After the success of the first-ever Dior Café in Malaysia in 2021, the wildly popular concept returns with a stunning dining experience in Desaru Coast as part of the ongoing Dioriviera pop-up. Housed in Ember Beach Club at One&Only Desaru Coast, Maison Dior has taken over the beachside destination where guests are invited to dine and shop the new capsule collection.
Helming the Dior Café kitchen is none other than Chef Raymond Tham of Beta KL and Skillet. This isn’t the first time Tham crafted a menu for the luxury French fashion house, he was the chef behind the previous Dior Café in Kuala Lumpur, and for him, it’s truly an honour to be invited to work with Dior on both occasions.
While the first Dior Café’s menu featured a Greek-inspired dining experience, this time, the inspiration is taken from the French Riviera with hints of Malaysian influences. “I’m always inspired by Maria Grazia Chiuri, she’s Italian. So, you might also see some Italian inspiration in the menu here,” says Tham.
This fusing of cuisines can be observed in the traditional French quiche, elevated with hints of bunga kantan, which the kitchen crew handpicked fresh from the on-site herb garden at the resort.
Interestingly, Tham has also brought Beta and Skillet’s sustainability methods into the menu. “We took the crustaceans’ shells and turned it into a paste to create the tart for the quiche,” he says. “We try our best to promote zero-waste cooking here as well.”
There’s no denying Tham has put a lot of thought into the Dior Café menu. Each dish is beautifully presented and combines ingredients that wonderfully complement one another. We particularly enjoyed the appetiser of scallop carpaccio with passion fruit ponzu, the perfect light dish to enjoy in the hot seaside weather. “I think every dish tells a story, even the vegan dish made with tempeh is super Malaysian,” says Tham.
While Tham is usually often spotted at some of the most high-profile fashion events in Kuala Lumpur, he admits he doesn’t regard himself as a “fashionable” person. However, he does look to the fashion runways for inspiration now and then. To him, there are many similarities between the creativity of a chef and the creative process of a fashion designer.
“I really like the creative story behind Dior. When I went to the Dior store on 30 Montaigne in Paris, I was very touched when I saw the dessert with the star that was inspired by Monsieur Dior’s lucky star. I just love those stories behind the house.”
Dioriviera Pop-Up and Dior Café, 13 June to 6 August, 2023: Ember Beach Club, One&Only Desaru Coast, Johor Darul Ta’zim, Persiaran Damai, Desaru Coast Bandar Penawar, 90, 81930, Johor, Malaysia.
For more information and reservations at Dior Café, click here.