Located within the luxury apartments of Clearwater in Damansara Heights sits an elegant restaurant serving one of Kuala Lumpur’s most interesting cuisines, Babe – Japas Fun Dining. This restaurant is the creation of Michelin awarded Chef Jeff Ramsey, where an homage to his mixed heritage is cleverly displayed on his plates, taking heavily from Japanese cuisine, with a mix of molecular gastronomy and traditional techniques. Their ethos when it comes to food is to make fine dining into fun dining, serving tapas sized dishes in the most entertaining manner.
The restaurant is located on the 11th floor and is separated into an inner dining area and an outer dining area, which is a semi-open concept with a beautiful skyline view of Kuala Lumpur in the distance.
Babe is the brainchild of Jeff Ramsey, serving fine dining dishes interpreted in the most fun manner. Ramsey was born in Japan and has worked under Masayoshi Kazato, the official Sushi Ambassador of Japan, where Ramsey has also been honoured as the first non-Japanese Master Sushi Chef. He has also studies under Jose Andres, protégé of the legendary Catalonian Ferran Adria of El Bulli. He then trained as Chef de Cuisine under Hide Yamomoto with the opening of the Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, earning his first Michelin star, making him the only American Michelin Star chef outside of the United States. When asked what his philosophy is when it comes to cooking, he stated: –
“Food is more than what’s on the plate. People come to restaurants to be nourished but at the level that we want to present, the dining experience is entertainment as well. It is my goal to create menus that can satisfy the foodie that has traveled and has experienced an array of international level restaurants, and at the same time, appeal to the diner celebrating a special occasion who might have saved up for the meal and who doesn’t often try fine dining restaurants. I am a Sushi chef by training, a student of Japanese cuisine, but also a chef who adapts best practices from the 27 countries that I have been fortunate enough to cook in. I am fusion myself, so fusion is my base.” — Jeff Ramsey, Executive Chef of Babe – Japas Fun Dining.
The Art of the Wild Tasting Menu
The tasting menu is sampled from some of the best of the Art of the Wild collaboration with Perrier-Joüet champagnes, which itself is a brand that focuses on modernity and art nouveau. The collaboration consists of a 9 course dinner, paired with 3 types of champagnes to highlight the art and innovation in both food and wine. The menu is available in three varieties, the Autumn 2018 Tasting Menu, The Journey, and The Voyage. When asked about the Art of the Wild collaboration, Ramsey stated: –
“I am excited about being appointed Perrier-Jouet Chef Ambassador because I love diving into the unknown. Good things are sure to come out of this partnership because, first of all, it is with a brand I consider extremely prestigious. Secondly, food is extremely sensual, and Perrier-Jouet stands for a certain femininity that we try to achieve at Babe. There is so much to look forward to, the upcoming the dinner series that is going to be a stunning affair — the food, the music and the decor — and our future collaborations that will be centred around nature. Stay tuned!”
The Babe – Japas Fun Dining Menu
The 9 dishes served comprised of a degustation menu highlighting the different abilities of the chef, not only as a standalone, but each complimented by the different champagnes. Chef Ramsey uses techniques that are both traditional in ingredients, and modern in cooking in the most playful manner.
The first course, an amuse-bouche, was the Crystal Gyoza, consisting of a translucent gyoza dumpling served with a side of cabbage soup. The gyoza was made from dried chicken floss cooked in chilli oil and walnut oil, wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper. The dish was very light but full of flavour, reminiscent of intensely flavoured chicken floss. The dish was served with a side of cabbage soup, which was slow cooked and rich on the palate. Notably, the soup complemented the brilliant Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2008 with the dryness of the champagne contrasting the earthy broth.
The second course, an appetiser, was the Caramelized Ankimo with Passionfruit Ponzu Granita, consisting of a torchon of buttery monkfish liver. The key to a great ankimo is that it is fresh and not overcooked. Ankimo is referred to as the foie gras of the sea with its rich and bold flavours. The ankimo here was served at the perfect temperature with the right texture and consistency without sacrificing on its umami, where overcooking may result in the fibres becoming grainy. The sear on the torchon boosted its meatiness, with the accompanying sauce of passionfruit ponzu granita giving it a cold, sweet and sharp acidity.
The third course, an appetiser, was the Uni, Ootoro, Botan Ebi Tartlette, consisting of a thin tart shell with Japanese seafood, koji and soy gelée. The uni with its intense umami, ootoro with its complex fatty flavour, and botan ebi with its fresh and crunchy sweetness was the perfect blend of what Japan has to offer on a plate. All served within a firm and crispy thin tartlette, this dish was the dish of the night. The koji, a type of fungus used for fermentation added a deeper level of umami, which contrasted the fattier umami of the uni while the soy gelée formed the base of the flavour. This dish was incredibly well thought out, and was probably the highlight of the meal. A must try.
The first to third courses were complemented with the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2008, one of Perrier-Jouét’s best champagnes. This champagne is greatly well-balanced from its floral head notes of peach and summer fruits, to its light to medium body. A great pairing as a starter wine. This sparkling wine carries much modernity in its approach and is perfect for more interesting and adventurous wine pairings.
The fourth course, an entrée, was the Bäbe-en-Dazs, consisting of Martell VSOP aged in red barrels and foie gras monaka sandwich. This course was made with VSOP ages foie gras mousse which was frozen and served as a monaka. A monaka is a traditional Japanese dish made from mochi resembling a wafer sandwich. The chef has cleverly amalgamated this by filling dark chocolate coated foie gras mousse within the monaka. Very creamy, crunchy and full of flavour, you can understand why this dish is considered by many as one of their signature dishes.
The fifth course, an entrée, was the “Steak” Sandwich, consisting of braised beef tongue, gherkin, wagyu tartare and mustard seed. This dish was prepared to look like a regular steak sandwich, but with each component having a molecular gastronomy take. The “sandwich” consisted of “steak” made from tender braised beef tongue, “tomato” made from wagyu tartare, “lettuce” made from green coloured cheese, and “toast” made from tomato water flavoured meringue. Another dish full of flavour, and probably the most playful of the dishes.
The sixth course, a noodle course, was the Nagano Walnut Soba, consisting of cold buckwheat noodles with 7 ingredient of herbs, root and seed condiment. Zaru soba is normally served on a zaru matt at room temperature with a cold dipping sauce called tsuyu. Here, the sauce is made from crushed walnuts which you grind to your required texture, where a broth is then poured over the mixture and used as a dipping. Fully coated soba noodles in sesame and walnut is then further topped with walnut oil made frozen with liquid nitrogen, giving it that cold element, topped with daun kaduk (a peppery leaf with subtle bitter notes) for a hint of pepperiness. These dish could have benefited with a little more kaduk leaves as that element was quite subtle, which could have also been the intention of the chef.
The fourth to sixth courses were complemented with the Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, a fuller bodied champagne. The floral notes and dryness of the body is great for an interim or final champagne to complement medium to heavy bodied dishes such as foie gras, red fish or meats.
The seventh course, a fish course, was the Yuan Miso Salmon with Yuzu Cream and Daun Kaduk, accompanied by crispy burdock and a herb salad. The salmon was cooked perfectly in a bain-marie, giving it the perfect texture between raw and cooked, and came apart with the tug of a fork, all the while keeping a crispy skin. The yuzu cream complemented the dish with the right amount of creamy umami from the miso and the acidity from the yuzu. The side salad was very impressive consisting of daun kaduk, crispy burdock, baby spinach, and radish in a light vinaigrette. The side salad was outstanding in flavour and textures and complemented the dish with its contrasting levels of fattiness and acidity.
The eighth course, a meat course, was the Yogurt Cured Chicken Breast with Onion and Mizuna Salad. This dish consisted of a perfectly deep-fried chicken breast, an interpretation of the classic Japanese fried chicken karaage. The chicken breast was flavourful and crunchy, and although a lean meat, did not lose much of the desired tenderness. Each bite was flavourful and was complemented with sweet tangy diced onion and the sharpness from the peppery mizuna. A dollop of caviar was served on top of the chicken adding some layers of umami, which although counterintuitive, was interesting because of the sharp umami flavour contrasting the white meat of the chicken, reminiscent of Momofuku Noodle Bar’s fried chicken.
The ninth course, a dessert course, was the Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels Mont Blanc, consisting of VSOP infused chestnuts and vanilla cream. The traditional French dessert is normally made from puréed chestnuts made into vermicelli. The mont blanc here was intensely flavoured, served on top of a VSOP infused sponge, topped with more intense dollops of chestnut cream, served with bits of caramelised ginger sugar glass shards in the shape of maple leaves. The portion may look small, but it was the right size as its intense flavour was very pronounced, teetering on the sweeter side.
The seventh to ninth courses were paired with the Perrier-Jouët Blazon Rosé, one of Perrier-Jouëts most refined champagnes. The rosé is a blend consists of using some of the skin of red grapes, giving it its iconic rose colour, which results in its unique quality and flavour. This champagne can be served as a dessert champagne because of its creamy mouthfeel and works well with lighter meats such as chicken, fish and desserts.
The Babe – Japas Fun Dining Experience
The restaurant definitely does not fall under the traditional fine dining experience, and perhaps that is its best advantage. It promises fun dining and it delivers when it comes to patron participation and interaction. Each dish is quite carefully thought out with exciting touches of molecular gastronomy enticing the diner. The view of the restaurant also adds to the overall ambience with its picturesque skyline of Kuala Lumpur in the distance. We asked Ramsey what are some of his patron’s favourite dishes, in which he quipped: –
“This is up for my guests to say. My goal is to not have any signature dishes. It would mean only some dishes are really that good and memorable. When I ask guests which dishes are their favourite, I am wishing that every guest name a different dish, which is often true. I would like them to have moments of wonderment by a taste that hits the right spot or a combination that evokes curiosity. Above all we want to take care of our guests and show them the best time they can have while in our home.”
It’s easy to see why Babe is a contender of one of the better fine dining restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, especially in terms of creativity and the use of molecular gastronomy. This restaurant really puts the fun in fun dining.
The Art of the Wild Dinner Series will run from 26th October 2018 to 11th November 2018.
For more information about Perrier-Jouët Champagnes, see our review of Perrier-Jouët Champagnes.
For more reviews of Babe – Japas Fun Dining, see Babe – Japas Fun Dining.
11th Floor, Work@Clearwater,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2095 8599
Tuesdays to Sundays, 6.00 pm till 11.30 pm
Closed on Mondays.