If you’ve ever been in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, in the evenings, you might have witnessed this daily metamorphosis – as the sun goes down, friendly neighbourhood bakery Huckleberry turns into a rather different kettle of American comfort fare.
Golden lightbulb filaments glow, sending shadows climbing across the textured wooden walls, and smooth R&B oozes from the speakers as Huckleberry After Dark wakes up.
This is a world of super-sized hot dogs and booze-laced milkshakes, fluffy sourdough-based pizzas and large, chunky burgers – all cheeky in name and large in portion.
Huckleberry After Dark doesn’t forget its daytime incarnation though – buttery brioche buns for burgers and hot dogs are made in-house, as is the pizza dough. This love for things-made-from-scratch extends throughout the menu – the fries are thick and hand-cut, sauces made fresh, even liquors infused right there.
The bar boasts a small list of original mocktails and cocktails, as well as milkshakes both virgin and decidedly not; classic cocktails are available upon request and some, like the sangrias and Pimm’s Jug, in a pitcher. The cocktails show great balance and easy-drinking subtlety, although their effects are a bit stronger than their taste.
The Minion Juice (RM26) comes highly recommended: a blend of rum infused with bananas, a dash of pandan syrup and the coolness of fresh coconut water – beach-breezy and sophisticated.
The Cheeky Mary (RM26) is even better: a Bloody Mary made with gin instead of vodka, with carrot juice adding sweetness and a very light basil and mint syrup. The usual tomato juice, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce round the drink out for a sweet-savoury and very refreshing take on the classic.
And if you feel like indulging in the very adult pleasure of a generously-spiked milkshake, the A$ap Rocky Road (RM25) is made with vanilla and salted caramel ice creams shaken with smoky bourbon, topped with torched marshmallows and salted caramel sauce. Dig deep, and you’ll find dense Rocky Road brownies (which have soaked up a fair amount of whisky) languishing at the bottom of the stainless steel cup. Excellent even as a dessert.
As mentioned, food portions celebrate largesse – and the prices don’t correspond, making Huckleberry After Dark a true friend to your wallet.
There are two incarnations of guacamole on the menu, with The House Guac (RM14.50) being more traditional and The Wack Guac (RM15.30) a little more twisted, with pickled ginger. We tried the former, and it turned out to be a satisfyingly rich and smooth bowlful of something-something, with an undertone of heat from both green chillies and jalapenos.
The K-Pop Frenzy chicken wings (RM20.90 for six, RM36 for 12) also hit the spot – sweet and gingery rather than spicy, these battered wings are soused with a gochujang sauce.
Battered chunks of flaky seabass combine nicely with finely-shredded coleslaw, jalapenos and the bright flavours of pico de gallo in fluffy flour tortillas to make Drop the Bass (RM20.90). The appeal of fish tacos is heavily dependent on the right choice of fish, so flaky, flavourful seabass works nicely.
I like the doughy pizzas as well; we tried Another One Bites The Crust (RM34.50), which is pretty much a classic big breakfast laid out on tangy tomato sauce and pizza dough: chicken sausages and mushrooms, with runny egg in the middle, and mozzarella over everything.
The Beast Mode (RM28) burger came with a thick Australian Black Angus patty, topped with pulled beef – which has a lovely sweetness from being cooked with root beer – and smoky duck bacon. While you can taste the meaty freshness in the chunky beef patty, a little more tenderness would go a long way.
The absolute epitome of comfort food, though, would have to be the Return of the Mac (RM26). Think creamy macaroni and cheese topping an oversize hot dog – the Catholic in me immediately required confession, but it was totally worth it. This is pure indulgence in a brioche bun; it’s made with the same chicken sausage used on Another One Bites The Crust, but this dish allows the clean flavours of the smoky, juicy sausage to really shine.
There are two dessert options on the menu – and a selection of cakes in the front display cabinet. The Mad Batter (RM20.90) is also madly popular. It’s a soft-centred chocolate cake served in a skillet, topped with house-made marshmallows and cookie crumbs, with butter biscuits for scooping and dipping. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, this one may be a little on the sugary side and you might want to opt for a milkshake, boozy or not, instead. If sweetness does appeal, though, look no further for a meal-ender.
If it’s comfort food you’re hankering for as daylight dwindles, Huckleberry After Dark is just the place – especially if you appreciate attention paid to every little detail on your plate.
Huckleberry After Dark
2G & 4G Jalan Medan Setia 2
Tel: 03-2098 7933
Open Tuesdays to Fridays, 5.30pm to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays, 5.30pm to 2am. Closed on Mondays.