Food + Drink

Eats-A-Review: Highlights from If Only, Chateau Dionne, and Hokkaido Table

Feasts ahead


By Amanda Fung

Eats-A-Review: Highlights from If Only, Chateau Dionne, and Hokkaido Table

There’s never a shortage of good places to eat around Kuala Lumpur. Whether you’re in the mood for something fancy or want to go back to basics, you’re guaranteed to find a spot that fits into your plans. With that, we aim to point you in the direction of the city’s best eateries through our coverage and reviews. In this edition of Eats-a-Review, we tell you all about buzzing café-restaurant If Only, French restaurant Chateau Dionne, and The Exchange TRX’s Japanese-Italian Hokkaido Table.



“Located in the buzzing heart of Kuala Lumpur is If Only KL, a serene respite from the bustle of the capital city. Decked out in neutral tones and Balinese-inspired decor, its space is a warm enclave that is perfect for catch-ups, celebrations, and everything in between. 

“During the day, the restaurant is a vibrant café, serving hearty and bright dishes as well as refreshing drinks. As the sun sets, the space transforms into a trendy bistro-like eatery with a range of sharing plates and sides that are perfect to end your day with. I recently took a trip there with some BURO team members to get a taste of its latest dinner menu.

“We started the meal with a refreshing salmon carpaccio, embellished with ikura pearls, green tea jelly, and sesame seeds. The dish was tied together with a delightfully tangy ponzu dressing that added an extra dimension to each bite. Next, the grilled white corn with yuzukosho butter arrived at the table. The yuzukosho brought some heat and tanginess to the juicy corn, making it the perfect side for our meal. 

“Also in our starting lineup was a seasonal cold angel hair pasta, topped with uni, scallops, ikura, and a light dashi dressing. The scallops were fresh and sweet, while the uni added some decadent richness to the light dish. Meanwhile, the dashi dressing was also light enough to not overpower the seafood while still adding a touch of umami to the dish. Another noodle dish on the table was If Only’s soba with a red miso bisque, wakame, an onsen egg, pickled vegetables, baby corn, and crispy rice. The plate was as delicious as it was colourful and the added crunch from the vegetable medley and rice was a delight in every bite.

“The first of our main meat dishes was a grilled charsiew lamb ribs—served with pickles—that burst with flavour, boasting a balance of sweet and salty flavours from its dressing. Great for those who love to eat with their hands, the ribs were also juicy and charred ever so slightly for some extra caramelisation. 

“We followed with a dish that is a cross between tacos and Peking duck wraps. Taking centre stage on the plate was a succulent roasted duck breast, served with toasted tortillas, lettuce, guacamole, a spicy Thai dipping sauce, and a trio of pickled vegetables. Each bite blended several distinct cuisines and was a fun add to the meal.

“As a supplement to the meal, we also had If Only’s signature tamago chips, which were a hit around the table. The snack was an addictive hybrid between dashitamago and thick-cut fries, dressed with an okonomiyaki sauce, wasabi dust, and bonito flakes. 

“To round off our meal, we dug into another crowd favourite at the restaurant: the Mochi Bowl. Constructed with tofu mochi balls, a white miso cookie, strawberry chocolate soil, dough crumbles, and jasmine green tea ice cream, the dessert had our seal of approval for not being too cloying, while satisfying our sweet teeth!

“As a whole, If Only has proved itself to be one of the most reliable destinations for a hearty and bright meal in the city. In our opinion, it has successfully set itself apart from the oversaturated café scene in the city with more thoughtful and substantial bites and an exciting cocktail menu, alongside a well-designed space. Plus points also go towards its pet-friendly environment!” —Amanda Fung, Senior Lifestyle Writer

Address: Ground floor, Regal House, 1, Jalan U Thant, Taman U Thant, 55000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 7am to 11pm (Tuesday to Saturday) | 7am to 6pm (Sunday and Monday)

Contact: +6017 288 2243

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“Over in the Bukit Damansara neighbourhood is Chateau Dionne, a reliable destination for upscale French fare. Led by chef Andy Choy, the team puts together menus that reflect the richness of the cuisine, inflected with modern and personal touches from Choy’s experience working around the world. 

“There are both a la carte and prix fixe menus available so diners are able to choose an experience that fits both their palates and the occasion. Various seating options are also available, though the chef’s table is your best bet for getting a first-hand look at the kitchen and cooking. During my visit, I got to try its degustation menu, which is an ode to the spring season’s best produce. 

“The meal begins with some mise en bouche, a quartet of snacks to get our palates going. An ode to spring, the asparagus dish comprised a blanched stalk, finished with truffle oil, balsamic vinegar, and rice puffs. Next, the tart is a delightful morsel of goat cheese mousse, sliced beetroot, and pearls of balsamic vinegar. Shaped like the root vegetable itself is a carrot flan, dressed with a spice glaze and discs of heirloom carrots. Lastly, the mozzarella choux was a standout, with a parmesan tuile and basil powder. 

“As with any classic French meal, a bread course is essential. Chateau Dionne presented a fluffy spring pea brioche with a caramelised onion butter with chorizo oil as well as a classic truffle butter. Following the bread was a surprise course of an avocado espuma, a sous vide egg, croutons, pickled shallots, and parsley oil. Despite the numerous contrasting elements in a single dish, the flavours and textures came together rather harmoniously. 

“Marking the beginning of the entrées is a scallop carpaccio, accompanied by a mango purée with passion fruit and lemongrass as well as a red plum sorbet with ginger. All the elements were refreshing and bright, making for an easy dish to enjoy. A capellini dish followed, topped with asparagus, green and white asparagus créme, Kaviari caviar, and truffle ponzu dressing. 

“In contrast to the previous lighter courses, the foie gras course was an image of decadence. The pan-fried liver was served with kiwi cubes, a Granny Smith espuma, and pecan crumbles. While the foie gras was rich as it always is, the addition of the kiwi and Granny Smith espuma really brightened the dish. 

“Next came the unique lobster course that consisted of two elements: a lobster I with an ikura and lobster head sauce as well as a lobster beignet with Thermidor sauce. We then moved on to the turbot confit that came with a clarified tomato sauce, artichokes and tomatoes. The fish was cooked just right, whereas the sauce was silky and the tomatoes fresh.

“As a pre-cursor to the main dessert, I was presented with a lovely grapefruit sorbet with Campari gel, a rhubarb-thyme espuma and strawberries, which did the trick at cleansing the palate. Then, the Chateau Dionne team presented its beloved soufflé, this time served with an orange and dark chocolate twist. As always, the soufflé rose perfectly and was a joy to dig into. Before heading off, I enjoyed a petit six course—which strays from the usual four—that comprised a madeleine, lemon tart, sakura macaron, Korean strawberry, canele, and chocolate truffle.

“Anyone looking for a modern French meal in a classy space with classic French fare can look to Chateau Dionne to deliver. Whether you opt for the private room or the chef’s table, you’re guaranteed to be taken good care of by its team.” —Amanda Fung, Senior Lifestyle Writer

Address: 24G, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 11pm, daily

Contact: +6018 318 8199

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“Do you often have cravings for sashimi and pasta? What if I told you there’s a restaurant that can satisfy both cravings? Introducing Hokkaido Table: The Exchange TRX Aurum Theatre’s newest F&B establishment offering rustic Japanese-Italian fare. Encompassing a first-of-its-kind Omakase experience located within a cinema, Hokkaido Table combines both countries’ culinary traditions, highlighting the freshness of Hokkaido produce and bold Italian flavours amidst a sophisticated ambience.

Curated by Chef Edwin, a distinguished master in the craft of Japanese cuisine, I had the pleasure of tasting the seven-course dinner omakase. While the menu constantly changes to suit the seasonal produce, read on to find out what you can expect in terms of quality, flavours and presentation.

“Starting with the Zuwai Kani Mozuku, the dish was a refreshing serving of Japanese brown algae (that has a vermicelli-like texture), topped with shreds of snow crab and muscat grapes. It perfectly whet my appetite for the next course, a sashimi moriawase. Featuring two kinds of expertly prepared sashimi, the Tai (sea bream) was exceedingly fresh whilst the chutoro (belly part) of the bluefin tuna was melt-in-your-mouth soft.

“This was followed by the spinach and ricotta ravioli, which showcases Hokkaido Table’s homage to Italian flavours. As the gorgonzola sauce was rich and decadent, I appreciated the restraint in portion as the single ravioli was adequate. Returning to Japanese fare, the next dish was a pan-seared Hokkaido sea scallop in a pool of seafood consommé. The broth was light and I enjoyed the subtle smokiness that the teppanyaki grill brought out of the scallop.

“Reaching the climax of the omakase, I was served the charcoal-grilled A5 Wagyu. Cooked Saikoro-style, the cubes of steak were seared to perfection, each bite a tender and juicy mouthful. Next was a plate of four kinds of nigiri: Ebi with uni; flame-torched Engawa (tail fin muscles of a flounder) with wasabi kisame (my personal favourite sushi of the bunch!); Chutoro tuna with smoked herring roe; and Hamachi (yellowfin tuna) with caviar. 

“I ended the meal with a yuzu crème brûlée. While the sugar could have been hardened a tad more for a better texture, the custard was nicely flavoured. Overall, my meal at Hokkaido Table was pleasant and memorable. If you’re looking for a restaurant that highlights the clean palate and precision of Japanese cooking alongside fresh and bold Italian flavours, consider Hokkaido Table for your next meal!” — Marissa Chin, Lifestyle & Culture Writer

Address: L2.AT.3 Level 2, The Exchange TRX, Persiaran TRX, 55188 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11am to 10pm, daily

Contact: +6011 2640 9549 | Email [email protected]

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Note: Hokkaido Table offers a yearly membership subscription at RM988, which includes a welcome treat to the premium seven-course omakase dinner for two guests. Additionally, guests will get an ultra-luxurious cinematic experience at Aurum Theatre’s Getha Lux Suites for two on top of a 10 per cent discount off omakase dinner sessions and non-alcoholic beverages in subsequent visits.



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