Hakka Republic, KLCC1 Jan 2011
Hakka Republic is full of surprises. First, and most notable, is that this restaurant is not a Chinese eatery. It is in fact a modern, classy restaurant that intelligently fuses contemporary continental Western cuisine with Asian ingredients to produce a menu of exceptional quality.
Even if you weren’t aware of the outlet’s name, on walking in, you could also be excused for thinking it was a wine or high-end bar. And it is a popular place for post-work drinks (not least for workers in Menara Hap Seng) but, surprise number two: it is as a restaurant that Hakka Republic rightly earns most plaudits.
More surprises emerge when your food arrives and you realise that the chef is in fact nothing short of brilliant. The dishes are imaginative, innovative, flavoursome and satisfying.
The black cod with kailan is superb, the angus burger among the best in the city (there is a wagyu burger that may very well take that crown but at RM100 I am yet to try it), the foie gras chawanmushi starter divine, and the seafood is beyond superlatives.
If the food is excellent, the wine transcends it. The menu offers pairings for each and every dish on the dinner menu and I can’t recommend following their instructions too highly. Take the foie gras on chawanmushi (seriously, do take it).
The recommendation of a Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 2006 is about the best paired wine selection I have ever enjoyed; the delicate, rounded fruity notes bringing the very best out in the foie gras. And on closer inspection, the wine list has some absolutely top class bottles on it.
Even many five-star hotels would be pleased with many of the options and certainly plenty lack the intelligence with which the list has been compiled (they also have four champagnes by the glass). If you are serious about your wine then Hakka Republic is a must.
The same can also be said about your food, of course. A good place to start is the degustation menu. From there you can work out what you like and what to choose on your next visit. Because one visit to Hakka Republic will never be enough.