Sunday, August 11, 2013

SIMPLY FRENCH-TASTIC


Stepping into the monochromatic, elegant confines of Maison Francaise is like entering a space continuum where time stands still. Despite its central location right smack in the city, the secluded restaurant sited along a road less travelled is an oasis of comforting tranquility and a refined haven of French cuisine.
Besotted love birds, discerning wheelers and dealers and the upper-crust will feel at home within its spacious yet intimate surroundings. Glass-panelled folding doors and lace curtained windows allow plenty of natural light in by day whilst multi-pronged chandeliers and wall-mounted lights transformed the interior into a warm, welcoming cocoon at dusk. Contemporary artworks adorned the whitewashed walls, juxtaposed against clusters of pristine white-clothed tables and sleek dining chairs. 


Atop the main dining area of the stately bungalow is a private room that doubles up as a modern cigar and whiskey lounge. Tucked away in the lower ground level is another roomy lounge that comes with a full bar and leads out to a shaded poolside patio, an ideal venue for special events and parties.

Sainy Chun, the genteel, sophisticated proprietress is no newbie to the restaurant scene. Having lived for years in Italy, France and the United Kingdom, she has even pursued a sommelier course and possesses an avid interest in all things culinary. Previously a boutique hotel owner and restaurateur whose business interests traversed Europe, Korea, Japan and China, her demure looks belie her steely determination in carving a niche for Maison Francaisein the KL dining scene. 

Joining forces with executive chef Franck Lamache whose impeccable credentials include past stints at several 3-Michelin starred establishments: the Crillion hotel Paris (Les Embassedeurs), Alain Ducasse and Le Taillevent, the duo's debut has made enough waves to make the city's gourmands sit up and take notice.

The chef's classic French cuisine rules the roost here; exquisite creations that are light on the palate and uncompromisingly flavourful yet distinctly modern in presentation. For starters, the house speciality of Homemade Smoked Salmon with Capers and Bouquet of Salad (RM51++) is a timeless delicacy that one never tires of eating. The fish's delicate freshness shines through in every thin sliver; its mellow smokiness amplified by the opened florets of capers. 
Comparatively, the succulent Marinated Smoked Salmon with Herbs (RM45++ available only in the special dinner menu) boasts a delicate brininess that's accentuated by a sprinkling of fresh dill. The tissue-thin slices come dotted with caviar in addition to deep-fried bread fingers and micro sprouts.
I had my second encounter with sweetbreads that night at Maison Francaise. In spite of my (silent) misgivings, the Chef's Special of Sweet Bread with Red Wine Sauce (RM110++) is so outstanding that it completely restored my less than favourable impression of this unusual offering. For the uninitiated, sweetbreads are calves' thymus glands...not exactly something easy to stomach if you're not big on offal or innards. Chef Lamache should be lauded for rendering the sweetbreads into tender, almost spongy pieces with fleeting hints of the wine's slight tanginess punctuated by sourish bursts from the tiny pickled pearl onions and the sweetness of  pumpkin puree.
Brimming with deep-seated rusticity is the delectable Duck Pate (RM44++). Lightly spiked with French country spices and herbs, the delebtable terrine accompanied by fresh salad leaves, pickled baby gherkins and finely diced tomatoes tastes even more enjoyable with warm, oven-fresh breads.
Another signature dish that causes quite a flap is the Duck Breast with Grilled  Mushroom, Asparagus and Zucchini. Memorable for its crispy skin which lends additional dimension to the tender, juicy meat. The slightly charred vegetables and fungi bring textural depth to the overall dish.
Sample the Red Snapper with Squid Ink Risotto and Salmon Roe (RM77++) when it's piping hot; the fish's inherent sweetness is at its peak then. Dusted with fine cheese shavings around the plate edge, the slightly nutty short grain rice is richly ambrosial and toothsome on the palate with intermittent bursts of brininess coming from the brilliant orange globules.

No French meal is ever complete without a Cheese Selection (RM31++) to round off proceedings. Nestled in a bed of greens, the assortment consists of soft, semi-hard and firm wedges in varying degrees of sharpness and pungency that can be appreciated on its own or with the restaurant's fine breads.
Remember to leave ample tummy space for dessert. Presented on a square slate, the Cafe Gourmand (RM55++) will satisfy the sweet-toothed with dainty, decadent treats that range from dulcet smooth chocolate mousse to marinated mirabelle plums.


Our evening was further enlivened by the resident award-winning mixologist who plied us with two captivating drinks: French Planter and Martini Espresso. It's hard to say which appealed to us more as both cocktails are simply unforgettable. The first has rum, lime and orange juice mixed with pink guava, cinnamon and vanilla extract while the second is concocted from ultra-smooth 100% single blend Arabica espresso spiked with vodka, illy coffee liqueur and syrup.

Maison Francaise definitely rules the roost when it comes to refined French cuisine.

Call tel: 03-2144 1474 for reservations. MAISON FRANCAISE is located at 5 Changkat Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur. NOW OPEN DAILY from 11 am to 11.30 pm. Futher information from: www.maisonfrancaise.com.my 

Maison Francaise
5 Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2144-1474 - See more at: http://pureglutton.com/maison-francaise-be-totally-pampered-by-its-sunday-brunch#sthash.JEfNeG1B.dpuf
Maison Francaise
5 Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2144-1474 - See more at: http://pureglutton.com/maison-francaise-be-totally-pampered-by-its-sunday-brunch#sthash.JEfNeG1B.dpuf

3 comments:

Ciki said...

what a lovely post.. and yummie shots too! Ah... time to revisit for Tea me thinks! ;D

KY said...

lovely photos of beautiful food, that duck breast is calling me!

Alice Yong said...

@Ciki - good idea! Haven't had a French style afternoon tea before.

@KY - definitely something to go quackers over! ;D