Carbon KL celebrates Christmas with monthlong smoky wonders of wild live soon hock, dry-aged duck & more

December 10, 2023
















Carbon celebrates its first Christmas with a monthlong menu that charts the evolution of one of our favourite new restaurants of 2023, fuelled not only by perceptive charcoal cooking but the creativity and conviction of a terrific culinary team.

The most wonderful time of the year merits an extravaganza of exceptional produce: Now merely four months old, Carbon harnesses an impressive arsenal of ingredients, from wild live soon hock fish to 20-day-aged, never-frozen Bidor duck.

Every meat, seafood and vegetable is thoughtfully channelled into recipes that take imaginative inspiration from Malaysian ayam percik, Filipino inasal, Cantonese char siu bao, and of course, Carbon's flagship Japanese donabe one-pot delight.

All this comes from the effort of a small but mighty brigade. 

Carbon's chef-founders David and Yeoh lead a young, enthusiastic crew that currently comprises Allison, Aswad, Nik Jasmira, Nur Izzan, Sin Yee and Vanessa, each pulling their weight with their own personal strengths.

Carbon considers itself partly a social endeavour for the next generation of local talents - returning to Malaysia after sharpening his skills in Singapore, David strives to empower his chefs to carve out their own distinctive identities while mastering the essential expertise.

Carbon's hearty Christmas menu is offered until 31 December 2023 at a value-for-money RM488+ per guest. Patrons who come in groups of four can upgrade their mains to a tomahawk steak on a total surcharge of only RM188. Optional wine pairings are possible too. 

Though the best seats are at the counter to catch the slicing and smoking action in the open kitchen, a private room is available for up to 16 people.

Keep an eye out for Carbon's next festive menus in 2024 too, with a series of specials lined up for the Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day!

Also note that Carbon is capable of serving bespoke menus - showcasing off-menu seafood such as blue lobster - with an advance notice at about four to seven days.

Come with an open mind to embrace the enjoyment that Carbon labours for.

The Christmas Amuse Bouche is a parade of smash hits - the bounty of the sea is represented by marinated scallops with sea urchin, while the harvest of the land features chicken liver pate brightened with yuzu gel and smoked mulberry. 

Marrying ocean and soil, Filipino kinilaw of smoked wild red snapper is crowned with coconut foam and Spanish-style anchovy-lined boquerones with grilled bell pepper jam. Playful fare also emerges, such as deep-fried mantou decadently filled with pulled wagyu beef.

Balancing spice with smoke, springiness with succulence, the Octopus Inasal is marinated with soy sauce, calamansi and garlic, scorched directly on the grill at up to 800 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds, resulting in a remarkable intensity of flavour, made even punchier with pickled green chillies, peperonata, saffron aioli and smoked paprika oil.

The Stuffed Wing by Nur Izzan conveys the influence of Kelantanese ayam percik, lip-smacking from crisp skin to juicy flesh, bonelessly packed with chicken meat and glutinous rice, mounted with breadcrumbs, mandarin orange, orange zest and spices, finished with a dollop of caviar for a wallop of luxurious taste and texture. This could have been too much together, but Carbon tunes everything just right. 

Melon & Greens follow in a flurry of kailan, of adult and flowering varietals, shredded and deep-fried, tossed with charred watermelon, pickled shimeji and sautéed shiitake, dressed in Aswad's ponzu, which blends the acidity of yuzu and lime with the elegant earthiness of extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil, for an uplifting exuberance that shimmers on the palate.

Still swimming in the morning, Carbon's wild soon hock surfaces on the plate in the evening, patiently cooked over mangrove and binchotan charcoal, a marvellous way to do justice to a magnificent fish.

This yields a fish dish that's delectably plump and moist, with a restrained sense of sultriness, sauced with a distinctive jus of barramundi bones that's subtly powerful instead of superficially pungent, rounded out with the light umami of chopped kombu and dashi jelly. 

Skip the tired turkeys this Christmas and dine on Carbon's duck - the restaurant relies on Bidor-raised fowl that's consistently chilled, never frozen, for a naturally juicier, bouncier feel.

Duck breast is dry-aged for 20 days, concentrating its richness and tenderness. It's then meticulously cooked on the grill, taking its time for over an hour over charcoal, before being served crisp-skinned and luscious-fleshed in thick slices with beetroot and duck jus.

The duck dish comes in a duo, with a Japanese-inflected tsukune of duck on the side, evoking turkey stuffing, made with duck leg meat, flavoured with season-suitable dried fruits, raisins and cranberries to make our spirits bright.

Optionally, customers can also choose 60-day aged Queensland wagyu beef with jus and burnt onions at a RM180 surcharge.

The knives come out for the duck course - select your personal favourite of Carbon's custom-crafted blades, slicing cleanly and effortlessly through the meat.


Every meal at Carbon nears its conclusion with a climactic donabe, with the kitchen's choice of ingredients changing monthly.

For Christmas, Yeoh’s Donabe epitomises how far the restaurant has come in less than half a year - this donabe is drop-dead delicious, a triumph of technique, irresistible to the final grain.

Duck fat-infused basmati rice is stir-fried with shallots, garlic and ginger, steamily cooked in a trusty claypot with a lingering heat that imbues every soulful spoonful, aromatic with cured duck and addictive with crispy yam, savoury and soul-warming. We'd return simply for this.

Duck consomme for a palate cleanser, instead of a conventional sorbet? With duck this divine, Carbon proves you can never get enough of poultry pleasure.

Desserts leave us on a Yuletide high, kicking off with a silky-sumptuous tonka bean semifreddo ringed with fresh shards of coriander-laced kuih kapit, garnished with chilli and a vivacious belimbing buluh compote. 

Tasting like a hug from home, we also love the aged pisang emas and cinnamon-spiced apple crumble, chilling out indulgently with banana yoghurt ice cream. Petits fours with perky layers of chocolate mousse, raspberries and poached pears complete the experience. 

Carbon has carefully curated wine pairings for this menu, including natural wines to enliven the occasion. The restaurant offers a solid wine list too, bolstered by Champagne and sake.

Carbon KL
7, Jalan Pekaka 8/1D, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Open Wednesday-Friday for lunch, 12pm-3pm; Wednesday-Sunday for dinner with 6pm, 7pm and 8pm slots. 
Website: www.carbonkl.com