It’s nice when a restaurant named Wurst bowls you over with its paella. Yes, yes, all the requisite items one would expect of a restaurant named after the German word for “sausage” is represented — from the Berlin street staple of curry wurst and sauerkraut (RM26) to the generically continental smoked bangers and mash (RM43), which stars two each of white, smoked and spiced sossies accompanied by the more British sides of mushy peas, mash and caramelised onions — but it was the paella that our table ordered a second portion of.
Choose from either sausage paella or the traditional seafood version (both are RM44) and be rewarded with an aromatic, flavourful ride that is so richly studded with ingredients you’d think the chef had accidentally dropped in double the portion of goodies. But if you were expecting saffron-hued rice served in a traditional pan, think again. Wurst takes the straightforward approach (very Teutonic, if we do say so) and instead piles everything on a plate, in a luscious, joyful heap. Little crusty bits of rice (socarrat, as the Spanish call it) intermingle with the morsels of protein and the very Catalan addition of a dollop of creamy garlic-infused aioli.
For purists, be gentle with the fact that arroz bomba is not used here but instead, a more affordable short grain rice. But while only experienced cooks know how to handle the latter, rest assured you will find no fault with chef Logan Lopez’s dish — except you would probably need to order a second helping as one is clearly not enough.
But back to the restaurant itself. Wurst is a small neighbourhood deli in Lucky Garden — it was relocated recently from Bukit Bintang to Bangsar — helmed by Lopez, an industry veteran who has worked in several establishments around town, including French brasserie Le Bouchon, Italian group Marini’s and Bait, KL’s first dedicated oyster bar. The talented chef has also clocked up experience working under celebrated chef Johann Lafer at his legendary restaurant set within the medieval Stromburg Castle, on a mountain’s edge in Germany’s Rhineland.
The interiors are narrow and a little cramped but what it lacks in space, it makes up for with attentive wait staff and cheerful, unpretentious interiors. The wall murals are redolent of Finnish powerhouse Marimekko’s love for prints and colour, and if you appreciate design, you’d notice four Tip Ton chairs stacked in a corner. If you like, ask to sit on one instead as it’s hard not to have a good meal tucking into delicious nosh while rocking from time to time on the now-iconic chair designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Vitra in 2011.
Besides the German sausages and Spanish paella, there are several other items on the menu that would have you think the chef-owner really misses travelling. There are the tributary dishes to Great Britain as evinced by the salmon Wellington (RM43) and lamb shepherd’s pie (RM39) as well as the Turkish spiced lamb burger (RM39) and Greek eggplant moussaka (RM38). Italy is a must-visit in Lopez’s menu as the mud crab carbonara (RM42, with your choice of pasta) was rich and delicious, lovingly bathed in cream and generously studded with fleshy chunks of crabmeat. The only destination we’d ask you to give a miss would be Jamaica as the jerk chicken (RM39) we ordered turned out dry and dull in comparison to everything else.
Even the drinks list is as internationally-inclined as the menu, offering the rarely seen (in Malaysia, anyway) Peruvian chicha morada (RM17), which is a traditional Andean beverage made using purple corn. It was only then that Lopez let on that the drinks menu is curated by K C Phang of Coley Cocktail Bar fame. Wurst does not serve pork but it does have a fair selection of beer, wine and liquor. True to its friendly nature, you are also welcome to BYOB with a modest RM50 corkage fee imposed for wine and RM100 for hard liquor. There are German Paulaner and Franziskaner beers as well as Guinness Stout, Asahi and the local staples of Carlsberg and Tiger. Interestingly, the label on tap is the less-common Edelweiss — a premium beer from the Austrian Alps whose history dates back to 1646, making it one of the world’s first wheat beers — that is priced at a very decent RM16 per pull.
Sadly, the day we visited, the Berliner (RM18), made infamous by John F Kennedy’s 1963 gaffe in which the leader of the free world purportedly called himself a holeless German jelly doughnut while standing by the Wall in West Berlin, was unavailable. To those who simply must end a meal on a sweet note, there is vanilla creme brulee with wild berries compote (RM19) as well as the American sugar bomb called S’mores (RM20), a traditional campfire concoction of baked marshmallow, peanut and chocolate spreads and biscotti. But if you have already made friends with the friendly and chatty chef, you could choose to tuck into the #Loggytime (23), a pun on his name that is a chocolate dessert comprising charcoal crumbs, honeycomb, ganache, salted sugar and white chocolate gelato — a sophisticated end to a satisfying meal in a most unassuming part of Bangsar.
Wurst, 15-G, Persiaran Ara Kiri, Taman Lucky Garden, Bangsar, KL. 03 2201 0609. Opening hours: Noon to 3.30pm; 4.30pm to 10.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday) and 10am to 3.30pm and 4.40pm to 10.30pm (Sunday).
This article first appeared on May 11, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.