6 Restaurants for Discovering the Flavours of Spring
Taka by Sushi Saito
Japanese fine dining restaurants that serve authentic Japanese cuisine and none of that pretentious fusiony stuff, are hard to come by these days. But one Asia-based restaurant that wholly believes in no-nonsense Japanese cuisine is Taka by Sushi Saito. Located on the third level of the ritzy six-star St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, the restaurant is Chef Takashi Saito’s maiden venture outside of his home turf of Tokyo. The original three-star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo was hailed as “the best sushi restaurant in the world” by the late renowned chef Joël Robuchon.
Its Malaysian counterpart, helmed by Chef Masashi Kubota who was personally trained by Saito himself, lives up to this accolade by serving only the freshest ingredients flown in from Tokyo three times a week. It’s by far the closest thing you can get to a fine dining experience in Tokyo right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, with sushi such as the succulent kinmedai and otoro. Chef Saito’s philosophy is to capture the simplicity of Edomae sushi, a technique of preparing sushi dating back to over a hundred years ago; the amount of rice, vinegar and soy sauce is perfected in each sushi creation.
That’s not all, sake lovers can revel in the diverse range of brews available for pairings with the omakase menu. Not only is the food meticulously crafted to bring out the authenticity, whether it be from the sashimi or even the omakase menu, the interior also embraces the experience of being in a fine dining establishment that knows what it’s doing. The 300-year-old Hinoki wood counter is a marvel to gaze at while waiting for your meal. The aesthetically pleasing baton Aji-ro-ita weave board panelling is another feature that adds a quaint atmosphere and a touch of luxury that doesn’t distract you from the simplicity of Japanese dining.
Taka by Sushi Saito
Level 3A, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
No 6, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 12 3303600
Not only is the food full of life, but so is this one-of-a-kind Caribbean inspired restaurant. The restaurant’s interior ushers you into a magical little world of gorgeous rusts and reds that lead into a large open bar area with a high glass ceiling that lets the night sky through. Built into a heritage house around the corner from Hotel Stripes, JOLOKO is a tropical wonderland in the middle of a bustling city. Transformed by Shin Chang and Penny Ng of Mentahmatter, the house maintains its original charm even with the addition of the murals by Apoh that fill the walls now. The vibrancy in this restaurant is not just in the various greenery and multicoloured furniture but in the food as well.
American Chef Tim Jay heads the kitchen and fills the space with the wonderfully comforting smell of dishes that take inspiration from Caribbean, Latin American, Creole and African cuisines. The restaurant serves up its dishes in a shared dining style like most Asians are used to, giving the diner that homecooked food feel. A must-try, just to see the colours pop on your plate, is the Guava Glazed Prawn Tostadas, in all its green avocado, pink prawn and purple cabbage glory. Another dish to tease the palate and please the eyes is the Snake Bean Salad – an unusual combination of spelt and long beans, dusted with edible flowers for a touch of colour. Meat lovers have no fear, for the menu is well stocked with scrumptious choices from lamb steak to jerk chicken for the hearty eater. To go along with the colourful and comforting food are JOLOKO bar’s famed selection of mezcal spirits, which are a must-try while you’re there.
43 Jalan Kamunting
50300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 3 2694 1100
For aesthetically pleasing dishes that will feed your cravings and your Instagram grid, Canvas is a place that treats their dishes as works of art. The two-storey fine dining standalone establishment based in the buzzing neighbourhood of Thonglor in Bangkok offers an eclectic menu inspired by local Thai flavours. The standout quality of Canvas lies in the quality of fresh seasonal produce used in their menu, procuring the best flavours from locally sourced ingredients. The chefs work closely with local farmers and suppliers to source the best organic and wild produce from around the region. The ever-changing menu features familiar flavours from all around Thailand, so it’s no surprise that they list local street food as an inspiration for their tasting menu from which diners can choose from either six or nine tasting course selections.
If there’s one thing Thai cuisine is known for, it’s the bold flavours. Canvas offers dishes that elevate this distinct character of Thai cuisine. The Thai Wagyu in shabu style sauce with wild mushrooms, cha kram, oxtail jus and tamarind is one such dish that comforts and adds a fresh zing to the palate. For dessert, the roselle shaved ice with candied orchid flower, coconut cream and fresh lychee give a refreshing kick to end a meal. The restaurant itself is a space to immerse oneself in. Whether you opt for an open-kitchen experience downstairs or wish to escape to more discreet con – fines in the bar area upstairs, there’s a memorable experience to be had.
113/9-10 Sukhumvit Soi 55
Klongton Nua, Wattana
Tel: +66 996141158
In the energetic Silom district of Bangkok there lies a quaint little pocket of Thai fine dining tucked away just around the corner from Chong Nonsi station. A shining trait of this one-Michelin star Thai restaurant is that they pride themselves on using the best of Thai ingredients, especially ones that might have been forgotten.
It’s all in the name; Le Du was taken from a Thai word that is a synonym for “season”. The layout of the restaurant is simple, with clean lines and white surfaces because the main highlight of the night is the food. Thitid Tassanakajohn, otherwise known as Chef Ton, uses the freshest ingredients to come up with spectacular creations. Trained in the United Sates, he has worked in restaurants like Jean-Georges, Eleven Madison Park and The Modern. Not only did he learn how to meld flavours together for food, he is also a certified sommelier, due to his love of wine.
Le Du offers four- or six-course tasting menus that allow you to experience modern Thai cuisine a bite at a time. The courses have different themes, with cold dishes at the start, followed by dishes from the forest and the sea, and then from the ranch, and finally the meal ends with dessert or Sin. On the list are dishes like deconstructed pad kaprao that is made with 30-day dry aged tenderloin or duck egg custard and river prawn with shrimp paste on organic rice. Although there are modern techniques to preparing the dishes, traditional touches are apparent in dishes like the chu-chee curry.
399/3 Silom 7 Alley
Khet Bang Rak
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 1050
Tel: +66 929199969
Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique
Good fine dining cuisine that also satisfies a ravenous appetite – that’s not some – thing that often go hand-in-hand but one fine dining establishment that manages to accomplish this is Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique in Ubud, Bali. With a listed entry in the famed Les Grandes Tables du Monde and as the winner of the Best Asian Restaurant award at the World Gourmet Summit in 2017 and 2016, Mozaic is Bali’s top fine dining spot for those looking for a memorable dining experience. Headed by Chef Chris Salans whose CV boasts working in Michelin-starred restaurants in France and America before taking the helm at Mozaic, Salans manages to combine French modern cooking with bold native Balinese flavours in an almost seamless fashion.
The fusion of the two makes for a unique dining experience enhanced with familiar tones for those who are acquainted with Indonesian cuisine. Their philosophy of “French cuisine, Balinese flavours” can be distinctly experienced in dishes such as the Indian Ocean coral trout ceviche with oscietra caviar and citrusy tiger’s milk, a fresh, yet wholesome take on the usual ceviche method. The menu is constantly evolving, but keep a lookout for the coconut and lembang pineapple dessert, an invigorating dish that brings out the best of the two main ingredients.
The interior is almost reminiscent of a fairytale garden, offering a slightly more playful take to the otherwise stuffy interiors of many other fine dining establishments. This is also one of the places to head to if you have strict dietary requirements. The staff are known to be extremely attentive to tailoring your dining experience and won’t bat an eyelid at your specific requests. Diners could also opt for vegan and gluten-free options, making everyone feel welcomed.
Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique
Jl. Raya Sanggingan,
Ubud, Gianyar 80571,
Tel: +62 361975768
Inside the tall and luxurious Swissôtel The Stamford on the 70th floor of the building, one will find a view so spectacular there are no words to express it. One-Michelin star restaurant JAAN’s simple yet elegant interior only elevates the view of scenic Singapore while diners feast away. The Murano crystal and silver chandeliers that span the room are as unforgettable as the meal that you will have.
Though JAAN is known for its French cuisine, when executive chef Kirk Westaway took over the helm, the cuisine switched to British. But this is not your typical fish and chips, pies galore and a good ol’ bangers and mash. Chef Westaway who hails from southwest England, is out to reintroduce British food to Singapore’s fine dining scene. His menu highlights iconic staples from his hometown of Devon, and the delicate and vibrant dishes give a fresh perspective to the distinctly British flavours. One signature dish is the English Garden. The freshest seasonal vegetables such as purple cauliflower and sugar snap peas are laid out like a pretty English garden. There is immense depth in this seemingly simple dish, with delicate touches like the Scottish seaweed and herb broth that sit in a tiny watering can by the side for diners to partake during their meal.
2 Stamford Road
Level 70 Equinox Complex
Tel: +65 68373322
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