Thursday, July 06, 2017

TASTES OF NOBU DUBAI IN KL



It isn't every day we get an invitation to lunch at posh dining outposts like Nobu KL. Especially when there's a guest chef flown in from Dubai from 2 - 7 July so I was thankful for the chance to partake in the notable dining experience at Nobu KL.
Along with Nobu KL's Executive Chef Philip Leong, Chef Hervé Courtot, Corporate Chef and Chef de Cuisine of Nobu Dubai will conjure up a specially curated menu of popular dishes from Nobu Dubai, showcasing his signature flair and rustling up new creations using selected local produce such as tofu skin (foo pei or yuba) and pisang emas.


This is the first time Nobu Kuala Lumpur is holding a distinct Chef’s Table dining experience in which guests will meet with Chef Hervé together with Chef Philip to curate their own 8-course dinner. A promising journey of true artistry, complete with one-of-a-kind dishes, for a personalised culinary experience no gourmand can resist.

As the Corporate Chef of Nobu Restaurant, Chef Hervé is responsible for the operations of Nobu franchises in Riyadh, Monte Carlo, Moscow, Cape Town, Doha, Marbella and Ibiza. With extensive global culinary experience in kitchen operations of fine-dining restaurants and five star hotels, Chef Hervé joined Nobu Restaurant by the globally–renowned Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa in Dubai as of July 2008. Starting in the position of Chef de Cuisine, he helms the overall management of the said outpost.
Known for its creative mixology concoctions, Nobu KL has created three tipples including the Thai Mandarin Martini (RM45++). On that humid afternoon, I took an instant liking to the tangy and refreshingly cool Absolut Mandarin & Vanilla with passionfruit and lychee puree, and kaffir lime syrup.
 


The headliner of Pan-fried Scallops with Yuba grabbed our attention from the get-go. Presented tapas-style, the plump scallops came enrobed in crunchy deep-fried tofu skin with a slight drizzling of tangy tonkatsu sauce. The clever textural contrast and melding of delicate flavours went down a storm with us.
 
Hot on its heels came Foie Gras Pumpkin Chips with Mustard Miso (RM95++). Pretty as a picture, the slivers of pumpkin chips had an unctuous square of lightly seared foie gras sandwiched in between. A touch of zingy mustardy miso lent the morsel delectable savouriness.
We also munched on Truffled Edamame, boiled young green soya beans elevated to epicurean heights with a generous splash of musky truffle oil on them. The tender beans tasted utterly sublime and were incredibly addictive.
More playful textural compositions tickled our tastebuds from the inventive dish of Konbu Tacos with Beef, Dry Miso and Ikura (RM80++). The only minor downside was the use of konbu (kelp seaweed), miso and ikura (salmon roe) probably tripled the umami quotient hence some may find the morsels too briny for their liking.
In keeping with its glitzy and glamourous image, Nobu collaborated with Swarovski to create a gilded caviar tin embellished with black and gold Swarovski crystals forming the Nobu logo on the lid. Inside it contained luxurious Caviar with Wasabi Mashed Potato (RM260++). We felt like wannabe tycoons, savouring the precious black pearls using the diminutive mother of pearl spoons provided.
Dark as the night and bewitchingly lush on the palate, the smooth and nutty goma (black sesame) dressing nearly eclipsed the chilled succulence of the fish slices in the dish of Salmon Tataki with Black Sesame Dressing & Jalapeno Jelly (RM220++). Still, the faint burst of heat from the jalapeno-accented jelly makes this a on-point crowd-pleaser.
 
A key signature dish from Chef Hervé's repertoire is Chilean Sea Bass with Yuzu White Chocolate Sauce (RM175++). It was a bold, unconventional move on the chef's part as rarely do we encounter white chocolate as a complementing sauce for fish. Although the inclusion of yuzu was meant to blunt the saucy, sweet richness, I personally reckon it wasn't discernible enough to make any difference. A sharper, more acidic 'bite' to temper the cloying aftertaste would have been great but this is merely my preference.
So I resorted to piling on the greens to refresh the palate. Simple but delicious, the Baby Spinach with Dry Miso was a godsend and a noteworthy offering in its own right. Lightly and evenly coated in dressing with crumbled yuba added for subtle crunch, the irresistible serving spurred us to make quick work of it.

Prior marination with a myriad of ingredients ensured the Yellowtail Jalapeno Sushi sumptuous enough to be eaten on its own. Spiked with jalapeno and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, the maki rolls with yellowtail at its core had us hooked at first bite.
 
A symphony of briny, tart and fresh sea nuances suffused our tastebuds when we devoured Nobu's hallmark Salmon Nu-style Sushi. On the surface, the speciality looked deceptively simple but when Nobu KL's General Manager Gopi Kanala reeled off the litany of stuff gone into making it, I only managed to grasp garlic puree, yuzu juice, grapeseed oil and edible flowers amongst them. According to Gopi, "this sushi serving style is distinct to Nobu - it's perfect for diners who balk at eating raw fish."


I was delighted to find my fave hijiki seaweed starring alongside the speciality of Wagyu Hobayaki with Anticucho Den Miso (RM280++). Unfamiliar with anticucho, I learn it refers to Peruvian grilled meat skewers akin to yakitori brushed with a tantalising aji amarillo (bright, yellow chilli pepper native to Peru) sauce. It makes sense since founder and chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa spent years in that part of the world honing his craft. The anticucho and miso sauce brought a vivacious dimension and nice acidity to balance the indulgent beefy notes against the velvety canvas of pumpkin puree.

 

A big fan of everything lemony, the first dessert of Yuzu Lemon Tart with Shiso Jelly (RM50++) really hit the spot for me. Presented as a deconstructed lemon tart, the minimalist treat consists of buttery almond shortbread sandwiched with lemon custard. Airy-light meringue shards and dots of herbaceous-citrusy shiso (perilla leaf) jelly completed this artistic platter.
Our local humble pisang emas was given a starring role in the second creation of Zinzli Banana Passion (RM50++). The sweet zinzli (Mauritian for dwarf bananas) mash formed a captivating on-song symphony with chocolate-covered almond crumble, passionfruit gel and Venezuelan chocolate mousse.

 
Die-hard chocolate lovers will find ample succour from the heavenly Guanaja Pineapple Tartar with Coconut Lime Szechuan (RM50++). Peruvian and Venezuelan chocolates went into the making of the decadent chocolate mousse and coating of the delicious slab of coconut and chocolate sponge. To even out the expectant richness, the chef paired it with diced pineapple tartar flecked with lime citron zest.

If you prefer liquid dessert, I suggest sipping on Tiramisu Martini (RM45++) or Espresso Martini (RM45++). Frankly, the first is decidedly for the sweet-toothed as the creamy tipple had Kahlua, Frangelico (Italina hazelnut and herb liqueur), coconut puree, fresh cream and vanilla syrup in it. For a boozier and caffeinated 'kick', the latter should do the trick thanks to the heady combination of Absolut Vanilla with Patron XO tequila, Kahlua, espresso and vanilla syrup.



The Chef’s Table with Chef Hervé Courtot is priced at RM695++ per person with 8 courses customised to each table. Catch him today and tomorrow! For inquiries and reservations, call NOBU KL, tel: 03-2164 5084 or Whatsapp 019-389 5085.


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