Jun 11, 2020

BREF By Darren Chin @ TTDI KL - A Casual French Fusion Food Flair

It's been awhile since I've last written a food review, so I thought I'd better do so soon before I completely lose my writing flair. Plus, I miss writing about food, so here goes.

I have heard so many good things about the DC franchise (not-the-comic), that I couldn't wait to it try out for myself. So when Bref by Darren Chin reopened for dine-in, I hopped at the opportunity for a great get-together with a few friends. 

Like the rest of the DC-franchise, the food menu at Bref consists of a fusion of French, Thai and Malaysia dishes. There weren't a lot to choose from to be honest - 1 salad, 1 soup, 2 desserts, you get what I mean. Perhaps the lunch menu was way smaller than the actual dinner menu, or maybe the menu was refined post-MCO. Nevertheless, we had a pretty decent take at their offerings.

We started with freshly baked French Pastries (RM6.00-10.00/each), one of each from the menu of four. If I were to choose one, the Flaky Pastry with savory onion and emmental cheese bachemel, white quinoa and nigella seeds (RM10) was my favorite. It was flaky on the outside, goey inside, and had a nice tinge of saltiness to it. If you only have stomach for one - pick this.
Anything that has truffle in it - is a win for me. I could smell the delicious scent of truffle from the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (RM35.00) even before I had my first spoon full. The black truffle pate and buttered croutons simply added texture to the already thick and rich soup. I can still vividly remember the taste of this dish even while I'm writing this - so good. Also, it was the only soup dish in their lunch menu.
Likewise, the only salad dish in the lunch menu, was the Ben's Garden Salad (RM35.00). Who's Ben? I only know Darren. But boy-oh-boy, Ben was amazing. This was easily one of the best warm salads I've had for awhile. What I really liked about this dish was it's condiments used, the sweetness from the glazed greens, the complementary flavors of the dressing/sauce/puree, complimented by the textures from the crispy portobello and grilled king oyster - a definite must have.  
The first main course that we tried, was this Signature Wagyu Burger (RM60.00). The 100% Australian wagyu patty came slightly pinkish at the center, layered with un-melted emmental cheese, greens, creatively packed between what they call a a 'croll', a cross between the sweetness of a brioche and the flakiness of a croissant. I like the 'croll' a lot, but I wished that the patty was bit more flavorful and larger. Plus, I felt that overall burger was a tad dry, like it was lacking in sauce - maybe.
The Papperdelle Umami XL (RM38.00) on the other hand, had a whole load of fantastic flavors. Pardon me, I'm raving about black truffles again. The papperdelle had perfect folds - not too chewy; not too thick, with a good sprinkle of salted kombu (or known as kelp - I googled). This dish may look simple, with just a handful of ingredients, but the execution - the tiny details, shined in this dish.
This was my dish, I mean, we ordered to share, but I wanted this dish. The DC Signature Cold Somen (RM80.00), came with Hokkaido bafun uni, aged ponzu, creamed and truffle roasted celeraic, and ikura. After I took my first mouthful, I amateurly thought that this dish was made popoular more because of the fine ingredients used, rather than it's execution. To be honest, I think I was expecting more, and one look around the table and it looked as though everyone felt the same too. Don't get me wrong, this was good but it wasn't w.o.w. Portion was appetizer-size.
The most expensive dish in the lunch menu would be Bref's Signature Slowly Roasted 2-Bone Rack Of Lamb (RM98.00), creatively plated with eggplant puree, mint foam, glazed baby carrots and doused with roasted lamb jus. Now let me be frank, lamb is my least favorite meat of all. Do it well done and it get's too chewy; leave it pink and it's just too raw; I will never find a balance. I felt that Bref's version, done medium, was still way too raw for my liking, the texture didn't work for me at all. On a positive note, there were no gamey taste, and the sides were delicious. My friends who enjoys lamb though - loved this.  
There were two dessert option in the menu, we ordered both, this is Berries & Meringue (RM35.00). I love berries; I love strawberry sorbet; I love panna cotta; I absolutely love meringue. Although presented beautifully, there was something lacking in this dessert, as though it was a mere 6/10 on each element. We finished this nevertheless. 
The second dessert was the Coffee & Banana Mille Feuille (RM35.00). It came layered with caramelised banana and spices, a bit bitter from the coffee ganache, tiramisu-like if I may. Bref's rendition of a mille feuille felt more like a biscuit, rather than a puff pastry, not as dense and a bit more airy. At the side, creme patissiere. This was a sweet treat. If I were to choose between this or the former, I'd definitely pick this.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10.

Strangely though, the appetizers faired slightly better on my tastebuds than the main course - maybe I was hungry. In the beginning, everything had it's own wow-moment. It slowly tappered off mid-meal, as we waited a tad too long for our main dishes to arrive, understand that it was peak lunch hour and everything was made fresh, but still. My meal picked up momentum after I had a taste of the wagyu burger and pappardelle. It also felt as though I prefer the non-signature DC dishes.

Anyhow, here're my must have dishes - Flaky pastry with savory onion and emmental cheese bachamel, Ben's garden salad, Jerusalem artichoke, Signature wagyu burger, Pappardelle umami XL, and the Coffee & banana mille peuille for dessert.

Bref by Darren Chin is located at:
Address: 26A, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, TTDI Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: 03-7731 5032
Opening Hours: 11am-3am (Lunch service) 6pm-12pm (Dinner service) Closed Monday & Tuesday


  1. How is the restaurant environment?

    1. could get a bit noisy and crowded during peak hours =)


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