Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Last Friday of the Month Wine Pairing Chef Dinner at LAFITE, Shangri-la Kuala Lumpur

Some invitations are a travesty to reply with regrets, ....one such invite is for any meal at Lafite, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur.  And when it's for a wine pairing dinner, all the more so, it becomes the highlight of one's dull humdrum week, the light at the end of the tunnel, and a real Thank God it's Friday kinda situation.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be invited to their First Sunday of the Month Champagne Brunch and was chuffed to be asked back for the Last Friday of Month Wine Pairing Dinner, priced at RM290 nett per person.  First things first, although it's for the last Friday of the month, this will not be happening in November, (perhaps a build up to the Yuletide and festive season), so the next such event will be at the end of December. (29th December)

The pairing is country thematic, ie, featuring wines from a certain country, for that particular night.
Guest get to do a wine tasting at the Bar area.... as a "warm up", also for them to feature the wines available for sale.  The featured wines were a selection of Red and White Spanish wines, although the dinner itself is paired with Italian.

A specially curated menu by Executive Chef Olivier Pistre to pair with the bottle of wine.  Each couple dining is entitled to a bottle of either white or red.  For the inaugural session, the menu was paired with Italian Wines, namely the Tasca d' Almerita Regaleali Bianco (White) or the Tasca d'Almerita Regaleali Nero d'Alvola (red) featured below.



The romantic setting of Lafite for the wine pairing dinner...

Our table




An exquisite Seared Hokkaido Scallop and Sunchoke Veloute...with a most unique accompaniment of a squid ink cracker.  The rich thick broth, the perfectly seared scallop, a glass of white in hand, and the company of good friends....bliss.  That cracker is really good, and I wonder if it's a regular feature in their menu accompanying their soups.



Slow Cooked Spicy Lamb Shoulder, 48 hours sous vide... how did people cook before this sous vide thingie came about. The lamb was lovely, tender, juicy, everything that one can hope for in a cut of meat.  Just the right amount of fat, banana stuffed onion, (which interestingly enough, made it look like a  mini "jantung pisang" or banana flower), garlic gnocchi.

Okay, I have to say, when I first saw the menu, I thought to myself, fantastic as the meal sounded, in typical Malaysian fashion, the mental thought bubble came, "enough to eat meh?" but after finishing the first two courses, and of course the lovely breads, I was regretting my earlier evil thoughts of going for hokkien mee after.



After a few drinks, Lex (KgBoy of KgBoy CityGal) is an expert wine pourer, living on the edge.


Chocolate Liegeois Revised "Caraibe Valrhona 66% Grand Cru" - Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Syphon, Sable Breton Crumble.  One of the most video-ed desserts I reckon.  You can't really go wrong with Valrhona, and chocolate sauce and good quality Vanilla Ice Cream, and with such a visually titillating presentation, how could it not taste good.


For the next menu, on 29th December, do check www.shangrila-la-speicals.com

For reservations, call 03-2074 3900.

Lafite
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur




Monday, November 13, 2017

Dr Loosen's Wine Dinner Pairing At Mutiara Palace Chinese Restaurant

Afternoon wine pairing lunches are rather decadent, especially midweek.  It's always a treat to be invited for Asia Euro's wine samplings, from past experience, there was always too many varietals to  taste, which perhaps can be a bit numbing to the senses.  This time round, paired with Chinese food at Mutiara Palace, we had the chance to sample 5-6 Rieslings, from Dr Loosen Estate. 

The Dr Loosen estate is situated on the Mosel River in Germany, an area synonymous with vineyards. 

Ernst Loosen (pronounced Loh-Zen) was of the estate was supposed to be physically present, but at the last minute could not make it, but managed to teleconference the entire briefing, the wonders of modern technology.



Admittedly the "screen" was a bit small and we were preening our necks to get a glimpse of the briefing... but heck, with some wine in hand, everything is fine. 


The Octopus with Jelly paired with Dry Riesling Qualitatswein 2015, a racy style of classic dry Mosel Riesling.  Refreshing and fruity, it is made with fruit from the steep slopes and slate soil.  The photo of the bottle is the one above, not the one in the background.

The Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup was paired with the 2013 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese.  The steep and southwest facing slopes of Graach, the village from where the grapes hail, produce wines with excellent aging potential.  Spatlese is german for "late picked".

The Fried Chicken With Dried Chilli and Cashew Nut, along with the steamed grouper and beancurd skin, was paired with Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett 2015.  Apart from the first wine, I found subsequent Rieslings all a bit too sweet for my palate, to be honest. The Kabinett is the lightest and most delicate style of Riesling in Germany, and is made from early harvest grapes.  Blue Mosel Slate refers to the typical blue slate, which forms an impervious soil, and retains very litte nutrients, so the vines have to dive deep into the slate cliffs.


Steamed Prawns With Egg White and Fried Frog with Sliced Ginger were paired with the Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett 2015.  (BURN-castle-er LIE). 

The 2015 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett paired with the Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat.  All the Rieslings in my opinion pair fairly well with Chinese food, albeit a bit sweet for my personal palate. 

For more info on the Wines, contact :
Michelle Hor at michellehor@asiaeurowines.com.my

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Two Ox Revisited

Ever since my friends and I dropped in at Two Ox years ago, just as they were about to close the kitchen, and the maitre d very obligingly hailed the staff back just to serve us dessert, I've always felt I needed to return to the place and have a proper meal, and well, actually, technically I still haven't, and feel duty bound to return pretty soon.  However, I was fortunate enough to be invited to join fellow bloggers Brought Up To Share at a recent review (hence, technically I haven't really been back as a customer).  Located on the The Row, which is a resuscitation of the Asian Heritage Row of yore, this trendy bistro looks very inviting ... and even more inviting was this particular sign at the entrance.


Choice of Appetiser and Main AND Dessert for 88++ or 120==...I was curious.



The very gorgeous Julienne Huh, who bears a striking resemblance to Sainy, the owner, (cousins, apparently) was our hostess for the night, and is also one of the Directors of the place.

The name 2OX was chosen by owner, Sainy (who also owns Maison Francaise), whose chinese Zodiac year is the Ox, a hardworking animal, so it represents her and her team.

Lovely freshly baked bread with pesto.  Ordinarily I'd have asked for butter as well, but I decided to save space...


Cognac Foie Gras Terrine, Onion Chutney and Homemade Brioche Toast.... The words foie gras are music to my ears, and I love it in most forms.   The silky creamy rich terrine melts in the mouth and sends shivers of pleasure .... perfect with a dollop of the chutney, upon that crispy brioche. (RM55)

Lobster bisque with Lobster and Carrot Bon Bon... Okay, it's a real HINT of lobster in the bon bon, with some imagination, but nevertheless, that bisque was choc ful of lobster flavour.  A great consistency, not too thick and not too watery to make it like local har mee soup.  My only grouse was that it wasn't piping hot, but then again, after so many such experiences in western restaurant, I wonder if it's because they generally do not like to scald their tongues unlike Chinese soups which can cook a raw egg. RM28

The house pour wine, which is a decent Chilean Chardonnay....


Espresso braised beef shortribs, fondant potatoes and king oyster mushrooms... in my book, the star of the night, the beef was tender, and that espresso marinade really gave it a different flavour, without trying too hard. RM90


The fondant potatoes were also delicious... I mean, there's only so many ways you can describe potato, but it was good.

Dover sole, Muniere Sauce, Grilled Squash, toasted walnuts and a most delicious potato gratin.  A discussion ensued on the table about sole mates, and the different types of soles, and which were good soles and bad soles.  So apparently, dover sole (and actually it's available here locally from our local waters as well, not just off the white cliffs of Dover) is the more meaty tastier one, whereas lemon sole is the thin one that the chinks make into sole powder for hokkien mee.  RM75

At this juncture, it would be good to explain that on the menu, all items have either a red or blue dot.  If you choose the RM88+ menu, you choose the blue dot items from all categories, and for the RM120++ you choose the red dot.  Now for example, if you had ordered the foie gras, and the braised short ribs, ala carte would already be RM55 + RM78.... and that doesn't include dessert yet, so sssshhhh, in conspirational whisper, it is cleverer to order THE SET.

After our two featured mains, Julienne asks us, so what do immediately springs to mind when you go to a French restaurant, and a chorus of unison quacked, "DUCK CONFIT" .... so the lady felt compelled to feed us with their version of ...

Duck Confit,....unlike traditional ones which come sauceless, this one was paddling in a pond of green gravy, almost mysteriously radioactive green, which tasted really good actually.  No one could really guess that there was asparagus, (one of those things, its at the tip of your tongue but you can't put your finger on it).... amongst other things.  I loved the Duck Confit, the meat was moist and the skin crispy.  DEEELICIOUS.  RM80.


The new Chef, Phillip Murray Dominic, has 11 years of culinary experience and has worked for various French Chefs in and out of the country. He was trained in Verona, Italy and Vienna, Austria.

The affable half Malaysian Chef Philip has revamped the menu sinceSeptember, but still retainsthe authentic flavours of French cuisine, creating the all-new robust, hearty flavour in his dishes, with a hint of Mediterranean twist.


Another view of the duck confit.

I thought the following dessert of Pineapple Carpaccio was outstanding, how the humble pineapple can be transformed into something so exotic sounding and tasting.  And that mascarpone ice cream, so simple but soooo good.  RM30


The other dessert, the Valrhona Chocolate Souffle, ...I'm sure would appeal to souffle fans, of which I do not count as one... and least of all chocolate souffle, as I like my chocolate dense and rich, not airy and light....I'm a peasant that way.  RM20



Anyway, all said and done, I honestly cannot wait to return and order the RM120 set, I've already earmarked from the menu what I want to try.  So I shall return.

2OX French Bistro
54 & 56 Jalan Doraisamy
50300 Kuala Lumpur
Te; :03-2692 2233


Monday, October 30, 2017

Lady Linda's Intronisation Into the Chaine Des Rotisseurs

Two years ago, we were exposed to the intriguing secret society of sashes and medallions of that food cult called the Chaine Des Rotisseurs, where the hostess with the mostest, Lady Linda Liu Bearne got us picked up in a Rolls Royce, etc... as written about HERE....

When you start with a Rolls Royce, there's only one direction left to go, ie, DOWN, because this time we were picked up only in  a Vellfire, the gall of it I tell you.... Anyway, befitting the occasion, her ladyship decked in bright pink, even if you have half an eye you couldn't miss her, with her two escorts, me sitting in front as the bodyguard and bitch extraordinaire, Toto at the side as the GRO.


Announcing the arrival of her Ladyship, at the KLCC Convention Centre....The perodua in the background is NOT the grabcar that we went in...

 For posterity, lest we forget where the venue is...


Wasn't long before her ladyship found her old friends from the KK Chapter of the Chaine...

The paraphernalia for the Intronisation ceremony, ..I suppose such a word is a cross between Introduction and Solemnisation, hence Intronisation...It was intriguing to see what the swords were for. 


An eating OATH.....well, seeing is believing....  I was half expecting a live chicken to be slaughtered amidst the proceedings, but no such luck...all very civilised...in fact a bit TOO civilised for the likes of a plebian like me. 


 The proceedings were preceded by a short rehearsal, afterwhich there was processional of the office bearers into the room for the ceremony.  Basically, half of it was in French, so I don't know what they were saying, except a pronouncement of "MONSIEUR" (very loudly)....bla bla bla....Chaine, tap tap the sword....and likewise, for ladies, "MADAME"..

The Chaine actually started off as Goose Roasters who were so good (these days you find the equivalent in Yung Kee in Hong Kong or that other place in Pudu), that they became the Chefs for the French Royalty...



Yay, Yay, I've been Intronised..... 



 Then begins the fun, the free flow champagne and canapes....

 And not a moment too soon....





Another round of speeches and formalities before dinner was served... Unfortunately the lighting in the ballroom was horrendous, so apologies, no decent pics of the food...This  Thalassophile Marble Ocean Terrine was rather interesting, with a yuzu espuma, a lovely tang, with an interesting texture.  The following dish, the cream of parsnip, trout siphon and fish roe was actually my favourite dish.... but I have no decent photos of it, because they're all in Toto's camera. 

The highlight of the evening actually was not the food, but meeting some rather interesting and friendly people, contrary to our initial reservations.  Then again, nothing breaks the ice faster than some plonk. 


Sakura Chicken, Roasted Ballotine, truffle  Manchengo polenta and hazelnut crunch. ...Interesting choice of dish, you rarely get chicken at these kind of poshy poshy events .




The Duo of beef buttered fondant was terribly disappointing, as the meat was wayyy to welldone. which later I found out was because of the long speeches, and the meat was sitting there cooking in it's own heat.  What a pity.

Honey Lime Glaze Atlantic Cod, which I thought was better than the beef. 


 This violet lavender mousse with cylindra sorbet and verbena meringue, all the products you'll find a in a spa product, actually was the star of the show.  Lovely interesting mix of flavours, and although I am not a lavender fan, I thought this mousse did well.


That time of night lor.... when the starch dissipates and people start to loosen up....




A really interesting night, to say the least, thanks muchly to Lady Linda for the generous invitation, and a toast to the newly intronised Chaine des Rotisseurs member....