[Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia] Dinner at 1-Michelin-star Beta

Beta is the tongue-in-cheek, playful culinary playground that is the latest One-Michelin-star luminary in the MICHELIN Guide to Kuala Lumpur & Penang 2024.

An early indication of what to expect from its friendly, relaxed vibe was its entrance - none of those hoity-toity, Zen-ish 50 shades of grey set-up with a pouting Harkonnen receptionist. Instead, it looked like a cross between a kids gymboree and last century Rainforest Cafe, with its proliferation of plastic flora and neon lights. We were half expecting to see an animatronic toucan, orangutan or elephant when we were shown inside.

The spacious, high-ceilinged bar & drinks area. Turned out, they set a long table there to accommodate our 8-person dinner party, as they couldnโ€™t fit us into the main dining room. Oh well.

The main dining area which we couldnโ€™t sit at - wouldโ€™ve been fun to be in there and watch the kitchen in action.

๐˜›๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ข ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ, with ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ด, ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ.

Our menu degustation:
๐„๐š๐ฌ๐ญ (๐๐š๐ก๐š๐ง๐ , ๐Š๐ž๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ง, ๐“๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ ๐š๐ง๐ฎ, ๐’๐š๐›๐š๐ก, ๐’๐š๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ค) - These were a trio of elaborately assembled starters, each paying homage to the states within the Malaysian federation with regards to the ingredients used. There wasnโ€™t any attempt to link the preparation techniques of each appetiser item to the respective stateโ€™s traditional dish item - so we werenโ€™t any wiser. Beautifully presented, though.
๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ญ - ๐˜–๐˜บ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ, ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ข ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ, ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ;
๐˜š๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฐ - ๐˜Š๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฉ, ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ต;
๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ - ๐˜‰๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต, ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ-๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ.

South (Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor)
Humble Salad - Pomelo, Yam, Kulim Oil, Peanut

Jungle garlic, known as Buah Kulim, is foraged from the interiors of the rainforest. Processed then steeped in oil, the resultant condiment imparts a deep, garlicky taste and smell to everything itโ€™s added to:

South (Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor)
Scallop - Pumpkin, Cabbage, Fermented Mustard Greens - one of the standouts for this meal - the giant scallop was beautifully cooked and served with an assertively salty-ish soup, courtesy of the fermented mustard greens which cuts into the rich, meaty scallop.

South (Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor)
Tiger Prawn - MD2 Pineapple, Prawn Sambal - the main attraction of this dish was the pineapple foam which juxtaposed well with the grilled prawns. This was one of my favourite dishes for the evening besides my chicken main dish.

Preparing our palate cleanser: Asam pedas sorbet table-side:

There is a choice of main courses. Some of us opted for:
Corn-fed Chicken - Glutinous Rice Wine, Yellow Daylily - well-executed, with the chicken still moist and perfectly-cooked. The sauce was subtle and presenting very familiar flavours to the Chinese palate.

Lamb Rack - Spices, Koji, Smoked Aubergine, Tapioca Leaf - strictly for curry-lovers, but the lamb was perfectly-cooked.

Loyang Vol 5 - Black Sesame, Ginger - one of Betaโ€™s claim-to-fame: the Malay โ€œkueh loyangโ€ given an amazing makeover. Only the shape was retained, whilst the new incarnation was unlike anything one has ever tasted before. A must-try - it really did taste as beautifully as it looks.

Bananas - Banana Leaf Ice-cream, Banana Fibres, Preserved Banana, Kombucha - donโ€™t think I โ€œgetโ€ this dessert. I love bananas, but this dessert didnโ€™t seem to have brought out any of the bananaโ€™s qualities which we looked for: the aroma, the sweetness, the beautifully mellow flavours. None seemed present here.

Overall, a rather flippant, hit-and-miss journey through Malaysia-according-to-Beta. A number of dishes showed great imagination and preserved local flavors.

Service was shaky and lacked sophistication - incorrect placement of cutlery and wine glasses. That certainly needs to be improved upon.

Cormar Suites, Lot 163, 10, Jalan Perak, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6019-212 1094
Opening hours: 6pm to 10pm Tue-Sun. Closed on Mondays


Looks like a fun meal, despite the misses.


Indeed. Very colourful and light-hearted. I guess this appeals to the Millennials (their target clientele), more than old fogies like me who looked for traditional techniques and presentation.