[编辑 Editor 吕大人 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer 刘大人]
As we approached Iskandar Puteri and drove past LEGOLAND® Malaysia and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios into Sunway Iskandar, our attention was captured by this awe-inspiring building, with its statement glassy facade gleaming all white and sterling in the setting sun – the perfect stage for our highly anticipated date for the evening.
The “hub” is part of the Citrine integrated development which features designer offices, boutique residences and retail outlets which overlook a resplendent emerald lake garden – a far cry from the hectic hubbub of Johor Bahru where tranquillity still prevails even in the most dynamic of cities.
Local folks don’t talk about Medini with the same reverence as they do Johor Bahru, Skudai and Mount Austin suburbs, but that looks set to change with a slew of cafes, master roasters and speciality stores hitting the market. So if you’re all shopped out in Sunway Iskandar, make a pit stop at one of these cafes and restaurants at Sunway Citrine Hub for a good cuppa or casual dining. Before we knew it, our watches read 7.20pm, time to make our move upstairs to Level 1 to meet up with the rest.
West-landers would rejoice as Restaurant VOiD is situated at Sunway Citrine Hub and just a short distance from the Second Link for those coming in from Tuas. The brainchild of Chef Shawn and Pastry Chef Sunny, foodies familiar with the local F&B scene will know Shawn from his Rowan & Parsley days. Known for continually pushing culinary boundaries by combining numerous cooking techniques to better bring out the natural textures and flavours of each ingredient, Shawn and his team promise a glorious dining experience, melding classic French cooking techniques with authentic Japanese flavours, embodying Shawn’s own journey into the realm of east-west fusion cuisine.
Some chefs pay attention to the latest culinary trends, and others create trends. Chef Shawn is definitely one of them! Having been “deprived” of some bold and daring culinary experiments for the past year, we are glad to be posted about his new F&B venture and invited to check out a different dining concept, inspired by the Japanese local tradition and prepared with carefully-selected local and seasonal ingredients.
Injected with the Japanese “tatami” essence, VOiD‘s layout is based on openness and the concept of interaction between chefs and customers. The counters take on a modern loft kitchen design, while the use of darker wood and honey hues pieces of furniture bring luxury and a masculine vibe to the overall space.
We asked Shawn why he picked the name VOiD for his restaurant. Just as we imagined, Shawn envisaged his dining space to resemble a pure canvas where he and his team can paint anything they like – no restrictions, full of surprises yet always ready for more ideas. At the same time, the restaurant also fills a personal “void” which he felt was missing from his early days in business.
The dessert counter is reminiscent of a walk-in chocolate jewellery box, a curation of Pastry Chef Sunny‘s approach towards her creations and spatial environment to create a multi-sensorial experience that is both balanced and harmonious. One thing comes to mind at the sight of the “sandwich” sitting among her other pastry creations – Surely there’s room for at least one of Chef Sunny’s sweet treats during our meal? 🤨
VOiD serves brunch (including vegetarian options) and dinner from 10am to 11pm, but the focus here lies primarily on seasonal produce, of which their menu comprises. Unable to decide what to order? Think omakase. The intriguing thing about omakase is that we don’t know exactly what we will be getting, but in Chef Shawn we trust, and rest assured that you will definitely be fed well and in good hands for the evening.
VOiD‘s omakase dinner consists of 11 courses, with prices ranging from RM288++ (fish) to RM398++ (wagyu beef) per pax, depending on the choice of meat for the main course.
From the seasonally inspired ingredients right down to the silverware and serving plates of which Chef Shawn’s gorgeous creations are presented in, VOiD reflects a particular culinary style that’s both visually stunning and sensorial from taste to texture.
Once our whole party arrived, Chef Sunny briefly introduced our Omakase menu which typically consists of a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and subsequently proceeding on to the heavier dishes, and checked with each and every one of us on our food allergies (if any). To start our palettes rolling, Chef Sunny introduced us to the 2017 Chilean Concha Y Toro Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon from their cellar, an easy-going light-bodied wine with attractive fruit aromas, with herbal and chocolate notes that has a nice finish. With the wine flowing freely, we are all set for our dinner which was quite a joy watching the crew prepare our orders from the comfort of our seats. Itadakimasu!
Personally prepared by Chef Sunny, our starter was a tiny tart with chewy marshmallow topped with cheese, torched and then crowned with a pinch of seaweed. Our first bite into it yields the savoury factor. Before long, a subtle sweetness will work its way through, and we’ll be crying on the inside with joy. The crust is somewhat buttery that blends with the tart to give natural ocean umami to whet our appetite for our mains.
Even if it’s just the first of many dishes to come, we secretly wish for a second helping 😄
Bread & Butter
For our second course, you might think, “eh, it’s just bread what” (because that was us initially), but the way the good ol’ salty pat of butter melts on a warm fluffy bun makes quite an irresistible combination.
Do not underestimate this Buttermilk Chicken. As a dish on its own, this cut-out piece of a typical chicken chop was perfectly cooked to just the right doneness, juicier and has a nice and balanced savoury sweet flavour.
Cracker on Oriental Shrimp coated with Avocado Mousse
Our fourth-course Cracker on Oriental Shrimp coated with Avocado Mousse was equally delightful, even for one of us who’s not a fan of anything shrimpy. The avocado mousse was more than just as a complement to the shrimp, but a real meal enhancer. The taste and texture were that of a cold salad – creamy, smooth and somewhat felt healthy too.
Foie Gras Mousse with Black Truffle Puree
When we were served what resembled a “soft-boiled egg” for our fifth course, our initial reactions were that of eye-rolling bewilderment. Turns out that the Foie Gras Mousse with Black Truffle Puree served in an eggshell is a novel way of serving up petite portions of this delicate dish. A twist to the well-known French delicacy, their foie gras mousse is rich, airy, delicate and yummy to the max!
If only all “soft-boiled eggs” at home can taste as good as this…
Our next dish is a salad of deconstructed Heirloom tomato dressed with balsamic vinegar reduction to give it some acidity. These seasonal, colourful, strangely-shaped tomatoes are not just cool, but juicier and crunchier, in particular, the dried tomato skin. 😋
All of us agreed that this was the best French Onion Soup that we’ve had for a long time.
This is a simple dish with complex flavours and textures, interacting with one another. Sometimes it was the onions, sometimes it was the soggy bread, soaked completely with soup, with the sweetness of the bread. Sometimes it was the Gruyère cheese with its long gluey strands. Sometimes it was savoury, and sometimes it was sweet. Heavenly!
Almond Meringue with Cured Pork Lardo & Pork Snow
The Almond Meringue with Cured Pork Lardo & Pork Snow is yet another eye-candy and such a treat. Made from cured pork back fat, our pork lardo is such a treat, with its super smooth, buttery texture adding the most incredible flavour to the candy-like sweetness (pun-intended) of almond meringue. Super nice!
One of the most popular items on the menu, the Unagi is another of our to-come-back-for dish. Well greased with butter and olive oil, the soft pasta was well infused with the distinct taste of the eel, with a hint of spicy heat from a bit of chilli giving it the extra oomph!. Simple, but yet so tasty, this dish turned out to be our favourite of the lot.
At one stage, we really thought the umami-ness of the dish was a result of cooking the pasta in unagi “jus” LOL!
For the main course, some of us opted for the Mackerel, which is grilled to a light crisp and managed to retain a nice amount of juiciness. The amount of salt used was spot-on and adding the spinach, and beurre blanc (French white butter) did well to highlight the mackerel’s natural flavour.
One of the crown jewels of Spanish cuisine, the chunky blocks of Iberico Pork is first sous vided for 2 hours, pan-seared then baked to perfection. The result of the pork crackling combined with a sweet pumpkin puree makes for a great mix of flavour, while the pork jus also hits close to home, reminding us of our grandmother’s char siew sauce for that added nostalgia!
Here’s a bonus on the house, a strong shot of caffeine-filled chocolate Espresso Bomb before we hit the final course, and the road. We bet you’d love the “explosion” of a bittersweet symphony in your mouths!
C • H • O • C
And now, for the grand finale as the C • H • O • C made its bow. The aerated chocolate started out light and firm in the mouth but then becomes denser and creamier, while the hazelnut snow and orange foam quickly melts and evaporated into thin air the moment it touches our palettes, leaving a negligible burden on our calories count as we wrap up for the evening.
What an AWESOME meal! Over 2 hours and 12 dishes later, our gastronomy void was heartily filled by Chef Shawn (still only 26 years of age) and his youthful team with an average age of 23 years. From humble but delicate tasting starters right down to premium seafood and meat options, the execution of each course is simple yet refined, with an array of alluring flavours leaving us beyond satisfaction. Do note that VOiD’s omakase dinner accept walk-ins up till 9pm, but if you want to treat yourself, or bring that special someone out on a date, do make your reservations early, so that you don’t miss out on this unforgettable omakase experience.
Our heartiest congratulations to Shawn and Sunny for your dreams come true. It’s heartening to know that JB’s culinary scene is still well alive and… cooking 😋!!!
VOiD by Shawn Shum
📍 1-20-1-22, First Floor, Sunway Citrine Hub, Persiaran Medini 3, Sunway Iskandar, 79250 Iskandar Puteri, Johor
📞 +6011-5502 6828
🕙 Daily from 10.00am – 11.00pm, Brunch 10.00am – 5.00pm; Omakase 6.00pm – 10.00pm
📱 Restaurant VOiD
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