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With plenty of seasonal promotions as we approach the year end, it’s the best time to indulge in good food.

Escape To Western Australia  

There’s much ado in Western Australia this month with the 10-day Gourmet Escape food festival. Taking place on 8-17 November, the festival comprises more than 50 events spread out across Perth, Margaret River and Swan Valley, featuring over 160 local wineries and producers, and culinary stars like Marco Pierre White, Pierre Koffmann and David Chang.

Ticketed events in the Swan Valley include artisanal and authentic culinary experiences such as Wine & Sign with Marco Pierre White and Tex-Mex Takeover at Mandoon Estate, while Margaret River hosts events that highlight its wines and produce on the beach, such as the 5 Hats Lunch by Momofuku Seiōbo x Yarri. Some of the festival’s best highlights can be found in Perth, where Pierre Koffmann – the man behind London’s three-star restaurant La Tante Claire – will bring his know-how to Crown Perth’s Bistro Guillaume. 

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Have A St Pierre-y Christmas 

With Christmas around the corner, get your bookings in for special year-end meals. For those looking to make an impression on loved ones (and yes, business clients count!), reserve a table at Saint Pierre in W Kuala Lumpur, whose head chef Emmanuel Stroobant has designed a range of festive menus available throughout December. They include a three- or four-course Festive Lunch Menu (available 4-30 December) that features starters such as smoked buri and black truffle, followed by a main course of wagyu beef cheek prepared as a pot-au-feu; squash pasta with chestnut and truffle; Malabar snapper with Thai basil, olive and raspberry; or Irish duck with endive and sansho pepper.

Chef Emmanuel Stroobant

For heartier and more lavish meals, opt for the five- or seven- course Dinner Menu (available 3-30 December), which includes starters such as uni, scallop and foie gras, with a selection of mains like 36-hour braised beef short rib; barramundi en croute; and Cornish chicken with winter black truffle. For those who want to go all out on Christmas Eve, pick the eight-course dinner, with dishes ranging from the decadent lobster with egg, potato and Iranian saffron to the delicate uni with black truffle; and the hearty main course of lamb or Kyushu wagyu beef.

Exceptionally Italian 

A memorable dining experience awaits at the Mandarin Grill, which reopened earlier this year at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur with a refreshed interior. The restaurant also welcomes Italian chef de cuisine Luigi Stinga, who joins from the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Seta in Mandarin Oriental, Milan.

Chef Luigi Stinga

The young chef, who hails from Naples, draws inspiration from his grandmother’s cooking as well as stints in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, to bring authentic Italian fare with a modern approach. Expect dishes such as Ravioli Di Baccalá – ravioli with dried salted cod fish, potatoes and oregano; Palate E Prosecco – potatoes with leek and caviar; Spaghetto All’ Astice – spaghetti with romanesco, Boston lobster and bottarga; Agnello E Peperoni – lamb with red pepper, black polenta and lamb jus, as well as Tiramisu – the all-time favourite dessert made from mascarpone cream, coffee and chocolate. 

More Than Lobsters

Though Pince & Pints in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur has built a solid reputation for its lobster dishes, there are times when you crave a variety of other dishes. The restaurant recently introduced a range of non-lobster specialities, and they are by no means an afterthought. The new additions include starters such as the mushroom soup with truffle, as well as perfectly crisp zucchini fries and generous servings of portobello mushroom fries, which also make for excellent bar bites.

For the mains, you can opt for meatier classics such as roast lamb, served with mashed potatoes and baby carrots, or beef ribs with onion rings and grilled corn on the cob, both of which come in portions fit for a meal-and-a-half. The Fish & Chips is another new addition, with two pieces of cod on a heap of hand-cut fries and house-made mushy peas.

The Perfect Start

Those who love a good slice of sourdough bread will be glad to know the Bali-based Starter Lab has opened its first outpost on Singapore’s Havelock Road. Starter Lab started in 2016 as a bakery in Canggu and quickly gained a reputation for excellent breads and pastries, thanks to its founder, Emerson Manibo, whose bread-making skills impressed many at San Francisco’s legendary Tartine. He was nominated for the James Beard Award while he was Head Baker at Della Fattoria. Highlights from the selection of sandwiches include grilled cheese with rosemary sourdough or mascarpone with honey, walnuts and bee pollen. Besides bread, Starter Lab also has a range of pastries such as scones and cinnamon rolls.