New faces and new creations! – that certainly holds true for Mandarin Grill at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur. The new face there refers to their recently-appointed Chef de Cuisine … Chef Reto Weber. Don’t be misled by his young (well, he is young) and boyish looks … someone even added “geeky and scrawny” to his description, Chef Reto comes with a rather distinguished culinary resume. He started his culinary career at the tender age of 16 when he decided to leave his Swiss Alps home to be an apprentice in a small Swiss fine-dining restaurant. From then on, he has worked in a 2-Michelin star restaurant, Walserhof as a Commis and subsequently as Demi Chef de Partie. From there he has moved on to various other countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
Chef Reto loves to use all-natural ingredients in his culinary creations – he recalls fondly his 3 years’ stint in Dubai at the Armani Hotel and the world’s highest restaurant, At.mosphere located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa. Chef Reto is passionate about fresh quality products and perfection in every dish and his creations are pieces of art, I must say.
Just look at the Appetizer I had that evening – Diver Scallops, ricotta dumplings and tomatoes with olives – it’s so pretty in its presentation that I couldn’t help photographing it in various angles!
There’s nothing to fault in this excellently-executed dish: the diver scallops, although small, were fresh and succulent, the ricotta dumpling tasted like it was made just a few minutes before it was served and that cloud of lobster bisque foam was not only pleasing to the eye, it added a subtle hint of marine umami-ness to the appetizer.
I loved the smooth creaminess of the foei gras and took my time savouring it. The confit smoked duck leg was actually a very small portion, which acted as a filling in that piece of creamed foie gras. The 3 bright orange blobs of caramelized orange vinaigrette were well crafted and when dipped with the foie gras, I experienced a small burst of tangy citrussy lift … really nice! I wished there was more mushrooms on the plate though, because those miniscule funghi were really delicious.
The Main Event was Wagyu Beef Cheeks, slow-cooked “soux-vide style”, summer truffles, celeraic roots and horseradish foam. It’s clear Chef Reto loves his foam! This dish was stylishly plated but it’s a nightmare to photograph … generally meats are difficult to shoot as they always tend to come out as an unappetizing chunk. When it’s partially crowned with foam, that makes the photography task even trickier! Anyway, the beef cheek was very tender… yes it really practically melted in the mouth!
Oh, prior to the Main Event, I was served a palate cleanser of Iced Raspberry-Bell Pepper cappuccino… quite unusual. Served to drink as a shot, the bell pepper flavour was sharp and really did a good job of perking up the palate.
Before I knew it, dessert was on the table… Albaco Chocolate Cremeux, Meringue, Passionfruit sphere, frozen yoghurt…
I like the chocolate cremeux …. a full-bodied creamy smooth mousse-like soft pudding and to me, that’s the highlight of the dessert. I didn’t care much for the rest of the accompaniment.
The MIGF Festival Dinner Menu is priced at RM258++ per person (5 courses) and RM328++ (7 courses) without wine. This is available for the whole month of October 2011.
In the coming months, there will be changes in Mandarin Grill’s menu. Guests will be able to sample some of Chef Reto’s signature dishes such as his light tomato soup with zucchini-feta tortellini, braised beef cheek with smoky peppery sauce etc.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur