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Tastemakers Maggi Goreng And Ramly Burgers Receive Makeovers In Kikubari's 'Celebrating Malaysia' Menu

Maggi Goreng And Ramly Burgers Receive Makeovers In Kikubari's 'Celebrating Malaysia' Menu

Jun Wong, Chef de Cuisine of Kikubari, and celebrity chef Nik Michael Imran. Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler and Chef Nik.
By Samantha Lim
By Samantha Lim
September 12, 2018

Shelving the credence that, “Too many chefs spoil the soup," Kikubari is getting revved up for a collaboration dinner this September 17-22, 2018. Crafted by celebrity chef Nik Michael and Jun Wong, Chef de Cuisine of Kikubari, the lip smacking menu promises to be nostalgic and novel at once.

Learn more about 'Celebrating Malaysia,' a six-day feast held in conjunction with Malaysia Day:

1/5 Chef Jun has made her mark at Michelin star restaurants

Jun Wong, Chef de Cuisine of Kikubari. Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler.
Jun Wong, Chef de Cuisine of Kikubari. Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler.

After casting off her graduate cap from Taylor's University Lakeside, Jun Wong traversed the Asia-Pacific region in search of skilled mentors. Knocking on doors paid off by way of kitchen positions at Robuchon au Dôme (3 Michelin stars) in Macau, Narisawa (2 Michelin Stars and number 8 on the World’s 50 Best) in Tokyo, Sixpenny (2 AGFG*hats), and Le Petit Flot in Sydney. Half a decade later, the ‘prodigal daughter’ is back on Malaysian shores, and at the helm of one of KL’s most forward-thinking restaurants. Kikubari, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in a clandestine part of Damansara City Mall, employs not one, but two sommeliers—all the better for pairing tantalising tipples with Chef Jun’s cuisine.

See also: Superb sakes at Kikubari at DC Mall

2/5 Nik Michael Imran rocketed to fame after starring in Masterchef Malaysia

Celebrity chef Nik Michael Imran. Photo: Courtesy of the chef.
Celebrity chef Nik Michael Imran. Photo: Courtesy of the chef.

A born chef like his father, Datuk Nik Ezar, Nik Michael Imran proves that the apple never falls far from the tree. During the first season of Masterchef Malaysia in 2011, Nik was named one of 24 finalists out of some 500 contestants, a triumph that cemented his place in the culinary hall of fame. Since then, the celebrity chef has hosted and appeared on Asian Food Channel, Dapur Panas on TV3, and Kan Cheong Kitchen on 8TV among others. After shuttering the doors of PickNIK, an East-meets-West restaurant in Publika, the half Australian, half Malay chef turned his attention to Butterkicap, a food platform that aims to empower food enthusiasts with the information and tools they need to discover and replicate Malaysian flavours.

See also: Here's what Chef Wan has to say about staying true to our food culture

3/5 A meeting of minds

Behind the scenes of 'Celebrating Malaysia.' Photo: Courtesy of Kikubari.
Behind the scenes of the 'Celebrating Malaysia' collaboration. Photo: Courtesy of Kikubari.

Doubling as a skillshare between Chef Nik and the Kikubari team, the collaboration was beneficial to both parties. “I've learnt that I know so little about our street cuisine—sadly!" admitted Chef Jun. "Nik on the other hand knows a lot about Malaysian dishes and what makes them so special. He was instrumental in helping us understand the essence of each dish, and explained what we could omit versus what we had to put at the forefront."

Equally enthusiastic, Chef Nik said, "Jun introduced me to Japanese ingredients that I've enjoyed immensely: things like Shungiku, which comes across as a cousin to ulam and Kuromitsu sugar, which is astoundingly similar to our local Gula Melaka. Even before the idea of a collaboration came up, Kikubari had always been my favourite restaurant in town. Being invited to be in their kitchen was like getting a backstage pass to my favourite concert!"

Not a 'four-hands' dinner per se, the collaboration was more of a team effort. "The boys of Kikubari helped to tease out my idea of using expensive French cheese for our Ramly burger experiment," said Chef Jun.

4/5 Malaysian dishes in a modern light

Mentaiko toast at Kikubari. Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler.
Mentaiko Toast at Kikubari. Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/ Malaysia Tatler.

What can diners expect from the patriotic menu? We just had a peek, and palatable doesn't even begin to describe it!

Begin with a snack of uni roti bakar before turning your attention to the shungiku edamame ulam. Don't be shy about slurping down the momoya seaweed ‘MSG’ maggi goreng—Japanese table manners state that the louder the better! For your main course, choose between the Wagyu tamago Ramly burger ‘special’ and the ‘Hainan’ truffle chicken rice. Good news for sweet tooths: instead of having to pick from the two desserts, you'll get both! The Gula Malacca shiratama with caramelized banana and taro ice-cream will be swiftly followed by the Milo ‘kaw-kaw’ crème brulee.

See also: Chef Raymond Tham of Beta KL and Skillet@163 explains "What is modern Malaysian food?"

5/5 For a limited time only

Photo: Courtesy of Kikubari.
Photo: Courtesy of Kikubari.

"The collaboration menu is basically a celebration of Malaysian favourites, but how Kikubari's chefs and the Butterkicap team would do it," explained Chef Jun.

Priced at RM318++, the playful, patriotic menu will be served for just under a week from September 17-22, 2018. Up the ante by opting for sake pairings (RM168++). Call +603 2011 8200 to reserve your seats. Note that Kikubari will only be serving the 'Celebrating Malaysia' menu and the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival Tasting Menu from Monday-Saturday, September 17-22, 2018.


Tastemakers Malaysia Day Jun Wong Nik Michael Butterkicap Kikubari DC Mall Contemporary Japanese


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