Spectacular Malaysian Cuisine
By Jacqueline Benita Paul
Left to right – Cucur udang, Sup Ekor, Pucuk Paku, Kambing Kuzi, Rojak Betek, Daging Opor Hijau, Chef Wan Ikan Bakar, Gulai Lemak Udang, and Nyonya Kapitan
Utter the name Datuk Chef Wan to a Malaysian celebrity chef who has garnered a name for himself with international recognition and various venerated accolades in acknowledgement of his culinary contributions. At age 61, the man shows no sign of slowing down with his recent opening of De.Wan 1958 at The Linc KL.
While we are aware of Chef Wan’s bigger than life personality and expected a fanciful place, we were blown away by his flamboyant interior design – a mahogany ceiling with Islamic motifs that soars overhead, spanning the main dining area furnished with striking cobalt-blue rattan chairs. Unimposing luxurious crystal chandeliers and reflective gold walls – dividing the event space and dining area, and to top it all, an enormous painting of Chef Wan which can be seen across the room to the private dining area. In short, a visit to De.Wan is an occasion to dress for.
We were hosted by F&B veteran Andre Shum, one of the managing partners of De.Wan. He startled us when he brought three menus. Noting our reaction, he assured us that two of the main menu’ were distinguishable by sharing and single plates that catered for the lunch and dinner crowd. There is also a tea-time menu and dessert menu. For larger groups, the Hidang set menu caters for 8-10 pax with value-for-money sets.
Food was the raison d’être for our presence, so we shall dive in. First to arrive at our table was the Rojak Betek Terengganu, a combination of vibrant and fresh young papaya, cucumber and pineapple strips tossed in the house-made chilli fish paste served with a side of crispy fish crackers. Our mouths water at the mere recollection. Next was an indulgent Cucur Udang, a coalition of fresh tiger prawns, dried shrimp, bean sprouts and chives in batter, deep-fried to golden and crispy perfection. It paired marvellously with Chef Wan’s signature sauce and special peanut sauce. More fresh seafood arrived at our table with the next course, Kerabu Pucuk Paku with Kerang – a favourite among the starters for its plump and perfectly cooked cockles and prawns mixed with sweet fiddlehead fern. This dish boasted robust flavours with balanced sweet and savoury notes. You could add a squeeze of lime for some zest but it’s perfectly enjoyable without it.
If we work closer to The Linc KL, our lunch hour may revolve around De.Wan, especially for the Sup Ekor, a tentalising broth made from Austalian oxtail blended together with premium local ingredients. Dip it with the side of bread that is served and you may find yourself in a soporific state. We then moved to the mains which were a medley of Chef Wan’s colourful heritage – Peranakan, Chinese and Malay influences being the primary inspiration here. The Kambing Kuzi astounded us with succulent chunks of NZ lamb carrying the sweet, groups, the Hidang set menu caters for 8-10 slightly heated and heady curry. Of course, pax with value-for-money sets. Food was the raison d’être for our presence, so we shall dive in. First to arrive at our what is Malaysian dining without rice? At De.Wan, diners have a choice of Nasi Telur Terengganu, Kasi Kunyit or Nasi Putih (free flow for Hidang set).
The mains continued to impress with the Daging Opor Hijau and Gulai Lemak Udang Nenas, boasting hardy and invigorating flavours with thick and tender meats swimming in lusciously rich curry. Prominent presence of Chef Wan’s Nyonya roots is reflected in his Nyonya Kapitan – a crowd favourite. Not-to-be-missed on your order is the Ikan Bakar (Bakar-Bakar section). Our choice was a 1.4kg Jenahak that could feed approximately 10 pax, but we had no problem devouring the dish clean. The fish was tender with a glazed and perfectly charred skin. With each order, you are given a choice of any three of Chef Wan’s specially- made dipping sauces. We concluded that the perfect oceanic combination was in the form of Chef Wan’s Jenahak Bakar and sambal hijau. Desserts were equally delightful with the Som Som and Bubur Pulut Hitam. We never believed in the dessert stomach concept till we got acquainted with these dishes.
Few understand the theatre of dining as instinctively as Chef Wan. His new city outpost is proof of that. It is an expression of his passion in several dimensions – art, food, design, heritage, family and Malaysia – in an idiosyncratically beautiful space. The result? Dining that reminds you that life is good. Such impeccable coalesce not only merits dining with family and friends but De.Wan’s 13,000 sq ft space also has everything you need for events, weddings and corporate dining.
Address: DE.WAN 1958 by Chef Wan *Malay *halal Lot 2-2 Level 2, The Linc KL 360 Jalan Tun Razak, 50900 Kuala Lumpur
General Enquiry: firstname.lastname@example.org
Events Enquiry: AwesomeEvents@dewan.space (For enquiries only, reservations not accepted through email)
Reservation via TableApp