The name Frangipani is not unfamiliar to many diners, especially those who love frequenting restaurants in the Changkat Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur. Frangipani has stood its ground there for more than 11 years and has always prided itself for its French-inspired offerings. That was the direction in Frangipani’s first decade.
Moving into its second decade in business, the owners decided that a change is needed to steer Frangipani into its next exciting phase. Looking at food trends regionally and globally, Spanish cuisine topped their list and then having found the right chef made the decision snappier.
The impressive reception area
Early this year, Chef Manuel Lopez Quinones from Malaga, Spain has been appointed Frangipani’s Executive Chef. He has worked in Venezuela, The Caribbean and Morocco as well as in his homeland, where he was fortunate enough to have two stints working under the famed Sergio Arola at the two star Michelin “La Broche” in Madrid and the two star Michelin “Arola” at Hotel d Arts in Barcelona.
With such credentials, it’s no wonder that Chef Manuel’s first menu launched in April this year received wide appreciation as Frangipani’s food style has become less fussy and more concerned with flavors, colors and textures. This is very much evident in the increase in fresh seafood now on the menu and particularly in the presentation of both new beef and lamb dishes.
More recently in September, Chef Manuel’s second menu was introduced. His love and understanding of fresh produce, particularly seafood, are apparent in the dishes we tried. Most of the dishes showcase his innovative touches which bring out the best in the fresh ingredients used. Coming from the Mediterranean, most of his dishes employ minimal embellishment and the sauces are often light and refreshing.
Frangipani – one of the most romantic settings in a restaurant – perfect for that quiet intimate dinner!
Let’s start with some freshly-baked bread and Amuse Bouche – with compliments from the Chef!
Frangipani offers their 4-Course Signature Menu at RM195++ per pax where you can choose from 2 options each of Appetizer, Starter, Mains and Dessert.
I love the two Appetizers – Quick Sauteed Baby Squids served with chopped parsley, chives, garlic, quenelle of mashed potatoes, aioli and extra virgin organic olive oil and the Warm Pumpkin & Ginger Soup which has shaved black truffles, truffle oil, crispy croutons and edible flowers scattered all over. The imported baby squids are exquisite – tender and succulent at the same time, the flavors enhanced simply by the parsley, chives and garlic. It’s clear that precision cooking is crucial here as just the right amount of heat and time is needed to produce the superb textures of the tiny squids.
Warm Pumpkin & Ginger Soup
The creamy pumpkin and ginger soup is so thick that it’s almost a mash! That’s how the Spanish love their soups – full of hearty goodness with no compromise. The earthy aromas of the truffles magnify that comforting element and after taking a couple of spoonfulls, I don’t really mind the thick mash-like texture because it smells and taste so wholesome.
Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops
The 2 items in the 2nd course are so good that it’s impossible for me to be partial to either – I love both – actually, I can’t have enough of them! Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops with mango julienne, cilantro, sesame oil and chillies and Mediterranean Grilled Octopus with wasabi mashed potatoes and Spanish paprika oil are to die for! Truth be told, I can happily have double portions of these faultlessly executed dishes as my choice for the 4-Course dinner.
Mediterranean Grilled Octopus
At this point, Chef Manuel decided to let me try one of their “Daily Special Starters”. When the plate of Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Black Cod Fish with Sauvignon Blanc sauce (RM65) is placed on my table, I can hardly contain my delight. Piquillo Peppers are my favorite – the bright red sweet plump peppers encase the most decadent mashed filling – black cod fish! If you too love Piquillo Peppers, do make a beeline to Frangipani soon as these are not available every day! Do call and check its availability to avoid any disappointment!
From its a la carte menu, the Quick Seared Ahi Tuna (RM60) with ginger, soy sauce, onions and yoghurt is a good choice. The sweet caramelized onions are a perfect accompaniment to the robust Ahi Tuna with its strong umami nuances. Again here Chef Manuel’s skills are evident – the exterior of the tuna is perfectly seared and the centres remain pink and juicy.
Quick-seared Ahi Tuna
The pink centres of the Ahi Tuna
By now you would have noticed that Chef Manuel loves to quick-sear his main ingredients. Done skilfully, the quick searing method seals in the natural juices of meats and minimal oil is used. The Quick Seared Australian Seabass (RM120) with oven roasted potatoes, onions and capsicum coulis is a good example. The fish is beautifully crisp on the outside while the interior is cooked just right. Nothing is more unpleasant than ruining a perfect fillet of fish by overcooking it.
Quick-seared Australian Seabass
I just cannot leave Frangipani without having a steak and Chef Manuel’s Grilled Grain-fed Tenderloin (RM120) with pickled caramelized onions, roasted capsicum sauce, sautéed potatoes, beef jus and truffle oil satiated my bovine cravings. The photos here say everything there is to say about the steak.
The Chef’s choice of desserts can be anything he chooses to present for the day, depending on what’s fresh for the day. So just sit still and wait to be surprised. The Banana Roll with Ice Cream and Pannacotta with Mint Sauce are good choices. I’ve never had Pannacotta with mint sauce before and I’m not a pannacotta fan but this version, eaten with mint sauce, is surprisingly addictive!
Banana Roll with Ice Cream
Pannacotta with Mint Sauce
The friendly courteous serving crew would be most happy to select suitable wines to go with your meal
Chef Manuel Lopez Quinones
We’ll be back for sure – there are so many more tantalizing items on Chef Manuel’s menu we want to try and I can’t get those divine scallops and octopus out of my mind!
25 Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (03) 2144 3001