must say that the Duck Confit I had that night was pretty lovely. So it was nice to receive an invitation to try more of their dishes.
The interior is minimalistic and clean, which reflects Chef Yee’s taste for an efficient kitchen. The steel table tops may prove a little tricky for food photography, but adds an industrial feel to the decor. Chef Yee has an extensive background in the F&B industry, having trained in Europe for years. He likes to keep his menu tight as to better manage the quality of each dishes offered. There are a few signature dishes and I was delighted to be recommended the Chicken Liver Pate, one of my favourite French thing.
Oh, just look at that glorious layer of duck fat! The Pate is paired with some toasted baguette, olive tapenade and the all essential pickles. Chef Yee said this is his favourite and I concur.
The smooth and velvety texture won my heart, and the creamy distinctive liver taste was addictive. Complete with the tart pickles, I too can enjoy this dish everyday. In fact I finished this (not the bread though) whole pot on my own and left wanting more.
To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the traditional Salad Niçoise because I detest dry and flakey tuna (most of them came from canned variety… eurrgh). But top the salad with lightly seared Tuna with delightful dark pink centre and I am sold. Topshelf keep their salad light and fresh with generous serving of Tuna, Raw Green Beans, Mesclun leaves, Quail Eggs, Roma Tomatoes, and the Umami Olives; finished with a basic dressing that doesn’t overwhelm the ingredients. This is great choice for those on Paleo diet.
I have seen Topshelf’s Escargot appearing in a few blogs and generally good things were said. It’s kept fairly traditional with herbs, garlic and butter and baked to perfect chewiness. I would probably prefer for it to have more herbs and strong taste though.
You need a special utensil to dig the flesh out and the texture is similar to that of an mussel. Frank stared in disgust, but I gobbled all of them up. But then again Frank is the kind of person who refers Prawns and Crabs as Sea Insects/Cockroaches. Charming.
The vegetarian gets the Pesto Capellini, which comes as a glistening mountain topped with generous spoon of fresh pesto, complete with pine nuts, shavings of Parmesan and the aromatic Truffle Oil. The pasta is cooked to al dente, and it was a relatively light dish owing to the herbaceous nature.
His other dish however is the total opposite. The Gratin Potatoes came bubbling hot with generous amount of rich garlic cream and gruyere. I could smell the cheese from where I sat too. And though the taste is excellent, some of the potatoes were a little undercooked which was a disappointment.
For some reason I have been seeing things cooked in paper bag too often these days. But that’s not a complaint at all. In fact I really liked the Halibut baked in paper. Halibut is quite similar to Cod with smooth and tender flesh when cooked right. Here the delicate piece of fish is accompanied by my other favourite French thing: Ratatouille. Complete with another heavenly match: fennel; and finished with lemon and fresh herbs. The fish is perfectly cooked and I was a happy girl. This was once again a great choice for the Paleo eaters.
Naturally, we finished our meal with desserts. Frank had the Tiramisu and that was pretty decent. I would say it’s textbook execution.
My Apple Tarte Tatin came with pieces of well-caramelised apple tinted with Cinnamon. The pastry was sufficiently flakey but I thought it could do with a few more minutes of baking. The Ice cream is of course made in house, and the combination of hot and cold is very pleasant to the palate.
No doubt I will be returning to Topshelf whenever I feel like a no-frill French meal. The friendly atmosphere and polite service makes a delightful dining experience one will remember.
No. 61 Lorong Rahim Kajai 13
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Business Hour: 4:00 p.m. till 11:00 p.m.
Tel: 03-7727 7277