Potager KL Bamboo Hills

Potager KL – Bamboo Hills, Kuala Lumpur

Potager KL – French Fine Dining Restaurant – Bamboo Hills Kuala Lumpur

Words: Stephen Reid
Photos: Monica Tindall

Last September, Chef Masashi Horiuchi, the culinary maestro behind Kuala Lumpur’s esteemed Entier, unveiled his latest gastronomic venture, Potager, where French culinary artistry meets the finest ingredients handpicked from top-notch suppliers. The result was a contemporary French tasting menu that was delightful and exciting to the palate. And it’s not just about the food; the restaurant’s circular design, complete with a wine lounge and private dining, encourages connection and community. Upon arrival at the restaurant, the design by award-winning Singapore-based firm 932 Design immediately captures one’s attention. A gracefully meandering pathway bordered by bamboo leads guests to an imposing entrance. The door has a wooden frame that holds fluted glass, allowing sunlight to permeate and offering glimpses into the space beyond. Brass embellishments, a consistent design element, elegantly frame one side of the entrance.

On entering, you emerge into a circular corridor that encases a courtyard with glass walls. The structure is designed in a doughnut shape. It encloses a beautifully landscaped garden, this time designed by Penang-based firm Sputnik Forest Labs. This features an array of jagged rocks contrasting with the vibrant greenery of trees and tall grasses.

The design resembles the circular rainforest garden at KLIA airport, designed in the 1990s by Kisho Kurokawa. This garden also marries the exterior with the interior. Expansive glass windows allow natural light to flood the space, creating the illusion of a courtyard garden without allowing the extreme temperatures and humidity typical of Malaysia to enter. Additionally, the design shares similarities with the colossal Apple headquarters in California. Whilst that is significantly larger, it pursues a similar intention of inviting light, greenery, and nature into the space, transforming a potentially austere and impersonal corridor area into one that is bright and inviting.

Potager KL Bamboo Hills Green Entrance
Potager KL Bamboo Hills

Potager KL Private Dining

Branching off this hallway, you’ll find four tastefully designed and decorated private dining rooms, ideal for intimate celebrations or confidential business dinners. Each offers a comfortable setting for up to ten guests, complemented by plush sofa seating for relaxation. Additionally, it opens up to a spacious private balcony with a view of the attractively landscaped gardens, complete with outdoor seating. Each room boasts an en-suite bathroom and is serviced by a dedicated staff member to cater to your every requirement. Decorated with pieces from local artists, the room also features a bar and a Sonos sound system, allowing you to personalise the ambience with music of your choice for your gathering.

Self-contained Private Dining Room Kuala Lumpur
Private Dining Kuala Lumpur

Wine Bar ‘Oeno’

Oeno is a stylish wine bar within Potager, featuring a collection of over 550 labels of wine, including Champagne and Burgundy, curated by Group Sommelier Dennis Chong (with whom we would manage to chat following our meal). The selection ranges from traditional to contemporary winemakers with a bias towards French wines. Oeno also offers dynamic wine-pairing events and educational workshops for wine enthusiasts to discover and enjoy its ever-changing offerings.

Guests can indulge in various tapas and refined snacks crafted to complement their wine-tasting experience or a range of cocktails. Until the end of this month, Oeno has “Tipple and Tapas Thursday,” a casual event where visitors can enjoy three wines paired with three tapas dishes for a very reasonable RM 200. It’s a relaxed setting perfect for enjoying a drink and some bites, whether dining in the restaurant or just passing by.

Oeno Wine Bar Kuala Lumpur
Oeno Wine Bar Kuala Lumpur

Test Kitchen ‘Espace’ 

‘Potager’ in French translates to ‘kitchen garden’ and refers to a garden where vegetables, herbs, and sometimes fruit are grown for household use. It combines the idea of a garden with the culinary use of its produce. In the landscaped gardens surrounding the restaurant, herbs and vegetables are grown, which, via this test kitchen, find their way into future menus, so the restaurant’s name is entirely appropriate. This space also accommodates chefs visiting from other esteemed restaurants locally and internationally. 

Potager KL’s mission includes showcasing the works of local artists thoughtfully displayed throughout the venue, including the elegant restrooms. While not commonly highlighted on The Yum List, I must say that Potager’s restrooms could very well be the most impressive I’ve encountered in any Malaysian restaurant. They are spotlessly clean, beautifully designed, and illuminated, decorated with unique art pieces. Even the toilet paper is meticulously crafted to a point reminiscent of what one might expect in a luxurious five-star hotel.

Espace Test Kitchen
Espace Test Kitchen

Potager KL – Dining Room 

Stepping into Potager KL’s main dining area, one is enveloped in a space where light dances across the white and green marble terrazzo floors. The colour scheme is a soothing palette of light oak, pale sage, and oatmeal hues, creating a serene backdrop for the culinary efforts you see unfold in the spacious open kitchen. Here, around cream marble countertops and islands, a team of chefs moves with a quiet focus that rivals the famed precision of Copenhagen’s Noma.

Despite the hive of activity, the atmosphere remains tranquil, devoid of frenetic energy or disruptive sounds. With seating for just 32 patrons, the restaurant ensures ample room for comfort and privacy, even at full capacity. Guests are cradled in deeply upholstered benches, adding to the Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic that exudes elegance and tranquillity.

The ambience at Potager evokes a sense of ‘quiet luxury,’ akin to the peaceful serenity found in the Aman group’s luxury resorts. The space is filled with materials and fixtures of the highest quality, all meticulously crafted to exude an ageless, subtle sophistication. This ambience doesn’t seek to grab your attention; instead, it creates a calm, reflective, and meticulously arranged setting. All of this before you have even sampled a bite of food!

Potager KL open kitchen and expansive dining area
Potager KL

Executive Chef: Chef Masashi Horiuchi 

So, a little background on the Executive Chef at Potager. Chef Masashi Horiuchi began his career as a young apprentice in a Swiss bistro before honing his skills over two decades across the European continent and working shoulder to shoulder with culinary giants like Philippe Groult, Adolf Blokbergen, Gerard Rabey, George Blanc, and Antoine Westermann. Before his return to Asia, he perfected his craft as Sous Chef at the prestigious two Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London. This impressive background assures diners at Potager of the highest quality and culinary excellence. Chef Masashi’s menu is a tribute to the earth’s generosity, a celebration of the many hands that nurtured the produce, all brought together with the meticulousness of Japanese technique and the flair of French culinary art. With Head Chef De Wet Visser, he invites diners to embrace the essence of ‘ichigo ichie’—to cherish the unrepeatable nature of each moment—and fully engage with the journey that brings the meal to the table.

After a very successful debut season, six months later, Potager has rolled out a new menu and invited The Yum List to try it out. However, they’re asking us to keep the details under our hats. They want to ensure that diners get the whole ‘wow’ effect when they try it firsthand. Here’s what’s okay with letting you in on the new menu: It is a sequel to their hit original, and it stays true to their principle of honouring the creators of the ingredients. On the menu, you’ll find elegant dishes like seasonal Japanese sea urchin, Sabahan beef tongue, and sawara mackerel from the same region. They’ve given a fresh twist to beloved staples such as Cameron Highlands’ white corn and have come up with fresh takes on Semenyih guinea fowl and escargot. Dessert-wise, Pastry Chef Nico Ooi has whipped up some sweet surprises that took Monica and me down a childhood memory lane, and for regular patrons, no need to worry; the much-loved chocolate dessert is still there, made with premium chocolate from Chocolate Concierge.

Chefs Working in the Open Kitchen
Open Kitchen

Five-Course Lunch Menu

Potager was previously only open for Dinner. However, Monica and I were invited to sample their new five-course lunch menu, now offered from Friday to Sunday and priced at RM 395 per person. A vegan menu option is available, although you are requested to notify the restaurant in advance if you would like to try this. 

Potager KL Wine Pairing 

We opted for the four-glass wine pairing, available for an additional RM 300. A four-glass non-alcoholic pairing is also available (RM200). Monica thought it was a very gracious touch to allow guests to choose from three Champagnes to begin the meal as part of the wine pairing. Monica and I opted for a glass of The Tarlant Rosé ZERO Brut Nature, a unique gem from the Marne Valley. A lively blend of Chardonnay and Pinot, it dances with zesty lemon and crisp apple flavours, finishing with a distinctive, salty snap. It’s a rare find that will add sparkle to any meal and paired well with our Amuse Bouche, one of the elements of which was a tasty caviar produced here in Malaysia. I recently learned that over 70% of all the caviar produced in the world is now farmed in China, so I was pleased to discover that a supplier in Malaysia has entered the market and can create such a high-quality ingredient. 

Tarlant Rosé ZERO Brut Nature - choose your own Champagne cart
Choose Your Own Champagne at Potager KL
Tarlant Rosé ZERO Brut Nature
Tarlant Rosé ZERO Brut Nature

We enjoyed a glass of Radford Dale Renaissance Chenin Blanc, a white wine made from the Chenin Blanc grape variety, for our next wine pairing. It is grown in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa and has a pale straw-yellow colour with a refreshing acidity. The wine offers citrus and fresh apple aromas with a hint of honey. With its crisp citrus and apple notes, it was a perfect match for our following courses. The first, a creative celebration of Cameron Highlands’ white sweetcorn, showcased its versatility. The second, a masterfully prepared mackerel from Sabah, was the meal’s highlight for me.  

Potager KL Bamboo Hills Radford Dale Renaissance Chenin Blanc, South Africa
Radford Dale Renaissance Chenin Blanc, South Africa
A trio of appetizers
Appetizers

I enjoyed a glass of Arnaud Lambert Saumur Champigny 2020 to pair with my main course, Guinea Fowl. A Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, it is an organic red wine with a rich dark colour. It is unfined and unfiltered. The intricate and subtle fragrances of red and black fruits were impressive and went beautifully with the meat’s mild, gamey notes. The guinea fowl itself was sourced from a farm in Semenyih. 

Potager KL Bamboo Hills - Guinea Fowl with Arnaud Lambert Saumur Champigny 2020 , France
Guinea Fowl with Arnaud Lambert Saumur Champigny 2020 , France

Monica was persuaded to try the Boston Lobster, a special on the menu (additional RM 85), and she was delighted she did. Without revealing too much about the dish, it was a highlight for her, and she would highly recommend it should you find it on the menu during your visit. The lobster was complemented by a glass of Envinate Palo Blanco 2021, a distinctive white natural wine from the volcanic terrain of Spain’s Canary Islands, crafted from the Listan Blanco variety. Monica found the pairing particularly pleasing. Notably, this wine is produced in limited quantities, so kudos to Group Sommelier Dennis Chong for securing a supply.

Potager KL Bamboo Hills - Boston Lobster with Envinate Palo Blanco 2021, Spain
Boston Lobster with Envinate Palo Blanco 2021, Spain

Cheese Chariot

For an additional RM 85, it is possible to sample eight cheeses from the impressive selection on the cheese trolley. The cheese is accompanied by cubes of compressed Spanish red peach, dehydrated Granny Smith apples infused with juniper berry and mint, and a kumquat puree and lactose-fermented honeydew melon. My favourite was the Compté, a French cow’s milk cheese made from unpasteurised milk and known as a “mountain cheese” Monica’s favourite was the Manchego, a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed, aged between 60 days and two years. On your visit, there may be a slightly different selection.

Potager KL Bamboo Hills Magnificent Cheese Trolley
Potager KL Cheese Trolley

Potager KL Desserts 

After our main dishes, it was time to move on to desserts. Chocolate fans and regular customers can relax; the standout Cacao remains on the menu. This dish is a homage to chocolate, meticulously crafted with beans from ‘Chocolate Concierge’—ethically sourced Malaysian cacao- a testament to their dedication to fair trade practices. As a master chocolatier, they are renowned for providing premium chocolate to the top dining establishments nationwide. They are a personal favourite of Monica’s, and this premium ingredient is used to great effect here. 

Potager KL Bamboo Hills Cacao Dessert with Olorosso Sherry by Emilio Lustau
Cacao

Our next wine pairing was a wonderfully dry, chilled Olorosso Sherry by Emilio Lustau to cut through some sweetness. It was the perfect dessert companion, delightfully dry and refreshingly cool with its deep golden hue and rich tapestry of woodsy, nutty aromas. Aged for 15 years in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, it was first produced by Emilio Lustau in 1921 to commemorate Eugenia de Montijo, the last Empress of France’s visit to Jerez.

Potager KL Bamboo Hills Olorosso Sherry by Emilio Lustau
Olorosso Sherry by Emilio Lustau

Completing our meal was a delightful collection of intricately and meticulously crafted Douceurs. A literal translation from French could be a kindness or something sweet, but you may be more familiar with the term mignardise or petit four. A collection of tiny bite-sized confections, one of whom took Monica and me back to childhood memories, but we will not spoil the surprise by giving any further information. It was bittersweet to witness the hours of meticulous preparation vanish in just a few delightful bites. However, as with the restaurant’s ethos, we appreciated the ‘hands that laboured’ to create such marvellous confections. 

Potager KL Bamboo Hills selection of Douceurs  in wooden round box
Douceurs – Potager KL

While the menu’s details are under wraps, the heart of Potager KL —its staff—deserves high praise. Our waiter, Izzati, radiated warmth and joy, enhancing our dining experience with every smile. Our wine waiter, Irwin, showed remarkable patience and grace, ensuring our glasses were filled just right for the ‘perfect shot.’ We were honoured by a visit from Group Sommelier Dennis Chong, whose passion for Potager’s wine cellar and its global connections was palpable. Monica and Dennis had met before, yet Dennis’s fervour caught my attention as he described the thrill of constructing Potager’s wine cellar. He shared how his team travels globally to wineries, delving into the grapes’ origins, regional cuisine, and culture and fostering connections. These efforts enable them to directly import select wines, ensuring that future patrons can savour these exceptional and sought-after vintages.

Restaurant Manager Roberto Lafforgue’s warm welcome and genuine interest in our experience reflected the establishment’s commitment to excellence. With an interesting French-Canadian and Spanish heritage, Roberto has embraced Malaysia’s vibrant culture despite the occasional challenges of the tropical climate! He expressed enthusiasm for the burgeoning fine dining scene, a sentiment echoed by recent developments positioning Malaysia as an emerging hub for luxury. The introduction of the Michelin Guide and the accolades bestowed upon local restaurants hint at a promising future that Potager, with its impeccable offerings, is likely to be a part of.

Potager KL Review

A visit to Potager offers a refined dining experience, blending the elegance of French cuisine with the meticulousness of Japanese artistry, all set within a breathtakingly beautiful venue. Every detail is a testament to the thoughtful and deliberate vision of Executive Chef Masashi Horiuchi. The dedicated and friendly team contributes to the restaurant’s refined atmosphere. As Monica and I concluded our meal, it felt a little like we had not only a delicious meal but also a relaxing and rejuvenating day at the spa. We left calm, content and satisfied. While we must withhold specific details to maintain the element of surprise, rest assured that the surprises will be good ones, and I’m confident you will leave with a smile, too. 

Reasons to visit Potager Kuala Lumpur: Potager’s latest five-course lunch menu offers an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with the world of fine dining. The experience is enhanced by the attentive and amiable staff, the superb quality of local ingredients, and the thoughtfully selected wine pairings complementing each dish.

Potager KL – French Fine Dining Restaurant
Unit No P11, Bamboo Hills
Taman Bamboo, Segambut
51200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
www.potagerkl.com

Potager Bamboo Hills Kuala Lumpur Opening Hours
Lunch (Friday to Sunday): 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm (last seating at 1.45 pm)
Dinner (Wednesday to Monday): 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm (last seating at 8:00 pm)

Oeno Wine Lounge Opening Hours
6.00 pm to 12.00 am
Open from Wednesday to Monday (Closed on Tuesday)

Find more fine dining restaurants in Kuala Lumpur here and stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here and here.

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