Sunday, June 04, 2017

URBAN: A MOD GASTRONOMIC HAVEN



Urban’s signature appetiser Element of the Sea by Chef de Cuisine Sharusmizal bin Mohamed Salleh reminds me of Malaysia-born, Australia-based chef Cheong Liew’s famed Dances of the Sea, a ground-breaking quartet of Mod Oz appetisers as opposed to Chef Sharusmizal’s contemporary European creations.
The Element of the Sea artfully blends global influences and regional ingredients into a sumptuous visual and sensorial composition. Fresh Hamachi (yellowtail) Sashimi recline alongside Saba Ballotine, Relish King Crab and Cold Inaniwa Udon.
Remember to heighten the freshness of the raw yellowtail slices with calamansi lime juice from the get-go. The rolled disc of saba ballotine (French for bundle or parcel) stuffed with Spanish piquillo pepper is exquisite, lightly touched by mildly tangy ambarella fruit emulsion. Textural contrasts emerge to delight the palate when you sample the Relish King Crab with tofu followed by cool, silky Inaniwa Udon adorned with briny smoked Spanish caviar and tart yuzu jelly.

Our maiden visit to Urban was heralded by two molecular gastronomy-type amuse bouches: freshly shucked Oysters topped with Seaweed & multi-colour ‘pearls’, and spoonfuls of spherical pumpkin purée that look deceptively like egg yolks.
Prices at Urban are surprisingly sober with a la carte appetisers priced at RM55 nett, mains at RM95 nett and dessert at RM45 nett each. A tasteful 3-Course Dinner sets you back by RM150 nett while a posher Gourmet Special 3-Course Dinner can be had at RM210 nett. Fancy a Degustation experience? Then trump up RM250 nett for a princely seven course menu.
The appetiser of Smoked Farm Quail Roulade is on-point thanks to a splendid supporting cast of petit micro salad, quail egg benedict, miso daikon, trumpet mushroom, truffle vinaigrette, sour lychee, cabernet sauvignon with raisins & lavender infused perfume, and toasted brioche. We can’t help but wax lyrical over the dish’s cornucopia of rustic, woody aroma and hearty country flavours.

Weightier in substance and taste is Arborio Rice with Grilled Squid and Diver Sea Scallop. The creamy, slightly nutty grains prove ideal to amplify the lushness of the sautéed girolle (chanterelle mushrooms) and tranches of black truffle.
Coarsely crushed Iranian pistachios and crisp Moroccan bestiya lend textural interest in the sumptuously tender Sous Vide Lamb Loin. Complemented by vine yellow pearl chevre tomato cherry tart, the delectable meat shines in the cordial embrace of mint pea purée and marjoram jus.

Another main to reel landlubbers in is the speciality of Red Mullet. Paired with butter poached tiger prawn, the delicate fish sweetness tastes stellar amidst tomato beurre blanc sauce, silky mash potato, crustacean powder, salted cod croquette, jumbo asparagus and confit tomato.
Voracious eaters would enjoy the generous portion of Crispy Duck Breast crusted with Jordan Almonds. Red cherry jus forms a classic, harmonious affinity with the subtly gamey meat. 

To liven up the trad side of sautéed Savoy cabbage, the chef springs a delightful curveball into the equation by proffering a savoury beef bacon-flavoured crème caramel in place of the requisite starch or carb.
Are you one of those diners who want it all? Then the house special of Surf & Turf should rock you. A notable combination of grilled petite fillet mignon with king prawn, the protein pairing comes accompanied by potato fondant and green peppercorn sauce.

Dessert options are worth savouring too and should rightly pique the interest of the sweet-toothed. I’m partial to Thousand Layer (RM45 nett) – a prettily stacked creation of crisp, paper-thin mille feuille layered with colourful mandarin orange cream and exotic fruits. An ethereal but almost guilt-free meal ender.
It’s neck to neck with the signature Manjari 75% Semi Freddo Dark Chocolate & Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream. Sounds decadent but thankfully, we daresay the iced confection is neither heavy nor cloying. Conjured using premium chocolate and house-churned ice cream, this sublime treat should hit the spot in our prevailing spell of heatwave.
Refined handiwork of the chef is obvious from the Hazelnut Pate a Choux. Embellished with caramelised nuts, hazelnut maison cream & cranberry purée, the éclair boasts lush, creamy accents that complement coffee or tea.

Weekdays also see Urban as a quick lunch refuge for the white collar crowd in the city. The Weekday Lunch Express (RM59 nett) pulls them in with a choice of Chinese fusion, Western or Japanese set. For the Chinese fusion and Western set, diners can select an appetiser to go with a main and a dessert. Those who opt for the latter have two different bento boxes to choose from.

For reservations, call URBAN restaurant, tel: 03-2141 9988. Address: Lobby Level, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 73, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. www.hotelistana.com.my

1 comment:

Choi Yen said...

Dishes prepared by Chef Sharusmizal always enticing no matter in terms of flavors and presentation~