The Loaf's Chef Yukichi Matsubara opens his own place in Mont Kiara

B-Lab is Chef Yukichi Matsubara's own venture in Malaysia. – Pictures by Choo Choy May
B-Lab is Chef Yukichi Matsubara's own venture in Malaysia. – Pictures by Choo Choy May

​KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Fans of Grand Chef Yukichi Matsubara who used to manage The Loaf Bakery & Bistro and Bonjour Garden Bakery Cafe will be happy to hear that he has ventured out to open his own place, B-Lab Bar + Bistro + Bakery (“B-Lab”). The place is jointly owned by Matsubara and his Malaysian wife, Zenn Lim.

According to Matsubara, the idea for his own eatery started back in July. B-Lab combines three concepts under one roof – an all-day bakery with European hard breads, pastries and cakes, a bistro that serves non-halal fare from breakfast to dinner, and a wine bar to chill out until midnight.

He decided to open in Mont Kiara to cater for the expatriate residents that include the Japanese residents. The VERVE Shops Mont' Kiara is often frequented by customers of Aki Hair Studio run by Japanese-born and trained hair stylist, Masayuki Akiyama.

According to the developer Bukit Kiara Properties' Facebook page, two new tenants namely La Casa and Podgy & the Banker will also be opening here. Since B-Lab opened early October, it has received an overwhelming response from residents within the area. As the staff are still new, expect some hiccups with service for now.

From left to right: Chef Shigeru Hashizume is in charge of pastries, Chef Darren Chin takes care of the bistro and Chef Fun is the bakery chef
From left to right: Chef Shigeru Hashizume is in charge of pastries, Chef Darren Chin takes care of the bistro and Chef Fun is the bakery chef

Matsubara is also assisted by a faithful team of chefs who have worked with him at the other two eateries. This includes Chef Fun, the bakery chef and Japanese-born Chef Shigeru Hashizume who is in charge of pastries including the delectable selection of cakes like pumpkin montblanc, chocolate mousse and strawberry shortcake.

The bistro's hot food section is under the talented Chef Darren Chin. Keeping to the experimental theme of B-Lab, the place is decorated with scientific formulas and lab equipment.

You get all kinds of European hard breads and pastries baked fresh throughout the day at the bakery
You get all kinds of European hard breads and pastries baked fresh throughout the day at the bakery

Matsubara also plans to keep the bakery and cake section constantly refreshed with new items introduced on a monthly basis. With regards to Bonjour Garden Bakery Cafe, Matsubara still remains as a consultant.

Matsubara kicked off his career in Tokyo's Kimuraya bakery before moving on to Boulangeri Au 140 in Paris. He returned to Japan to become Chef Boulanger at Patisserie Madu.

He has also authored a cookbook titled Latest Style of Boulanger Desserts – Unity of Bread and Desserts. Another feather in his cap is the prestigious Iron Chef title for his baking skills.

The compact breakfast menu with a choice of omelettes, croissants, croque Madam and the big breakfast fry-up is served from 7am to 11.30am. We love their simple omelettes that are well-prepared with a soft creamy center. You get a choice of fresh button mushrooms, smoked pancetta or smoked salmon.

For lunch and dinner, start with their selection of thick luscious soups, a choice of the sweeter pumpkin and a lighter tasting broccoli. Both the soups are best eaten with their freshly baked breads.

Their thin crust pizzas are good for sharing especially the tasty smoked duck and brie. The menu items include sandwiches and al dente cooked pastas like the light tasting garlic and chilli prawn pasta.

If you prefer a light bite, the wild mushroom salad is a good choice with its sauteed mushrooms served on a bed of greens.

For a decadent treat, go for their tender red wine braised beef short ribs that is paired with a smooth mashed potatoes and sauteed baby haricot beans. Another specialty is their pressed pork belly served with a herb gnocchi, fennel and carrots puree. For drinkers who want to nibble, they also have a selection of cold cuts and cheese to pair with your glass of wine.

B-Lab Bar + Bistro + Bakery, G-3A, Level G, VERVE Shops Mont'Kiara No. 8, Jalan Kiara 5, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:03-62061880. Open:7am to 12am. Closed on Mondays. https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-LAB

For a light meal, go for the garlic and chilli prawn pasta
For a light meal, go for the garlic and chilli prawn pasta