From the award-winning Dewakan to the recently debuted OpenHouse, here are six modern Malaysian restaurants to try around the Klang Valley.

If there’s one thing all Malaysians are proud of, it’s undoubtedly our cuisine. With our melting pot of cultures, we are not only blessed with our staple Malay, Chinese and Indian food; but also the multiplicity of more specialised cuisines including Peranakan, Kristang, Hock Chiew and much more, as The Rojak Projek has proudly documented and demonstrated.

Malaysian cuisine then, is a potpourri of all the unique cooking traditions of every ethnic and multi-ethnic culture across the country.

Modern Malaysian cuisine takes these traditions a few steps further, evolving familiar flavours either to adapt to a contemporary palate or to introduce a new interpretation of classic recipes. Think dishes like banana heart & kerdas and ketam bunga cake. It’s a whole other experience that’s worth a true-blue Malaysian gourmand’s visit.

From the award-winning Dewakan to the recently debuted OpenHouse, here are six modern Malaysian restaurants to try around the Klang Valley.

Atas Modern Malaysian Eatery

Slow cooked chicken breast, roasted shallots, fermented garlic, daun selom

Nestled in the recently opened The RuMa KL, Atas welcomes guests to rediscover heirloom ingredients and local spices combined with a touch of alchemy. Chef Tyson Gee’s careful curation of dishes incorporates distinctively Malaysian flavours like petai, Sarawak pepper and sambal assam with quality produce such as dry aged duck and Black Angus short ribs. Even the dining area boasts a modern setup and fixtures while celebrating local traditions and craftsmanship through artisanal furniture. W


Banana Heart & Kerdas

 As the only Malaysian restaurant to make the cut for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Dewakan is a must-visit for those seeking an unconventional presentation of local flavours. Expect to find indigenous produce sourced from our own backyard (though you may not have realised it was there) such as daun selom and keluak, prepared using techniques the average cook would probably not know of. In other words, expect the unexpected from the kitchen helmed by former molecular gastronomy lecturer Chef Darren Teoh. W

Beta KL

Inverted Karipap

After establishing Skillet @163, Chef Raymond Tham returned to his roots with Beta KL, which presents quasi-authentic Malaysian fare through a journey across the country. Take for example, the signature Beta Tea Mousse, made with tea sourced from the Cameron Highlands plantations. Or the Farmer’s Harvest from the cocktail menu, which includes chilli padi-infused Jameson whisky and spice gula melaka syrup, among other ingredients. Bonus points from us for the Instagram-worthy interiors. F @betakualalumpur


Inspired by the concept of “open houses” every festive season, this recently opened modern Malaysian restaurant is designed to emulate the warm hospitality of inviting guests into your home. But this is no ordinary ‘home’, with extravagant décor and a majestic view of KLCC’s esplanade greeting the eyes upon entry. The kitchen takes pride in recreating traditional and royal household recipes that have been passed down through the generations for today’s adventurous gourmand. You’ll find reinterpreted classics like Laksa Johor as well as unique creations like Beef Rendang with Pitcher Plant Rice on the menu. W


Ketam Bunga Cake

For the complete experience of modern Malaysian cuisine topped with a view of the Kuala Lumpur Tower, head over to Manja at Old Malaya. Here, the pampering of your palate begins with fresh, high-quality produce sourced from its own butchery, The Food Company. The produce is then skilfully seasoned and cooked to produce favourites like ketam bunga cake and wagyu gula melaka. The cocktail menu is no less Malaysian, featuring concoctions such as Spirit of Borneo (made with chilli-infused tuak) and Kopi Peng Martini (a blend of vodka and espresso). W


Salted Fish Fried Rice

The second brainchild of Chef Vic of Two Hands in Damansara Perdana, Rata prides itself in making everything from scratch, including its sambal and mutton varuval. About 90 percent of ingredients in the kitchen are locally sourced, but the real wonder is in the way they are presented. There’s the coconut lamb skewers – a unique take on lamb rendang with homemade coconut sauce, and then there’s chilli chicken pizza – built on the perennial favourite ayam percik. W

Images courtesy of respective establishments