After much anticipation, Clearwater Group announced the opening of KINTSUGI Kuala Lumpur with Tokyo Michelin-starred Chef Jeff Okada Ramsey yesterday, at Isetan The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur.
Inspired by the centuries-old practice of "golden joinery", a Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold lacquer; KINSUGI is a progressive Kaiseki and Sushi Kaiseki restaurant which reflects Chef Ramsey’s style of kaiseki cuisine.
“The Kintsugi (repaired) pottery is considered beautiful as the breakage and repair were highlighted as part of the history of the pottery. In keeping with the Japanese Kaiseki’s ethos of treating the best seasonal ingredients with love and respect, I hope our guests will also learn to appreciate the cherished Japanese value in finding beauty in imperfection,” Chef Ramsey explained.
Chef Ramsey is no stranger to the culinary scene here in Kuala Lumpur having previously opened Babe by Jeff Ramsey and Japas, both also with Clearwater Group, making him the first Michelin-starred chef to open his restaurant in Malaysia in 2016.
Ramsey earned his culinary stripes under the tutelage of Chef Masayoshi Kazato, the official Sushi Ambassador of Japan, and Chef Jose Andres, protégé of the legendary Catalonian Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli, Spain.
He was then handpicked by Japanese super chef Hide Yamamoto as Executive Chef of the Tapas Molecular Bar at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, where he earned and retained a Michelin Star. His latest accolades include becoming the Winning Challenger Chef of Iron Chef Thailand 2022.
“I am absolutely thrilled to open KINTSUGI Kuala Lumpur with Jeff,” states Datuk Jared Lim, Founder of Clearwater Group. “Kintsugi reflects his culinary journey as a traditionally trained chef who draws inspiration from the food, people and cultures he has crossed paths with, and share this personal experience with our guests through his progressive take on Kaiseki cuisine, all while remaining true to its ancient roots.”
KINTSUGI epitomises Chef Ramsey’s culinary finesse in uplifting the traditional Japanese fine dining experience which is often stiff and rigid, with modernist elements and techniques, infused with the flavours and nuances gathered on his culinary journey as an American-Japanese who has lived in Southeast Asia for the past 8 years.
The menu is meticulously crafted to pay tribute to the Kintsugi philosophy and Kaiseki traditions, while pushing boundaries, it remains Japanese from a taste and aesthetic perspective. The restaurant sources many of its ingredients from Western Japan, where Chef Ramsey’s maternal family and his Japanese wife hail from, and combines these with high-quality local produce.
The restaurant has 12 seats at the Kaiseki counter and 18 seats in the dining hall. Divided into two sections, KINTSUGI Kuala Lumpur features a 12-seat Kaiseki Counter, 18 seats dining hall, and 3 private rooms. Renowned architect, Sim Boon Yang, has created a space that is welcoming and comfortable, utilising gingko leaves as references to historic and iconic events throughout the space, representing endurance and history, as the four trees that survived the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima – Chef Ramsey’s mother is a native who was born in the same year – are still growing today.
Datin Dian Lee, Co-Founder of Clearwater Group added, “We wanted to create an ambience that is sophisticated yet inviting. With an inward focus, Kintsugi is designed to accentuate nature in its purest form. This is evident in our kaiseki counter, which is delicately crafted from Borneo Oak that is native to the islands of Malaysia.
Our choice of locally sourced materials aims to highlight the rawness of their forms and evoke a sense of authenticity that leaves behind a thoughtful tribute to the natural elegance of wabi-sabi - a centuries-old Japanese philosophy that motions you to embrace beauty of imperfection.
Over the years, the Clearwater Group has developed impressive credentials in the Malaysian lifestyle sphere and has been delighting Malaysians through its restaurants and wellness services such Japas, Ploy, WAY Modern Chinois, Tonkatsu by Ma Maison, Ma Maison EBISU, Healthy Ever After, One Sip Artisanal Roastery and Eternal Wellness.
Located on the third floor of Isetan The Gardens Mall, KINTSUGI Kuala Lumpur is now open for lunch and dinner daily.