Archives: Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2015 (01-31 October 2015)

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Where once sat a simple food court, the top floor of Bangsar Shopping Centre has been completely revamped for the arrival of a bold new restaurant venture with its superb Pan Asian cuisine – Ruyi & Lyn.

With its ultra-chic interior, multiple private rooms and many features more resembling a nightclub than a fine dining restaurant, the brand new outlet has quickly become one of the most happening joints anywhere in the city.

It was here that 18 distinguished diners walked the restaurant’s catwalk in the latest MIGF Publicity Dinner to sample a Festival Menu whose sampling portions were a major hit at last month’s Taste MIGF event.

Encik Johari Abas, Dato' Steve Day, Tunku Dara, and Encik Asri Ghafar Baba

Quintin Tan, Kiran Jeyabalan, Lyn Siew, Lee Jim Leng, Vivienne Cheng, and Tunku Zain

Among the celebrated guest list were Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz; Tunku Dara Tunku Naquiah Binti Al-Marhum Tuanku Ja’afar; Director of See Hoy Chan Holdings Group, Tan Seri Teo Chiang Liang; Festival Advisory Committee members Datuk Seri Dr Victor Wee and Encik Johari Abas; Vivienne Cheng, Executive Director, Berjaya Corporation; and Encik Asri Ghafar Baba, Chairman, Mabag Holdings.

Ian Chong and Datuk Seri Dr Victor Wee

Trudy Ganendra, Puan Sri Ow Chye Luan, and Isadora Chai

Tan Seri Teo Chiang Liang, Puan Sri Ow Chye Luan, Lyn Siew, and Dato' Kee Hua Chee

As the restaurant’s sliding doors began introducing guest after guest to the party, the assembled diners whet their appetites with canapés and welcome drinks amid animated conversation. With many of the diners patronising Ruyi & Lyn for the first time, they were highly impressed with the modern furnishings and spacious décor.

Various canapes were served to ready guests for the banquet to come

As is traditional at the Publicity Dinners, Festival Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day began the evening with introducing their hosts for the evening – owner Lyn Siew and Chef James Ho. Having built a career cooking all over the world, the Negeri Sembilan-born chef has returned to Malaysia and already caused quite a stir in his short time at Ruyi & Lyn.

Owner Lyn Siew welcomes the guests alongside Dato' Steve and Chef James Ho

As the guests proceeded through a dark time tunnel that links the relaxed bar area to the ultra-chic main dining room, they entered to a catwalk and spotlight. In one of the restaurant’s immaculate private dining rooms, guests took their seats ready for the eight-course banquet to come.

Chef James made sure to live up to his lofty reputation as the first course on his menu greeted the eager diners – an amuse bouche of pan-seared foie gras on caramelised watermelon. Nicknamed ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ due to the perceived mismatch of flavours, the dish was lavishly praised by the guests, who remarked at how well the unusual pairing caused the juiciness of the watermelon to filter out any oiliness in the foie gras.

'The Prince and the Pauper' - Pan-Seared Foie Gras on Caramelised Watermelon

The national spirit was truly alive with Chef James’ second dish – simply titled ‘ONE Malaysia’, the plates featured an array of different Malaysian dishes including the country’s smallest version of nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice, roti canai and poppadum. This was a particular favourite of most of all the diners, who praised the creativity involved in putting a twist on so many quintessential Malaysian dishes all at once.

'ONE Malaysia' - The country's smallest version of Nasi Lemak, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Roti Canai and Poppadum

Nicknamed Mobster, the second appetiser, and third course overall of the menu, was a lobster salad in koi dressing. Elegantly presented in simplistic fashion, the seafood-infused dish was the perfect follow-up to the small finger food that had preceded it.

Chef James busy preparing the 'Mobster'

'Mobster' - Lobster Salad in Koi Dressing 

What eight-course dinner would be complete with a soup course? Ruyi & Lyn’s ‘Money Pocket’ saw a dish of clear beef broth brought to the table complete with minced beef wrapped in a small pouch. Datuk Seri Dr Victor Wee cited this as his favourite dish on the lengthy menu, due to the complex flavours within, saying: “Thicker broths such as this can often be hit or miss, but I thought this one ticked all the boxes of mixing great flavours and textures to create a very memorable dish.”

'Money Pocket' - Clear Beef Broth

To refresh tongues before the main course, a palate cleanser nicknamed ‘Venus’ was introduced – the refreshing cucumber sorbet living up to its billing. As palates were being suitably cleansed, Dato’ Steve took the time to say something about each guest, helping acquaintances become firm friends thanks to a slew of hilarious trivia about each guests’ accomplishments and lives. This was followed by a series of other speeches and even a few songs as the phenomenally talented Encik Johari serenaded the guests with tunes in no fewer than three different languages! 

'Venus' - Palate Cleanser of Refreshing Cucumber Sorbet

Dato' Steve giving his speeches with hilarious facts about each guest

The first main course took many by surprise as, on first viewing, the dish resembled a dessert thanks to the creamy mixture served in an elegant cocktail glass. In fact, the dish of minced lamb and mantou had more of a spicy ‘kick’ than any of the guests had anticipated and provided a stark contrast to the milder courses previously.

'Bambi' - Minced Lamb with Mantou in Cream

The final of the savoury courses – a ‘Lion’s Head’ of truffle-infused Soon Hock with olive rice – filled the tummies of even the most eager diners as seven courses had provided a lip-smacking feast throughout. The combination of the olive rice with the Soon Hock fish paid tribute to the chef’s versatility on a menu full of his divine creations.

'Lion's Head' - Truffle Infused Soon Hock with Olive Rice

With guests having room for just one small dessert to cap things off, Chef James returned to the theme of Taste of Malaysia with an ais kacang, served with syringes of gula Melaka and other condiments to suit individual tastes and add an interactive aspect to the dish. The sweet ending provided a fitting finish to a superb menu.

'Ruyi's Kacang' - The Country's Favourite Ice Dessert

With all eight courses done and the conversation and laughter still refusing to cease between the amicable diners, it fell to Festival Advisory Committee members Tunku Dara and Encik Johari to speak on behalf of guests.

Tunku Dara said: “I would like to thank Lyn, Chef James and the whole team for a wonderful evening. The food that we have had tonight has been exceptional and has provided a great snapshot of the modern dining scene here in Kuala Lumpur. I am certainly leaving with extremely fond memories.”

Tunku Dara speaking on behalf of the Festival Advisory Committee

This sentiment was met by rapturous applause from the guests, all of whom agreed that the dinner had been a truly outstanding experience.

“Tonight’s menu has been up there with any I have had anywhere in the world. It is hugely refreshing to see these kinds of world-class restaurants popping up in Malaysia and I think that that is largely down to the great work of this Festival,” said Encik Johari.

Encik Johari giving his closing remarks

The distinguished guests of Ruyi & Lyn's Publicity Dinner

The ‘Full Orbit’ featuring all eight of the courses is available for just RM238++ per person, while a ‘Light Orbit’ version of just half of them is priced at RM168++ per person. To learn more about the jovial Chef James, click here or to view his full Galactic Festival Menus, click here.