Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sion Dining @ Ara Damansara

What happens when a Japanese sommelier-&-chef who loves Spanish & Swiss cuisine (as well as Marilyn Monroe) opens a restaurant? You wind up with a venue like Sion, where the setting is seductively elegant & the cooking is singularly engaging.

Sion's founder Masamichi Shiomi is a chef worth dining out for - as a testament to his prowess, you might spot other Japanese restaurateurs happily enjoying a meal here from time to time. It's easy to understand why, after a bite of the house salad (RM26), a playful medley of crisp leaves & savoury bacon slices with an umami-rich wafu-like dressing. A nuanced concoction, invigorated with lively textures & complex flavours that took us by surprise - one of our favourite salads in recent memory.

Of mushrooms & meat - Sion proves a master of both, delivering a platter of pan-fried eryngii with butter sauce that retains all of the fungi's fleshy earthiness, crowned with shiso leaves for herbaceous dynamics (RM23), plus a sizzling pan of teppan hamburger steak, a tender patty of minced beef & pork (RM38) - if the latter feels familiar, it could be because Masamichi once helmed the now-closed Akane in Desa Sri Hartamas, which reputedly sometimes sold 80 servings of hamburg a night.

Try the tongue - Sion serves both pork & ox tongue, the first paired with parmesan cheese for an exhilaratingly unusual combo (RM20) & the second stewed to a lovely succulence in a luxurious wine sauce that we mopped up with some baguette (RM78).

Sion's repertoire is tricky to contextualise - the menu is underpinned by Japanese elements but overflows with European ingredients & inspirations. The Spanish are represented by Jamon Iberico, buttressed by an unexpected but unimpeachable choice of mango instead of, say, melon or other fruits (RM48) ...

... while the Swiss might seek to claim partial credit for this robust fondue, which blends Emmental, Comte & Tomme, with impressive dipping options that include juicy veggies sauteed in white wine for another only-at-Sion creation (RM62) ...

... & the Italian inflection is comfortingly crowd-pleasing in the penne with gorgonzola sauce (RM32) & a very hearty spaghetti carbonara enhanced with mentaiko (RM35). This really is only the tip of the iceberg for the menu - had we more stomach space, we'd have also ordered the baguettes with anchovies in hot olive oil (RM23), Japanese oysters marinated with olives (RM26), pork intestine & stomach stew (RM26), chicken sauteed with three kinds of Japanese peppers (RM25) & much more.

Expect a solid selection of wine & whisky (with a smidgeon of shochu); for casual drinking, house pours of Chilean Anakena Carmemere & Australian Chardonnay Semillon work very well to complement a meal here. Many thanks to Sion for hosting us.

Sion Dining & Bar
B-1-16, 1st Floor, Block B, Jalan PJU 1A/20A, Dataran Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
Mon-Sat, 630pm-1130pm. Tel: 03-7840-0632


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26 comments:

  1. Is that Prosciutto that I see in one of your photos? It is very expensive but so good! :) Very nice ambiance and the dishes are attractive and the portions are generous, which is nice. I haven't had fondue in a VERY long time! :)

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    1. Linda: you're right, that's the Spanish version of Italian prosciutto! it is good! :) i'm glad you like the look of this place and its food. i think this was my first fondue for 2015, heh :D

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  2. I definitely see lots of European ingredients.. should b an interesting marriage with Japanese influences :)

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    1. Baby Sumo: yeah, the food here is a distinctive delight! a marriage of japanese-euro sensibilities :)

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  3. Hamburg! The rest of the offerings looks good too...a visit in the plans! :D

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    1. Ulric: the hamburg is popular, though for once, i liked the salad even better! i hope you'll have a fun and satisfying visit! :D

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  4. Interesting place and it's a stone throw from my place, shall give it a go during some week nights!

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    1. Kelly: ooo, didn't know you're at ara damansara ... ya, go when you feel like trying a unique menu and having a glass of wine with your food :)

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    2. Moved here 3 months ago, do not even miss Mont Kiara one bit because of close proximity to good food!

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    3. Kelly: heh, and it's not too far away from elsewhere in PJ too :)

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  5. Great looking place...though I prefer Hepburn to Monroe. :D Food selections look very good too, certainly not the usual run-of-the-mill stuff that one gets at many places. I would like to try that mushroom and meat platter and the house salad looks good too. Talking about Spanish, sigh..... My blogpost tomorrow. LOL!!!

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    1. Suituapui: heh, hepburn and monroe both had/have their respective appeals, i guess :) i did feel quite enthusiastic about the distinctive menu here! there was a lot that i wanted to order :)

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  6. What an intimate setting. Looks like some delicious dishes too.

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    1. The Yum List: yeah, it's a nice place for a warm, cosy meal ... worth making the trek to from KL :)

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  7. Do you think that they can serve the Hamburg just with pork instead? Since I don't take beef, I might miss out this delectable dish :( but on the bright side, there are so many things that I like - my wife is a huge fan of Japanese food while I'm more into Spanish food :) best of both world

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    1. Leo: i think the hamburg patty is already pre-prepared in the kitchen before you order, so it might be difficult unless you call in advance and make a request ... oh, do note the japanese element is not very obvious here though, except for the use of certain ingredients. no sushi, no sashimi, no sake (but there is a japanese chef, heh) :)

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    2. Hi Leo! We have Iberico hamburger too! Serve like salsa sauce, sure you will like it

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    3. Boon: thanks for the info :)

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  8. Japanese? Swiss? Spanish? What a nice blend!

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    1. Ken: a nice illustration of the globalised F&B world we now live in :)

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  9. A lot of fusion cooking I see here...I love Japanese and Spanish....what a marriage! :D Even the seating is like a Spanish tapas bar.

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    1. Contact.ewew: oooh, there are regular dining tables by the side that i didn't photograph ... but ya, it was fun to see how a japanese chef puts a european flair into his cooking :)

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  10. Interesting combination, and the food looks great too. Would like to try the Iberico hamburger.

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    1. CK: ya, some fun culinary experiments here. i'm also quite curious now about the iberico hamburg, haha :)

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  11. Just tried, FANTASTIC!!! Thanks for the recommendation Sean!

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    1. Lucas: really glad you enjoyed Sion - thanks for letting me kinow! :)

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