Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Monday, April 29, 2013

IWFS KL PRIME APRIL 2013 - Good, not great.

We had done our food tasting (see earlier blog) and committee approved that dinner at Prime would be a great evening of food and wine. And indeed, members responded quickly and in numbers. Secretary Jeremy was forced to put members guests on a waitlist pending takeup of places by members. They naturally need to be given preference, otherwise why bother being a member? As it was, he didn't show on the night, presumably deciding to fall on the sword and give way to members. Also, he was in the middle of preparations for daughter's wedding as well as packing for our IWFS Bordeaux trip. As it was, there were only four guests in total - we had persuaded the Doc to come on board for this one. He is a Prime fan and aficionado of the meat there and when we told him there was single malt 16 year old single malt Lagavulin whiskey, well….  Almost enough for him to sign up for membership. Almost.

The evening got off to a stormy start. Literally. Leaving the office, there was a typhoon force storm blowing hurricane sheets of rain down the road and ripping branches off trees. Opting to find a port in this storm, Lenglui and I headed straight for the venue and arrived just after six. A swift change and a freshen up with the nice smelling whoosh under the arms and shirt and we were ready. Chef Antoine was ambling about outside the restaurant, whistling a Carpenter's tune. He seemed clearly relaxed, ahead of the madness and insanity that cooking up a culinary storm for 60 IWFS members and guests must be. 

Where's the beef?
The Prime doors opened at 6.30 and we sauntered in to be greeted by name by one fo the waiting staff who clearly remembered me from previous dinners. What an amazing welcome! And which set the tone for the waiting staff for the night. Abslolutely first class service all through the night. The glass of Pol Roger NV Champagne from a magnum bottle was also delightful. Chilled to lovely perfection, this steely crisp glass of bubbles soothed the storm bashed spirit back to normality with its seductive sweet lemony crisp fruit and fine refined finish. Clean, dry, acidic and electric tannins with a biscuit nose that crackled down the throat. O beautiful. Surprisingly, there were few latecomers given the horrendous floods, traffic jams, howling hurricane winds and lashing rain outside. People started arriving and soon the smallish recpetion area was abuzz with chitchat and laughing and praise for the appetizers and their match with the fizz. Indeed, it was nice - oysters with cleansing fizz, how to go wrong? Fearing an adverse reaction ahead of the Bordeaux trip, I declined the oyster, though apparently it was in a gel rather than rare. Some comment as to preference for fresh for the future. Agreed. The salmon was bliss - fresh, woody, clean bite and chew - brahma with the sour cream and lemon. And did I mention the fizz? There was one blip when one member started whingeing about the appetisers not making it to the far side of the reception area. They were getting snapped up by ravenous members before they were getting half way. The whinger in question rode shotgun for the appetiser lady and escorted her through the ravenous hordes, deftly whacking the pecking fingers as they sought to snap up the tasty oysters, salmon and caviar mash potato. We had learned our lesson from previous IWFS dinners - best to stand near where the food or booze is coming out. No problem.
The Prime Trilogie

Moving to the seats, there were two long tables, two half tables and three with four seated. Table was pleasant and not overly adorned, though the glasses were somewhat less than perfect - small white and red rather than the glorious big Bordeaux bowls we had at the tasting. I guess we had maybe stretched them to the glassware limit. 

Clam Chowder "Macchiato"
In comparison to the food tasting, tonight came out a bit…  snuzz. The Prime Trilogie was good, with the Alaskan Crab and Truffle Ravioli outshining the somewhat beefy scallop.  The Clam Chowder was a bit on the paprika peppery side and somewhat over creamy being more puree than clam. The fizz made a great match for the chowder, whilst the Tenuta Caparzo Vermentino 2011 came out mixed - it was a fair partner with the chowder and outstanding as the match with the Ravioli, whose cream gave some structure to the wine's slightly industrial and oily nature. The fine spice and rose petal smell of a Gewurtz without the body slam lychee smack in the mouth.

Leek Fondue and Brioche was a fresh toasted and creamy mush which went lovely with the remains of the champagne. There seemed no end to the fizz - the glasses kept getting refilled. should have more magnums, they are clearly bottomless. The leek was a bit sweet and seemed to repeat

For the Prime Plate, the Filet Mignon was excellent whilst the Lobster was somewhat on the wrong side of chewy rubber. Buttery, less than crisp and lacking that fresh crunch that good lobster gives. In contrast, the Cod Fish was excellent - light, fluffily delicate flakes in a sweetly smooth creamy and low salted sauce. The main wine had changed from the tasting and did fair service, though the Chateau Les Haut de Conseillante 2008 still couldn't do much with the meat. The Alion Bodegas Y Vinedos Ribera Del Duero 2004 had more body and fruit to help the meat. Somewhat Australian in its bold feel and body though smoother and less tannic, it was crackerjack with the Wagyu which on the night came across as somewhat oxtail rich and mulligatawny - felt like someone had added a shake of curry powder somewhere. With a dollop of rice on a banana leaf, it would have been perfect.

The chocolate dessert was off the map - dark cocoa with creamy vanilla in a sleek dreamy concoction of milk, sugar and cocoa. And more champagne, which cut through the cocoa and rinsed the throat of all the chocolatey goo that tends to cling to it. New experience and a most happy one. The nut and blueberry Brownie gave a solid carbo finish to the meal.

I guess I would be the one to blame for suggesting whiskey with dessert. The Chocolate selections and preparations did pair quite well with the 16 YO Single Malt Lagavulin. I do now understand the attraction of Single Malts a little better now. They are for sipping, and letting the smoke and the fire in the peat mellow the night away into peaceful male no zone blissful non memory. Still don't like the taste, but recognise the appreciation. 

The service was fabulous and professional - as said, got greeted by name at the entrance and also all the way through dinner. Very accommodative, professional, courteous. Not intrusive. Almost first class.

Chef Antoine with IFWS Committee Member Ong Li Dong
Overall, the evening didn't somehow feel like value this time around. The kitchen seemed to cope with getting quality food out to the assembled punters, but seemed to be straining against getting that final "ta-daaaa" that marked the tasting as a real feasting event. Wine wise, those I spoke to seemed to prefer the beefy red over the lighter weight, whilst the white got forgotten in the late night haze of whiskey. Far from bad, just falling short of magnificent. O expectations, how you tease and tantalise us, always in the hope that they will be met and exceeded. One day…


Photos of people by kind courtesy of Jan Shaw

International Wine & Food Society Kuala Lumpur Menu - The Best of Prime’


Ratte potato espuma, one with truffle and one with ikura
Duck Liver Lolipop, Fresh Oyster, vichyssoise gel, harenga pearls
Buratina cheese, Bresaola dry beef, fresh fig
Apple wood chips homemade cold smoked salmon trout, blinis, lemon, sour cream and condiments

Pol Roger Brut Reserve MV en Magnum



Prime Trilogie

Grilled jumbo Scallop, sticky oxtail, parmesan wafer
Alaskan Crab Espresso
Truffle ravioli, wild mushroom fricassee

Tenuta Caparzo Vermentino 2011


Manilla clams chowder ‘macchiato’
Toasted brioche, leek fondue

Tenuta Caparzo Vermentino 2011

Prime Plate

Roasted Fillet of Cod & seared Maine Lobster
Risotto Cake, Tomato Confit


Braised Blackmore Wagyu Inter Coastal
Soft Mascapone herbs polenta & Bearnaise beurre blanc
Charcoal grilled filet mignon Rossini
Wilted spinach, grilled green asparagus

Chateau Les Haut de Conseillante 2008
Alion Bodegas y Vinedos Ribera del Duero 2004


Chocolate Experience

Hot Dark Chocolate drink
Prime warm brownies, berries compote
Espresso chocolate tart, whipping vanilla cream


Prime Illy Coffee or selection of Dilmah Teas

Prime Cookies, Macaroons and Pralines

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

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