Enter SHHHBUUULEEE, the latest East Asian restobar at REX KL serving a delightful list of sake and natural wines, with compact small plates that honors the nostalgic flavors of Asian cuisine.

If you’ve already zigzagged through the multi-step bookstore at REX KL, chances are that you’ve probably end up right at the highest level and stumble upon SHHHBUUULEEE. The funky neon-lit sign casts an enigmatic blue light into the industrial entrance, drawing the attention from curious visitors who’d probably haven’t heard of this quasi-hidden noshery.

Enter SHHHBUUULEEE, the new progressive East Asian restobar in the heart of KL’s Chinatown.

The name SHHHBUUULEEE derived from a play of words stemming from the idea of ​​’keeping quiet’ – shhh, and followed by Chinese characters’不理‘or’ bù lǐ ‘which simply means’ pay no attention to’. That said, feel free to chatter and be merry when you’re here for a great time.

Accordingly to Chef Mui, the man behind the small plates menu, the idea is to bring a sense of nostalgia into every dish while having strong Chinese influences in its flavors. Like the onomatopoeia that makes up the restaurant’s name – quite the mouthful (we know) —the dishes are actually pretty simple and uncomplicated at all, just like SHHHBUUULEEE that is made up of commonly used words.

For the uninitiated, Chef Mui has worked in some of the most notable establishments including Maaemo in Oslo and Esquina in Singapore. In KL, you’d probably have tasted his food at Chocha Foodstore. In his latest curation for SHHHBUUULEEE, he continues to put his sustainability practices in place by using homegrown and locally-sourced ingredients, as well as going zero-waste.

Chef Mui

Sharing Staples

Regulars to SHHHBUUULEEE would already sample some of its staple dishes including the Tofu, Grilled Octopus and Braised Tripe & Tendon. What we thoroughly enjoy is the honesty and purity of these dishes that are served unpretentiously.

Tofu is an unassuming dish served with tomato water and a cured egg yolk. While the tomato water offers a surprising tang, the yolk cradles each spoonful with rich creaminess and savory notes. When eaten together with the silken tofu, it creates an elegant finish to the palate – sophisticated yet rich, subtle yet complex.

On to the Braised Tripe & Tendon, it is truly a rustic and traditional take that hits the nostalgic sensory. East Asian flavors dominate the dish; twas familiar and comforting. The tripe is exquisitely tender with a silky texture that envelops the exterior.

The Grilled Octopus on the other hand is one of the highlights of the night. This particular dish pairs extremely well with the selection of sake available in-house. Combining fermented chili and mustard seeds, together with a Chinese celery oil as the sauce, the flavors of the ocean is beautifully complemented and enhanced. Every piece is charred evenly with a delightful texture thanks to its freshness. Chef Mui also stresses that these are wild-caught local octopi, so the sizes can vary drastically depending on weather and its natural surrounding.

New Dishes

Chef Mui reiterates that the menu at SHHHBUUULEEE changes regularly as he brings novelty and his creative flair to his repertoire – keeping patrons excited with new creations each time they visit the place. It is also to highlight that Malaysia too, has its ‘seasons’ that aren’t specifically defined by spring or summer, autumn or winter. It is the seasonal produce and catches that are defined by nature and its many wondrous ways.

Some of the new creations that we get to sample include Grilled Peppers, Fish Head Terrine, Red Glutinous Riceand the very seasonal Drunken Cockles.

If you’re looking for a sharing plate that goes perfectly with sake, the ultimate go-to is the Grilled Peppers. Simple and unpretentious, this dish is easy to fall in love with. The charring brings out a pleasant natural sweetness, that complements the sesame and peanut butter dressing. Another crowd-pleaser is the Drunken Cockles. While the flavor and texture of cockles have always been an acquired taste, the ones served at SHHHBUUULEEE are freshly flown in from the waters of Sabah and immediately prepared to retain its freshness. The cockles are steamed with rice wine and served with chef’s signature Mu’s Taucu for a beautiful umami accent.

SHHHBUUULEEE boasts an extensive list of sake.

Staying true to his ways of being zero-waste, Chef Mui adopts the head-to-tail concept with the Fish Head Terrine dish. Instead of going for the conventional meat-only serving, he instead, uses the head of the garoupa as the main ingredient of this creation. The fish head is cooked down and ground (like how one makes a terrine), combined with chef’s secret ingredients, and made into flat ‘pancakes’ – highly enjoyable with a side of pickled chayote and chili vinaigrette.

A Must-try in Chinatown

What we absolutely love about the restaurant is the super-chill vibe, detailed with artsy nuances. It has a profound rooftop atmosphere that transports you to some of the best hangout spots in metropolitan cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Seoul. SHHHBUUULEEE also has DJ sessions to amplify your nights with great music while enjoying sharing plates and drinks.

It is also one of the very few places in KL that really pays absolute attention at its selection of sake – each carefully curated to pair with the specialty dishes here. There are also other select spirits and cocktails like soju, highballs and natural wines if you’re not much of a sake fan.

Overall, we enjoy the ode to nostalgic flavors here – quintessentially Chef Mui’s codes through and through. The opening of SHHHBUUULEEE has also added a good reason to revisit REX KL that has recently garnered plenty of attention thanks to the opening of the Instagrammable bookstore and the concluded exhibition by Ernest Zacharevic.

Chef Mui is also working on a dessert item to add to the menu – so stay tuned.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.