Restaurants that attempt to create fusion dishes are aplenty, especially so when you’re in a country with a melting pot of cultures such as Malaysia. Yet, few manage to really get fusion dishes “right” with the correct balance of flavours. Thankfully, Kikubari in DC Mall does not fall into this category, as they successfully achieved a perfect infusion of Japanese elements into typically European dishes. Think along the lines of beef tartare and capellini which flourish under the hands of of chef Jun Wong, previously from Robuchon au Dôme in Macau and Narisawa in Tokyo.

With the presence of European dishes in the menu, Kikubari also provides wine and sake pairing with its dishes. Simply ask the general manager and group sommelier Yuhei Teraoka for recommendations of which wine would pair best with your dish, and you will be good to go. Kikubari provides both a tasting menu and an a la carte one, with the former changing monthly. Be sure to check their website regularly to be up to date on the items on the tasting menu.

Atmosphere

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Artfully taken photos of geishas adorn the walls in Kikubari.

Kikubari is cosy and seats approximately 20-30 guests. The restaurant is sectioned into three dining sections: an elevated dining area with glass floors that hover above a serene Japanese zen sand garden, a private dining area, and a bar sitting area where you can watch the chefs work in the open-concept kitchen.

A see-through glass wine cellar is visible from the outside of the restaurant, boasting a wide selection of wines and sake. Portraits of artfully photographed geishas adorn the walls while lights are kept comfortably dim to ensure you are able to fully taste the flavours in your food. For now, Kikubari only serves dinner but we hear plans of them opening for lunch in the coming months.

Food

The restaurant is big on sharing plates and tapas-style dishes are widely available. We started our night with appetisers, and several in particular stood out to us such as the wagyu tartare.

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Wagyu tartare — a Japanese twist to the classic dish made popular in France.

The dish comes with a side of onsen tamago rather than the usual raw egg yolk. With the onsen tamago mixed in and spread onto the yuzukosho toast, the yuzu spread added a refreshing tangy burst of flavour to the wagyu tartare. We also had the kochi tomato salad with hotate and tarabagani jelly, which was a delightfully sweet and juicy tomato with hints of the sea thanks to the Hokkaido scallop and the jellified king crab stock.

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The kochi tomato salad makes for a refreshing appetiser.

The same tarabagani jelly can also be found in several other dishes, such as the botan ebi capellini with kochi fruit tomato and hojiso. For mains, we enjoyed the lamb loin on bone served with mash and ratatouille. The lamb was cooked to perfection: tender with a bit of a bite.

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The roasted wagyu bone marrow is best for the one with an adventurous palate.

For the adventurous palate, a must-try for mains is the roasted wagyu bone marrow, left medium rare and topped with yuzu gremolata, yuzukoshou, and grilled bread.

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The miso ice cream parfait is pretty to look at and amazing on the palate.

For desserts, we were recommended the matcha chocolate fondant with matcha ice cream and vanilla crumble, as well as the miso ice cream parfait with caramel, roasted peanuts, chocolate tuile, and banana. The matcha chocolate fondant is a safe order and one that you can’t go wrong with, but the deconstructed miso ice cream parfait is an interesting pick of flavours with an Instagram-worthy plating to boot.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves interesting and creative Japanese-fusion fare, Kikubari is your place to be. It has a great atmosphere to go with either a small group of friends, or on a date. There’s no need to crack your head over what to pick for dinner if you go for the tasting menu. The fact that it’s changed every month also ensures that you get to go back often and be surprised with something new. As seating is limited, be sure to call ahead to make an appointment.

Kikubari, L3-01A, DC Mall, Damansara City, Kuala Lumpur. +603-2011 8200

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.