Words: Anna Chew Photos: Monica Tindall
The paradox of DC Restaurant and chef-proprietor Darren Chin is that it sets lofty standards and he constantly tries to break them.
One cannot separate the emotive chef from the restaurant; his eye for perfection and devotion to world-class standards permeates through the food, the attentive front-of-house, the décor, brand elements and everything that makes fine dining as wonderful an experience as the one in DC Restaurant.
Pageantry comes in the form of impeccable execution of classic techniques balanced with innovation, rather than pure reliance on wizardry and trends. That is what establishes DC Restaurant as one of the top fine dining restaurants in Malaysia.
DC Restaurant by Darren Chin – 2019 Spring Menu & Wine Pairing
Service started the moment we stepped into ‘Le Comptoir’ on the ground floor for pre-dinner drinks. Our editor felt chilly and was quickly met with a guest shawl. It is such assiduous attention to detail throughout the night that brought the whole dining experience to the level one expects from fine dining restaurants across the world.
Ushered to the main dining area on the first floor, the ‘La Salle’, we are greeted by the magnificent ‘Chariot de Fromages’ and a selection of wines for those opting for the wine pairing package (RM350 for 4 glasses).
The prix fixe menu options are for 4-Course Light (RM348), 5-Course Taste (RM438) or 7-Course Discovery (RM588). We had the 5-course with wine pairing and their seasonal add-on of the bafun uni from Hokkaido.
While being seated, our waitress instinctively brought a side stool for us to place our bags and soon after showed up with a selection of house bread with a beautifully infused black winter truffle butter. We had to refrain from having seconds.
To guide us through the pairing for the night, the chief sommelier, Agnel Sathiananthan, gave an introduction of the four wines and what to expect with each course. Agnel is responsible for the curation of DC’s impressive wine list, over 230 labels, which includes some unique new world wines.
Prelude – DC Restaurant Menu
The first glass introduced was the Larmandier-Bernier “Vieilles Vignes du Levant”, Grand Cru, Vertus 2007 (RM550/bottle), a 100% Blanc de Blanc with citrusy notes of lemon and lime, and croissant and butter which complements the Prelude.
For the Prelude, you get Mini Savoury Tartlets, Irish Premium Oysters and Strip-jack Mackerel (we skipped the oysters during the review and occasionally an item will be substituted, chef’s way of staying true to the freshness of produce). It was a great opening with the tartlets, each of which packing its own unique flavours. They’re best enjoyed in a particular order; tuna with sea grapes, truffle-infused creamy crosne (a root vegetable), sushi rice with Irish mussel and avocado and mushroom with pecorino cheese. We recommend taking mindful bites of these delicate crusts for your immersion into the gastronomic journey ahead. Diners should be prepared to spend at least three hours or more to savour their meal.
First Course – DC Restaurant by Darren Chin
The strip-jack mackerel provided the right amount of sharpness to open up the palate ahead of the first course, DC’s Spring Seafood Medley. White asparagus from Loire Valley, Hokkaido scallops and Irish bouchot mussels, pearl barley risotto and red mullet pair beautifully with an Alsace, the Albert Mann Auxerrois Vielles Vignes 2016 (RM330), which is light, floral and strong on fruity notes.
The white asparagus is spring’s culinary status symbol and DC uses the largest at 22cm. Cooked in a court bouillon, with hollandaise sauce accentuated with mandarin, caviar, Parmesan cheese, balsamic glaze and their in-house green sauce, the medley of melt-in-the-mouth flavours are familiar, yet incomparable. The red mullet with crispy scalloped potatoes and a vin jaune sauce provided the acidity to balance out the creamy and the smokey allusion of the dish. The scallop with a hint of yuzu and avocado sauce showcased DC’s skill with seafood.
Something Special – DC Restaurant by Darren Chin
In between courses, we were fortunate to be served the seasonal Hokkaido Bafun Uni (RM88/piece). We highly recommend this. It’s richer in taste than the Murazaki uni, served with king crab and topped with caviar. It is fresh, creamy and flavourful all at once.
The second course was the new signature dish, the Cold Capellini, which replaced the previous somen. The al dente capellini with savoury seafood sabayon and truffled celeriac cream was a homage to fresh produce and a talented chef. The right trace of sourness and the greens to cut the sauce and creaminess of the uni was a beautiful balancing act on a very fine tipping point.
The Alaskan King Crab was the third course on the menu and it was truly unique enjoyable. Chunky crab meat, edamame and sushi rice were veiled with a gelee made from tomato water. The salty, textured meat marries beautifully with the beans, the pop of the ikura and the robust tomato flavours.
The turbot often appears in fine restaurants, no surprise it is on the menu. The firm texture and mild flavours of the fish, poached in Tuscan olive oil and abalone jus sets itself well against a mild seasoning of fermented beet jus topped with fermented belimbing buluh.
A berry granita and mint yoghurt were served between courses – a beautiful break and a signal that every single detail is given thoughtful attention here. At the same time, along came everyone’s favourite Maitre d’, Yann. He noticed that we might be having one too many fish dishes (Chef slipped in the lovely turbot from the 7-course menu prior). He then politely suggested a change from the Market Fresh Fish of The Day for mains to either the beef of lobster, since the lamb was already chosen. Soon after beef was chosen, Agnel seamlessly appeared to provide a different wine pairing for the beef. When that was settled, a beautiful knife box arrived for us to select between a choice of three. Even cutlery was not spared details.
The sensitivity and coordination from the front-of-house was pure finesse, never intrusive and with the right amount of lingering, mirroring the fine equilibrium of the kitchen.
Mains – DC Restaurant by Darren Chin
For the mains, the 14-hour Slow Roasted Rack of Lamb from South Australia comes highly recommended. Non-lamb lovers would be converts, it was that exceptional. Sous vide and grilled to tender perfection, it calls for the third pairing of Domaine Pegau “Selection Laurence Feraud” Gigondas 2011 (RM330) from Southern Rhone, with concentrated dark berries and hints of liquorice and lavender. Medium to full bodied, it provided the right tannins and lingering finish for the lamb.
Beef lovers can opt for the Japanese “Hidayu” Full-Blood A5 Wagyu 120 gram (additional RM190) to experience the extraordinary searing of the beef. Really, this was something special. We’ve heard that the chef won’t allow anyone but himself to handle this beautiful cut of meat; he treats that carefully. Savour this one slowly and observe the elegant balance of textures between the charred outer and tender inner. Paired with the Chateau Griviere 2009 (RM300), the tannins were just right to cut through the marbled meat without staying on the palate when dessert arrived.
DC Restaurant by Darren Chin – Dessert
Ending with delightful anticipation was in large attributed to eyeing the arrival of the cheese trolley with the A.O.P cheeses. Diners get to make a selection of three, served with fresh honeycomb wildflower nectar from the hills of Mar-rim Province in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We’d like to revisit again and again just to try them all but do make sure that the Brebis is on your plate. It’s milky and salty and the process of crafting the cheese flowers (with a tool that shaves a thin layer off in a circular motion) is visually entertaining.
Agnel surprised us with a final pairing, a bright Riesling in the Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese 2015. Known to be an estate that is dedicated to the Riesling, it is no surprise they have mastered it. Tannic, with pronounced lemon and lime notes and a complex finish, everything a good Mosel should be.
For a sweet option, the Matcha Green Tea Pannacotta with a charcoal meringue and white chocolate ice cream capped the night with a feeling of symmetry and alignment. It was time well spent with inspired individuals who poured their heart and soul into the crafting of a deeply satisfying experience.
DC Restaurant Review
In the creative line, one of the most difficult executions is to make something complex simple, yet memorable. These are fine lines that Chef Darren Chin and his team have managed to draw with precision and in a continual progression pushing the barriers of the fine dining experience in Malaysia.
Reasons to visit DC Restaurant by Darren Chin: a must on every fine dining connoisseur’s list.; flavours are deep and layered, like fine wine, of which they have an impressive selection; exceptional service; must try the cheese plate, do order the wagyu and uni fans won’t want to miss the very special (and seasonal) Hokkaido Bafun Uni.
DC Restaurant by Darren Chin
33 Persiaran Zaaba
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 7731 0502
+6 012 223 2991
DC Restaurant by Darren Chin Opening Hours:
Dinner only – 7 pm onwards
Find our previous visits to DC Restaurant here and here and find other restaurants for special occasions in Kuala Lumpur here.