In tandem with the appointment of Benjamin Halat as the new Chef de Cuisine at the award winning restaurant Mandarin Grill at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Going Places was invited to review the new menu created and presented by Halat himself. With his creative ways in preparing fine dining cuisine using fresh and local ingredients, Halat embraces the art of experimenting with various food flavours and textures, set to surprise food connoisseurs with his nifty pairing of ingredients. Halat's decade's worth of experience in the culinary front on top of honing his skills in a 2-Michelin star restaurant sets him with the responsibilities to ensure the highest quality of ingredients used in all his culinary creations while keeping the presentation unique and creative.
A German national, Halat's love for travelling allows him the opportunity to expand his knowledge while understanding the cultures of various countries and its local cuisine. “I want diners to have a memorable dining experience with us because for me everywhere I go, I always remember the taste and presentation (of the food),” said Halat.
The introduction to Halat's new menu takes the form of the Lobster Medallions appetizer complemented with quinoa salad, mango and Yuzu dressing. The highlight of the dish is the lobster meat where its fresh and springy consistency throughout each bite is evidence of Halat's careful use of ingredients. Aside from the saltwater-flavoured crustacean, the quinoa salad complements the taste of the entirety with a tinge of fruity sweetness.
Following the appetizer is the Crème De Champignons soup that features a single pod of smocked duck ravioli that sits in the centre of the rich mushroom broth. The savoury aftertaste of the smoked duck ravioli amplifies the earthen flavours of the mushroom soup and adds an extra dimension to the overall taste of the dish. Malaysians would find the smoked duck a familiar flavour to the western-styled soup.
Next is the intermediate dish and also one of Halat's signatures, the 90º Poached Egg with oscietra caviar, whipped potato cream and champagne sauce. It's an absolute scene-stealer not just with its opulent presentation but the clever mix of flavours that culminate into a satisfactory indulgence. The oscietra caviar and salmon roe provides the salty sensation that complements the egg and the whipped potato cream; while the champagne sauce adds a unique flavour to every scoop.
We're then served a sliver of Lemon Sorbet accompanied with bits of pomelo sacs specially prepared to reset our palates through the natural and zesty combination of citrus ingredients. It's refreshingly cool – all for the incoming main course.
The much-awaited main course is the Wagyu Ribeye Marble 8, which includes beans cassoulet, potato pralines and portwine jus. The variety of flavours and textures of this dish is a no surprise from the dining experience. The perfectly cooked wagyu ribeye blocks emit more than just the sought-after gamy taste thanks to the portwine jus that goes with each consumption. The potato pralines served as adorable additions that dissolve into mash once their fine praline skins are pierced.
Evolving from the appreciated main course is the Comte Gratin with avocado and pear. Definitely a crowd pleaser for any cheese enthusiast, it's a careful ensemble of cheese pieces, mashed avocado and pear presented with dashes of green. The delightful creamy consistency would give any cheese lover a positive light.
Approaching the end of the course is the Duet of Valrhona Chocolate with forest berries and chocolate glace. It is served with chocolate glace poured on top of it, that eventually makes a hole through the gold flake to fill the centre. It is a very artistic dessert and the flavour is indeed worthy of our commendation – as fans of chocolate.
The end of the experiential review of Mandarin Grill's new menu by Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Halat brings us to yet another but one last chocolate feast or petit fours. And once again, we're delighted by the variety of sweets which makes both an impression in flavour and presentation.
Mandarin Grill at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur is open daily for lunch, 12pm to 2.30pm and dinner, 7pm to 10.30pm. For reservations, please call +60 (3) 2380 8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org