Chef Wan expands F&B empire

The new Cafe Chef Wan at KL East Mall sets up to be the celebrity chef’s latest successful endeavour


I’M A fan of Chef Wan’s De.Wan 1958 at The Linc KL mall. I’ve written about it before in The Malaysian Reserve and I go there every so often with friends and family.

When I saw the chef extraordinaire opening a branch in Bangi, I was tempted to go, but the Conditional Movement Control Order was (and still is) in effect in the Klang Valley and I didn’t want to risk it.

Imagine my delight when Cafe Chef Wan opened its doors last week on Dec 15 at nearby KL East Mall. While I have two future outings there lined up in the next month, my first visit was on Sunday with my bestie Shahrizah.

Now, since the cafe is brand spanking new, the reservation system is not yet operational. My advice, go early to avoid a long queue. Avoid peak hours and if you’re on a date or in a small group, avoid the area with seatings for large groups as it could get noisy!

The new outlet features a few items from sister flagship De.Wan such as Cucur Udang (my all-time favourite) and Cik Aini’s Mee Rebus, but the majority are all new to Chef Wan’s food and beverage (F&B) empire. The cuisinier has said Cafe Chef Wan is based on dishes he sampled during his trips around the world, from Spain to Vietnam to Morocco etc.

Our starter salad was one. According to Chef Wan, whom my friend had the opportunity to take a photo with, the Compressed Watermelon Salad is based on a dish he savoured in Spain.

This is a winner for me, something new and exciting to my palate. Compressing the watermelon intensifies the sweet flavour and the texture is more dense and the colour more vibrant. The dish is also perfectly balanced  with a bit of zesty lime juice and balsamic glaze, as well as roasted beetroot, arugula, feta cheese and crunchy chopped walnut.

Despite the long wait, the Roasted Chicken was tender and juicy with delicious jus

Our main was the half Roasted Chicken. I have to warn you the wait is long, 45 minutes, as the cafe works out its opening kinks. Tender and juicy with delicious chicken jus, I would definitely order this next time for my mom.

However, there were too few roasted potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkin that came with it for me, an avid vegetable lover. Thus, ordering a salad to go with it would be lovely.

For dessert, while both of us eyed the Musang King Cheesecake, my friend wanted the “diet-friendly” Chocolate Valentino instead. The flourless chocolate cake was a bit bitter to me due to the rich dark chocolate couverture, but was set off against a refreshing vanilla ice cream. Both were not too sweet, perfect for those cutting down their sugar intake. According to Chef Wan, you can also request to replace the ice cream with whipped cream.

I tried the Sunday Morning fresh juice — Navel orange, sweet pineapple, guava, mint leaf — tangy and the perfect picker upper to wake you up on a lazy weekend.

I have a few dishes I would like to try next — Chef Wan’s Seafood Chowder, Seafood Paella, Moroccan Chicken Tagine and Musang King Cheesecake.

For sure, Chef Wan’s F&B empire will continue to flourish as he brings his vast expertise and knowledge to making each place a unique and memorable dining experience.