Located within Menara Hap Seng sits contemporary French fine dining restaurant Enfin by James Won. The reputed Krug Ambassador, although French and Japanese trained, has further elevated his cuisine by going back to his Malaysian roots, taking some of the best local ingredients and interpreting them in a modern setting. The latest menu takes us on a gastronomic journey exploring the Malaysian terroir from East to West Malaysia.
The restaurant is situated on the second floor of Menara Hap Seng and comes complete with a decked out bar. The restaurant opens into two floors, with the hall being the main dining area as well as Krug private rooms situated on the floor above.
Chef James Won is the chef-patron of Enfin and was trained in some of France and Japan’s finest Michelin 3-star institutions influencing his knowledge and use of ingredients in haute cuisine. His philosophy when it comes to cooking is quite interesting, or as he puts it: –
“I take my responsibility as a food and culture preservationist with immense dignity; by making sure that I continue the sharing and promotion of indigenous ingredients and techniques in my curations at Enfin by James Won. I will continue to learn and disseminate the knowledge shared with me by the elders I have met throughout my journey as a chef and in keeping with family heirloom recipes. Enfin is an international multi-award winning contemporary French Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, focusing on preservation of Asian indigenous ingredients. We are inspired by our culture identity and heritage which is fused with the confluence of many ethnic groups.” — James Won, Chef-patron of Enfin by James Won.
Krug Ambassade with Maison Krug
Enfin is not your regular fine dining restaurant, as they are the only Krug’s Chef’s Table in Asia. The first and only Malaysian to be inducted into the exclusive Krug Ambassade Network, Chef Won is also a Chevalier, a Knight by the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.
“Krug Ambassade was an invitation by Maison Krug. Krug Ambassades is where Krug lives. Chefs from around the world are invited based on their individuality and their passion for their art. Chefs invited also share the similar savoir faire of Maison Krug is expressing their uniqueness in dedication to highest quality of craftsmanship and the intrinsic connection with the primal elements.”
The Enfin By James Won Degustation Menu
The tasting encompassed a number of modern Malaysian dishes paired with Krug Grand Cuvée, with each dish carefully thought out with how it will affect every bite. The Degustation Menu comes in four or five courses, with additional wine pairing if you desire.
The first course, an amuse bouche, the Aloe Nigiri is made from fermented aloe vera, Bario rice puff, fermented chili and white sturgeon caviar. This one of the new amuse bouche which is made to mimic a tuna nigiri. The ‘tuna’ is made from aloe vera that has been fermented in cherry tomatoes giving it a sweet umami flavour, with the treated aloe vera’s texture becoming quite fishlike. The aloe has also been dyed using beet root giving it a certain visual representation and feels like a dish you would find more commonly in South American cuisine.
The second course, an amuse bouche, was the Scallop Keropok, consisting of a scallop chip, hazelnut, cress, crème fraiche and Szechuan pepper. The scallop keropok is an homage to the famous Malaysian cracker, with the bottom made from scallop chips, seasoned with the crème fraiche giving it a sweet tart balance.
The third course, an amuse bouche, was The Egg, made from white of parmesan tofu, yolk of sea urchin and Mandarin curry. The egg is one of Enfin’s signatures that has gone through a few iterations, and is probably one of their most iconic dishes. Visually, the egg looks quite simple, as though made from egg whites with a yolk in the centre. However, the egg whites are actually made from parmesan tofu, while the yolk carries sea urchin and a mandarin curry. This dish is reminiscent of a curry laksa with its pronounced curry flavours brought out even more by the intense umami of the sea urchin. This dish is simple quite outstanding.
The fourth course, an entrée, was taken from James Won’s Hakka heritage, consisting of caviar, tofu and mushroom farci, fermented chili, salted fish and bonito green broth. This dish is taken from the Krug Champagne Single Ingredient Book Curation 2019, and is another one of their signatures. The stuffing of the chilli is completely made from tofu and mushroom, but has the flavour and depth of what you would find at any reputable Hakka yong tau foo restaurant. This dish may look simple, but has been painstakingly handled was each chilli is steamed and then skinned very carefully to ensure that each chilli is perfect and blemish free. The highlight of this dish would actually be the bonito green broth, with its umami rich disposition. Needless to say, it paired very decently with the Krug Grand Cuvée.
The fifth course, a seafood dish, was the Scallop Ceviche, consisting of Hokkaido scallops, fermented lemon, Espelette pepper, Bario puff, sesame and chili confetti, burnt cauliflower, cauliflower couscous and laksa oil. The scallop ceviche was arranged beautifully, perhaps a nod to Pollinger’s scales, was quite interesting as the Hokkaido scallops gave a flavour that was rich, and went very well with the bits of barrio rice puff for texture, and burnt cauliflower for a contrasting earthy umami in contrast to the briny umami of the scallop.
Terroir of Malaysia
The sixth course, a vegetable dish, was the Terroir of Malaysia, consisting of heart of gem lettuce, toasted seaweed, cordyceps mushroom straws, buah keluak and truffle crème fraiche, cress and blossoms, oyster and charred chicken glace. This dish is Enfin’s sum of the Malaysia terroir on a plate. The heart of gem has a crisp texture and light sweetness, which is contrasted with the mildly bitter cordyceps and made interesting with the spiciness from the buah keluak and truffle crème fraiche. Of all the dishes, this one probably spoke most to taking the best of what Malaysia has to offer and putting it on a plate in the simple ingredient that is the little gem, truly a little gem.
Brittany blue lobster, Sabah prawn coral bisque, seasonal truffle, Highland Bario risotto, mushroom and kerisik and burnt shallot dust. The risotto is made from two types of Bario rice from Borneo, with both red and white varieties. The lobster flesh gave the dish much flavour, with the shallot dust adding some pungency. Decent dish.
Bidor Duck Breast
Ipoh white coffee, cacao glace, Bario rice puff, yam, pickled beetroot, radish and ikura. The use of Bidor duck is significantly one of the best local produce you can find in Malaysia, without stead stock readily available. The duck was pink on the inside, cooked well, and had that distinctive Chinese braising style with a pronounced Chinese five spice aromas. The rice puffs gave it a bit of crispy texture, with the yam gnocchi being a nod to the Hakka abacus yam beads. This dish was probably the best dish on the menu and is highly recommended.
Le Dôme à la Enfin
Single Origin dark cocoa multi-layer mousse, sponge, sauce, vanilla crème, raspberries, chocolate and a raspberry layer dome. The chocolate dessert had many textures and the raspberry complemented it decently.
The Enfin by James Won Experience
Enfin has been known as one of Kuala Lumpur’s more renown fine dining restaurant, and their partnership with Krug is exemplary of their quality. As with many fine dining restaurants, Enfin seeks to ensure their patrons are able to experience their cuisine with Malaysia as the centre of its plate. When askes what is most important when it comes to their service, Won states: –
“Genuine hospitality which is no different from when you invite guests to your home, with the same warmness and attentiveness. We pride ourselves on being able to ascertain what the guest needs before they do. Our Main believe and mantra at Enfin is Happy Chef makes Happy food, Happy host makes Happy guests.”
For those looking to have that refined experience with the perfect champagne pairings, Enfin is definitely one that you should not miss while you’re in Kuala Lumpur.
Menara Hap Seng,
1, Jalan P Ramlee,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
+60 10 288 7920
Monday to Saturdays, 11.00 am till 2.30 am
Closed on Sundays.