Avant-garde Appeal

Brimming with reservations by those after a taste of its prix fixe fare, this Contemporary French restaurant in suburban TTDI has a rather inconspicuous appearance. There is no imposing facade or in-your-face signage when you approach from the sidewalk, and entry is via the prod of a doorbell.

Once in, you will be enveloped by the confines of Le Comptoir (The Counter in French), a lengthy space requiring more than a dozen paces to the back wall, on which a grand framed photo of the restaurant’s team in action hangs.

Le Comptoir

Taking pride of place here is a mildly meandering bar counter that is about as long as the chamber itself. It’s an ideal setting for some apéritifs and canapés, as a group of men and women who came one evening for the penultimate MIGF 2018 Festival Menu assessment would agree.

Dato’ Steve Day, Michael Hutt, Chef Rodolphe Onno and Chris Tiffin

Pitt Lee and Bruni Tiffin

Datin Lisa Lai, Datin Su Wai Fun, Sannie Jansen and Jennifer Cheng

On the guest list were such names as Executive Deputy Chairman of Insas Berhad Dato’ Sri Thong Kok Khee, Group Managing Director of Ireka Group Dato’ Lai Voon Hon, Managing Director of Global Asset Allocation Limited Dato’ Jeremy Smeeton, Executive Director of Macao Government Tourism Office Representative in Malaysia Cherry Lee Lee Ho, Vice President of DBS Bank Ltd, Labuan Branch – KL Office Jennifer Cheng, and Director of Corporate Affairs, Samsung Malaysia Dato’ Roh Jae Yeol.

Dato’ Roh Jae Yeol, Chef Wan and Cherry Lee Lee Ho

Michael Hutt, Datin Sri Kwee See, Dato’ Thong Kok Khee, Dato’ Lai Voon Hon, Dato’ Jeremy Smeeton and Dato’ Johari Abas

David Teh, Pitt Lee, Cherry Lee Lee Ho, Datin Su Wai Fun and Chef Rodolphe Onno

In attendance as well were two kitchen maestros; Celebrity Chef Datuk Dr Redzuawan Ismail (Chef Wan) and Technical Director of Le Cordon Bleu Sunway Chef Rodolphe Onno. The sentences flowed, and the pauses between words filled with laughter. 

Easing a cheery welcome into the scene, MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day introduced DC Restaurant’s Proprietor, Chef de Cuisine, and Le Cordon Bleu Paris alumnus Chef Darren Chin to the crowd. 

Chef Darren Chin issued a warm welcome to everyone

The chef gladly received the group, touching a bit on the history of DC before inviting them to partake in a night of good friendship and good food. This call entailed a journey up the stairs to La Salle (The Room), a warmly lit posh dining area.

Chef Darren (back, centre) and his expectant guests

As a Golden Cauldron Award winner in MIGF 2016, DC Restaurant had many eager to see what it would pull off when it announced its entry into the Festival this year. The corridor before the guest tables provided a literal window into what’s on the menu, as the food is prepped by Chef Darren and his crew on the ‘pass’. Incidentally, this pass – the final surface the plated dishes rest on before being taken through the kitchen door to the diner – was the muse behind the geometric DC Restaurant logo.

Through a window, guests were able to observe Chef Darren and his team doing their thing at the kitchen ‘pass’

With the guests having found their places, an amuse-bouche was served, comprising Italian Burrata, Hollandaise and Mandarin, and Pickled Anchovies. It’s fashioned like a ‘small garden’, with greens and flowers from Cameron Highlands, and Burrata cheese from Italy.

An amuse-bouche consisting of Italian Burrata, Hollandaise and Mandarin, and Pickled Anchovies

Simply called Wild Seabass, Kuala Selangor, the starter consisted of lightly poached seabass infused bouillon, Koshi-kikaririce, salad of fennel and banana flower. It’s a dish attributed to one of the younger cooks at DC Restaurant, who entered it in the 2018 Jeunes des Rôtisseurs competition and won.

The award-winning Wild Seabass, Kuala Selangor

The following course was a signature DC Restaurant dish that was slurped up in moments; Takao Cold Somen, Bafun Uni and Truffled Celeriac.

The signature Takao Cold Somen, Bafun Uni and Truffled Celeriac

With seafood arriving alive at the kitchen, fresh flavours are a given at this restaurant, as in the case of the next menu item, Spiny Lobster From The Caribbean Sea. It’s served with kale and fregola, savoury sabanyon and soft leeks from Cameron Highlands. With a firm texture and sweet taste to it, the lobster meat did not stay long on the plates.

Spiny Lobster From The Caribbean Sea

It was then time for the main dish, which in the five-course Festival Taste Menu consisted of a choice between three options.

First was Chef Darren’s nod to the late Lyon-based Chef Paul Bocuse, called Homage to M. Paul. Market fresh fish of the day furnished with crispy potato scales and sauce vin jaune, it was quite the appealing prospect.

Main course option 1: Homage to M. Paul

The second alternative was Darling Downs F1 Ribeye. Sharing plate space with the appetising Queensland, Australia-sourced beef were seasonal farm fresh vegetables and jus made of beets.

Main course option 2: Darling Downs F1 Ribeye

Completing the trio of main course selections was Roasted Short Loin of Lamb, whose meat also originated from Down Under, South Australia to be precise. Potiron squash, lightly braised baby eggplant and cumin were the accompaniments on this enticing dish.

Main course option 3: Roasted Short Loin of Lamb

Following suit, the desserts came in three choices as well. Fresh Seasonal Fruit with French Mara de Bois Strawberry sherbet, cheesecake ice cream and poached summer peaches was an offering.

Dessert option 1: Fresh Seasonal Fruit

Black, White, Green with light crunch meringue, matcha green tea pannacotta, white chocolate ice cream, and mulled blueberries and strawberries was another.

Dessert option 2: Black, White, Green

Le Fromage proved to be a popular option, essentially five types of cheese from the restaurant’s richly appointed cheese trolley.

Dessert option 3: Le Fromage

Mignardises saw the menu off beautifully, basically an assortment of fruit jellies.

Mignardises for a pleasant aftertaste  

Calling the evening a tour de force, Dato Steve Day passed the microphone to Chef Rodolphe for his informed two ‘centimes’ on the menu. He shone light on the high points of each dish, his overall approval apparent.

Chef Rodolphe Onno provided his thoughts on the menu

Speaking from a regular diner’s point of view, Dato’ Sri Thong mentioned that Chef Darren is proof that KL has chefs who can cut it on the international playing field.

Dato’ Sri Thong expressed his evening’s summary 

Chef Wan meanwhile said that the dinner was absolutely fabulous, describing the flavours as only he could and praising the staff for the impeccable service. Chef Darren then expressed his gratitude to the guests and his team.

Chef Wan spoke highly of the kitchen and service staff

Wrapping up, Dato’ Steve reiterated the incredible value of the Festival Menu, stating that DC Restaurant is a bit of France with wonderful Malaysian touches – as is Chef Darren’s new restaurant nearby, Bref, which the chef described as being a more rustic ‘retreat’ with an a la carte instead of a prix fixe menu.

Chef Darren and his assiduous team

The 5 course Taste Menu costs RM438++ per person without wine.      

Click here to read more about the restaurant, Chef Darren and the Festival menu.

For more pictures, click here.

Sponsored by Vision KL, Festival Publicity Dinners help create and sustain the MIGF buzz throughout the Festival month. These dinners provide an excellent way for the organisers to individually recognise the professionals in each Festival Restaurant and to thank everyone involved, from the restaurant managers and service teams, to the Master Chefs and their kitchen staff.