Shiso Dining's Five Concepts Under One Roof
Chef Takashi Kimura and the Cilantro team are catering to the knowledge that diversity is delicious
Shiso Dining couldn’t have come at a better time. As customers are less inclined to splurge on fine dining these days, the cavernous space specialises in pared-down decadence. What was previously Tapas Restaurant & Bar has seen a complete turnabout thanks to the tastemakers behind Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar.
Get acquainted with Shiso Dining’s five concepts under one roof:
Takashi Kimura, the face of one of Kuala Lumpur’s longest-running fine dining restaurants, has not forsaken Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar, in case you were wondering. The Japanese chef, who has been on local soil long enough to call Malaysia home, is merely diversifying his portfolio—not a bad move given the current climate.
Cilantro's elegance and aesthetic harmony make it one of the city's best-loved institutions, but to enjoy their Cold Capellini with Sea Urchin and Botan Ebi and other signature dishes on a weekly basis is a pipe dream. Cue La Terrasse, which serves similar French-Japanese cuisine with Chef Kimura’s touch: seared foie gras with daikon and yuzu paste, chicken fricasée blanketed with black truffle slices, boozy baba au rhum served with raisin ice cream—these are dishes that wouldn’t look out of place at a stylish bistro in Europe.
Bright, spicy and very intense, like mint with a master’s degree, the shiso leaf is as essential to Japanese cuisine as wasabi, mirin and yuzu. Like the plant after which it was named, Shiso aims to inject a bit of freshness into KL's dining scene.
"What's interesting is that the kitchen staff had never cooked Japanese cuisine prior," says a reliable informant in a low whisper. "It was your regular all-day dining hotel restaurant before, but week by week they’ve gotten better."
Under Chef Adrian Lai’s stewardship, Shiso serves a wide selection of yōshoku, namely Western dishes as imagined by the Japanese. But for all their wanting to adopt Western ideas, the Japanese still enjoy their small comforts; and so Chicken Katsu Don, modelled after German schnitzel, is served with rice, while tempura, inspired by Portuguese fish fritters, is eaten with chopsticks.
Sitting squarely in the middle of Shiso Dining is the most anticipated opening of them all, so it seems strange to think that Mizukami Highball almost never happened.
Mixologist Shawn Chong, whose reputation precedes him, explains: “The bar was never in my plans. This is how it happened: I was doing a trolly cocktail shift at Cilantro when the proposal came about." Omakase + Appreciate, which Chong co-founded shuttered its doors in 2020 after seven memorable years; he calls Mizukami Highball "a new chapter."
In addition to the obvious highball, Mizukami Highball offers speciality cocktails ("If you have followed my journey, you will know that I’ve always been into the classics"), zero-proof libations ("We want to give everyone the same opportunity to have drinks with their dining experience"), and sake on tap ("We are the first sake bar in KL to have this").
More on this last note: draft sake might at first seem like a marketing gimmick, but actually allows for sake to be served at the optimum temperature. According to Chong: "At most Japanese restaurants or bars, individual sake bottles go in and out of the chiller repeatedly, which isn’t good for your drink. Whereas draft sake coming from a cask is always perfectly chilled."
TATLER TIP: When broken down to its essence, the Japanese word 'mizukami' means 'water god.'
When visiting any institution, whether it be a museum or an amusement park, no visit is complete without a stop at the gift store. Shiso Dining's 'supermarket' section scratches this same itch to take home a souvenir.
At Marché, gourmet gifts exist by way of freshly baked bread, bottles of extra virgin olive oil, gleaming cans of caviar, liquid salt that one administers as a spray, and other carefully curated food products.
Vinifera, on the other hand, sets the benchmark for reasonably priced wines with a ballpark figure of RM100.
These are bottles that need not be squirrelled away for special occasions, especially when liquid relief is required now more so than ever.
Shiso Dining | MiCasa All Suite Hotel, Lobby Level, 368, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur | +6017-394-8532
- PhotographyKhairul Imran