Thursday, June 09, 2005

FATHER OF ALL FEASTS

Now that mothers have had their share of loving tributes for the year, this time around it'd be Dad's turn.

OK besides the pre-requisite Father's Day cards and ho-hum pressies, it is almost sacrilegious if you don't take the man out for a good chow-down. After all, a man's heart is through his stomach no?

In KL, one can eat well regardless of price but hey, are you gonna stinge on Dad? Besides posh hotels, stand-alone eateries are now getting into the act of whipping up extra-special scrumptious delights just for that day. Trendy eatery, Bon Bon Brasserie in Bangsar is one of them.

Chef Dhillon Ng's ‘home-style’ French-European dishes comprise mainly meat items matched by strong, robust flavours are supposed to reflect Dad’s masculinity. Of course, seafood and poultry dishes are included for fathers who prefer these.

I suspect most Dads will enjoy the amuse bouche (literally translated, it means amusement for the mouth - French-style appetizer in short). Although you won't get an inkling of what it will be come Father’s Day, ours was a dainty slice of seared tuna with grated pickled ‘daikon’ (radish) and pesto on toast. Needless to say it served an exquisite prelude for the other specialties to come.

Out of the seven starters that will be available, we sampled two – seared scallops on kataifi nest with dill shallot vinaigrette and sautéed field mushrooms with Saint Maure goat cheese and garlic jus.

Personally I don't know anyone who can resist plump, fresh scallops. These were just nicely cooked so they were sweet and succulent on the palate whilst the kataifi (finely shredded dough popularly used in Middle Eastern and Greek desserts) and topping of baby sprouts provided different textural contrasts. Mmm...

The dill shallot vinaigrette perked things up a little but it was the finely chopped kelp pickles and sesame seeds that struck a memorable affinity with the scallop trio.

Despite the slightly burnt phyllo casing, we were all for the sautéed ‘chanterelle’, trumpet and button mushrooms. The baked starter turned out to be a heavenly match between the mushrooms’ rustic, earthy flavours and the mildly salty, robust and nutty nuances of the Saint Maure goat cheese. A drizzle of aromatic garlic jus added that final flourish to this delectable creation. Again we were impressed by the clever combination of different textures – how well the light, spongy texture of the mushrooms offset the crispy phyllo pastry and soft, melty goat cheese.
Anyway I discovered that Saint Maure is considered one of the best goat cheeses in French cuisine. This gourmet delight is easily recognisable by its small log shape and thin, smooth rind with blue-grey moulding. It also has a long straw traversing the middle for holding together this soft cheese and to ensure easier handling.

Other enticing choices include consommé of beef with ravioli of oxtail and foie gras, salmon gravlax with pickled fennel, pearl onion and extra virgin olive oil, seafood bisque, terrine of foie gras with port and spices and homemade brioche and Bon Bon’s best-selling duck rilette in phyllo with crisp fennel and spiced honey.

Of the seven main courses, we can vouch for the pan-roasted fillet of beef. Nicely seared on the outside, the tender beef fillet remained pink and juicy inside. Accompaniments for this are vegetable caponata (a Sicilian relish of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, pine nuts, capers and vinegar cooked in olive oil) and tapenade jus (a Provençale paste made from capers, anchovies, ripe olives, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings).

Equally good was the seared emperor snapper with mushroom risotto and crisp chorizo. This imported fish from Australia is highly regarded for its sublime texture and clean, clear flavour. We thoroughly enjoyed the snapper’s firm, sweet flesh paired with the creamy risotto (an Italian delicacy of cooked short-grain rice) richly imbued with the beguiling aroma and slices of mushrooms and fine strips of crisp chorizo (Spanish beef sausage).

The remaining mains comprise braised lamb shank with saffron, herbs, dried fruits (a mixture of dried pineapple, jackfruit, apricot and prune) and garlic mash, roast spring chicken with sautéed vegetables and truffle jus, roast beef polenta with haricot vert (green beans) and pommery mustard jus, seared duck breast with garlic mash, pea sprouts and orange marmalade jus and pan-seared cod with red miso, roma tomatoes and haricot vert.

Cap off your celebratory lunch or dinner with any of these six desserts – mini pavlova with strawberries in a passion fruit soup, mango mille feuille (rectangular French-style pastry consisting of thin layers of puff pastry sandwiched with cream and mango), lemon tart with chocolate mousse, classic vanilla crème brûlée, chocolate torte with espresso ice-cream and Valrhona chocolate mousse with Grand Marnier.

We had the crème brûlée (it means ‘burnt cream’ in French) which is top-notch. This classical treat with its superb custard-like texture and a caramelized sugar topping is not overly sweet and will appeal to light eaters.

The Valrhona chocolate mousse is more decadent as the ultra-smooth and rich chocolatey mousse is laced liberally with the renowned Grand Marnier orange liqueur.

With the flexible option of having two courses for RM58++ or a three-course meal for RM70++ per person, we reckon this special feast with Dad won't burn such a big hole in your pocket.

BON BON BRASSERIE (pork-free)
20 Jalan Telawi 2
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : (03) 2283 1100

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