From the bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to the sophisticated streets of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, here are some of the best places to head to for a gastronomic adventure.
For a grand night out in Sydney, head to the city’s Pyrmont waterfront to find LuMi, an Italian restaurant that’s acknowledged as one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy. Praises aside, there’s much to admire about the restaurant’s intimate setting and dishes prepared by chef Federico Zanellato, who brings in a global and modern approach to Italian cuisine thanks to his experiences in Japan’s Riygin, Denmark’s Noma and Melbourne’s Attica. His Italian cuisine with Japanese influences is best exeprienced in his eight-course dinner degustation, where deceptively named dishes like Tuna, Jerusalem Artichoke, Spanner Crab Chawanmushi, Brioche, Asparagus and Ravioli are presented in ways worthy of its Two Hats status.
Pop Goes The chef
If you like your meals with a show, book a seat at the Le Petit Chef Pop-Up Dining experience in Melbourne’s Cardigan Place Cellars. The pop-up dining concept, which is now in its final month in Australia, has been a hit with diners across the world, having popped up in London, Berlin, Toronto, and Dubai previously.
Designed by creative studio Skullmapping, the experience has you seated at a white table-clothed dinner table, upon which is projected a 3D animation of a 58mm miniature chef who then catches, prepares and cooks dinner before your eyes while telling you the story of how the dish came to be. Guests can expect Le Petit Chef to whip up three courses, including a bouillabaisse, glazed brisket with broccolini, and a caramelised milk ice cream with whipped cream and berries. There’s also an Australian wine pairing and nonalcoholic cocktail pairing on offer to complement the meal.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year in style at The Hotel Windsor in Melbourne, where a special afternoon tea menu is served just for the season. Available from 5 to 19 February, the afternoon tea features sweet and savoury treats inspired by the hotel’s early days during the gold rush in the 1880s, and features a modern spin on traditional Chinese favourites. Among the savoury dishes created by head chef Khanh Nguyen of the award-winning Sunda restaurant include Mushroom XO rice ball with soy milk custard, and prawn toast with sweet and sour sauce. Sandwiches include those filled with five-spice pork, hoisin mustard mayo and pork crackling; as well as egg, egg yolk jam, soy paste and coriander. Dessert comes in the form of ‘Koi’, a dessert made by Pastry Chef Jérémie Parmentier that comprises fresh pineapple compote, kaffir lime, strawberry confit, a matcha sponge and vanilla ganache.
The Kuala Lumpur suburb of TTDI has more than a few good gems, the latest of which is Ember Modern Bistro. Helmed by chef-owner Gabriel Anwar, who worked under the Michelin-starred Jeff Ramsay in Babe restaurant, Ember brings together Gabriel’s love for Asian ingredients andtapas-style dishes.
The menu may seem limited, but almost every dish here is a standout: start off light with a bowl of cold noodles served with tender duck confit, fresh pear and citrus ponzu; smoked beef tartare made from Darling Downs MB7 wagyu short-ribs; and eggpalant salad and sesame-miso dressing. Those who love meat won’t be disappointed the Darling Downs MB4 wagyu flank steak served with smoked beef vinaigrette, or the kampung chicken with yuzu kosho tare. End your meal on sweet, salty and decadent notes by having the chocolate cremeaux served with miso and popcorn, or choose the pleasing combination of coconut panacotta and grapefruit jelly.
A Latino-Asian Love Affair
As one of KL’s more inventive restaurants, Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar on Jalan Bukit Bintang has introduced KL-ites to a unique fusion of Asian-Latin American cuisine, resulting in signatures like the Nori Taco, Catfish Char Siew Bao, and Mr Chew’s Famous Fried Chicken Ribs.
Its executive chef James Thong recently introduced a new range of dishes that furthers Mr Chew’s bold and creative reputation, among them starters like gochujang chicken stuffed steamed bun with pickled pumpkin and chestnut; tawai salad with shredded apple, pear, sprouts, palm heart and fragrant coconut fish sauce. The mains feature additions like fried whole golden snapper with dill and leek; and sizzling wagyu striploin with sweet Palermo pepper, cashew nuts, dragon leaf and coriander salad. Dessert fans shouldn’t miss out on the intriguing Sesame Chocolate Noodles or the Coconut & Mango Ice Kacang, which is made with fresh mango, young coconut flesh and almond nibs.
Experience a culinary concept like no other this February at The Library, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur. Specially designed by YTL Corporate Executive Chef Wai Look Chow, the menu is based on his award winning coffee table book Two Friends – One Cuisine, written in collaboration with celebrity and Michellin-starred Austrian chef Johann Lafer. Diners are in for a month-long journey featuring European influenced creations with a touch of exotic Asian flavours.
The experience unfolds with the appetiser – Petuna Ocean Trout with Watercress and Kelp, featuring the “Wagyu of the Sea” which possesses a creamy, succulent texture and a delicate, fresh flavour. Savour the sweetness of the ocean with the Brown Crab and Avocado Velouté, elevating the flavour profile of the crab through a laborious process in which a distinctive medley of flavours and hues is obtained. The highlight of the menu is the Wagyu Medallion which requires Chef Wai’s skilful touch to achieve the tenderness in the meat. Dessert comes in the form of the decadent Passion Fruit Mousseline perfectly paired with the bittersweet Guanaja Gâteau to balance out the intensity.