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The modern Malaysian eatery has just been named the winner of this prestigious industry award, given to the region’s most promising restaurant

Eat & Cook, one of Tatler Dining's Top 20 Restaurants in Malaysia in 2022, is also the 2022 winner of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants' highly-regarded One To Watch Award. The distinguished award celebrates a restaurant that is 'considered to be a rising star of the region and aims to celebrate gastronomic excellence, innovation and potential,' according to the organisation. 

Read more: Tatler Dining Awards 2022: Highlights of a Celebration for Culinary Champions

Established out of desperation, Eat & Cook’s origin story is one that tells of chefs and co-owners Lee Zhe Xi's and Soh Yong Zhi’s adversity and passion for the industry. After losing their jobs as hotel chefs at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and Malaysia’s strict Movement Control Orders (MCO), chefs Lee and Soh turned their passion into a profession by creating Eat & Cook. What started as a humble beginning in a modest venue with just six seats is now an industry trailblazer, hosting up to 30 guests in a classy and intimate space. 

“We are super happy and super proud for getting the recognition from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. What an incredible thing to happen after two years of MCOs!” chef and co-owner Lee tells Tatler Dining. “We really appreciate our supporters from day one for actually letting us survive until today.”

The omakase-style eatery aims to serve food that highlights and celebrates Malaysian flavours from ingredients to techniques, but with a twist that many haven’t seen or experienced before. Eat & Cook transforms Malaysia’s iconic dishes into creations that you’ll have to see to believe and plays around with their ingredients in ways not many can dream up. 

“Eat and Cook’s co-owners and chefs Lee and Soh are reinterpreting their national cuisine in bold, innovative ways,” says Asia's 50 Best Restaurants director of content William Drew. “As the winner of the American Express One To Watch Award 2022, the restaurant is recognised for its refined cooking techniques, surprising combinations and creative execution, as well as its owners’ resilience during challenging times. They are creating a new identity for modern Malaysian cuisine and we expect to see much more of them in the years to come.”

See also: Kuala Lumpur Named One of Eater's Best Food Cities in 2022

When dining at Eat & Cook, prepare to be wowed and surprised with the menu. True to omakase tradition, the dining experience shifts and changes in accordance with what is available and freshest on the day of. Chefs Lee and Soh then bring new meaning to the 'modern Malaysian' label with whatever is available at their fingertips. 

Expect some of your childhood favourites like petai prawns and laksa to be morphed into a fine dining creation that still honours and respects its origins, championing locally-sourced ingredients. Take their sambal prawns, for example. Instead of simply using more elegant and refined techniques and presentation skills, chefs Lee and Soh have invented a dish of their own with béarnaise sauce, barley risotto, salted vegetables and tomatoes from Cameron Highlands. 

Despite the hardships that came with opening a restaurant during the pandemic, Eat & Cook has found its way to the top of the big leagues in Malaysia’s dining scene. “It means something big to us and the team that our hard work has paid off and no words can describe how I feel,” Lee enthuses. “This is like a dream that happened so suddenly and when I found out about it, it was crazy to believe.”

Don't miss: The Top 20 Restaurants in Malaysia in 2022

This laudable achievement shouldn't go unnoticed. Eat & Cook has made a mark on the F&B industry beyond Malaysia’s borders and will continue to do so in the years to come. As a celebration of their achievement, Eat & Cook and its talented chefs will be honoured at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 ceremony on March 29.

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