Inside the culinary extravaganza that was the talk of the town over a fantastic weekend in Kuala Lumpur

November 13 and 14, 2021 saw the debut of Tatler Dining Malaysia’s inaugural Off Menu event, presented in partnership with HSBC Premier. The two-day pop-up festival was a veritable oasis of food and drinks in the heart of the city, and featured the convergence of some of Malaysia’s most celebrated chefs as well as a curated list of bespoke gastronomical delights.

Read more: Off Menu Food Festival: A Curated Dining Experience Like No Other

The thrilling gourmet experience brought together, for the first time ever, six teams of local and international chef pairings: Chai Chun Boon of Copper Restaurant with Jeff Ramsey of Japas by Jeff Ramsey; World Pastry Champion (Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie) Otto Tay with Raymond Tham of Beta KL and Skillet at 163; Jun Wong of Kikubari with Diego Reali of Natalina Italian Kitchen; Johnny Au Yong of Ebisu at Altitude with David Dahlhaus of Ambara; Kenny Lee of Jade Pavilion with Mandy Goh of Kayuputi; and Junious Dickerson of Curate with Azli Ahmad of OpenHouse.

There was nothing quite as exciting as announcing the opening of the doors at Off Menu Kuala Lumpur 2021 at Centre Court, Level 8, Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur Managed by Banyan Tree, and watching the guests, fresh out of months of lockdown, pile in, eager to savour Off Menu-exclusive chefs' creations.

See also: Off Menu Kuala Lumpur: A Preview of the Gourmet Dishes at This Exclusive Food Festival

From creative takes on Japanese cuisine and dishes that pay homage to the chef's background to unconventional ingredients promising a marriage of unique flavours and seafood that tastes like it was freshly plucked out of the ocean, Off Menu Kuala Lumpur 2021 celebrated Malaysians' love for food and the dynamic dining scene, anchored by one-of-a-kind chef collaborations.

Armed with a passport (red for familiarity), guests travelled from booth to booth to sample the dishes which were prepared on the spot. They were kept well-hydrated in the balmy weather with generous servings of chilled H20 courtesy of San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. "This is fun! I haven't held a passport in so long," one guest was overheard excitedly saying.

By night, the venue dramatically transformed and took on a different vibe: a lush playground illuminated by strobes of green and purple. As tropical tunes filled the air (on point playlist of mood music), the celebration continued. For one night only on November 13, HSBC Premier and their invited guests enjoyed a special Off Menu Kuala Lumpur 2021 night out. HSBC Malaysia CEO Stuart Milne kicked off the night with an opening speech before guests were treated to a slew of activities and a feast for the eyes.

Perak-based T'lur Caviar, the first company in the world to successfully reap caviar from coldwater fish in a tropical climate, demonstrated live egg harvesting from a hybrid Baerii Kaluga sturgeon fish. This was followed by a play-by-play of the preparation process, including the washing and the salting for a true, unadulterated taste of the roe, before the caviar was served fresh to the guests.

Don't miss: The Asian Caviar Boom: From Malaysia's T'lur Caviar To Singapore's Caviar Colony

Drinks were aplenty, with Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia supplying free-flowing Terrazas red and white wine, three types of refreshing Belvedere vodka cocktails by mixologist Henry Tan, and Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial champagne, as well as an array of kombucha and juices from ChaCha and La Juiceria. Beer lovers weren't forgotten as there were frosty bottles of Edelweiss, Heineken 0.0, Tiger Crystal, and perfectly creamy Guinness on tap.

To add on, attendees of the HSBC Premier night also took home personalised boxes of chocolates from Chocolate Concierge founded by Ong Ning-Geng, a purveyor of Malaysian single-origin artisan chocolates.

Of course, we couldn't have pulled this off without a dream team, including the crew at Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur Managed by Banyan Tree as well as our extraordinary culinary maestros. They've shown nothing but pure grit and passion, and great camaraderie around each other. The team at Tatler Malaysia had a blast hosting them.

"It was a great opportunity to taste so many great dishes from so many chefs. I really enjoyed showing my food to everyone and explaining my recipes. This was a great chance to introduce myself to a lot of new people," said Otto Tay.

Read more: Off Menu: 12 Chefs To Shine In Tatler Dining Malaysia’s First-Ever Food Festival

"I thought everything went very well. A big success! I could see all the people enjoying our food and the fun atmosphere. Thanks to all my supporters for coming!" enthused Johnny Au Yong.

"This event had such good vibes. After being stuck in lockdown for so long, it was good to be able to go out and have fun with everybody again," Jeff Ramsey declared.

"It was a very good experience for me. I came all the way from Langkawi so initially, I didn't know what to expect, but all the other chefs and the team at Tatler Malaysia have been so friendly and helpful. All in all, I really enjoyed myself and I met so many new people," said Mandy Goh.

"I think this was exactly the right time to have this event, now that we can come out again after lockdown. This was a great chance to meet other chefs and keep the community here strong after such difficult times. I enjoyed improvising and making a new recipe, and seeing people enjoy my food. Maybe next time, Tatler Malaysia, you can have a longer event?" David Dahlhaus said.

"I feel very honoured to be selected to be among the first chefs for this Off Menu event. There were a few delays and many changes due to the pandemic, but ultimately I think everything was carried out well. I hope there are more events like this in future," Junious Dickerson enthused.

See also: The Top 20 Restaurants In Malaysia In 2021

"I thought this was a great event and something that's not done before. I enjoyed meeting all the other chefs. I also met a lot of old friends and patrons of my restaurants here. Overall, a great event, kudos to Tatler Malaysia! Please do this annually," said Raymond Tham.

Keep an eye out for more updates about the next Tatler Dining Malaysia Off Menu event in 2022. For more info, visit Off Menu Kuala Lumpur's official website or follow Tatler Dining Malaysia on Instagram.

  • PhotographyKhairul Imran
  • LocationPavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur Managed by Banyan Tree
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