DC Restaurant x Jeff’s Cellar x Être Patisserie

Jeff's Cellar Cave Restaurant | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Darren Chin of DC Restaurant need no further introduction when it comes to the fine dining scene in Malaysia, and his latest collaboration sees six hands working together with Chef Lee Choon Boon of Jeff’s Cellar and Chef Ann Lee of Être Patisserie at the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat. This collaboration features a black box of local ingredients showcasing what modern Malaysian cuisine really is. From the local caviar served on crab ice cream to the local rabbit consommé, the cerebral approach to the dishes really make you think.

Jeff's Cellar | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Jeff’s Cellar at The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat

Jeff’s Cellar is the iconic wine cellar restaurant situated within the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat and is built within the gorgeous caverns of the hills itself. The serene surrounding is perfect for a romantic getaway as it allows intimacy and privacy within its limestone walls. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat also only allows children above 12 years old, ensuring that patrons will be able to experience its peaceful ambiance for the perfect dining experience.

6 Hands Dinner by DC Restaurant, Jeff’s Cellar and Être Patisserie

The collaboration of Chef Darren Chin, Chef Lee Choon Boon and Anne Lee was initially proposed by General Manager Alex Castaldi who wanted to highlight this perfect pairing of food and ambiance, with Darren Chin spearheading this initiative to showcase local talents through a black box of local ingredients. As Darren Chin puts it: –

“We wanted to showcase what modern Malaysian cuisine can be as we have a plethora of great local ingredients. The herbs we use are sourced from Cameron Highlands which include the wood sorrel, rhubarb, bamboo shoots and sweet potatoes used. We also used locally farmed rabbits and caviar from sturgeons raised in Tanjung Malim. This is why Jeff’s Cellar made the perfect location, and because of that how could we exclude the iconic Ipoh white coffee? The daun kaduk we used was taken from the gardens of the Banjaran Hotsprings itself. We also used the MD2 pineapple which is a local pineapple. We wanted to showcase the Bidor duck at first, but found that the duck did not meet the standards we wanted to deliver on our promise of quality, hence we used the magret duck, a hybrid from the Muscovy and Peking duck which produces larger and higher quality breast meat.” — Darren Chin, Head Chef of DC Restaurant.

Lady In Red | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

The DC Restaurant x Jeff’s Cellar x Être Patisserrie Menu

Each chef contributed a number of dishes on the menu, with a selection of wine pairings chosen to suite the dishes served. The night began with a champagne and a cocktail named Lady in Red, consisting of spiced gin, raspberry and citrus.

Croll | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

DC Bread Service with Pamplie Unpasturised Salted French Butter

Course by DC Restaurant

The first course, a bread dish, was a selection of breads from DC Restaurant. The bread course consisted of sourdough with mixed cereals, walnut and croll. Of all three, the highlight was the croll, which is a cross between a croissant and a brioche, with the upper layer folded fluffy like you would croissant. The bread takes its name from the combination of croissant and bread roll, and was probably one of the most unexpected highlights from the menu, especially paired with DC’s iconic French butter. For those who have never tried this, please visit DC Restaurant to enquire. Simply exquisite.

Gold Amur Caviar from Tanjung Malim, Crab Ice Cream, Young Local Bamboo Shoots | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Gold Amur Caviar from Tanjung Malim, Crab Ice Cream, Young Local Bamboo Shoots

Course by DC Restaurant

The second course, an amuse bouche, was the crab ice cream, with slice of young local bamboo shoot holding the crab ice cream, topped with local caviar. The amuse was balanced well, with a familiar sweetness of the crab, but in ice cream form. The savouriness of the caviar balanced the dish well, with the firm bamboo shoot adding a very slight pungency to the dish overall, giving you a mix of flavours, textures and temperatures. This dish will very soon become one of DC’s signatures.

Tartlet of Fennel Flowers, Goat's Milk Curd, Organic Edamame, Mint, Vanilla Honey | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Tartlet of Fennel Flowers, Goat’s Milk Curd, Organic Edamame, Mint, Vanilla Honey

Course by Jeff’s Cellar

The third course, an amuse bouche, was the tartlet, consisting of fennel flowers, goat’s milk curd, organic edamame, mint and vanilla honey. This beautifully vibrant dish made a good amuse bouche because of the pungency and texture of the edamame, with the goat’s milk curd mellowing it out. The fennel flowers and mint added a nice zest to it, with the vanilla honey softening the entire dish. A very interesting dish.

Lightly Smoked Scallops, Caviar Cream Sauce, Sea Grapes

Course by Jeff’s Cellar

The fourth course, an amuse bouche, was the smoked scallops, served with caviar, caviar cream and sea grapes. This dish had quite an impact with its Hokkaido scallop seared perfectly, with pearls of caviar and sea grapes bursting with briny umami flavours. The light smoke also added a depth without overpowering the dish, ensuring that the scallop is able to sing. This dish is a signature at Jeff’s Cellar and is a must try if ever visiting.

Terrine de Lapin | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Terrine de Lapin

Course by DC Restaurant

The fifth course, a meat course, was the rabbit terrine. This dish consisted of rhubarb, salted capers, cucumber, chewy semi-dried strawberries. The rabbit terrine is a classical French dish, but made with local rabbit, which lends to a leaner meat. The terrine also has a dollop of rabbit meat in the centre, balancing the umami from the terrine itself, while lending texture. The semi-dried strawberries added a nice texture to the dish, with its concentrated sweetness.

Organic Sweet Potato Gnocchi | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Organic Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Course by DC Restaurant

The sixth course, a starch course, was the sweet potato gnocchi, made with daun kaduk, Ipoh black coffee espuma, pumpkin seeds and wood sorrel. The sweet potato gnocchi were fluffy and sweet, and was balanced with the mildly bitter sweet espuma, contrasting the flavour and mildness of the delicate gnocchi. The daun kaduk layered the bottom with an interesting herbaceousness, while the wood sorrel added a contrast of sourness with the kernels of pumpkin seed added a nice crunch. A marvellous dish.

Dom Perignon Legacy Vintace 2008 | Casa da Passarella O Fugitivo Blanco En Curtimenta (Portugal) 2015 | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

This rabbit was paired with the Dom Perignon Legacy Vintage 2008 while the gnocchi with the Casa da Passarela “O Fugitivo” Blanco En Curtimenta (Portugal) 2015, which was fruity and elegant.

Live Turbot

Course by DC Restaurant

The seventh course, a fish course, was the turbot, which was poached in Lingurian olive oil, whipped beurre blanc, leeks and white miso. The fish was fresh, with turbot having one of the most amazing textures of fish. The leek and miso gave the dish a nice light body, which helped the fish sing.

Lobster and Job's Ear Risotto | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Lobster and Job’s Ear Risotto

Course by Jeff’s Cellar

The eighth course, a starch course, was the lobster and job’s ear risotto. The dish was made with 24 month old Parmigiano Reggiano della vacche rosse, a beautifully umami cheese, with fresh lobster claw. The job’s ear has texture similar to barley, and gave the dish a bit of a contrast with its slightly el dente texture compared to the risotto.

Domain Rapet Carton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2015 | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

The tubot and risotto were both paired with a Domaine Rapet Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2015, a decent white that played to the strengths of the fish and lobster risotto.

Sweet Basil Sorbet with MD2 Pineapple, Olive Oil and Dried Pineapple | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Sweet Basil Sorbet with MD2 Pineapple, Olive Oil and Dried Pineapple

Course by Être Patisserie

The ninth course, a palate cleanser, was the sweet basil sorbet. The sorbet had a nice sour yet fruity flavour full of zest from the sweet local pineapple. The simple yet effective palate cleanser refreshed the tongue, with the dried pineapple added a concentrated sweet texture.

Warm-hearted Consommé of Rabbit | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Warm-hearted Consommé of Rabbit

Course by Jeff’s Cellar

The tenth course, a soup course, was the rabbit consommé. It would seem counter intuitive to serve a soup this late in the menu, but the soup was simply outstanding. The consommé made from clarified bone stock was served with a single agnolotto, which was stuffed with confit of rabbit in duck fat and ricotta. The consommé was velvety and full of flavour, but the most interesting aspect was the dry sherry that it was paired with. The sherry contrasted the consommé well, with the dryness and velvety mouthfeels creating a dance of sensations. Simply genius.

Emilio Lustau Palo Cortado “Seco” Dry Sherry | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

The consommé was paired with an Emilio Lustau Palo Cortado “Seco” Dry Sherry.

Magret de Canard

Course by DC Restaurant

The eleventh course, a protein course, was the margret duck. The margret duck was used in this course because of its quality for its plump size. The duck was pink to perfection and did not carry any musky flavour which married well with the Lavender gastrique, fennel flowers and poached peaches. The fennel flowers added a nice vibrant pungency to the dish, balancing the earthy flavour of the protein, with the molassy sweetness of the peaches adding a nice contrast.

Domaine Bouchard Pére & Fils Volnay 1 er Cru “Les Caillerets – Ancienne Cuvee Carnot” 2011 | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

The duck was paired with a Domaine Bouchard Pére & Fils Volnay 1 er Cru “Les Caillerets – Ancienne Cuvee Carnot” 2011, a nice red with notes of cherry and oak.

“G.E.M” | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

“G.E.M”

Course by Être Patisserie

The twelfth course, a pre-dessert, was made from Malibu coconut cream, fresh local mango, passionfruit, lychee, kaffir lime and Sarawak pepper. This dessert sang with an intense flavour from the zesty mango and passionfruit, while the lychee added that high note sweetness. The coconut cream mellowed it, while the kaffir lime added a nice kick. What an outstanding dessert.

Dessert Strawberry Rhubarb Entremet | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

Strawberry Rhubarb Entremet

Course by Être Patisserie

The thirteenth course, a dessert, was strawberry rhubarb poached in cardamom, vanilla bean mousse, cinnamon and yoghurt sorbet. This dessert was almost too beautiful to be eaten, with the poached strawberry rhubarb giving a sweet sourness, and hints of aroma from the cardamom and balanced with the sweetness of the vanilla bean. The yoghurt sorbet added a layer of complexity. Another beautifully done dessert.

Donnafugata Kabir-Moscato di Pantelleria DOC 2015 | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

The desserts were paired with the Donnafugata Kabir-Moscato di Pantelleria DOC 2015.

Mignardises by Être

Course by Être Patisserie

The fourteenth course, mignardises, were a set of tartlets of local figs and Ipoh white coffee. Both chocolates were beautifully done, with the sweetness of the figs in one contrasting the bitterness of the coffee in the other.

Wine Bottles | DC Restaurant x Jeff's Cellar x Être | Food For Thought

The DC Restaurant x Jeff’s Cellar x Être Patisserie Experience

There have been many collaborations in Malaysia over the years as we start to see chefs working together to forward modern Malaysian cuisine, but few have managed to capture the essence of the Malaysian spirit this well… working together. The Malaysian experience is built from a collaboration of many cultures, with concentrations of the Malay indigenous ingredients, to Chinese cooking techniques and Indian spices, just to name a few, which were all see using European cooking techniques elevating it to a different level. On why this collaboration with Chef Boon and Chef Ann, Darren continued: –

“The Banjaran Hotsprings is an amazing weekend retreat, but I also wanted to showcase the local talent of the chefs we have. For example, Chef Boon is a very good chef who needs more recognition and Chef Anne Lee has very strong credentials. We are also really lacking female chefs in this industry, that is why I wanted to showcase her skills and products. Her pastries are phenomenal and deserve more attention.”

There is only one shame and that shame is that this collaboration is only a one off which saddens the whole experience. Imagine experiencing such an amazing degustation in such an idyllic location within the beautiful limestone caverns. We can only hope and pray to see more of such partnerships in the near future.

For our previous reviews, see DC Restaurant.


Jeff’s Cellar
Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat,
1, Persiaran Lagoon,
Sunway 3,
31150 Ipoh,
Perak
+605 210 7777
Opening Hours:
6.00 pm to 11.00 pm

| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SONIA SOON | WEBSITE: DC RESTAURANT, JEFF’S CELLAR, ÊTRE PATISSERIE |

Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Principal Counsultant of A Thoughtfull Consultancy.

12 Comments

  1. Wow Nick!!! Such a beautiful restaurant!!! Crab ice cream sounds so interesting!!

  2. This restaurant is inside a cave? Very interesting! Is Ipoh far from Kuala Lumpur?

  3. I’m a big fan scallops, and that dish just looks stupendous! Must be so fragrant with umami.

  4. Great article Nick, you really are so good at describing food. It really takes you on a journey. Bravo!

  5. Looks like you have come a long way Nicholas. Very proud of your writing. Felicitations.

  6. Those desserts look really tasty, Chef Darren is right.. Chef Ann really has a lot of talent.

  7. I wonder how lovely this dinner will be. But now so many more serious issues than nice food sighs…

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