It was probably How I Met Your Mother’s popular lothario Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) who popularised the concept of brinner (breakfast for dinner). It started out as a quaint idea, but then caught on when people realised there was nothing wrong with wolfing down eggs and sausages even after darkness descended.
But there are some obstacles to this. Because sometimes in the late evenings, I find myself hankering after a big breakfast only to snuff out those indecent thoughts with this reality: “Where to find breakfast at dinner time?”
But then Wild Honey arrived in Malaysia and all those breakfast dreams suddenly became possible. The popular all-day breakfast outlet has been a huge hit since it launched in Singapore in 2009, nabbing numerous accolades like the 2014 AsiaOne People’s Choice Award for Best Brunch in Singapore.
The eatery serves up popular favourites like big breakfast platters and French toasts as well as brekkie options from all over the world like Tunisian shakshukas and Mexican breakfast burritos. The best part? You can have it from 10am till 10pm, with nary an ounce of guilt, because everyone else around you is doing the exact same thing!
The Malaysian outlet only launched last month within the enclave of KL’s uber chic Pavilion KL, but already it has seen huge traffic, with wait times over the weekends stretching to two hours!
“The company is doing very well in Singapore, so we wanted to open a branch in a main city near Singapore as it’s easier for us to manage it. And so far, response has been really, really good,” says Thomas Ng, Wild Honey’s Malaysian director.
Ng was the group executive chef at Wild Honey in Singapore, but was transferred here to manage and supervise the Malaysian expansion.
He says all the attributes of the Singaporean outlets have been brought across the border with one exception: this outlet is totally pork-free.
“We’ve tried to fit in with the culture here as we want all Malaysians to experience Wild Honey,” he says by way of explanation.
The restaurant itself is homey and charming, with solid wooden tables, fresh flowers and quirky mismatched chairs adding to the “home away from home” feel.
Once you’ve soaked in the atmosphere, take a good, long look at the menu, because there’s a dizzying array of breakfast options on offer.
A good starting point would be a crowd favourite like the Tunisian (RM35), which is basically shakshuka (a tomato, red bell pepper, onion and red chilli stew) with beef and lamb merguez sausages, braised eggs, chopped salad and fresh brioche bread.
A runaway success, the rich, heady tomato stew is buoyed by spicy underpinnings and eggs that break apart perfectly when you spear your knife through them. The sausages are also worthy of your attention, as they are made by the chefs at Wild Honey.
“We tried this dish eight years ago in Singapore and everyone loved it! In Singapore, we make pork sausages but we worked very hard on this lamb sausage to create the best flavours,” says Ng.
Then there is the barbary (RM36), a duck hash with duck confit leg, pink grapefruit hollandaise and crispy shallots. This is a dish that was created specifically for the Malaysian outlet and has since become an instant hit, selling nearly 400 plates!
“Duck confit pairs very well with a citrus sauce, and we wanted to come up with our own version. So we did a pink grapefruit reduction added to our signature hollandaise,” says Ng.
The result is a very, very filling dish awash in rich duck flavours, an opulence which is contrasted by the much-needed citric elements in the hollandaise sauce. The only caveat here is that the duck flavours are very strong, so duck this (pun intended) if you’re not a fan of this water fowl.
For something of the aquatic variety, the Norwegian (RM44) is just the ticket. Composed of avocado, grilled asparagus, poached eggs wrapped with Norwegian smoked salmon, hollandaise sauce and salmon pearls on wholewheat brioche, this is a large meal that is also incredibly satisfying. The smokiness of the fish, crunchiness of the asparagus, creaminess of the eggs and richness of the hollandaise sauce all come together in perfect symmetry, creating a rich explosion of flavours and textures.
Wild Honey has also expanded its vegetarian options, from an initial three variants to six offerings, to cater to local demand. Of these, try the Portobello Road (RM36) a luscious, multi-layered meal made up of poached eggs, Portobello mushrooms, wilted spinach, onion and bell pepper confit and hollandaise sauce on wholewheat brioche.
Although every single element here is vegetarian, this is one of those meals that will leave your belly feeling full to bursting point. The key pull of this dish is the velvety softness of all the layers – the mushrooms are tender, the spinach is silken, and the eggs are ridiculously satin-like. It’s like having your palate enrobed in lots of plush, downy cushions!
Not all breakfasts have to be savoury, sometimes a little sweetness is needed too. And you’ll get plenty of this with the Brittany (RM24) or French toast with baby bananas, salted caramel mascarpone, toffeed hazelnuts and salted caramel sauce.
This has got to be one of the best French toasts I’ve ever had – a sumptuous offering that simply screams “decadence” and “ditch the diet”. The toffeed hazelnuts are a particularly inspired touch and add much needed crunch to the sweet, soft medley.
If you’d like something a little lighter, Wild Honey’s curly kale Caesar (RM32) offers an unconventional take on the classic Caesar salad, with lots of kale, poached eggs, white anchovies, shaved parmesan, dried cranberries, garlic brioche croutons and crispy sweet potato ribbons with an anchovy-lemon dressing.
The kale (which is marinated with the dressing and then massaged to fully absorb the flavours) offers tendrils of crunch juxtaposed against the fishiness of the white anchovies and sweet hardness of the cranberries. The only downside is the sweet potato ribbons, which are a tad tough and hard to chew.
The restaurant also has plenty of drinks in its repertoire. The wild mocha dolce (RM16) is a particularly delicious concoction of espresso, chocolate, milk and royal honey that will find fans in chocolate lovers.
Nature’s remedy (RM10) on the other hand, is the tonic you’ll need after a particularly hard day. Made with royal honey, cinnamon and vanilla, this lovely, spice-rich drink is soothing from start to finish, and will be the perfect night-cap to round off your brinner.
Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 1626
Open daily, 10am to 11pm