Type to search

KL Style: Enfin by James Won


Practice – S:lab10
Project – Enfin by James Won
Location – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Text – Elizabeth Chu
Photography – David Yeow

Kuala Lumpur is the food capital of Malaysia and the offerings of that metropolis are many and varied. With the opening of Enfin by James Won, however, the bar has been raised in the fine dining stakes. Elizabeth Chu finds this new restaurant destination impresses with a stunning interior to complement outstanding food, in true KL style.

In a city such as Kuala Lumpur (KL) food is central to life and living. Street food is everywhere – delicious rendangs, chicken curries and so much more, with stalls, cafés and restaurants crowding the streets and shopping malls. But the opening of a new fine dining restaurant still gives cause for celebration, as Enfin by James Won, steps on to the KL food stage to woo, not only the locals, but the international foodie elite as well. Enfin by James Won is the new iteration of Enfin Brasserie, Won’s former establishment, but takes the dining experience to another level, raising the bar on fine dining in the Malaysian capital.


The dramatic entrance to Enfin by James Won that features polished steel bands that are folded around the walls and ceiling.

Chef James Won has garnered accolades for his creative and inspirational food throughout the world and so his reputation precedes him with the opening of this latest restaurant. To equal Won’s reputation, global prominence and the quality of the food, the interior of this new restaurant had to be something special. To achieve this, Won engaged local architecture and design practice S:lab10 to create an interior that encapsulated his style and would complement his creative vision. S:lab10 is a collective of three architects who founded their practice in KL in 2010. The practice is making quite a name for itself with ongoing projects in Australia, Taiwan and Malaysia, presenting design that is an exciting interpretation of material and space and embracing art and technology in all of its commissions.

The restaurant is located on Menara Hap Seng and situated in a shopping centre, just north of Bukit Bintang, an area known for its luxury boutiques and upmarket apartments. The entrance to Enfin by James Won is on the second level of the centre and is discretion itself. A geometric sliding screen of slim iron conceals the restaurant lobby and from here patrons walk through an elevated walkway of polished copper with copper-plated steel bands that are folded around the walls and ceiling to emulate ‘fine ribs’. This theatrical catwalk-like entrance provides drama and fuels anticipation of what is to come until patrons arrive at the entrance proper to the bar and restaurant.


Private dining at the Krug Chef’s Table that affords views of the restaurant below.

The main section of the restaurant sits on a spatial footprint of some 336 square metres within a two-storey void. To the side is a terrace that provides an outdoor dining area complete with luxuriant landscaped garden and a small private dining room known as the Hennessy Salon. This intimate private dining space accommodates 10 diners and, as the name suggests, is the place to savour fine cognacs and the occasional cigar.

Towards the back of the main restaurant area a spectacular custom-built spiral staircase has been installed for access to the dining suite on the mezzanine level. Continuing the materiality of the entrance, copper bands encircle the stair and provide a rose gold metallic hanging ‘curtain’ that is both glamorous and visually impressive.

Upstairs on the mezzanine level the Krug Chef’s Table can be found, named in honour of the excellent French champagne house and one of only six in the world. This intimate dining room presents luxury and comfort with wood panelled walls and backlit display cabinets that feature the eponymous champagne bottle as statuary, and the visuals are stunning. Large glass panels display the Krug logo at one end of the space and at the other there are glimpses of the restaurant below. This allows guests to enjoy their dining experience in seclusion, but still connect to the ‘outside’ through the bird’s-eye view of the other diners. The Krug Chef’s Table accommodates 20 people and with the addition of a powder room is a totally inclusive space that offers total amenity for the guests.


The spectacular custom-built spiral staircase that leads to the private dining areas above.

The variety of materials used throughout adds a layered richness to the interior with timber-clad floors and walls, a spectacular marble bar and accents of copper that, juxtaposed with each other, both delineate areas and provide a continuity of texture. The colour palette is soft and warm with earthy tones of brown from the timber, rose gold copper highlights, plush burgundy carpet and heavy taupe draperies.

Throughout, lighting has been strategically placed to create drama and promote intimacy for the diners, wherever they are situated. The atmosphere is indeed opulent and tables are set with bespoke Luzerne fine china tableware that adds another dimension to the culinary experience. Enfin by James Won is all that a fine dining restaurant should be, an experience that teases the palate, excites the senses and pleases the eye. S:lab10 has created a destination for diners who understand that food is theatre and that design is integral to the total dining experience. This is the epitome of KL style and design at its best.

This article originally appeared in inside 94 – available now on newsstands, or digitally through Zinio.



You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *