Chef James Won is a name that has steadily climbed the ranks of Kuala Lumpur’s burgeoning fine dining scene and he’s earned his stripes well, from being inducted into the exclusive elite circle of Krug Ambassade to working with some of the biggest names in culinary history, namely Alain Ducasse.
It’s been more than a year since his refined French establishment Enfin by James Won has opened its doors to the public and Won has gathered a group of journalists on a Wednesday night to unveil a preview of his new dinner degustation menu. But let’s get one thing straight. If Enfin marked the culmination of Won’s ambitious feat that took three years to perfect, the new dinner degustation menu will be a representation of where the establishment will head towards in the future. After five years of laborious training under Won’s guidance, his 100 per cent Malaysian team is finally ready to showcase a new level of maturity and a heightened sense of pride in the new menu.
Won also made an important announcement that night, declaring that his lifelong dream of turning his establishment into a farm-to-table restaurant is finally realised. The team will harvest their fresh produce from their very own biodynamic and organic farm in Cameron Highlands, comprising 69 to 73 varieties of fruits and vegetables.
As a chef matures with time, a shift in techniques and skills is inevitable and Won has adopted a distilled approach by decreasing the number of techniques used on a dish, allowing the ingredients to shine on its own. Modern French cuisine will no longer be the same in Enfin’s kitchen as well as Won is now experimenting with fermenting a koji and rice wine in-house as a substitute to white wine. “Each of our fermentations is made from carefully selected local and imported grains that we’ve curated into the perfect recipes over time and years of testing. I find that this fusion of Asian fermentations in French cuisine enhances the flavours of the dishes yet leaves them pure and traditionally French at their core,” he says.
You can opt to savour the new dinner service as a four- or five-course degustation menu with the choice of additional champagne, wine and fine cognac pairing. The amuse bouche options have also expanded from one to three choices, including lavish ingredients such as white sturgeon caviar, squid ink macaroons and truffle ice cream. We love the ingenious pairing of the truffle ice cream with basil cone and don’t forget to take a sip of Krug to experience heightened notes of fruitiness.
Next up is four entrées which include scallop, mushroom textures tartare, cured Hamachi and truffle crème. The mushroom textures tartare is a vegetarian delight that comprises raw mushrooms, distilled essence of mushroom and toasted quinoa for an extra crunch. Mushroom also makes the base of the decadent truffle crème, resulting in an extremely fragrant soup that you’ll wipe clean with the brioche crouton on the side. Won has also changed the entire dining format for his new menu, inserting palate teasers and palate cleansers in between.
A range of seafood and premium protein such as lobster tail, North Sea white cod, Margaret River wagyu and rack of lamb are available for the main course, with an optional supplementation of truffle when in season. Our choice of North Sea white cod did not disappoint, as the fish was glazed with double fermented tuak and we couldn’t get enough of the juicy heirloom carrots harvested fresh from the farm. For dessert, we’ll recommend the pumpkin and mandarin meringue log, a sweet citrus medley on the plate enveloped in a light meringue shell, or else, there is always a selection of cheese platter or avocado mousse with Mediterranean dates and dark chocolate.