Fine dining is a culinary experience that’s mostly desirable for its exquisite repertoire. In the subtlest and most minute ways, we are able to encounter bursts of flavours running through our tastebuds. It allows a chef to showcase their true skills and talents through unthinkable measures, highlighting produce that would otherwise be overlooked in our daily lives. While not every fine dining restaurant is worth the time and money, we did in fact stumble upon one that we guarantee is worth your dime- and that’s Beta KL.
Beta KL Is Where You Go For A Truly Malaysian Fine Dining Journey
Secretly tucked behind a door decked in greenery is this unique fine dining restaurant that highlights Malaysian flavours. Spearheaded by Chef Raymond, Beta KL is another brainchild of KARLS Group- the same one that formed Skillet KL and Burnt & Co. It ventures into distinct states and regions of the country for a tantalising gastronomic tour like no other. Embracing true Malaysian goodness, they use the best locally-sourced ingredients to create unique elements on a plate.
The journey begins once you enter Beta. A lovely waiter ushered us to the waiting area before explaining the menus to us.
We discovered that they currently have two menus that change seasonally- Taste of Beta and Tour of Malaysia. The former is essentially a concise version of latter, so naturally we opted for Tour of Malaysia. At only RM398 per pax, it was an absolute steal for the evening we were about to experience! They also offer a bartender-curated cocktail pairing (three or four drinks) at an additional cost. Of course, we went with four.
Snacks (Round 1)
While seated at the waiting area, we were served our first round of snacks.
Peanut | crisp
We started off with Beta’s take on Rempeyek – you know, the crispy peanut snack? It’s exactly what you’d imagine it tastes like, only better. With spiced glutinous rice crisps, anchovies from Pangkor island, peanut soil & edible flowers from Cameron Highland.
Winged Beans | budu
Budu aka fermented anchovies sauce is commonly used on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. At Beta, they emulsify the budu with sous-vide egg yolk and add winged beans, bird’s eye chili, crispy shallot, lime all into a tart shell. What better way to kickstart your Tour of Malaysia than with an explosion of umami?
Nutmeg | smoked duck
Using fresh nutmeg from Penang, they ferment the nutmeg before turning it into granita. It was a surprising pop of flavour in our mouths, cleansing our palates at the same time! Served with smoked duck brunoise.
Cocktail pairing #1: Pollo-me with cachaça, chartreuse, mint lemon
Snacks (Round 2)
For round two of snacks, we were led into the dining hall where a dimmer, mysterious ambience beckoned.
Foie Gras | curry | fig
Who knew a small bite could pack such a punch? The fig is sourced from Perlis and charred for a hint of smokiness. Thanks to its natural sweetness, it pairs well with the curry-spiced foie gras and tempura battered toast!
Prawn | white radish | seaweed | kesum
Next up, an ocean wonder. It’s prawn cooked in squid ink with asam pedas paste, pickled radish and a seaweed sable for crunch! A texturally pleasant snack.
Ox-tongue | keluak | toast
This tender and sumptuous char-grilled ox tongue is paired with 40-day fermented buah keluak and butter toast, alongside an incredible umami purée.
Kedongdong | granita
Cleansing our palates after the aforementioned snacks is this ambarella granita, that’s juiced and mixed with honey.
Cocktail pairing #2: Paddy Terroir with homemade rice wine, Malibu, lime, egg white
Scallop | petai | jicama | squid
To promote sustainability cooking, the Beta team chars petai pods to make a consommé! They then pour it over raw scallop, jicama and crispy squid to complete this sophisticated dish.
Shima-Aji | tamarind
This dish draws inspiration from the Kadazan Dusun ethnic group in Sabah, where fish is simmered in a turmeric and tamarind broth. The cured striped jack is served with chilli emulsion, pickled shallots and ulam raja, accompanied by a Pinasakan foam made from roasted fish bones! A personal favourite of ours – it was stunningly complex.
Duck | mushroom | soya curd | smoked oil
Remember chicken floss buns? Well the wonderful minds at Beta have taken a creative take on this Malaysian childhood favourite. They slow-braise duck leg with herbs and spices before drying it to become floss. Instead of cream, they use soy curd for the base to add a creamy mouthfeel that’s low in fat! With pickled shimeji mushroom and smoked chili oil.
Have it on its own or enjoy it with fluffy green seaweed bread!
Green Seaweed Bread | anchovies’ emulsion
As mentioned above, this seaweed bun pairs brilliantly with the duck appetiser. Not to mention, the anchovy aioli that comes along with it is highly addictive!
Cocktail pairing #3: Asian Spiced with rum, Frangelico, spiced wine, lime, soda
For the main stars of the show, you get to choose between cod or lamb. Alternatively, like we did, you can opt for Japanese Wagyu A5 instead (RM220 supplementary)!
Cod | jalapeño | aubergine | potato
Recalling my first forkful of this baked cod makes my mouth water all over again. It’s extremely moist and flaky, falling apart with the slightest touch. A must-try in our books! With caramelised tamarind, charcoal blistered Shishito pepper from Cameron Highlands and crispy squid.
Cocktail pairing #4: Bartender’s choice for the cod- Peach Lady with rum, peach liqueur, rose syrup
Japanese Wagyu A5
Perfectly medium rare, this wagyu dish comes with a delicious jus and compressed har mai (dried shrimp). It’s the epitome of a West-meets-East culinary marriage, showing us that Malaysian cuisine indeed has its place in the fine dining world.
Cocktail pairing #4: Bartender’s choice for the wagyu- Pepper-Groni with Hennessy, Campari, Rosso Vermouth, Sarawak pepper bitter
Soursop | jicama | rice wine
Yes, there’s such a thing as a pre-dessert dessert. Beta ferments the cuttings of a jicama in vinegar and pairs it with their soursop and 40-day fermented rice wine granita from our bartender.
Yam | coconut
We finished dinner off with this special interpretation of Malaysia’s bubur cha cha, a sweet coconut dessert. At Beta, it’s a coconut foam frozen in liquid nitrogen together with purple yam, orange sweet potato purée and warm coconut milk infused with pandan leaves!
Experience An Elevated Taste Of Malaysia
It’s not everyday that you get to enjoy fine dining, but if you’re keen on trying it sometime, save Beta KL for your next occasion. From start to finish, you’re treated like royalty with the remarkable hospitality from everyone at the restaurant. The chef himself will also guide you through your courses, detailing the history, sources and methods used for cooking. For all these courses at an affordable price, it’s certainly a journey worth remembering.
*New menu will be launched sometime in October.
Address: Unit 3 & 3A, Ground Floor, Cormar Suites, No. 10, Jalan Perak, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 6pm-10pm (Tues-Thurs & Sun), 6pm-11pm (Fri & Sat) [Closed Mon]
Status: Pork-free, serves alcohol
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