Monday, February 17, 2020

ALL TUNA TREATS AT IKETERU, HILTON KUALA LUMPUR

Highly revered by the Japanese, maguro or tuna is the king of fish when it comes to savouring sashimi and sushi at any sushi-ya (sushi restaurant) worth its salt. The bidding for this deep-sea fish in Japan is fiercely competitive with record-breaking sums paid each year for the biggest tuna.
 
When invited to witness Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s Japanese Executive Chef Masami Okamoto perform a live tuna-cutting demonstration at Iketeru Japanese Restaurant, it was an opportunity no foodie can refuse.
 
Weighing in at 30kg, the tuna’s sleek, torpedo-shaped body was an awesome sight to behold. Chef Okamoto soon held us spellbound when he set about carving and filleting the huge fish with practiced finesse, his sharp knife cutting through the tuna as if it was butter.
 
 
 
Before long, he was deftly slicing up fresh, deep-red slices of chutoro for our sampling. Every slice tasted soft yet toothsomely succulent with an imperceptible flinty sweetness to it. The chef also hand-crafted dainty pieces of maguro sushi to tickle our tastebuds before we sat down to Iketeru’s All Tuna Course Menu.
 
 
 
 
The duo of curtain-raisers featured Tuna Sumiso Sauce and Tuna, Avocado, and Tomato with Wasabi Mayo Sauce. Both appetisers showcased how different preparation techniques resulted in palate-pleasing morsels to pique diners’ interest.
 
I enjoyed the latter for its simplicity as the diced tuna with little avocado and tomato wedges were lightly dressed in zingy wasabi sauce. However, the former proved interesting too as the cooked tuna paired with some kelp came anointed with sumiso sauce – a mixture of white miso, sugar and vinegar.
 
After these profusion of rich flavours, we sipped on Tuna Belly Soup. The clear, savoury broth was conceived to cleanse the palate yet its full-bodied nuance was unmistakable, thanks to the meaty tuna belly immersed in it. Tofu and negi (Japanese leek) lent textural contrast to the overall dish.
 
A generous serving of Tuna Sashimi then enlivened our dinner further. Some of the raw tuna I savoured au naturel whilst others I dipped in shoyu and wrapped in shiso (perilla leaf) with a dab of wasabi for added punch. Slivers of gari or Japanese pickled ginger came in handy to temper the fish’s inherent richness.
 
 
Teppanyaki-style Tuna with Truffle Teriyaki Sauce was the night’s stellar show-stopper. Although my serving of tuna was a tad overdone (a seared crust with a raw core would have done the fish greater justice), its sumptuousness was dialled up by the accompanying truffle-infused teriyaki sauce.
 
 
Reeling us in further was Deep-fried Tuna Tatsuta Age with Spicy Miso Dip. Marinated earlier in soya sauce, the deep-fried tuna with its nice crisp crust boasted distinct savouriness reminiscent of fu yue (Chinese fermented beancurd). It was a sublime treat when relished with the tangy-sweet-savoury red miso dip and grilled shishito pepper.
 
More of the fresh tuna returned to delight us; roughly chopped and sprinkled with sesame seeds then set atop white rice, we valiantly found tummy space to fit in the Oshokuji Tekka Don with Miso Soup. Again, this no-frills approach was an apt reminder that a prime quality fish such as tuna is best treated with respect and doesn’t need frills to shine.
Black Sesame Ice Cream with fine watermelon and dragonfruit dices wrapped up our exclusive tuna dining experience on a high.
 
 
 
 
 
The All Tuna Course Menu is priced at RM480 nett per person inclusive free flow of house red and white wine, juices and soft drinks, and at RM300 nett per adult for food only.

For reservations, please call Iketeru @Hilton Kuala Lumpur, tel: 03-2264 2264 or visit www.life.hiltonkl.com

Thursday, January 23, 2020

NOBLE CNY OFFERINGS FROM THE ORIENTAL GROUP


Trust Chinese cuisine supremo and Group Executive Chef of The Oriental Group of Restaurants Justin Hor to make a big splash for the arrival of the Rat Year...his Alaskan Spider Crab Vegetables Yee Sang (RM198++ medium, RM298++ large) is an unmatched festive dish to rule them all.
Available at all restaurants under the Oriental Group except Ruyi & Lyn, the fresh melange of shredded green apple, carrot, cucumber, purple cabbage, spring onion, coriander, raisins, crushed peanuts and dried mandarin peel is luxed up with freshly extracted and shredded Alaskan spider crab meat. Lightly dressed with the chef’s specially concocted plum sauce, the yee sang easily ranks as one of the best in town.
Chef Justin agrees the inclusion of Alaskan spider crab is a tad indulgent but he surmises such an extravagant culinary treat befits a major occasion like Chinese New Year when kith and kin gather around a good meal.
Diners welcoming the Rat Year at Oriental Pavilion, Noble Mansion and Noble House can look forward to a familiar favourite and the much sought-after speciality of Whole Pork Trotter with Hokkaido XL Dried Scallops, Japanese Mushrooms and Quail Eggs (RM488++ per portion).
Every ringgit spent is worth your while as Chef Justin and his team have devoted much time and effort into the dish’s painstaking preparation; to ensure the resultant pork trotter is sublimely fall-of-the-bone tender, every bite of the pork, skin and gelatinous bits thoroughly suffused with rich, savoury flavours augmented by black sea moss and XL dried scallops. Both the tau kan (compressed layers of beancurd skin) and plump mushrooms ooze with the unctuous braising sauce, amplifying their deliciousness.
Crazy about crabs? Then you’d love the speciality of Crabs Prepared Two Ways: Deep Fried Crab Claws with Red Vinegar and Crab Meat with Scrambled Egg in Lettuce Wraps (RM238++ per portion for 4 persons, available at The Ming Room and Noble House).
 
It’s a dream dish for diners and crab lovers who prefer not to get their hands dirty. The first comprises a sweet chunk of crab meat encased in deep-fried prawn paste wrapped atop a crab leg similar to a lollipop for easy eating. We find the whole morsel so delectably on-point when it’s dipped into some red vinegar for a subtle shot of acidity.
For smoother and creamier mouth feel, the latter consists of hand-extracted crab meat cooked gently with cream, egg white and a dash of vinegar, scooped into fresh iceberg lettuce; evocative of an old-school banquet dish of scrambled egg with shark’s fin.
 
Frolic in glorious abundance this CNY with Steamed Deep Sea Garoupa with Fresh Abalones and Prawn Medallions in Casserole Basket (RM388++ per portion for 8 persons), a house speciality of the Oriental Star restaurant. The fish is sweet with the right doneness, the prawns springy and succulent, and the abalones boast a nice garlicky punch.
Bottarga or salted dried mullet roe – a pricey delicacy favoured by Taiwanese gourmands – is the ingredient of choice to elevate the Crystal Prawns with Gold Caviar Sauce (RM128++ per portion).
Combined with lemon juice and red chilli oil, the mildly savoury sauce coating the prawns bestow a distinct richness similar to cheese. Break the giant beancurd bowl into shards to complement the prawns for a refined epicurean treat. This speciality is available at all Oriental Group restaurants except for Seafood World, Ruyi and Yu.
Tender French beans help to lighten up the ubiquitous Steamed Rice with Waxed Meat Hakka Style (RM78++ medium, RM128++ large). Available at all Oriental Group restaurants except for Seafood World, Ruyi and Yu, this festive favourite still has its die-hard fans who never tire of sampling the fragrant rice with slices of waxed liver and pork sausages in addition to waxed meat.
 
The last hurrah is as auspicious as the dessert name: Golden Pudding with Bird’s Nest in Whole Orange (RM23++ each). Served in hollowed-out orange ‘bowls’, we rave over the delightful orange jelly topped with bird’s nest.
 
Of course, every CNY meal calls for a serving of nin kou (sweet glutinous rice cake). At the Oriental group of restaurants except for Seafood World, Ruyi and Yu, it’s in the form of dainty Deep Fried Sesame Balls with Nin Kou (RM5++ per pc) to round up the celebratory feast.
For reservations and information, visit The Oriental Group of Restaurants website: www.orientalrestaurants.com.my