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Gēn Penang & Nobu KL Create A Merdeka Menu To Bloom Local Flavours Into Gastronomic Art [Review]

Gēn Penang & Nobu KL Create A Merdeka Menu To Bloom Local Flavours Into Gastronomic Art [Review]

Elevating our Malaysian flavours into fine dining resulted in a beautiful dishes that were almost too pretty to eat.

Anne Dorall

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If you love creative fine dining, then you should definitely head over to Nobu KL this week for their gastronomic four-hands dinner omakase.

The 8-course limited-time menu is a collaborative effort between Gen Penang and Nobu KL, and the brainchild of both Gēn Penang’s Head Chef Johnson Wong and Nobu KL’s Executive Chef Philip Leong.

Left: Head Chef Johnson Wong from Gēn Penang. Right: Executive Chef Philip Leong from Nobu KL.
(Credit: Gen Penang/Nobu KL)

The Gēn team will be making a special trip down to KL for 3 days only to infuse local Malaysian ingredients with bold cooking techniques for dishes that are familiar and nostalgic… but with a twist.

The Taste Test

We were lucky enough to try the menu as follows:

1st Course by Nobu KL : Salmon Tartar with Caviar
A flawless starter to kick off a fantastic night of dining. Classic.

Perfect salmon tartar with a generous spread of caviar.
(Credit: Nobu KL/TRP)

2nd Course by Nobu KL: Chef’s Sushi Tasting
We had the yellowtail, toro, oyster, and uni sushi.

3rd Course by Nobu KL x Gēn Penang: Mackerel Fish Cake & Broth
Despite the mackerel’s reputation for being strong-smelling, the broth produced was light and savoury, a treat on its own. The fish cake uses uni butter and is topped with uni butter, jalapeño, tropical caviar, and tamari soy.

4th Course by Nobu KL x Gēn Penang: Ginger Flower
This Ginger Flower Ceviche Sorbet is the perfect dish that elevates deeply local Malaysian flavours to fine dining. The taste of bunga kantan is expertly produced in the sorbet, which was the star of the whole flavourful show.

The ginger flower ceviche sorbet brings you on a journey.
(Credit: Nobu KL)

5th Course by Nobu KL: Black Cod Miso
Nobu’s signature black cod miso is simply gorgeously done with perfect tenderness and savoury sweetness.

6th Course by Nobu KL x Gēn Penang: Chilean Seabass Aji Amarillo Sauce
This stunning fish course is a visual treat and beautifully paired with caramelized jackfruit.

The Chilean seabass.
(Credit: Nobu KL)

7th Course by Nobu KL x Gēn Penang: Aged Duck 2 ways
Experience the chill umami Chawanmushi with a twist and a wonderful cut of duck breast with duck fat emulsion and “Duck Shakupan” orange miso.

A wonderful cut of duck breast.
(Credit: Nobu KL)

8th Course by Nobu KL x Gēn Penang: Pre dessert
This mini “three-course” pre-dessert consists of jackfruit seed mochi, a sudachi meringue with soursop and ambarella, and a Sata-andagi (Japanese donut) made of banana and gula apong from Sarawak.

Dessert by Nobu KL: Natsu no fruits pearls
These fruit pearls are a real treat that pops in your mouth with gentle flavours of lychee, guava, mandarin pearl, diced fresh fruits, floral jelly, mango granite, and rice soup.

The light rice soup drizzled over a fruity iced dessert, but the real surprises are the fruit pearls.
(Credit: Nobu KL)

The team and I are delighted to be part of Nobu’s Merdeka celebration where different cuisines that you don’t typically see on the same menu are brought together in harmony. I think our dishes offer a unique complexion to the menu – we use local ingredients that are familiar to Malaysians to offer an elevated dining experience as well as a sense of nostalgia.

Gēn Penang Head Chef Johnson Wong

The Verdict

The Four-Hands Dinner Omakase is certainly a fantastic gastronomic delight. In this menu, they have taken local ingredients such as jackfruit and ginger flower and elevated it into a gastronomical experience.

The Ginger Flower Ceviche Sorbet is in my opinion the best representation of elevating Malaysian tastes. Familiar flavours like bunga kantan, belacan, and galangal are reinvented in brand new ways that worked out extremely well. The dish leaves a lingering spiciness that warms the mouth the same way the memory of the dish warms the heart.

The menu starts slow but grows in intensity. Don’t worry about fine dining having small portions, either. This menu is packed with lean protein, with two fish courses and two duck courses to boot.

Just some of the dishes from the special menu.
(Credit: Nobu KL)

In an interview with TRP, the two chefs noted that they had first discussed a collaboration even before the pandemic. However, it was only after the lockdown lifted that they could put their skills together to craft this menu, which took around 2-3 months of ideation and testing.

I would like to say thanks to Gēn Penang for agreeing to be part of our Merdeka celebration that will offer guests an unforgettable dining experience. In our view, the culinary arts are a collaborative experience that should be shared and we were able to come up with really exciting and profound concepts that guests can look forward to this month.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur Executive Chef, Philip Leong

This special Merdeka menu is only available for 3 days, from 29 to 31 August for dinner only. The eight-course special is priced at RM750++ per person. For enquires and reservations, reach out to Nobu KL at or Whatsapp +0192895085.

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