Bond & Co: Michelin Quality Right on our Doorstep

“Wow, no need to go to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore for a Michelin Star meal,” exclaimed my friend William Balasingam as we all staggered out of Bond & Co, the newest restaurant to join in the stellar mix of best eats in Ipoh.

After a repast of plate after plate and bowl after bowl of rave-worthy dishes, curated by the ebullient Chef Teoh, my group of friends unanimously voted this restaurant the best new kid on the block. 

Chef Teoh

The elegant and charming owner Dr. Carrine Teoh greeted us on arrival as we sat down to some fresh pressed juices while looking at the menu. The juices were a welcome respite from the hot sun outside as we tasted one another’s to compare. Made fresh daily, with names like Cold Pressed Detox, Super Immunity, or Glow, I felt most virtuous and hoped that the health benefits would tide me through the meal.

Fat chance! 

While the ambiance and decor is cafe—open, bright and cheerful—the food is Michelin quality. 

The menu is curated by Chef Teoh’s global travel and work experiences. Chef Teoh has over 20 years of chef experience, having had professional classic French cuisine training interspersed with Italian, Mediterranean, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Malaysian expertise.

Chef Teoh built her career foundation in the Ritz Carlton Group, which sent her working in various countries. She then pursued her career in other well-known establishments including Michelin starred restaurants. Her exposure included hosting Michelin-starred chefs from all around the world in their annual Michelin Gala Dinners.

Chef Teoh also indulges in and explores modern gastronomy. As a result , the menu at Bond & Co sparkles with flavours that shimmer on your tongue, darting between bracing and bold, mellow and smooth. 

Borrowing the less-is-more approach of the Japanese, Chef Teoh focuses on sourcing the best and freshest ingredients, treating each ingredient with great respect and care, nuanced with a meticulous blend of seasonings and presented with flair and panache.

I made the comment to her that the Onsen Egg was magnificent as I noticed a circle of a different textured white around the yolk. Quite a feat of culinary skill. She laughed and told me that to get the absolutely perfect Onsen Egg, she wasted more than 80 eggs in order to get the perfection she wanted. 

The menu is small, with the focus on quality. Nevertheless, the portions are generous. Instead of calling it ‘Fusion’, that hackneyed term that often produces monstrosities, I prefer to refer to Chef Teoh’s style as more an orchestra of instruments producing a symphony of tastes and textures.

We started with a Mushroom Veloute, a sauteed mushroom medley served with garlic herbed crouton and truffle oil. The soup was robust and fragrant, boding well for the dishes to follow. RM18.00.

The Quinoa and Pumpkin Salad took us on a whirlwind tour around the world: Quinoa, an ancient grain originating in Peru and Bolivia; subtly flavoured with Moroccan spices; Edamame originally from Japan; sprinkled with Dukkah, a mixed spice favourite from the Middle East; and laced with Pommery Mustard Vinaigrette, which is as French as they come. Wedges of grilled Japanese pumpkin complete the medley—the perfect appetiser and also as a main for vegetarians. RM22.00.

Salmon Tataki, which is sashimi grade torched salmon with Shoyu Ikura (salmon eggs) and served with a Ponzu vinaigrette, was pure Japanese. RM46.00.

Salmon Tataki

Mushroom Fries with Portobello, King Oyster and Oyster Mushroom was served with a Basil Aioli (emulsion made from garlic and olive oil), bringing the spirit of the Mediterranean, providing a lot of flavour and a bit of sunshine. RM26.00.

Unagi Eggs, which could easily be a starter but is listed under Mains, was a whole side of Japanese teriyaki eel on a bed of fluffy scrambled eggs, topping a thick slab of Brioche and sprinkled with Furikake. Another delectable marriage of East and West at RM38.00. If one considers that one slab of frozen Unagi from a store can cost almost RM30, this dish is very reasonable indeed.

Unagi Eggs

The Aburi Salmon Bowl was generous to a fault with fluffy rice topped with Furikake, laced with Shoyu, speckled with Tobiko Roe, an ample portion of Ikura and a perfectly cooked, quivering Onsen egg. The salmon was lightly seared as in tataki. A meal in itself and thankfully we were a large enough group to share. RM56.00.

Aburi Salmon Bowl

As we continued this orgy of gourmandising, a huge bowl of Laksa was presented. Listed on the menu as Lakse Laksa, this was a huge bowl of very tender fat rice noodles typically used for Laksa with three humongous prawns, eggs, tofu and garnitures in an ambrosial, very lemak broth and mildly spiced. The base was made with dried shrimp and broth reduced from prawn shells, both ingredients lending its umami qualities. Heaven in a bowl. RM28.00.

Lakse Laksa

Can our group handle this? I wondered as we sat groaning from the abundance of dishes. 

Next was the Beef Steak Bowl, grilled medium rare Angus Striploin on Japonica Rice, served with an Onsen egg (it was delightful watching the yolk dribble onto the rice as we dipped into it), sprinkled with crispy garlic chips, topped with an Onion Wafu sauce and a dollop of wasabi on the side to mix or not, according to taste. RM68.00.

Beef Steak Bowl

Then came dessert in the form of a Muesli Granola Bowl, a veritable rainbow of colours with no sugar added, combining wild edible flowers, Chia seeds, mixed fruits, berries and nuts on a bed of red dragon fruit couli and ringed with toasted coconuts. The Muesli Granola itself is homemade, under the watchful eye of Chef Teoh. This can be a meal in itself, a dessert or the perfect breakfast for the health conscious. Just looking at the dish made me feel healthy! RM22.00.

Muesli Granola Bowl

After that stupendous meal, we asked to have coffee. All I had in mind was a long Black but we were urged to try at least one of their specials, the Dalgona Sea Salt Cappuccino. I opted for the iced version, a formidable glass of cappuccino topped with a sea salt froth and the piece de resistance, slabs of the Chef Teoh specialty, her honeycomb sea salt caramel, melt-in-mouth crunchy and dipped into the salty froth—divine. This is a must-order when you go there, even if it’s just for a coffee! RM16 (hot); RM18 (iced).

Finally, as I said at the beginning of this write up, we all staggered out of the restaurant, determined to return with loads of our friends to sample the other delectable dishes here.

Bond & Co is pork-free. 

 

Bond & Co

1, Jalan Niaga Simee, Kampung Simee, 31400 Ipoh, Perak
(It is actually off Tasek Rd, diagonally opposite McDonalds and MH Hotel) 

Reservations Advised:  016 880 6488

Business Hours: 9am-9pm, closed on Tuesdays.

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