Atelier Binchotan, Taman Desa

March 11, 2020

Barbecue buffs, the scent of smoky meat, seafood and vegetables leads straight to Taman Desa's sizzling new Atelier Binchotan, spearheaded by Malaysian husband-and-wife team Ka Hong and Celine, who met in Singapore while working in RWS' Joel Robuchon Restaurant. Over time, their paths took them to other restaurants like Waku Ghin and Restaurant André, but they've now returned to Malaysia, harnessing their experience of the past decade to launch their first restaurant together.

Atelier Binchotan is a powerhouse of punchy protein, for patrons who love full-fleshed textures and full-bodied flavours, prepared with Japanese binchotan charcoal in an open kitchen encircled by communal concrete seating. From Malaysian kampung chicken made nectarous with forest honey (RM22) to Spanish iberico pork ribs, well-charred in barbecue sauce (RM30), the meat is tenderly cooked and robustly seasoned.

Atelier Binchotan's repertoire is expected to evolve regularly, but be sure to order the vegetables, served with a sense of industrious imagination. Pumpkin is naturally ripe and sweet, partnered with grilled kale, pickled pumpkin and pumpkin seeds in a North African-inspired chermoula marinade (RM8), while green zucchini is lively, crunchy and juicy, emboldened with grated parmesan cheese in red wine vinaigrette (RM8) - at RM8 per plate, these are a lovely bargain.

The mini burger with a barbecued pork patty sandwiched with gribiche egg sauce is a young-at-heart indulgence, ideal if you enjoy East Asian-inflected smoked sausage recipes - a simple slider done well (RM9).

Seafood secures its due too - the white clams come from Sabah, beautifully big and briny, mellowed out in a Hokkaido-style sanpeijiru kombu dashi broth, soulful with daikon and seaweed (RM20). The cooking leaps capably from West to East, from pasta with sultrily, subtly smoky tiger prawns in a mild, light bisque (RM22) to a whole succulent salmon head made zingy with myoga ginger-like buds, fennel and pickled shallots (RM26).

Of course, red meat isn't neglected - the Angus beef rib-eye is grilled to medium-rare gorgeousness, sprinkled with Sarawak black pepper (RM40), while the New Zealand lamb rack, pinkish too when sliced, is showered with creamy-nutty masala curry for a North Indian spice flourish (RM48).

It's worth noting the potato puree that comes with these - a tribute to Robuchon's buttery-milky, silky-smooth original.

Even desserts here bring on the heat, from an oven-baked burnt white chocolate and orange tart (RM5) to a lemon tart that might be an acquired taste, with the mousse also emerging from the charcoal (RM5).

Atelier Binchotan

28, Jalan 2/109E, Taman Desa Business Park, Kuala Lumpur. Open for lunch and dinner, Monday-Saturday. Tel: 017-788-9096

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