Masashi Horiuchi’s latest culinary salvo Potager raises the national dining bar

A destination for genuine haute cuisine.

Masashi Horiuchi (Photo: Potager)

Robert Browning, the Victorian poet, once wrote, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp/Or what’s a heaven for?”

It is evident, from the moment you step onto the windy walking path fringed by vegetation, that the team at Potager has been very busy reaching.

If going on a weekday, I would recommend that visitors drive or Grab early to Bamboo Hills, Kuala Lumpur, to beat the vicious peak hour traffic and to take a leisurely walk around the estate before dinner. At some point, the penny will drop; UOA, its developers, are counting on a diverse, pumping F&B hub to lure the aspirational classes to the upcoming condo development next door. Potager, the only fine dining restaurant on the premises, is both the jewel in the crown and the canary in the coalmine.

That is also precisely the reason Potager cannot be allowed to fail.

Within minutes of entering the circular complex (complete with the standalone wine bar Oeno, private rooms, an incubator kitchen for visiting chefs and the best restaurant toilets you will find in KL), you realise that if effort is any yardstick, it will not fail. It is a breathtakingly beautiful endeavour, all glass and greenery and designer lighting, with the luxury of enough space for dreams to take flight.


The main dining room is a haven of timber, louvred panels and ambient lighting (Photo: Potager)

The lead dreamer here is Masashi Horiuchi, the longstanding executive chef at Bangsar, KL’s famed Entier. But where Entier ended up more of a brasserie (in a good way, as no one logically does fine dining in a 100-seater restaurant), Potager is a destination for genuine haute cuisine. The general philosophy of sustainable eating may be the same as at Entier, but the level of ambition has been amped up to 11.

Take the signature of Corn. It emits Entier vibes but at Potager, it is a very different Corn, a classic French declinaison of corn: tuille, bread, jelly and luscious white corn au naturel, topped with T’Lur caviar, caramelised onion and stracciatella cheese. I could live without the caviar, but the quadrupling-down on the theme ingredient in various forms and textures is very clever and incredibly tasty.

And there are, of course, little Robuchonisms, in homage to Horiuchi’s five years at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London. Foie gras in a duck carcass consommé comes with Horiuchi’s little touches, like a house-made duck prosciutto (using Bidor duck) and Japanese yuzu shaved at the table by the chef himself. It is a masterclass in balance, full of flavour and indulgence, yet finishes refreshingly, thanks to the technically perfect consommé and the fragrant citrus.

I’ve griped about the quality of pastry work in Malaysia before, but dessert here is a pleasure. Again, local produce takes centre stage, with gorgeous Malaysian figs sliced paper thin, draped over a white chocolate mousse and fig compote. The notable tang of stingless kelulut bee honey, in the form of ice cream and honeycombed jelly, keeps the sweet elements in check.


Bidor duck breast prosciutto in consommé (Photo: Michelle Lin)

For those of you who cut straight to the scores, you may notice service isn’t quite up with the other aspects. It is, on the whole, well-meaning if not polished, and somewhat knowledgeable if not faultless. But the cure can sometimes be worse than the disease, and managers here can make service situations tense and awkward, completely at odds with the serenity that the space and food inspire and deserve.

Take a deep breath when requesting the bill (the set dinner menu, sans supplements, is RM770+, meaning virtually nobody is getting out of here for under a grand each), especially if you ordered some wine from Dennis Chong’s intelligent, diverse but sadly incredibly overpriced list. An experience like this has to come with a hefty price tag, but (hopefully) you don’t feel the sting because you see where all the money has gone and, more importantly, you taste it too.

Potager’s motto, repeated ad nauseum so you don’t forget, is “celebrating the hands that laboured”. I’m happy to do that today. Five years ago, no one could have imagined the emergence of such a restaurant in KL. Yet in its first year, Potager has become a new beacon for haute cuisine in the Klang Valley and Malaysia, a monumental achievement and execution of a vision.

To close the loop on Mr Browning, it’s not quite heaven, but it comes pretty darn close.

After a successful debut season, Potager has announced that lunch reservations are now open from Fridays to Sundays weekly. Presided over by executive chef Masahi Horiuchi and head chef De Wet Visser, there is a five-course menu (RM395+ per person) or the nine-course option (RM770+). A vegan selection is also available. Lunch hours are from 12pm to 3pm, with the last seating at 1.45pm.

SCORE: 17/20
Food: 8.5/10
Service: 3.75/5
Ambience: 3/3
Magic: 1.75/2

P-11, Taman Bukit Bambu, Bamboo Hills. Closed on Tues. Lunch, Fri-Sun, noon-3pm; dinner, 6-10pm. (012) 623 3152. Make reservations here.

This article first appeared on Mar 11, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.

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