KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 – Growing up, I was always fascinated with steakhouses.

That was where I could get Western meals like steak, escargots and soups. These were magical celebratory meals since it was nothing like my daily ho-hum meals cooked at home by my mother.

That's also what D Empire Dry Aged Steakhouse owner Dallan Tan felt. A true blue fan of Western food, especially steak, his interest also stemmed from the fact that it was so different from the food he grew up eating.

He added, "Every day, I can eat steak."

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The steak is chargrilled in the kitchen
The steak is chargrilled in the kitchen

Tan actually studied automotives. When he reached his mid-twenties, passion drove him to pursue his dream to cook Western food.

This led him to join a hotel, where he moved around the kitchen learning how to master every aspect of the cuisine. Work took him to Singapore and Australia, opening his eyes up to a whole different experience.

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After 20 years working with European cuisine, he returned to home soil and opened D Empire in 2007 at Solaris Mont Kiara.

Later it relocated to Subang Jaya in 2014. Since 2017, the restaurant moved to Pavilion KL, where they have been there till now. Last year when Pavilion Damansara Heights commenced business, D Empire was one of the first few tenants.

With its contemporary interior, D Empire Dry Aged Steakhouse is a good place to enjoy classic European dishes and dry aged steaks
With its contemporary interior, D Empire Dry Aged Steakhouse is a good place to enjoy classic European dishes and dry aged steaks

The vibe at D Empire Pavilion Damansara Heights is contemporary with its green accents and splash of red to brighten up the place. One whimsical touch includes an English mail box at the front.

One can also see how Tan's love for steaks has not wavered.

At his restaurants, he has invested in dry-aged techniques to perfect his steaks. Using chilled meat, sourced from Australia and Japan, these are dry aged for 21 days in a special temperature-controlled chamber. They also do wet ageing.

A special temperature controlled chamber is used to dry age and wet age the meat for 21 days or 150 days
A special temperature controlled chamber is used to dry age and wet age the meat for 21 days or 150 days

With ageing, it intensifies the flavour of the meat. There's a cost to this method though. Tan explained that there's around 30 per cent wastage, since the meat needs to be trimmed before cooking.

When steaks are aged longer, Tan explained, they will taste similar to blue cheese. D Empire does offer 150 days-aged Ribeye, that is sought after by gourmands, where it's shaved thinly for diners to enjoy the concentrated flavour.

D Empire offers Black Angus, Sher Wagyu and premium Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu A5.

For their Black Angus Ribeye, weighing around 220 grams, the steak is tender from the dry-ageing. All it needs is a dash of French Dijon mustard or a little of the black pepper sauce served on the side. Other sauces like a mustard gherkin or red wine shallot are also available. You have a choice of US French fries, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes or a homemade bun for your side dish.

Various proteins are also on the menu, should you want a change from steak.

Australian Braised Lamb Shank will satisfy you with its tender meat that falls off the bone
Australian Braised Lamb Shank will satisfy you with its tender meat that falls off the bone

The Australian Braised Lamb Shank will satisfy the carnivore in you. It's a hefty portion, braised with mirepoix juice with meat that falls off the bone. Mashed potatoes drizzled with lamb gravy is served on the side too.

Usually when one sees chicken on the menu, visions of a dry piece of meat come to mind. Not here.

No dry grilled chicken here, as seen with their hearty, juicy Chicken Whole Leg
No dry grilled chicken here, as seen with their hearty, juicy Chicken Whole Leg

The Chicken Whole Leg is a hearty, juicy bite. It gets a touch of cream mixed with sliced green olives and capers give it a piquant taste.

Tan also emphasised that all of their sauces served with their dishes are prepared in-house without any MSG

The classic Stuffed Escargots Bourguignon is served with melted butter, garlic and parsley
The classic Stuffed Escargots Bourguignon is served with melted butter, garlic and parsley

For starters, look towards the classic Stuffed Escargots Bourguignon. Here, French snails are cooked with butter infused with garlic and parsley.

Bouillabaisse is well executed here with a tomato broth and an assortment of seafood
Bouillabaisse is well executed here with a tomato broth and an assortment of seafood

This goes well with their Bouillabaisse, a tomato-based soup rich with treasures from the sea like prawns, mussels, clams and squid.

The Apple and Avocado Salad is a fun way to eat your greens. Under the garden greens salad, you will find diced apple, avocado and gorgonzola cheese tossed in a dressing. A dash of balsamic vinegar with beetroot cubes and cherry tomatoes complete the plate.

The menu here also includes choices for pasta, risotto and pizza.

Seafood Saffron Risotto is packed with seafood that pairs well with the fragrant golden hue risotto
Seafood Saffron Risotto is packed with seafood that pairs well with the fragrant golden hue risotto

The Seafood Saffron Risotto is a classic Milanese recipe. Here, the risotto has a golden hue and a light sweet aroma from the use of saffron. Enjoy the soft grains infused with flavour with an assortment of fresh seafood like mussels, prawns, squid and clams.

Tan's special yeast-free Margherita Pizza has a light, crispy base
Tan's special yeast-free Margherita Pizza has a light, crispy base

The pizzas served here are a breath of fresh air since every pizza joint nowadays prefers puffy sourdough crusts. Tan uses a no-yeast base, which yields a thin, crunchy crust. This makes it lighter on the stomach, so snack on a Margherita Pizza with family or friends, as you wait for the main meal.

Mocktail mojitos like the Virgin Lychee Mojito (left) and Passion Fruit Mojito (centre) are great to cool down, together with the Mussolini (right) with its combination of apple, lime juice and cranberry juice
Mocktail mojitos like the Virgin Lychee Mojito (left) and Passion Fruit Mojito (centre) are great to cool down, together with the Mussolini (right) with its combination of apple, lime juice and cranberry juice

Various cocktails and mocktails are also on the menu here, to complete your dining experience.

The restaurant is pork-free, where all their ingredients are halal certified.

D Empire Dry Aged Steakhouse

Lot 5.32

Level 5, Pavilion Damansara Heights

Jalan Damanlela

Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.

Open: 11am to 9.30pm.

Tel:011-33286357/03-27076357.

Lot 6.33 & 6.34

Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

168, Jalan Bukit Bintang

Kuala Lumpur

Open: 11am to 10pm.

Tel:03-21106196

Facebook: @dempirepavilion Instagram:@dempirepavilion

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