Collaborative Creativity
Since the start of the year, progressive European restaurant Sitka Studio has been collaborating with some of the best chefs around Southeast Asia in a dinner series called Studio + Friends. Conceptualised by Sitka Studio’s co-founders Chef Christian Recomio and Jennifer Kuah, the dinner series has exposed KL’s diners to the work of Singapore-based chefs like Chef Rishi Naleendra from Cheek by Jowl, Andrew Walsh from Cure, as well as Benjamin Cross and Stephen Moore from Mejekawi by Ku De Ta. “Chef collaborations aren’t new, and we feel we have the perfect space to introduce the chefs to the public,” said Recomio, adding that the collaboration is driven by his ambition to share ideas and to expose his team to other chefs at the top of their game.

Bitter Brilliance
Singapore-based Japanese-French restaurant Lewin Terrace explores the realm of bitterness with its new five- and seven-course Spring Menus created by its Executive Chef Keisuke Matsumoto. What seems like a counter-intuitive theme at first glance, however, makes perfect sense when one considers the Japanese association of the flavour with the bitter-tasting mountain vegetables, sansai, that sprout in the early days of the season. With bitterness as the guiding theme, Matsumoto has created a refined and balanced menu as seen in such dishes as the Sakuradai, which features sea bream served with lightly pickled yama udo, or Japanese mountain root, providing a touch of acidic bitterness. Other highlights include Wagyu Meets Tiger, a wagyu brisket stew complemented by the malty bitterness of Tiger beer; and lobster stuffed into a glutinous rice dumpling, served with bisque of lobster and tarragon.

Refined Cambodian Cuisine
Once you’re done touring the historical sites of Siem Reap, head over to Phum Baitang, a five-star hotel that includes restaurants and bars serving refined interpretations of Cambodian and European cuisine. Diners can start at Bay Phsar, a restaurant featuring a Cambodian street market setting where guests can appreciate farm-to-table concept dining in signature dishes like green papaya salad with shrimp, sweet chili sauce garnished with peanuts and crushed basil, and Bangkia Bampong (crispy battered shrimp with lime black pepper dipping sauce). Hang Bay, the hotel’s main restaurant, serves fusion and international cuisine with vegetables from Phum Baitang’s own garden. Popular dishes include Indonesian beef rendang cooked in mild spices and coconut cream, and sea bass fillet baked in salt, Kampot pepper and kaffir lime crust.

Food From The Heart
Italian restaurateur Cavaliere Modesto Marini continues to make his mark on KL’s dining scene with the opening of Modi & Rosa, a restaurant and wine bar that prides itself on serving authentic Italian dishes inspired by family recipes. Unlike Marini’s other well-known establishment, Marini’s at 57, this Glo Damansara-based restaurant is a laid-back, family-friendly establishment that does away with white tablecloths and dress codes, replacing them with bare-wood tabletops and casual dining chairs. “All our dishes are cooked exactly the way Italians have been doing it for centuries. We do not alter the recipes or methods of preparation in any way,” said Marini. Highlights include Pizza Alla Modi Rosa, which is topped with rocket, truffle oil, tomatoes and mozzarella, as well as the house-made mushroom ravioli served with creamy truffle spinach sauce. 

Mitzo’s New Menu
Those seeking a fresh take on Cantonese cuisine should stop by Mitzo on Singapore’s Orchard Road, which recently introduced more than 30 new dishes. Among the notable additions are those that use ingredients seldom associated with Cantonese cooking, such as roasted coffee pork neck served with crispy beancurd skin, and stir-fried lobster claw in petai bean sauce. New additions aside, the restaurant will continue to serve up familiar favourites such as the Mitzo special barbecued pork, black truffle crispy roast duck, and steamed dim sum platters. Those who fancy a tipple before their meals will find new drinks with names like Uncle Negroni and Chinese Collins, which are the bar’s Asian interpretations of classic cocktails.