the homey vibe has given way to clean, contemporary chic. the plush sofas are gone and in their place, rattan chairs nostalgic of yesteryear kopitiams. most noticeably, the bookshelves that were lined with volumes of lonely planet and other travel guides are no more. indeed, departure lounge has taken a well, departure from its original incarnation and transformed into a completely new dining spot.
what they have kept is the travel theme, reflected in the new name – wanderlust restaurant & espresso bar – and marked by white and blue paper planes that form part of the table decor. the same colour palette dresses up the minimalist space, highlighted by a ‘chandelier’ of clear glass bottles.
the food is not unlike the makings of a good getaway: explorative, innovative and peppered with interesting discoveries. the day menu (opening till 5pm) lists updated breakfast favourites alongside familiar dishes renewed with creative pairings.
the baked eggs, for example, features grilled apples; the momofuku-inspired gua bao sandwiches thick slabs of fried chicken thighs; chicharron is made halal by using chicken skin in place of the usual pork; flaming wings are served with spiced watermelon. the wanderlust benedict jazzes up the usual poached-eggs-on-brioche by drizzling it over with a curry hollandaise and on the side, paratha pieces. even the eggs have been given a twist: first poached, then deep fried so what you get is a runny yolk encased in wobbly whites and coated in a crispy batter.
this egg-cellent incarnation is also the star of the baby spinach salad with apples, raisins, beets and goji dressed in an orange vinaigrette. the mix appears random, and the dressing is so subtle that when it arrives at the table, you’d think they forgot the vinaigrette. but dig in and the pairings make sense, bringing everything together in a balance of delicate flavours.
on the other hand, the chicken and prawn lollipops with a tom yum dip packs on the flavour in the latter. as the dish makes its way to you, its tangy aroma already wakes up the appetite. the lollipops, wrapped around sticks of lemongrass and panfried, are generously studded with chopped onions that give the minced paste a fragrant sweetness and a lovely crunch.
desserts are limited to just three options: the punny beeramisu (tiramisu with beer), a comforting matcha soy pudding and a westernised take on sago gula melaka, served in a cocktail glass topped with crushed hazelnut brittle, a shot of ristretto and a tiny pitcher of hot cream. the pearls are cooked just right but the brittle renders the sago so sweet that even the sharpness of the ristretto doesn’t give it the right balance.
all in all, wanderlust lives up to its name, delivering many treats to adventurous palates.
10 jalan solaris 4, solaris mont kiara tel +603 6211 9688 opens 11am-11pm, mon-fri; 9am-11pm, sat-sun facebook