How do you know when eating is no longer just the simple act of bringing food to your mouth? It is when dining outlets start reinventing ways to bring fun and excitement into your meals, and we’re not talking about molecular gastronomy. This new dining trend is taking over major cities and is a growing trend here. Have you tried immersive dining in KL yet?
Immersive dining may vary from restaurant to restaurant, but the whole experience basically entails engaging more than just the sense of touch, taste, sight, and smell. There are those who focus on having a side of performance, while others focus on the interactivity between food, guests, and projected visuals. Chef James Won’s latest venture in collaboration with Tapestry Malaysia and Hennessy showcases precisely that.
Housed in his eponymous restaurant Enfin by James Won, this immersive dining experience takes place inside a white box and comprises multi-sensory interactive technology coupled with 360-degree projections throughout a five-course meal. The courses are identified by five varying “scenes”. Naturally, this must mean that the projected scenery also changes. Spoilers: it does, and it changes to complement the food served.
We begin our immersive dining experience with Scene 1, where we are immediately transported to a tropical rainforest with scattered sunlight and chirping cicadas. Won’s booming voice echoes throughout the room, explaining the dish served. Regular patrons of Enfin will recognise his signature dish of foie gras mushroom shaped into a cute white-speckled red cepe, as well as the mushroom tartare with truffled egg yolk. In Scene 2, Won presents an ensemble that looks like a single kumquat. But as they say, looks are deceiving. It is, in fact, a ball of smoked mackerel and rendang confetti with a delightful burst of laksa emulsion in the centre. The kumquat element comes in a form of the glaze that encases all the elements together.
Diners are plunged deep into the ocean as Scene 2 draws to an end. The ‘water’ rises above our heads — feeling ‘submerged’ — as the third dish emerges: a flavourful lobster bisque. It isn’t any ordinary lobster bisque, as it is enhanced with the addition of ice plants and a colourful vegetable roulade, all of which give the bisque an additional textural sensation whilst we remain underwater with the fishes and turtles.
We remain underwater as our choice of wagyu beef, which is part of Scene 4 is being brought out. Thin crisps made of Sarawakian peppercorns — layered on top of the meat — give the dish an extra depth of flavour. When eaten with the beef, the piquant peppery notes lend a different aroma to the exquisite cut, ensuring that no additional dressing is needed.
We come back up for air just in time for Scene 5. It was the dark of the night in your typical kampung scene with swaying coconut trees, twinkling stars, and the cicadas coming out to play. It is time for the show-stopping dessert of a coconut bombe Alaska with durian parfait, flambeed with Hennessy XO, no less.
Throughout the immersive dining experience, what stands out most is Won’s artful incorporation of Malaysian elements into his food as well as its surroundings. From the kampung nightlife to locally-sourced ingredients such as Sarawak peppercorns, mackerel, rendang spices, and durian — it’s obvious that Won intends to pay serious homage to his homeland. While immersive dining in KL is not a totally new concept, it is interesting to see Won’s take on the trend this time around. To keep the experience comfortable, the dinner only seats 16 people at a time.
Interested to try out the Hennessy and Tapestry Malaysia immersive dining experience? The dinner is available for lunch every Saturday and Sunday, and for dinner every Tuesday to Sunday from the 10th of July 2018 till the 9th of November 2018. Make your reservations here.