Monday, 6 August 2018

Western Dinner in JB. Tropique Cafe & Restaurant at Spring Labs Johor Bahru



The folks behind Johor Bahru's Faculty of Caffeine and The Replacement which are popular for their all day brunch have just upped their game by introducing quality Western dinner and wine pairing at the Tropique Cafe & Restaurant in Spring Labs, Ekoflora, JB. Tropique Cafe & Restaurant is already famous for brunch - the Western dinner menu makes it an even more attractive dining destination in JB.



This was my first night time visit to Spring Labs - still JB's newest lifestyle hub. The pretty precinct with many cafes and restaurants is popular with JB and Singapore's Instagram generation. (I've been here several times during the day.)



Dinner at Tropique was a good reason for my first time - the pretty two storey cafe and restaurant just beside the pick up/ drop off point looked extra attractive like a large lantern at night.



Tropique's dinner menu is curated by Chef Joseph whom I first met at SPROUT, JB's pioneer Modern European fine dining restaurant. Tropique owner Edward's brief to Chef Joseph was to create a high quality dinner menu at pocket friendly prices. SPROUT is now closed, but if you have been there before, you will notice some SPROUT DNA in Tropique's menu but at competitive prices.



We were served sour dough and butter to get our saliva flowing while the kitchen readied the main courses. I wish the sour dough was a bit more sour but that butter was quite amazing. It was salted butter spiked with bits of savoury-sweet wakame seaweed. We all loved it. It was so good, I wished we had it throughout our meal 😄



Manager Daphne poured us wine to go with our meal. Daphne ran a coffee shop in Mount Austin JB before joining the banquet team of Crown Perth Australia for 6 years. She brings to Tropique, the Aussie quality service culture and can expertly advice you on the best wines to pair with your meal.



First up were Irish oysters with watermelon granita and two drops of dill oil. The sweet brininess of the soft juicy oysters from north Ireland's Traigheanna Bay was balanced with watermelon sweetness and subtle hints of dill spice.



At RM14+ a pop, it's an indulgence for special occasions.



Trendy Sashimi Crudo (price RM29+). Slices of salmon and white maguro (tuna) dressed with pickles and grapefruit set on a shallow pool of yuzu ponzu sauce.

The natural sweetness of fresh salmon and tuna was complemented by the delicate savouriness of yuzu ponzu. The pickles gave the dish some crunch to complement the soft sashimi. Fruity zest from juicy grapefruit complete the treat.



Pan seared foie gras on toast.



I love this foie gras because when I bite into its softness, its oily juices burst in my mouth, filling it with pronounced water fowl gaminess. It's not goose liver, but I didn't confirm with Joseph if it was duck liver. Anyway, if you like robust savoury gaminess, this foie gras for you.



Tortellini (price RM26.90+). House made tortellini filled with a blend of shitake, button and porcini mushrooms served with toasted parmesan cheese and parmesan sauce.



Salmon Collar (RM38+). Grilled salmon collar served with scallion potato salad with house blended Asian style savoury sweet spicy sauce.



Three out of four of us were full of praise for the Japanese-Thai fusion savoury sweet spicy sauce except me as I never liked Thai sweet spicy sauces 😛

The salmon collar was meaty, soft and juicy but there were bones here and there. I like the natural taste of salmon blended with the toasty taste from the slightly charred, grilled crispy fish skin.



White Butter Fish with Salsa Verde (price RM29+).

The large chunk of lightly seared white butterfish was served with grilled purple cabbage, salsa verde, roasted baby potato and radish.



The tender oily white meat of butterfish has a subtle sweet taste.



Shepard's Pie Deconstructed (price RM36.90+).

It's actually a stewed lamb shank served deboned with buttery mashed potato, glemolata (herb garnish), roasted vegetable like zucchini, and lamb jus.



If you love stewed lamb shank, you will love Tropique's soft, juicy boneless version.

If you love lamb gaminess like I do, you will doubly love this.



This beef bone marrow wasn't on the tasting menu this evening. Joseph brought it out when he saw me drool after hearing buddy KK raved about it.

The slow grilled beef bone marrow was served with hummus (chickpea paste), yogurt sauce, chimichurri (herb garnish), and muesli bread.



This is not for the faint hearted.

But, if you are not afraid to die hard of harden arteries, then you will be rewarded with blobs of oil jelly with savoury beefy earthy flavour.

I'll be the first to concede that beef bone marrow is not for everyone, but if you have acquired the taste for it, this is ambrosia (nectar of the gods) for just RM28.90+.




Eaten with toasted muesli bread which is studded with sweet raisins. Next time, I shall order a sour dough bread which I suspect I will like better with the bone marrow.



Stairway to heaven? or slippery slope to clouted arteries? 😝



Rounding up our delightful dinner with Chocolate Delice (price RM22+).

Chocolate delice topped with coffee mousse, served with chili chocolate crackling and chili chocolate sauce.

The chocolate delice was chocolaty and no overly sweet. The chili chocolate had a subtle spicy sting in the aftertaste.



👉 Tropique Cafe & Restaurant is a good couple place that is also family friendly. Their just launched dinner menu complements their all day brunch tradition. We enjoyed our dinner at Tropique as the dishes we tasted were delicious. The prices were also reasonable for this quality of food with many fine touches and excellent service which includes wine pairing advice.

Disclosure: Please note that this was an invited tasting.



Restaurant name: Tropique Cafe & Restaurant 
Address:  Lot D, Jalan Ekoflora 1, Taman Ekoflora, Johor Bahru 
GPS: 1°35'18.6"N 103°45'40.7"E | 1.588508, 103.761314 
Waze: Tropique Cafe & Restaurant 
Tel: 012-547 7886 
Hours: 10:00am - 11:00pm (dinner menu starts at 7pm)

No pork, no lard, no Halal cert  

Date visited: 21 Apr 2018, 5 Aug 2018




Tropique Cafe & Restaurant plays some of my favourite soothing sounds in the background.

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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