De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan is the latest dining space that’s heating up Kuala Lumpur’s dining scene. It is not just a restaurant – the 13,000 sq ft space is also a state-of-the-art event venue where patrons are promised a modern Malaysian culinary adventure, led by Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, more popularly known as Chef Wan. This Celebrity Chef needs no introduction. I believe almost everyone knows or have heard of our culinary ambassador who has done so much to promote our Malaysian food culture all over the world. Host of countless tv shows, culinary competitions, recipient of many culinary awards and author of numerous cookbooks, Chef Wan is almost a household name in the country.
Stepping into De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan, the “wow” factor smacks me right away. The colourful modern artsy decor speaks much about its namesake as Chef Wan’s gregarious bubbly personality is well known. Brightly-hued peacocks and tropical foliage designs on the walls exude a bright cheerfulness which resonate well with our Malaysian celebrity chef’s persona. The extensive dining space is cleverly planned with much flexibility to accommodate dining groups of any size. With 13,000 sq ft to play, this place is perfect for any kind of occasion or celebration – from a corporate meeting, product launch, art exhibition to a birthday party and a wedding!
From concept to kitchen fit-out, the project to bring to life De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan has been a dedicated and determined journey for Andre Shum, one of the founding partners, together with Chef Wan. “We planned this 2 years ago and along the way there were many challenges but thank goodness we managed to garner some amazing support from so many people to get this venture off the ground,” explains Andre as we settle ourselves to munch on some super-delicious Cucur Udang. While Andre handles the operational management of the place, Chef Wan rules the kitchen to ensure that every dish served meets his exacting standards of quality.
Opened just only a few weeks ago, the restaurant has been swarmed with diners every day. For some, it has been impossible to get a table as the bookings were just too full. The menu is kept simple and selections are focused, which I like. Chef Wan wants to maintain quality in the food served – better to focus on selected signature items rather than offer many options where quality may be diluted. The menu will be changed every 3-4 months to keep the excitement going.
So what’s the real deal with the food?
We tasted dishes from the various categories – Appetizer, Salad, Soup, Mains, Bakar-bakar and Desserts.Besides the Mains with a selection of 10 dishes, all the other categories have just 2-4 dishes, which like I’ve said before, is a good thing. Much focus and attention are given to these dishes, from the use of fresh ingredients to the execution and presentation. Besides some minor snags (eg splashed sauces on plates, squid a tad undercooked), I really enjoyed the food. I could see that Chef Wan’s exacting standards have rubbed on to the crew. The tastes and flavours were well-balanced, as much effort has gone into the cooking and the dishes were spot-on. Be prepared to “tambah nasi” here – not an issue as they serve 3 types of basmathi rice to guests on a free-flow basis! All in all, the food here is “sedap giler”!
Traditional golden fritters of fresh bouncy tiger prawns, dried shrimps, bean sprouts and chives, deep-fried to crispy perfection. We ate these dipped with Chef Wan’s signature chilli sauce and special peanut sauce for a perfect start to our meal. Definitely a crowd-pleaser and a big hit with DL.
Chunks of tender Australian oxtail simmered in a robust aromatic broth bursting with flavours of local spices. So heart-warming.
Kerabu Pucuk Paku with Kerang
Sweet pucuk paku (fiddlehead fern), fragrant bunga kantan (torch ginger bud) and freshly-shelled plump cockles tossed with Chef Wan’s special kerabu sauce. A touch of lime, aromatic kerisik make this salad so sublime. Hands-down my favourite of the meal! This should be made a permanent item on the menu!
Daging Opor Hijau
Australian beef fillet braised in creamy coconut milk and spices – tender meat dish with pea eggplants, capsicum and basil leaves. You need to “tambah nasi” with this one!
Succulent NZ lamb braised till fork-tender with Chef Wan’s special Kuzi (thick curry) spice paste and a variety of premium herbs. This is so good, I tell you.
Gulai Lemak Udang Nenas Nyonya-style
Fresh tiger prawns slow-cooked in creamy coconut milk with a golden turmeric-based spice paste with pineapple cubes giving it that zesty touch. The huge prawns were very fresh and sweet – I hope they keep this on the menu permanently.
Rendang Udang Galah Minangkabau
Succulent river prawns simmered in a special Minangkabau rempah paste, coconut milk and spiked with fragrant lime leaves. Originally from Minangkabau in Negeri Sembilan, this unique dish is a must-try! The sauce/rempah paste is just so addictive.
We had a whole jumbo squid and a seabass, grilled and the freshness of the seafood is so tasty and sweet that you may not even need any of the dipping sauces. All grilled items come with 3 choices of Chef Wan’s signature sauces/sambals. You may find it difficult to choose from Sambal Kicap Pedas, Sos Air Asam, Sambal Hijau, Sambal Merah, Sambal Hee Bee, Sambal Limau Kasturi, Sambal Belacan, Cincaluk or Tempoyak Chilli!
Free-flow servings of basmathi rice…
Bubur Pulut Hitam
Thai black glutinous rice boiled with corn kernel and fresh coconut milk and eaten with a dollop of premium ice-cream. Quite a unique way of serving this as it’s not really in a “bubur” form.
Bubur Som Som
Soft silky rice flour pudding topped with generous helping of creamy coconut milk and cinnamon-infused palm sugar syrup, this classic Indonesian dessert is hands-down my favourite. It’s similar to Lompat Tikam, the Kelantanese dessert. Honestly, I can polish off a whole serving of this all by myself, and then some!
Booking is recommended and is to be done online via TableApp which is linked to their website here.
DE.WAN 1958 by Chef Wan
Lot 2-2 Level 2, The Linc KL
360 Jalan Tun Razak
50900 Kuala Lumpur
For more information, please check out their website