Elegant dining at 936 Kitchen


I paused at the entrance to 936 Kitchen to admire the riot of greenery that bordered a path which I instantly thought, probably led into a mysterious labyrinth.


The entrance into 936 Kitchen

A few steps along this path and the mystery lifted when I turned a bend and a spacious, elegant restaurant designed with an open kitchen, came into view.


Through floor-to-ceiling glass walls to my left, I saw outdoor seating on the balcony which overlooked the swimming pools and beyond that, the beach and the Johor Straits.


My friends, who were already seated, beckoned me with a wave and I joined them at the table where we plunged into studying the menu to pick our dishes for lunch.


The view through the glass walls...

Two of them were regulars at this restaurant and familiar with the Chef and menu so we had a quick discussion about the recommended dishes to savour together.


Keeping the choice of carb to the last, we first decided on fish, duck, lamb dishes and an appetizer, all to share – a trait which is typical among us ladies.


When our conversation was interrupted by the muffled tones of, “Thump-thump-thump,” the distinct sound I know from a traditional stone mortar and pestle, I could not resist leaving the table to take a peek of the action at the open kitchen.


... another view of swimming pools from outside

Not only did I spy the kitchen team who were busy preparing orders, I also spotted Executive Chef James Thong working with the mortar and pestle, personally preparing the guacamole mix for our appetizer order of Guacamole with Yam Chips.


While he was not dressed in his chef’s tunic, I recognised the Chef and was pleased that he got busy once our order was received.


The Guacamole was served within the stone mortar with the Yam Chips in a glass tumbler for us to enjoy as the first appetizer.


A peek at the kitchen team with Chef James
Thong [Far Right] working with mortar and pestle

Because there was no rule about having one or more appetizers, we also ordered Smoked Duck Breast Rolls with Tamarind Plum Glaze, a delicacy reminiscent of Peking Duck in rolls, stuffed with slices of duck breast and a stick of crunchy fresh cucumber.


Conversation flowed as we savoured the next dish of Pan-Fried Barramundi topped with Shiraro Miso XO Saucce on a bed of Greens followed by our carb choice of Sea Prawn Linguini tossed with Chilli, Prawn Oil and Basil.


I liked the unobtrusive service where serving staff cleared the empty plates before the next dish was served to our table.


Chef James at 936 Kitchen

Then the dish of Slow Roasted Lamb Ribs with Tomato Dip was served, paired with the recommended Grilled Cauliflower Steak topped with Miso and a sprinkle of Sesame Seeds.


No willing to let any food go to waste, we divided up the portions to share. And with every bite, we agreed that the Cauliflower steak was the perfect foil for the fragrant Lamb Ribs.


Once again, we polished off the plates with much satisfaction.


Meanwhile, I could not help being curious about why this restaurant was so named and what was significant about, “936.”


Then I learnt that 936 Kitchen was part of the Ezon LAE Healthtech property where they apply Light Activated Energy (LAE) technology in health treatments that aimed to boost metabolism and the immune system, detoxify and improve heart health, reverse aging and reduce fat.


Guacamole with Yam Chips

LAE products produce infrared wavelengths to interact with the body’s wavelength of about 936 Angstroms at normal body temperature, so this restaurant was named, 936 Kitchen.


After two years of uncertainty due to the global pandemic, the economy reopened and when Johorean, Chef James returned to Johor Bahru in October 2022, he was challenged to operate this restaurant.


Armed with his culinary and chef consultant skills, Chef James applied his experience to supervise the contractor in designing the kitchen, including the water and wiring systems, to get the restaurant ready and opened in December 2022.


Sea Prawn Linguini with Chilli,
Prawn Oil and Basil

When Chef James came to our table to ask about our lunch experience, we invited him to sit down for a chat and for us to get to know him better than his reputation as once being the Personal Chef of a high-profile, senior statesman in our country.


He chuckled because one of the most frequently asked question he received was, “What did you cook for him to give him such a long and healthy life?”


Chef James explained that both the statesman and his wife were medical doctors by profession so they always maintained a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet.


Chef James sat down with us
for a chat

He was however, able to tell us that one of the statesman’s favourite dishes was Buckwheat Noodles and was pleased to feature Buckwheat Noodles with Zucchini Shoyu and Sesame, in the menu at 936.


He also shared that his earliest inspiration to take up culinary training was when he was a teenager. At that time a television show, Yan Can Cook, was popular and when his father watched the programme, he could replicate the dishes presented in the show by cooking them for the family.


His father’s natural skill in Chinese cooking was probably derived from their Hainanese genes and while James was inspired by his father’s culinary skills, he was more inclined towards European cuisine specifically, French cooking styles.


Slow Roasted Lamb Ribs with Tomato Dip

After James completed his training in French Culinary Skills at SHATEC, the international hotel and tourism school in Singapore, he worked with hotels in Johor Baru and Kuala Lumpur before leaving for Sydney in Australia, to work with top chefs who were skilled in Japanese-French cuisine.


Back in Kuala Lumpur, James worked with the statesman and his family for about 10 years before venturing abroad to work in Taipei, Taiwan. There, he experienced the challenge to get ingredients to prepare his cuisine so his stint abroad was not long.


On his return to Kuala Lumpur, he had the opportunity to oversee two restaurants, one that served a Mediterranean menu and the other, Modern Chinese cuisine that used French techniques.


Refreshing Frozen Yuzu

Now at 936 Kitchen, Chef James is keen to apply his experience and expertise to present an interesting menu that meets with the taste of diners in our multi-cultural community.


As he continued sharing about the private dining events with menus designed to the clients’ requirement, we enjoyed a refreshing Frozen Yuzu dessert and our time together for lunch at 936 ended comfortably over cups of freshly brewed coffee.


936 Kitchen is located on Level One of the Phoenix Clubhouse (formerly Danga Bay Clubhouse) linked to Ezon LAE Healthtech at Lot PTD 22056, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Baru, Johor. [No pork products are used in this restaurant.]


Open for lunch from 11.30am to 3pm and for dinner from 6pm to 10.30pm. Closed on Monday. Reservations are recommended via WhatsApp Tel: +607 8590 413 and +6012 6057 936.

No comments:

Post a Comment