It's been nearly a decade since Chai Chun Boon met his future wife Zeehan Zahari; since then, he's cooked everywhere from the Netherlands to Switzerland, Spain & Singapore, while she pursued her own cross-continental corporate career. Now, the couple have embarked on a mutual enterprise - a modern European eatery called Copper that's a showcase for flair & finesse.
Copper is tucked on the fifth floor of Menara Shell on Tun Sambanthan; its business hours make it inconvenient for most folks - 730am-530pm weekdays & 9am-2pm Saturdays, closed Sundays - but it's well worth checking out if you live or work nearby. Pretty spacious & beautifully outfitted - not a bad bet for business lunches.
For fans of baked eggs, Copper is a real treat, with two types served here: A meatless rendition that's earthy with oven-roasted mushroom, onion puree, cheese & dill, as well as a shakshuka-inspired interpretation tangy with chicken chorizo, stewed tomatoes, basil & zucchini (both RM20 each), served with kitchen-baked sourdough toast.
Make no mistake though - Copper's aspirations go beyond regular cafe fare, illustrated by complex offerings with culinary wit & imagination, like this hot vichyssoise with seared scallops & leek fondue (RM16, emblematic of Copper's reasonable prices) ...
... & hamachi cooked a la plancha with smoky aubergine creme, confit tomato & fish crisps (RM33). Flavours here are subtle & somewhat restrained, but what they lack in immediate punch, they make up for in textured nuance. There's a strong sense of the work poured into producing each component, firmly rooted in culinary tradition but flowering with contemporary creativity.
Catalan-style seafood stew, alluringly fragrant with Iranian saffron, loaded with fish, calamari, clams, prawns, potatoes & aioli (RM36). Would work well with a Riesling or Rose, but unfortunately, Copper lies in no-vino territory - a minus point, absolutely.
Try the beetroot-lovers' salad (RM17), wholesome with beet-cured salmon, salt-baked beetroot, shaved fennel, olive puree & citrus yogurt, or for something more sinfully savoury, the salt beef, sauerkraut & Swiss cheese wrap (RM18).
Don't skip desserts here - the artistic aesthetics are appealing. The menu calls this simply 'olive cake with lavender sugar & extra olive oil foam' (RM15), but it comes out looking much more elaborate than expected. A pleasure to photograph, for sure.
If there's one dish to order at Copper, this is it: Poppy seed crepes with citrus slices, nuts, rosemary, salted caramel & fresh mint - roll the crepes up & eat everything together. Likely to rank among our favourite desserts for 2015. Plus, it's only RM15.
There's a distinctive twist or two to many Copper creations, underscored by Earl Grey crema catalana with edible flowers (RM15) & orange blossom pavlova (more moist than crunchy) with passion fruit & pistachios, both as delicious as they sound.
Like your churros dense? You'll likely favour Copper's (RM15), coupled with vanilla chantilly cream & Valrhona choc sauce.
What's safe to completely skip though is the coffee - it's Copper's Achilles' heel for now, not quite the match of the food.
Copper By FAV @ Menara Shell
Level 5, Menara Shell, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2856-9522
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