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不久前读了台湾籍米其林二星名厨江振诚 André 的某篇专访，里头说道当一个社区需要某种料理或服务时，那开一家如此被需要的店就是一个成功的餐饮概念。在大人眼中，Sprout 在新山的出现就是如此，虽说带点曲高和寡的意味，但遇着知音就值得惺惺相惜。
When asked how Chef André Chiang continues to develop new and equally, if not more, successful restaurants, the Michelin 2-star celebrity Chef and owner of 6 restaurants in 6 years said the key is to understand our market and only do something that is needed. This was precisely how we felt about Sprout as we returned for the second time in a year!
Sprout is not that kind of restaurant that we would say “JOM!” and it is not just about the price, but we personally felt we would need a trained palate of sorts, to savour things in its perspective and appreciating their dishes to its fullest, so here we are again only at the second time of asking. While we have many respectable restaurants in town, we have very few exceptional ones, and we dare say Sprout is definitely one of the most underrated restaurants in Johor Bahru.
让这短短的一条老街，从无人问津到孤身一店，再而有了邻居的温度，始料未及的重生，Sprout 应得记上一功。「梦想能当饭吃吗？现实不断提醒你不准不能，最好不要。」但，这个年轻团队却将梦想打造成一道道惊喜料理让饕客们品尝，大人我不晓得背后到底得要放多少份量的坚持，但此刻我却吃下了你们一心打造的梦想 (与惊喜)。若是同道中人，还能尝出一种叫做，快乐认真的味道。
若想要更了解这一路走来，年轻的厨师到底如何征服了一众城中老饕，不妨详阅大人於Sprout 静度一周年时，写下的这篇：过了这个村，就没这个店。相逢恨晚的滋味 Sprout – Fantastic fusion of flavours not to be missed!
Situated along the stretch of Jalan Tebrau (next to Kim Teng Park) in a nondescript corner single-storey shop lot just under an overhead pedestrian bridge, this fine contemporary restaurant can be easily missed in favour of its buzzier neighbouring Korean dessert cafe. It doesn’t take us long to be in awe of the young chefs’ courage to set up shop in one of JB’s oldest residential area to keep overhead costs low so that they can focus on creating a gratifying gastronomy experience for discerning diners, for a fantastic fusion of flavours not to be missed!
食物其实与人一样，见识得越多，就会越明白，掩饰还是有痕迹，不如自在于心。简单来说，见过 Sprout 所呈献的料理就如见 Chef Mui 与 Chef Joseph 本人，不做作却又铿锵有力。迈入了第二个年头，与饕客味蕾的相处之道，还坚持着吗？有，更有气概了，这一回推出的新餐谱，要就你自个儿根据轻重口味挑，要不，都得听他们的。「你做主，我放心。」
依旧严选当季最好的食材，所奉行乃以感受现代欧式料理与在地食材所带出的味觉震撼为料理路线，Chef Mui 与 Chef Joseph 时刻身兼艺术家与科学家，将烹饪过程精确计算变化，并将之化身为一道道创造力十足的精致餐点。
With a seating capacity of just 30 pax, the intimate premise is reflective of what Chef Mui and Chef Joseph, both Anak Johor, has dreamed of, with their open kitchen and casual dining concept forming a sort of close connection between the chefs and their diners. We can feel free to openly gawk at the young team at work or ask some questions. For those seeking an elevated dining experience in its second year of operation, Sprout has done away with the traditional menu of starters and main courses to give us the freedom to create our own tasting menu from 16 elegant dishes. Unlike the usual Omakase where we don’t know exactly what we will be getting, you can expect a meal customised according to the season of the time and to your dietary restrictions (if any).
Well-versed in reinventing the art and science of cooking using modernist techniques, Chef Mui and Chef Joseph will then prepare the dishes accordingly, so rest assured that you will definitely be fed well and in good hands for the night.
全新推出的料理概念仍将随每季食材的鲜美度更迭，以个人4式料理 4-Course Menu (RM195，未含税；从四项类别中根据轻重口味各选一项，部分食材需额外加付RM10-RM25不等，含精选小点与面包) ；与由主厨全程以至鲜食材所构思的个人7式料理 7-Course Menu (RM270，未含税) 为区分。询及 Chef Mui 如何保持源源不绝的创造力，只见他望向了室内一隅，那一字排开的大师秘笈滋养了这儿的主人，有时「天分与努力早已分不清比重。」
Serving only a small variety of constantly-evolving tasting menu reflects a lot about Sprout‘s multi-cultured culinary experience over the use of seasonal ingredients and sensory tastes. This gourmet journey, the latest brainchild of Chef Mui & Chef Joseph, is well thought of with taste profiles from mild going to flavorful, and we agreed the ever-changing curation is a good idea to give us many more reasons to experience different dishes, and a solid reason to return back for more.
There is no signature dish per se, but each main course represents Chef Mui‘s signature style to showcase the simple complexity of local and seasonal produce and flavours. We get to customise our menus by selecting offerings from their various mains and dessert sections. Price per person for the 4-Course Menu with snack and bread included is RM195++ (with top-ups between RM10-25 for more premium items), placing our order is as simple as picking a dish from their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th courses. There’s also a 7–Course Menu (RM270++) which offers more versatility for our ever-discerning palettes.
For their latest and full menu, visit: www.sproutjb.com
Bread & Snacks
这一季的 Bread，Sprout 团队所祭出的乃以自培酵母发酵2至3周后的成果 – 酸面包 Sourdough。微焦脆的面包皮衣，圈围着韧性十足的微酸白色面包体，搭上以牛骨髓、洋葱牛油与盐粒拌融成的抹酱，「入口后可尝出浅浅肉香的抹酱，在口舌中化开，好香。」结局是：一扫而空一滴不剩。自培酵母难度不低，面粉、温度与水的比例掌控皆少不了精确的判断力，在凡事讲究时间就是金钱的时代，即便是平实如面包，在 Sprout 亦被待以重如泰山之礼。
Snacks 的出场让人眼前一亮。名为 Rice Crackers 的精致米饼小点，模样细致地像是女生随意点妆的饰品，主人家以芒果咖喱泥、椰奶、青柠皮屑激活了饕客们蠢蠢欲动的味蕾，「芒果甜、椰子香，神乎其技毫不抢味。」至今念念不忘。
The complimentary Bread and Snacks were part of the repertoire of starters served to us before the mains made their appearance, and the familiar tang of Sourdough, the crisp crust and the soft bread with ultra smooth bone marrow and onion butter made this compulsive eating.
Served in quick succession, the spiced mango, coconut, curry puree and lime zest set on crispy Rice Crackers and dressed with herbs made for another nice appetiser that got our stomach juices and saliva flowing.
1st | Scallops | Celeriac
食材们的红色聚会吗？这一道 Scallops (上图，prawns, squids, watermelon, tapioca)，以一众披上红外衣的海鲜经青柠汁腌制后，搭配脱了水份后的西瓜球与微酸青柠果冻提味，顿让雪白的鲜带子也沾点了不少喜气。「柔软度极高的花枝与带子，入嘴后有翻腾的惊艳。口感稚嫩的海鲜们，在主人的巧手下没被妆点地过于成熟，一切刚刚好，好吃得不得了。」
绿色原来也不甘寂寞。这一道 Celeriac (下图，celery heart, chestnuts)，以烤根芹搭配栗子、马铃薯泥，根茎泥、被牛油浇了亮光的芹菜段，搭以鸡汤加上牛油慢火煨煮的浓稠栗泥，与以马铃薯、牛油及根茎制成的深褐土屑，「品尝 Sprout 的料理，会发现每种滋味在主厨们的搭配下环环相扣，芹菜与栗子的天然香气相互提味，完整的味觉链让人食毕后有种圆满的美好感觉。」
Marinated with lime juice and topped with prawns and squids, our first main course comprising sweet fleshy Scallops were sufficiently springy and rich in flavour. The seared after taste lingers for a bit, while its savoury goodness was balanced nicely with the dehydrated watermelon and lime jelly that tasted sweet with a hint of zest.
The Celeriac (otherwise known as celery root) was another ‘wow‘ dish for us as this isn’t a vegetable we often see on dinner plates. Earthy and sweet, our second 1st-course is a demonstration of the labour of love that has gone into its preparation and Chef Mui wants us to savour its natural flavours, as well as the combined tastes and textures of this dish. Rest assured though that it is not entirely plain, as the mild flavours were balanced with the savoury nuances of butter glazed chestnut puree and a thin layer of mash made from celery root with potato flecks (soil) in it which added an overall crunchy texture to our palate.
2nd | Slipper Lobster | Octopus
产自东海岸吉兰丹的虾婆 Slipper Lobster (上图，carrots, curried granola, citrus sabayon) 被主厨们施以烤、煎等巧手后让人忘了虾婆被框着的既定滋味。味甜的紫薯泥、咖喱滋味的格兰诺麦豆仁、烤红萝卜与以虾婆壳、鸡汤、香草、柑橘、葡萄柚及青柠等熬煮而成的橙色浓沫酱，「微咸酸的橙沫仍掩不了虾婆独有的风味，让弹嫩虾肉蘸上它简直是绝配。」
在大西洋的深海里活动许久的大章鱼，被捕获上岸前身重5公斤，浑身充满运动家的无尽活力，也因此造就了其富有嚼劲的天然鲜咸弹跳肉质。Octopus (下图，red snapper, potato chips, salsa verde) 是道极考功夫的料理，熟度不足或过熟皆瞒不了唇齿间的咬合，掌握地恰到好处自是 Sprout 所追求的极致。以72°C 油封烹调法处理的章鱼，5小时后再微煎上菜，搭以同以油封法处理的红绿灯笼椒、香煎小马铃薯、以薯泥摊平干煎并撒上辣粉末的超薄薯片、不同香草制成的青酱等，「好喜欢这一道，完美保留了最好的弹鲜度。」
This grand celebration of oceanic flavours features Slipper Lobster off the eastern coast of Kelantan, the succulent crustacean was first roasted and then buttered, accompanied by an excellent blend of savoury of Sabayon foam, the sweetness of purple carrot puree and the crunch of curry granola comprising oats, nuts and curry flower, all carefully created to surprise and satisfy even the most seasoned gourmand.
We were excited and yet a little wary at the same time when the Octopus was served, as they can be tricky to handle with the texture basically turns into rubber when it gets overcooked. Weighing as much as 5kg when caught, this sliced Atlantic Octopus, however, was tender, having been sous vide for five hours (72°C) to lock the flavour in before being lightly grilled. Resting atop light-bodied mash and served with pan-seared baby potato, sous vide capsicum, homemade potato chips sprinkled with paprika powder and dressed in salsa verde, this dish is definitely a show-stopper for its more complete mouth-feel.
3rd | Venison | Iberico Pork Collar
精选自澳洲自由圈养的草饲鹿肉 Venison (上图，chocolate, pumpkin, kale)， 三分熟的肋骨部位搭上以鸡汤熬煮的黑巧克力，滋味果然天上一对。「鹿肉天生一股羶禽味，原来黑巧克力能一物降一物。」鹿肉脂肪较少，皮衣焦脆、肉质有嚼劲，让羽衣甘蓝、真空低温烹调的南瓜、南瓜籽、百香果泥适时出现中和最合宜不过了。
被全球饕客冠以最矜贵的西班牙伊比利亚黑猪颈肉 Iberico Pork Collar (下图，chinese chives, sweet potato, plums) 不禁让大人引颈期盼。「胶质奇多，肉质属不饱和脂肪酸的伊比利亚黑猪经12个小时的盐水浸泡后，再以62°C的真空低温法处理24小时，后香煎再以与红酒、香料、鸡肉汁制成的腌制李子酱渍，入口即化已是必然。」韧中带软的黑猪颈肉毫不油腻，配上顶端一撮绿韭菜，「颈」上添花最是净口舌。腌渍梅干、甜薯泥与甜薯球身负提味重任，作为今日主食的压轴好戏，太让人感动的结局。
As one of their signature cuts, the Venison is both great to look at and to devour. Done medium rare and doused in a homemade dark chocolate sauce slow cooked in chicken jus to take the gamey taste out of the wild game, the Australian free-range venison loin was soft when cut into and almost melts in our mouths. What made this dish extra special are the sides of passion fruit puree, pumpkin seed and sauteed kale for an impressive myriad of bites and texture to the dish.
Imbedding local flavours to the Iberico Pork Collar (a top Spanish domestic pig breed), this 3rd course is definitely a must-try at Sprout! Prized for its high intramuscular fat which produces an authentic marbling no other breeds of pig has, the pork meat was brined for twelve hours before cooking sous vide at 72°C for a further 24 hours. Pan-seared and glazed in red wine, spices and chicken jus just before serving, the result is a marriage made in heaven and is likened to Hakka’s pork belly, our local delicacy, or should we say, even more flavourful. Topped with Chinese chives and paired with a sauce dip which is made from sweet potato puree, sweet potato balls and plums, you will appreciate just how value for money this dish is here, compared to other fine dining restaurants.
4th | Orange | Sweet Potato
左边这道名为 Orange (vanilla muffin, mints) 的甜点，以自制的香草杯子蛋糕为主，法式蛋白霜马林脆饼条、橙味雪酪、橙沫、香草雪糕为辅，整体「橙」设各司其职，「一橙数味，嘴里被清新滤得好纯粹。」
另一道新创甜点 Sweet Potato (ginger bread, maple syrup) 以甜薯片、微辣姜饼、微咸的枫糖浆雪糕、烤黄油脆饼、甜薯泥香草卡斯达酱组合而成，「甜咸辣於一体，完全颠覆了甜点的既定滋味。」终场仍不减惊喜。
The desserts were less of a tease, but no less delightful. As the name suggests, Orange sees a concerto of orange meringue, orange sorbet, orange foam with vanilla muffin and cream for a sweet and citrus finish; while Sweet Potato offers a delightful combination of spiced-infused ginger bread, crisp short bread, sweet potato puree, vanilla custard and maple-syrup ice cream to keep our spirits high and right to the end!
同频率的你掏心我掏肺，聊着彼此都秒懂的坚持，理想，挫折，疑惑，一霎那将坊间最爱的那一种你看我好，我看你好的老掉牙击碎，狠狠地摸摸脸问，一切尚好？「是啊，原来坚持，很难，幸好也没因此走偏了而对自己不住。」现实始终没有止住给人磨练的机会，必须很努力才能看起来毫不费力，乐观，是必须的复习。拥抱好奇心，Chef Mui 与 Chef Joseph 毫无停止突破的打算，饕客们能做的，就是付诸行动品尝。
“Creativity takes courage, and we choose to be the courageous ones.” In the words of André Chiang, we honestly think that Sprout‘s food creations are of another level than norms. We thought their latest creation presented was near perfection with the blend of ingredients, the thought process of putting it together and the intricacies that went into each exquisitely-plated dish. If you like to return for more visits, they can change the cooking method or swap some ingredients around to get the best experience out of their tasting menu. Be adventurous and let the chefs decide what’s best on that night for you.
Salute to Chef Mui who makes an effort to go round all the tables for personalised interaction, as well as Chef Joseph and his service team which radiates an unquestionable pride and eagerness to present the best of Sprout to visiting guests.
And before we forget, Happy 2nd anniversary!
Address: 61, Exit Jalan Tebrau, Bukit Ungku Aziz, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor
Business Hours: Tuesday – Sunday (6pm-10pm)
Reservation: +6011 – 2181 6118
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