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LSA Makan Club hosts its first dinner event at Shook! The Starhill Dining

Lifestyle Asia KL soft-launched the LSA Makan Club with its first ever dinner event at Shook! The Starhill Dining.

We commemorated the soft launch of the inaugural ‘LSA Makan Club’ with fellow influencers and their guests by getting together for an intimate dinner at Shook! The Starhill Dining last week. The first of the LSA Makan Club events saw a commingling of content creators and influencers alike including model and actress Nia Atasha aka “sleepylllama”; entrepreneur and content creator Shalma Ainaa; actress and content creator Jovane Phang; entrepreneur and influencer Venice Min; as well as TV host and entrepreneur Yaya Zahir.

The VIP influencers of the night: Jovane, Venice Min, Shalma Ainaa, Yaya Zahir and Nia Atasha, along with their guests.

After a quick stop at Balmain — which just opened its first flagship store at The Starhill earlier last month — the guests made their way to Shook! The Starhill Dining for a six-course dinner. The event posed as an exclusive preview, giving the guests a taste of what’s to come for the future of LSA Makan Club. The overall ambience of Shook! The Starhill Dining was very relaxed, and the private setting allowed for a nice, warm and intimate dinner.

“It’s really a great place not just for official events,” Shalma Ainaa noted, “but for family gatherings as well, and even birthdays with friends.”

The menu

The menu for the night was inspired by each of the specialties of the Tastemakers at The Starhill Dining. In his introduction, Shook!’s very own Master Chef and one of the Tastemakers Chef Mo explains that the menu was specially designed to include a bit of everything from their various restaurants within The Starhill Group, such as Yukibana, Pak Tai in Koh Samui, and Enak in KL. The menu included a blend of local fragrances with various Western flavours peppered in.

The highlights

To start with, we were presented with classic satay from Enak KL — chicken and lamb, served with peanut sauce. The satay was succulent and surprisingly very filling for an appetiser, and the chunky peanut sauce had an ideal balance of spicy and savoury.

“The satay was so meaty, and the portion was really big,” Jovane chuckled. “I was almost full before I was done with the appetiser!”

Accompanying the satay was Yum Phak Kood, or vegetable fern salad, which came with fragrantly grilled fish cakes and garnished with toasted coconut and red onion. For an added flavour, the salad dish was drizzled with mild lime dressing. Presentation-wise, the dish was artfully arranged so the fish cake sat atop the wild fern, and we could already see that the greens were drenched with lime dressing. All in all, we think that the Yum Phak Kood was a delectable burst of flavours that celebrates the eccentricities of Thai cuisine.

Among the mains, Yukibana’s creamy uni pasta particularly stood out. The uni — ‘sea urchin’ in Japanese — was served in carbonara sauce and came with an array of fresh seafood including scallops, salmon, spotted shrimp, crab sticks and finished with salmon roe.

As a massive fan of fresh seafood, I was more than eager to try it, but not without the creamy yolk-truffle sauce that accompanied it. As I drizzled the sauce on the pasta, the strong scent of truffles rose over the rest of the dish. I had never considered mixing truffle with the crisp freshness of seafood, but it worked so well. The yolk-truffle sauce was creamy and light; subtle enough to add just an edge and umami to the seafood.

“What I found interesting was the uni pasta,” Nia Atasha mused, “because it was served cold, surprisingly. But that hint of truffle was really good, and added something interesting to the flavour. I really like Japanese food, too, so it was just perfect.”

The lamb dish, however, was really the night’s main star and a favourite pick among most of the guests. With a choice of relishes that included chimichurri, peppercorn, Béarnaise, Bordelaise and creamy morel sauce, I definitely couldn’t settle on just one. I opted for the Bordelaise and chimichurri, which made a splendid pair. What truly dazzled me, though, was how succulent the Australian lamb rack was. It was the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth experience — ten seconds of perfect tunes (we recommend having this with your eyes closed). The meat was firm, with great caramelisation on the exterior, and every bite slowly changed my views on this gamy choice of meat  — in a very good way of course! 

Dinner wrapped up ever so sweetly with a traditional Thai dessert: Khao Niew Ma Muang, or better known as mango sticky rice. Well soused in warm coconut sauce, the sticky rice was served with Thai honey mango and met the balance between rich and creamy — leaving a naturally fresh finish to the palate.

Final thoughts

The tasting menu not only hand-picked the specialties of each of the Tastemakers, but also gave the best of everything; from local favourites and Western staples, with curiosities on the one hand and familiar comfort on the other. It’s easy to understand why these dishes are the métier of the Tastemakers — the medley of dishes in the menu speaks for itself, and the flavours simply jump from the plate to meet your palate.

Shook! The Starhill Dining is located on the lower ground floor of The Starhill, part of the greater complex encompassing the J. W. Marriott Kuala Lumpur.

LSA Makan Club is a local initiative to bring people together through one common love — food. The initiative explores the latest dining places, new gastronomic experiences, curated menus, and epicurean journeys in Malaysia. Stay tuned for more LSA Makan Club events.