For the 12th year, the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) is set to tempt diners in Malaysia with 30 fine restaurants participating. For the entire Festival month of October, these restaurants will be serving up Special Festival Menus at Special Festival prices accompanied by a host of Special Festival Offers.
Hunan Ice-chilled Whole Baby Abalone
This year’s theme, “Classical Chefs!” represents pure and honest food, honouring the roots of a symphony of cuisines that include Malay, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, French, Italian and Lebanese, with the addition this year of delights from South Korea, Cuba and New Orleans. The Festival is an integral part of Tourism Malaysia’s “Fabulous Food 1Malaysia” initiative which promotes the country’s unique, multicultural, food capabilities to the world.
Last week I had the opportunity to sample the festival menus from Lai Po Heen and The Mandarin Grill at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Double-boiled KungFu Soup
With a décor reminding me of the grand ancestral homes of old Malaya, Lai Po Heen features an open kitchen right after the main entrance – it’s always a delight to stand there for a few minutes to watch the culinary play of talent and masterful wok skills of the chefs. I really think they enjoy “performing” their extraordinary kitchen antics there! The restaurant has undergone a refurbishment recently and the face-lifted stylish design is one that enhances the classy hues of white, beige and gold theme. Helmed by Executive Chinese Chef Ricky Thein, I knew I was in for some exciting stuff.
We were there to sample various dishes from both the Lai Po Heen and Mandarin Grill festival menus. It’s impossible to eat everything on both menus at one go, hence we tried a few items from both places.
Sun-dried Scallops Glutinous Rice
From the Lai Po Heen Festival 7-course Dinner Menu (RM288++ per person, without wine), I tried the “Hunan” Ice-chilled Whole Baby Abalone, the Double-boiled “Kung Fu” Soup and the Sun-dried Scallops Glutinuous Rice. The other items in the menu, which we didn’t sample, were the Trio of Corn Fed Chicken, the Steamed Dragon Grouper Roll and the desserts: Mandarin Orange Sorbet, Peanut Coated Buttermilk Cubic with Green Tea Sauce and Passionfruit-infused Coconut Pudding.
Served on a frosted glass plate, the Hunan Baby Abalone was nicely chilled on a bed of shaved ice. Bits of fresh pomelo decorated the top while underneath the abalone were cubes of avocado and kiwifruit. To add some zing, a spicy sesame sauce was drizzled over the abalone. The whole ensemble is pretty and classy and I love the refreshing bites of cold chewy abalone mixed with the fresh fruits and spicy dressing.
Steamed Dragon Garoupa Roll
My appetite duly whetted, I waited impatiently for the next course and was rewarded by the very tasty double-boiled Kung Fu Soup, served in a tea set. Chunks of sea cucumber, fish maw and dried scallops were placed in a Chinese teacup and the hot soup was then poured from a teapot. The soup has been double-brewed with cordyceps, American ginseng, morel mushroom and baby cabbage for hours. To me, this was the highlight of the meal. I love my soups and Chef Ricky is a wicked wizard with double-boiled soups … my only complaint was I wished the teacup and teapot had been bigger to hold more soup!
Trio of Corn Fed Chicken
I enjoyed the Glutinous Rice with Sun-dried Scallops too. Served in a dim sum basket, wrapped with spinach leaves, the tasty rice was sweet with the umami flavour of the dried scallops and every grain of rice was nicely chewy and fragrant.
Peanut coated Buttermilk Cubic with Green Tea Sauce
There is a 5-course Lunch version of the Festival Menu too, priced at RM198++ per person (without wine) and RM228++ per person (with wine).
Passonfruit-infused Coconut Pudding
Mandarin Orange Sorbet
Executive Chinese Chef Ricky Thein
Seated inside the elegant and contemporary Mandarin Grill, savouring their excellent freshly-baked buns, I was excited to see what Chef Reto Weber had in store for us. Mandarin Grill’s Festival Dinner Menu is priced at RM345++ per person (without wine).
Duck Leg Confit “a la orange”
Diners get to choose from 2 options each of the Appetizer (either the Coral dusted Bretagne Scallop OR Rabbit Loin “Perigord”), Intermediate (either the Doversole Filler OR Duck Leg Confit “a la orange”) , Main Course (either Halibut Fillet “Winemaker style” OR Pure Black Angus Tenderloin “saliou”) and Dessert (either White & Orange OR Chestnut Honey Sentenced Reblochon). In between, a palate cleanser – Williams Pear Sorbet is served.
Halibut Fillet “Winemaker style”
I sampled one of the Intermediates – Duck Leg Confit “a la orange” and one of the main courses – Halibut Fillet “Winemaker style”. The duck leg confit is served on a bed of braised apple-red cabbage and roasted potato dumplings. I like the juicy tender duck meat and the tangy braised apple and red cabbage was a perfect foil to the rich oily flavour of the fowl. On the other hand, I found the halibut to be overcooked and on the bland side.
Pure Black Angus Tenderloin “saliou”
Rabbit Loin “perigord”
For dessert, I had the White & Orange which is actually a very pretty platter of White Sacher Sponge, bourbon vanilla bavarois and orange custard. This amazing platter scored high points with my dining companions as we enjoyed every bite of the dainty sweet morsels.
White Sacher Sponge, Bourbon Vanilla Bavarois, Orange Custard
The Mandarin Grill also offers Festival Lunch Menus at:
RM165++ per person (2 courses, without wine)
RM195++ per person (3 courses, without wine).
Chef de Cuisine Reto Weber
For reservations, please contact Lai Po Heen at 03-2179-8885, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mandarin Grill at 03-2179-8960, email@example.com.
Petit Fours to go with Coffee/Tea
Lai Po Heen
The Mandarin Grill
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre