Shiso Dining introduces new five-pronged approach to the much-loved Malaysian pursuit of makan

The restaurant is the latest incarnation of the former and much popular Tapas Bistro & Bar at MiCasa All Suite Hotel.

Shiso Dining adopts a five-pronged approach to casual dining, imbibing and purveying (All photos: Suhaimi Yusuf/The Edge Malaysa)

As all business strategists know, transformation planning is the much-needed process of developing strategic plans to modify an enterprise’s business process in order to drive new growth, unlock new opportunities and deliver new efficiencies. A successful transformation plan generates value, spurs success and ensures long-term sustainability.

In the black swan year that is 2020, IGB Corp Bhd, which owns the MiCasa All Suite Hotel, decided to kickstart the doddering F&B scene by introducing a promotion that was unheard of for its anchor fine-dining room, Cilantro. Every Wednesday evening, patrons could choose from a four-course menu, excluding amuse-bouche and granita, capped at a (relatively) bargainous RM300 nett and with complimentary corkage — compared to the usual RM538.


The eponymous restaurant Shiso serves yoshoku-style kissaten cuisine

The move was, of course, a stroke of genius and succeeded in tempting even the most nervous gourmet to go out when the Movement Control Order was relaxed somewhat in May and dining in was finally allowed.

Fast forward to the present, the IGB honchos, led by its deputy group CEO Tan Boon Lee, unveiled yet another makan masterstroke by revamping what used to be the Tapas Bistro & Bar, famous for its strawberry margaritas once upon a time, into Shiso Dining, which adopts a five-pronged approach to casual dining, imbibing and purveying, deftly deflecting any potential cannibalism of Cilantro and, instead, luring a new generation and segment of patrons unfamiliar with the property.

Having opened on Dec 7, its name, of course, follows in the same herbaceous vein as its sister restaurants, Sage at The Gardens and on-site Cilantro.

Presided over by Takashi Kimura, the sensei behind Cilantro’s longevity and consistency, dine-in guests may now choose between La Terrasse by Takashi, a bijou boîte that could have you feeling as if you were either in the Marais or Omotesando; and Shiso, which serves yoshoku-style kissaten cuisine.

For those who enjoy a tea-time tipple and beyond, there is Mizukami Highball, the first bar under three-time Malaysian Diageo Reserve World Class champion, Shawn Chong of Omakase + Appreciate fame, and which prides itself on serving a variety of highball-style drinks (the de facto happy-hour drink among salarymen in Japan) aimed at complementing the casual Japanese cuisine here.


Shawn Chong of Omakase + Appreciate fame helms Mizukami Highball bar

And finally, there is Marché and Vinifera, which serve and sell selections of imported fine ingredients and condiments like seaweed and truffle butters and fleur de sel from the Añana Salt Valley in Spain’s Basque Country and good wines respectively.

Just as its namesake leaf is celebrated for its versatility, providing the background for sushi dishes as well as being a reputable garnish for many others, Shiso is far more than just a pretty ornamental green. Pay it a visit yourself. We think you might rather agree with us.


This article first appeared on Dec 14, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.


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