Tuesday 29 May 2018

Two Hands @ Qliq Hotel Damansara

Wholesome passion

May 28, 2018

There is no mistaking the taste of passion in Vicneswara Thenamirtham’s cooking. Allergic to monosodium glutamate himself, he makes sure none is added to food cooked in his restaurant, Two Hands. Chef Vic (as he is better known) also sources ingredients from organic suppliers and makes almost everything from scratch. He bakes all the breads, cakes and even makes vegan ice cream (more on that later!). 
He even designed his months-old restaurant, adding quirky interpretations with naked light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and d├ęcor items such as a half-log table top, an ancient Remington Monarch typewriter, old suitcase and a family of porcelain elephants on the bar counter.
There’s indoor seating with regular or tall tables and comfortable sofa seating in the al fresco section which will be perfect in the cool evening or after the rain.
Right now, it’s a hot day and I am tired. We try Vic’s cocktail creations. One sip of Coffee Chanel (RM31) and my senses perk up immediately; the combination of kahlua, frangelico, vodka, caramel and freshly brewed espresso is a double dose of coffee flavour. Doing an equally fine job is Jack Jean Paul (RM44) with London dry gin, Russian vodka, jackfruit puree, hazelnut liqueur, fresh mint leaves.  
For a refreshing number, Cucumber Chloe (RM37) has dry gin, Russian vodka, elderflower liqueur, cucumber juice, cured cucumber and thyme while Coconut Coach (RM32) is a creamy combination of Malibu coconut rum, vodka, organic coconut oil, pineapple juice.
Spirits uplifted, we take a closer look at the menu.
Crispy Parmesan Cauliflower 
Customers are recommended to share the starters though I won’t object to having some of the items all to myself, such as the Crispy Parmesan Cauliflower (RM22). The organic cauliflower, cut into florets, is tossed in gluten-free batter (made with flours such as chickpea, tapioca and rice) with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and deepfried. I love how it stays crispy even after soaking in the yummy dill yoghurt sauce for half an hour.
Vegan Hummus 3 Ways served with a variety of bread
Vegan Hummus 3 Ways (RM28) is served with a variety of bread. There’s traditional chickpea-tahini hummus topped with soft chickpea, a deep ruby hummus with cubed beetroot and roasted pumpkin with cubed pumpkin. This is both a feast for the tastebuds and the eyes. Crumbled snow white feta cheese adds a contrast in colours. I love the beetroot, with its drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The pumpkin hummus is smooth and the chickpea fragrant with the aroma of cumin.  
Smokey Albondigas & Cinnamon Rolls (left) and Salted Egg Custard Prawns with croissant
Smokey Albondigas & Cinnamon Rolls (RM31) sounds like strange bedfellows. I’ve never had cinnamon rolls with a savoury dish but this combination turns out to be surprisingly amiable. Vic says the smokey flavour of the meat needs “smokey bread” and the rolls offer a nice “cinnamon hum”. The minced lamb, marinated with smoked dry rubs and rolled into meatballs, is braised with a blistered tomato sauce. Very Mediterranean.
On the other hand, Salted Egg Custard Prawns (RM28) has Asian influences in the use of curry leaves. The salted egg custard is creamy and one is tempted to ask for more when the 3 croissants offered disappear all too quickly.
Apple & Walnut Salad tossed in Greek yoghurt and organic acacia honey
Apple & Walnut Salad (RM21) is not only vegan but also gluten-free. My Best Friend wipes the plate clean between oohs and aahs of satisfaction. Vic uses unwaxed apple (Fuji I think, not Granny Smith), tossed in Greek yoghurt and organic acacia honey, with sliced cherry tomato, spinach, chicory and garden greens as well as a handful of toasted walnuts to add a nice crunch.
Pulled Beef Pasta
4-hour Beef Short Ribs with garlic-coriander mash
We decide to share the mains too. I shy away from beef but MBF gives the 4-hour Beef Short Ribs (RM112 for sharing) with garlic-coriander mash and Pulled Beef Pasta (RM57) two thumbs up.
Grilled Portuguese Chicken & Dirty Rice
I dig into the Grilled Portuguese Chicken & Dirty Rice (RM58). It’s a huge portion, enough for two small eaters. The succulent, free-range chicken leg is marinated overnight with paprika, cumin and coconut milk before it’s grilled to order and served with fresh bayam on a sizzling hot plate of Dirty Rice, so called because of the colour from the use of liver pate, tomato and spices. The edges are nicely crisped and the flavour just blows one away. 
Thai Green Curry set from Slashed Lunch menu
On weekdays, Two Hands has a Slashed Lunch menu from 11am to 3pm, inclusive of a cup of Americano coffee or fresh fruit juice. Definitely value for money and there are Asian and Western choices. For instance, the Thai Green Curry set (RM18 instead of RM26 a la carte) is served in a two-tier tiffin carrier. The top tiffin is filled with curry and the bottom tiffin has white rice with fried egg. The curry has cubes of chicken with eggplant, cherry tomato and basil. A bit mild for my tastebuds but still flavoursome.
Strawberry Jelly Cheesecake (left) and Vegan Coconut Latte Ice Cream
Vic’s house-made desserts are not to be ignored. The Strawberry Jelly Cheesecake (RM14) and Vegan Coconut Latte Ice Cream (RM18) make stupendous teatime treats, especially when paired with a cup of hot/iced coffee or tea.
Two Hands also serves an all-day breakfast menu, including Spicy Yellowfin Tuna with organic scrambled eggs on toast (RM16), Eggs & Grilled Asparagus with chicken ham and grilled tomato (RM18) and Silky Scrambled Free-range Eggs with tomato and basil (RM13). All breakfast orders are served with toasted organic wholemeal bread.
If you order these between 7am and 11am, you get a cup of Americano coffee or fresh fruit juice too.

TWO HANDS (no pork served)
Qliq Damansara
A-LG-05 Jalan PJU 8/8, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +6012-424 1194 (Melinder); +6012-414 8021 (Vic)
Daily, 7am to late

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