Wednesday, October 15, 2014


A little cupcake adorned with my photo on it! That sweet welcome really took the cake when I joined Abel Nelson Nang and his A-team at Samplings on Fourteenth for an exclusive preview of the restaurant's Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2014 (MIGF2014) menu.

  This Berjaya Hotels & Resorts (BHR) team don't do things in half measures and the whole restaurant passage leading into the main dining area was covered with floor to ceiling multi-coloured fabric, forming a narrow passage way that opens out into a small cocktail area. We were feted to cocktails and mocktails with dainty canapes and nibbles prior to dinner.

A festive red&black theme was the key element of the long L-shaped dining tables; yards of black satin with gold runner offset against huge arrangements of long-stemmed red roses and towering glass jars of chillies and condiments. To complete the setting, we found a personalised menu card, a jar of candy and a mini press kit placed on each of our designated seat.

Amuse bouche was a piece of tender cod with some sweet-salty soyabean tapenade atop a slice of soft, succulent and juicy tomato which made an amazing mouthful when Paired with New Zealand's Sixty Drops Sauvignon Blanc; rated one of NZ top 50 wines.

The subsequent trio of appetisers won us over with its imaginative yet delicate accents. Lightly creamy with the inherent shellfish nuance discernibly noticeable, the rock lobster gazpacho was refreshing yet has enough richness to leave us satisfied. Equally delicate was the layered lobster terrine with fennel and asparagus, redolent with herbaceous and sweet overtones. Completing the trinity was a salad of Asian pear and sliced lobster dotted with fennel and basil puree.

  Rustic chickpea puree primped up with a whole fried quail egg and dots of saffron oil seduced our palate with its warmth and nourishing goodness. It was especially comforting for me since I was nursing a stuffy nose that night.
The soup was followed by sliced smoked duck breast, topped with foamy vanilla emulsion and fricassee of mushroom. I loved everything about the dish; from the chewy and toothsome textures of both the duck and mushroom as well as the enticingly smoky, sweet and earthy nuances of the ingredients. Paired with a young Chianti red, the dainty serving really packed in some truly distinct flavours.
Service was evenly synchronised throughout the eve, from the placement and removal of the tableware to the topping up of our water and wine goblets.
Man of the hour...Abel Nelson Nang in full heartwarming mode

Steamed salmon Napoleon made for sumptuous mouthfuls, paired with some squid ink pasta (the texture went a tad soft since I took so long to snap pics of the dish). A dollop of salsa verde with grapefruit added bursts of juicy fruitiness to the ensemble whilst the saffron-scented broth provided just the right amount of moistness. The optional main of Wagyu beef cheek sounded way more interesting as my dining companion across the table couldn't stop gushing over the coffee sauce that complemented his beef.
Dessert was pretty as a picture with classic Valrhona chocolate brownie topped with hazelnut mousse accompanied by refreshingly tangy-sweet passionfruit ice cream. Complemented by fresh berries, the luscious dulcet smooth chocolate block was well-matched by the rich, nutty mousse. It was bordering on decadence but the guilt-trip was lessened by the dainty serving.


 Full MIGF 2014 Festival Menu
(Available until 31 October 2014)
RM398++ per person with wine
RM198++ per person without wine
 Light Festival Menu
RM158++ per person without wine
For reservations, call Samplings on the Fourteenth, tel: 03-2117 8131. Address: 14th Floor Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur

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