Hide: Global Flavours Hidden in Plain Sight

Entrance | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Located within the Ritz Carlton Residences on Jalan Ampang sits Hide, a ten-seater speakeasy restaurant of sorts, serving a menu inspired by global gastronomy, as prepared by the very young and talented Shaun Ng. The degustation boasts a 14-course menu, taking you on a journey across the planet.

Interior | Hide KL | Food For Thought

A Hidden Gem, A Cave Of Wonders

The entrance to Hide is located behind a painting that opens into a corridor before entering the restaurant itself. As you enter the main dining room, seats are placed in a U shape with only 13 seats available. The cuisine itself is hard to pinpoint because of its global influences, from Brazil to Japan to Korea and French; but also of course from cuisines he has picked up along his culinary education.

Chef Shaun Ng | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Shaun Ng of Hide Kuala Lumpur

Shaun Ng is the Executive Chef of Hide, and for a chef who is only at the ripe age of 29, he has managed to garner a few interesting culinary badges under his belt. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, he then went on to join three Michelin starred Le Bernardin in New York before deciding to join Kato in Los Angeles, where he honed his skills.

“In Le Bernardin it was a bigger restaurant with a bigger team, so I had the opportunity to master specifically on one task. At Kato, we only had a small team of 4 people, so we had to do everything from fish butchery to sauce making. That was where I learned the most from. My head chef, Jon Yao is one of the most influential chefs in my life as he has taught and pushed me the most. I definitely would not be who I am now if not for Jon. He is and would be my biggest inspiration of all time. I believe that cooking comes from the heart. There has to be passion, love and care to ensure each dish is able to reach its highest potential. When I was young, I was actually quite a picky eater… I did not like onions, garlic and a whole lot of other ingredients. However, as I was growing up, I had the lucky experience of trying out food from some restaurants by great chefs and suddenly all these ingredients that I used to hate, was suddenly so tasty! From there I realised that not everyone is a picky eater, however it’s their experiences that shaped the way they think of food. For me, I prefer to cook seafood as I feel that seafood is a lot more delicate and therefore requires more skill in preparation as there is a very thin margin between undercooked, perfectly cooked and overcooked.” — Shaun Ng, Executive Chef of Hide Kuala Lumpur.

Paloma Raindrop | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Paloma Raindrop

Grapefruit, Campari, tequila and soda
The amuse bouche to set the tone for dinner was a whimsical play on a paloma, one of the most popular tequila cocktails, encased in bubbles as vessels which pop with a bite. The amuse is placed within an enclosed green arrangement looking like dewdrops ready for the plucking.

“We want to showcase the Malaysian rainforest and bring diners the experience of finding their food in the rainforest but with a twist.”

The “T-Rex”

Ocean trout, brik, capers, cornichon and lemon
Another amuse, the playful morsel was made using paper thin Berber brik pastry, sandwiching ocean trout. You can see the finesse and techniques used in making something that seems so simple, but also is very technically difficult to achieve, especially without breaking off the smaller parts like the hand and the teeth.

“We wanted to bring on a different kind of preparation experience but still with familiar ingredients such as cornichons and capers to guests. Who says you can’t have fun even when you’re old!”

Narabi Uni | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Narabi Uni

Potato, butter, soy glaze and chives
The fluffy pommes soufflé encased in a crispy pillow is further contrasted with the briny sweetness of the uni, with the deep assortment of umami and savouriness from the soy glaze, making the bite quite the punch of flavour.

Shigoku Oyster | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Shigoku Oyster

Shiso, fermented daikon sauce
A simple preparation using a shigoku oyster, the amuse was the third in a set of three, offering a different mouthfeel and sensation compared to the first two. While the T-rex played with texture and the uni with briny sweetness, the oyster offered a metallic sensation with the fermented daikon for some sourness and tartness, balancing the trio out.

Kombujime Tai | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Kombujime Tai

Marigold sprout, cucumber, finger limes, and persimmon
The tai takes two pronounced ingredients, the umami from being cured with kombu, and the Australian finger limes, known for its pronounced sourness and citrus flavour. The flavour of the persimmon was quite mild, which was easily eclipsed by the finger lime, but nevertheless, a nice contrast of clean with the sourness.

Truffle Dadinho | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Truffle Dadinho

Tapioca sago, gouda, and parmesan
Another simple yet effective dish, the dadinho was inspired by the Brazilian street snack, usually made with tapioca and cheese. The version at Hide sees this simple staple elevated, with a umami and creamy centre filling of well cooked tapioca with gouda and parmesan, with an outer layer of crispy socarrat like casing made from burnt tapioca itself, lending to layers of texture, temperature and umami. This dish may come off as simple, but it’s very technically difficult to accomplish.

“Inspired by chef Jon Yao and also a Brazilian street snack, I wanted to do a dish that was an homage to him but with a different approach. Here we serve our dadinho with a gouda mornay sauce for a creamy cheesy texture that is contrasted by the crispy tapioca, topped with truffles to give the dish more aroma.”

Mud Crab

Truffle, egg custard, goji, and dashi
A clever interpretation of a chawanmushi, the simple yet refined dish showcased the freshness of the mud crab in one of the best ways to showcase seafood, in an egg custard. Effective for letting an ingredient shine, which also did not need the additional truffle slice, but as a touch of luxury.

Octopus | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Octopus

Smoked eggplant, fermented chilli, and nasturtiums
One of our favourite dishes of the night, the octopus takes a page out of a dish from Taiwan, with the octopus itself being of Galician origin. The octopus was cooked two ways, with braising first which resulted in the flesh being tender and not rubbery, which was then crusted and deep fried with the skin on resulting in a texture akin to pulled beef. The umami from the fermented chilli added an interesting dimension, with the smoked eggplant mellowing out the dish for balance.

“A dish that took inspiration from my visit in Taiwan. I had a dish with squid and fish paste drowned in a delicious sweet and sour soup. We do ours with a little familiar twist by adding some fermented chilli oil. When I first took a bite, I thought to myself that I’ve never had something that tastes like this before, and it inspired me to recreate the same experience for our Malaysian guests.”

Black Cod | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Black Cod

Koshihikari, conpoy panache, and pea tendrils
One of the most elegant plates, the black cod sits on top of the luminescent kohsihikari rice, known for its superb texture and roundness, seasoned with conpoy for that unmistakable spicy umami flavour. One of the more understated dishes of the night.

Duck | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Duck

Squash purée, radish ceviche, and duck jus
Coming in as the main red protein of the night, the generous slab of duck breast, which has been air-dried for 14 days resulting in a crisper and firmer skin, which also dries out and intensifies the flavour of the layer of duck fat under the skin. The squash purée adds a creamy but not too sweet contrast, which the radish ceviche adds a bit of vibrancy, with the duck jus pulling the dish altogether.

Kagoshima Wagyu | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Kagoshima Wagyu

Potato purée, caramelised onions, maitake, and beef jus
A supplementary cut that can be added to the degustation, the Kagoshima Wagyu is cooked over binchotan to ensure a nice crust which elevates the umami components, while the inside is perfectly medium rare. A beautiful and delicate cut only complemented with the maitake served on the side.

Coconut | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Coconut

Calamansi, coconut snow, and cookie tuille
The first dessert was inspired by Hawaii, a nod to the piña colada, with flavours of calamansi for tang, coconut as its base, and cookie tuille for a bit of texture.

“I think most Malaysians don’t think of going to Hawaii because of how far it is to get there. At Hide, we want to bring in the flavours of Hawaii to our guests. For this, we play with the flavours of coconut, piña colada and a leaf cookie tuille to bring a mimetic approach of palm trees.”

Kueh Kapit | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Kueh Kapit

Banana, lime, mint, and yoghurt
A nod to the Malaysian Chinese heritage, the kueh kapit is a reimagining of the beloved Chinese New Year snack. The flavours work well, but is far from the kueh kapit you might know, with banana and lime playing important components for flavour.

Chocolate | Hide KL | Food For Thought

Chocolate

Mixed berries, cocoa nibs, streusel, and sponge
The simple but decadent chocolate dessert has a mix of components reminiscent of a gateau, with flavours of sweetness from the chocolate, tartness from the berries and bitterness and texture from the cocoa nibs.

“This is a creation from our head pastry chef Michelle, where most people are used to having chocolate cakes with the same basic components. However, with this dish, she prepares it carefully with layers which you will be able to see when you cut into it, like a petit gateau. This dish takes her the longest to make and is the most time consuming of all the desserts we have at Hide.”

The Hide Experience

Hide has chosen to serve an eclectic mis of modern global cuisine, inspired from the cultures and cuisines from around the world, with influences from Brazil, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Spanish, as long as it fits within the flow of the menu.

“The experience we are trying to deliver to patrons at Hide is one that is personalised and personal. The chefs in the restaurant would be doing the plating, serving, explaining and also the occasional clearing of dishes rather than the traditional approach of having chefs in a closed kitchen at the back and no interaction with the guest whatsoever. The open kitchen was purpose built as we want the diners to be able to feel like they are actually dining in the actual kitchen of the restaurant; to be able to watch and hear how a professional kitchen runs. Because of this there would be the occasional sound of the dishwashing machine operating and the exhaust running. We hope our diners would be able to understand and accept this as we go on to bringing out Malaysians from their comfort zone.”


Hide Kuala Lumpur
The Ritz-Carlton Residences Kuala Lumpur
105, Jalan Ampang,
Laman Sentral Berjaya,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+6019 222 9842

| PHOTOGRAPHY: NICHOLAS NG & HIDE | WEBSITE: HIDE |

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.

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