Table & Apron – formerly The Kitchen Table Restaurant & Bakery – doesn’t exist to disrupt the scene. From the outside, it barely stretches the boundaries of what is an already saturated restaurant-cum-bakery scene. But none of it matters. Because right from its birth in 2014, Table & Apron has proven to be a restaurant that has in spades a component so elementary yet so rare – heart.
Through hard work, dedication and all the boring old-fashioned virtues of an honest operation, owner Marcus Low and his team have carved for us a little treasure in Damansara Kim. (Credit must also be given to former co-owner Mei Wan Tan.) The narcissism you’ll find in so many KL restaurants is refreshingly stripped off here; there’s no time and place for vanity if the team is worrying about what’s going on your plate. If it’s all sounding a bit ingenuous to you, therein lies the restaurant’s charm.
Of course, a large part of the restaurant’s ‘soul’ is owing to the service led by one gracious Nelaton Ong. Even at peak brunch hour on a Saturday, the floor staff are efficient, attentive and willing to provide customised service whether in the form of a complimentary cookie for your restless kid or an informed recommendation for your diet-restricted friend. There’s a sense that they actually want to take care of you.
There are signatures that have stood the test of time, cementing their place on the menu. If you’ve been even once to Table & Apron, you would have tried the fried chicken (RM23) whose skin crackles and splinters between your teeth. You would have also tried the pork ragu with tagliatelle (RM33), a generous bowl of pasta slicked with chilli oil and flecks of minced pork. There’s a high chance you would have ordered the impossibly dense sourdough loaf slathered with thick pats of butter (RM6), or threads of juicy pulled pork (RM19), or a mound of smoked mackerel paté (RM18). Yes, you would have relished all of them.
'[It] has proven to be a restaurant that has in spades a component so elementary yet so rare – heart'
But you mustn’t lose sight of the less talked-about items, and I speak particularly of the charred eggplant (RM19). It’s everyone’s favourite sex emoji rubbed with miso, grilled to smokiness, and topped with feathery shavings of katsuobushi. It’s the cleverest, most delicious use of miso outside of soup, and no matter how you look at it, you will have come away a winner if you order the eggplant.
Neither should you overlook the brilliantly cooked okra with red chimichurri (RM14), devoid of slime and banging with chilli. The whole snapper (market priced) too is assertive in its arrival, basted in Harissa and best eaten in thick flakes, dipped in perky mint chutney. These are all rudimentary produce from local markets, coaxed into wonderful, unceremonious things by way of exceptional cooking time. Someone in the kitchen clearly gets it.
I risk mentioning that Table & Apron isn’t flawless. The coffee lacks smoothness and sometimes arrives a tad over-extracted, the apple pie is missing a flaky rusticity with which one usually associates apple pie (RM18), and the brownies precariously teeter on cakey. These tiny setbacks may not be forgiven in a fine dining establishment, but for the value of your cheque, they’re greatly overshadowed by the restaurant’s general excellence.
And the team isn’t beyond mending its errors along the way. What was once an overly sweet tribute to Christina Tosi, the new-and-improved raspberry slice is now a gooey, milky coconut-y slab. The immensely buttery base oils your fingers, greases the takeaway cardbox box it sits in, and collapses upon touch – all you’re left to do is submit. There will most definitely be crumbs around your mouth, but the less it matters if the same mouth is etched into a gleeful, childlike grin.
While Table & Apron doesn’t mark new territories of modern cuisine, it’s also a harbinger of the perfect neighbourhood restaurant. If you, like most of us, simply want good, real food and value your money’s worth at restaurants, this could be a cause you’ll want to support.
|Venue name:||Table & Apron|
23 Jalan SS20/11
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sun, 11.30am-5pm, 6-10pm.|