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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

French Haute Cuisine Pop Up at Stoked - stunner!

Mrs and Mrs May and Ria
February 15th 2016

Seems like I am becoming a broadcaster for Stoked at the moment. A lot of the posts are about wine dinners we have had there. But truth to tell they have been well worth writing about. And this was another absolutely cracking dinner. Not a bad dish anywhere and some delightfully delicious and well paired wines. Got to give props where they are due and 

Stoked are happily pushing the food envelope with the pop-ups they are bringing to Malaysian shores. 

Got an email from Yin-How saying that Stoked would be having a single evening French Haute Cuisine pop up at the Stoked with guest Chef Addision Liew taking the helm and getting to grips with his Bertha.

We didn't have a clue who Chef was, but the menu and wines sounded excellent. We ummed and ahhed a bit but when we saw Sweeper Moss confirming quickly we figured we had better do so too. These things can sell quickly.

Which proved to be the case. An attempt one day later to add Texas to the gang proved not possible as the night had been booked out.  

Brittany Muirgen Oyster
Truffle emulsion, Charcoal-Smoked
Yin-How had advised that friends May and Ria were attending and opted to seat us all together. Which ended up most pleasant as it turned out to be May's birthday which necessitated a bottle of Champagne to get the evening underway. Which ended up as quite necessary when we got informed by a member of Stoked staff that there would be no wine until the food came. Which ends up as a lesson to check for aperitifs for future beanos. Yes.

We had been parked away from the main dining area so we had some distance from the other diners which gave a pleasant sense of exclusivity. There was one other foodie sat on a separate table who seemed to be enjoying his own company. Didn't get a chance to do the rounds and see who had shown up, but appeared very few from the IWFS. Perhaps Chinese New Year was getting in the way of scheduling. It happens.

The champagne survived until the amuse bouche Brittany Muirgen Oyster came. These 
were absolutely brilliant and would unanimpously get declared by the table as the dish of the night. Yin How shared that they were probably the most expensive oysters he had ever had to purchase, but O they were gorgeous. Lightly grilled over the charcol in the Bertha with some truffle foam and a hit of would would prove Chef's signature finely chopped celeriac - went down in two dream creamy bites and chews and the freshness and taste were way off any taste map we could think of. Superlative after superlative flowed from the lips of the assembled till all we could do was gape in awe at the magnificence of this little French silt sucker.

Research shows that Muirgen apparently translates from the Gaelic into “Born from the sea”. These shallow oysters start life in Ireland in ecosystems unique to the locale and then travel to Cancale for gently refining in the waters of the Mont Saint Michel bay. This oyster is said to appeal to oyster gourmets because of its sweetness and its beige-coloured flesh which, nestling in a meaty jewel, provides a rare delicacy to the palette.

Additionally, the Oysters getting accidentally paired with the bubbles was perfect, as eating it on its own would have proven a bit less spectacular. I now understand why oysters and champagne are considered to be a perfect match. Total treat where seawater tang hits biscuit bubbles and fruit. There is no other taste quite like it.

Cured Tasmanian Petuna Ocean Trout
Slow-Cooked Kampung Egg

Second up was the Trout. Allegedly. Most complained there did not seem to be much of it on the plate, though we figured the carroty looking thing we consumed was probably it. I did come across a mussel, though. There was also an oyster leaf parked on top - a leaf that really did smell and taste like an oyster! Apparently available in Malaysia, it was a wonderful add and lent a charming nose to the dish.

Seems that The Petuna Ocean Trout lives in a remote South-west coast of Tasmania, where the Franklin-Gordon Rivers meet the Great Southern Ocean.  Petuna comes from the combination of Peter and Una Rockliff, the originators of a fishing company specialising in trout and salmon fishing and aquaculture. In 2010 they sold 50% of the business to the Sealord Group and went way more global.

Trademark labelled by the company as "the Wagyu of the Sea", the Trout is said to possess a "vibrant intense colour, purity of flavour, and luscious marbling (and) a creamy succulent texture which is velvety." The website proudly proclaims its Petuna Ocean Trout to be "the key ingredient in Tetsuya's signature dish for over 20 years."

Well and maybe, but as said this one slipped through the nets like a golf ball at the driving range. The problem was that the slow cooked egg pretty much consumed everything as a result of the apparent escape of the trout from the kitchen. Tasty enough, but it ended up like eggy vegetables. with foam. And finely chopped celeriac. Though it was belter with the bread and truffle butter. Sopped it all up a treat and sucked it down with total delight.

The Chablis was one of those which seemed to have little in the way of "oomph" but was a delight to sip and chug. Very light on the nose, little hint of greenish airy meadow breeze, lovely balance though light on the fruit but a clean firm finish. Good choice to pair with the trout. Well, it would have been had enough of the fish been caught in the first place.  

French Artichoke Veloute, Chilled Rougie Fois Gras
Next up was the French Artichoke Veloute. Velouté in French means, “velvet” and this effect is apparently created by puréeing everything in a blender and then pressing the result through a sieve. Seems this is standard technique in Thomas Keller's French Laundry where ‘nothing moves from one pot to another in the French Laundry kitchen without first passing through a sieve.’ Research says that the other method for creating velvet soup is to create a butter and flour roux. Whatever that means.

Whatever technique was used, it was magnificent. Perfectly fresh and seared Foie Gras drowned in a gunky goo of, er, velvety Artichoke Soup and sprinkled with (yep) fried celeriac chips. The combo was stellar - the liverish smoke of the FG getting soused by the soup to create a slurpy zip and oily smooth mouthful of wonder and light chew. Absolutely sublime. And pairing with the medium body Pinot Gris gave that sweetish Sauteurnes-ey feel without the unctuous sugar that goes with it. Lovely, lovely, lovely - almost as good as the amazing oyster.

Live Normandy Saint-Jacques Scallops and Razor Clam
Sevruga Caviar, Champagne Sauce
The Live Normandy St Jacques scallops were wonderfully fresh and again seared perfectly, having that little textured "give" in the bite to send the table into more expressions of delight and praise. I tried to find out more but all the Wikipedia information was in French with no apparent translation available. Presume the "Live Normandy St Jacques" moniker gives them a bit of kudos. Well, French names tend to do that, don't they? But they were darling little coquilles.

The Razor clam was quite inventive, and getting a hit of grapefruit was a cute acidic startle that nicely contrasted with the somewhat lean razorclam and the delightful caviar. Seems the Sevruga caviar that came with the dish is harvested from the Stellate sturgeon that has its natural home in the Black, Azov, Caspian and Aegean Sea basins. It is one of the highest priced varieties of caviar, though somewhat behind the top end Beluga and Ossetra brands. Perhaps this is because the 150lb and 7ft long fish is the smallest of the caviar producing sturgeons and its pearlescent grey and somewhat saltier eggs tend to be smaller. They did give a pronounced salty sea bite to the dish.

The Morey St Denis Burgundy was totally delightful - light medium texture, lovely firm tannins on the finish, excellent clean smoked cherries with great hints of forest and in wonderful balance. The wine discovery of the night - would happily buy this and leave for a year or two, though it probably would last that long in our household…

French Duck breast, Celeriac Risotto, Natural Jus
The French Duck breast was excellently seared and seasoned and beautifully tender, whilst the veg and celeriac risotto added useful fibre and carb. The broccolini was excellent - firm and crunchy, great bite on these.

The Bordeaux was a fair choice to try and match the duck, though naturally the Morey St Denis would have been brilliant and my preferred choice to match. But then it would not have followed the flow of the other dishes and wines, so some slack for compromise clearly was necesssary. It worked - the Mallet was light and lean in texture and in excellent balance, and the somewhat lean fruit let the even tannins do their work on the duck. Another good pairing.

Some of the reds proved a shade too much for the ladies, so Sweeper was having a rare old time of things polishing off the remains of the glasses that got passed to our end of the table. I managed to save one from his clutches for reference purposes. Well, someone has to act as a pacemaker, non?

Sarawak Pineapple Canneloni
Dessert was tasty - nice contrast between amazingly fresh and brilliantly tasty strawberries aided by some strawberry syrup and the yogurt sorbet proved the perfect creamy foil to all this zippy sharp sweetness.

A good coffee with a darkly rich petit four proved the perfect cap to a perfect evening. And a mini chocolate lava Birthday cake from the Stoked kitchen with a candle for May to make a wish was nicely thoughtful.

What a total brahma of an evening. These are the ones you wait for - amazingly fresh food wonderfully prepared, great wines to pair with it all and a table of entertaining and engaging friends. Doesn't get better than this. All the dishes looked fantastic on the plates with some very nice artistry in their presentations. Though Sweeper occasionally felt that some of the plates seemed a shade large for the amount of food therein. But they do lend a grandness and sense of occasion to the whole.

Chef Addison and the Fan Club
Chef Addison came out to say hello. Young looking lengjai, though apparently already 33 years old - would easily pass for mid twenties. Total heartbreaker - the ladies loved him on sight. Born in Ipoh, Chef honed his skills in fine French Haute cuisine at various Michelin starred restaurants around the world, including the 1 starred Auberge de la Charme in Dijon, 2 starred Les Jardin de Sens France in Montpellier as well as the highly regarded 3 starred L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong. He is currently the Senior Sous Chef overseeing the daily operations at The Tasting Room, a 2 star Michelin restaurant at The Crown Hotel in Macau.

My Singapore foodie friend Julian (http://julianteoh.blogspot.sg
suspected Chef was partly on a mission to look for future sponsors to set up an enterprise. Chef did indicate that he would be open to this but in fairness felt the need for some further time in charge of his Macao Hotel kitchen to add some more kudos to his CV. On this showing, he has skills. Insisting on absolutely fresh and particular ingredients to create his delights seemed to be critical here - they set the tone for the evening and all the dishes were hugely memorable as a result. Same with the wines - great matches and well tasty. One for the ages. Damn shame Blogger wouldn't seem to let me upload and layout all the photos. Usually is fine but today it did not like them. Only difference is that they were taken on the iPhone. Maybe time to change to Wordpress...

A Night of French Haute Cuisine by Chef Addison Liew

Brittany Muirgen Oyster
Truffle emulsion, Charcoal-Smoked

Cured Tasmanian Petuna Ocean Trout
Slow-Cooked Kampung Egg
Domaine Faively Chablis 2014

French Artichoke Veloute
Chilled Rougie Fois Gras
Trimbach Pinot Gris Personelle 2010

Live Normandy Saint-Jacques Scallops and Razor Clam
Sevruga Caviar, Champagne Sauce
Domaine Taupenot Merme Morey St Denis 2012

French Duck breast
Celeriac Risotto, Natural Jus
Chateau Sociando Mallet 2004

Sarawak Pineapple Canneloni
Fukuoka Strawberries, Yogurt Sorbet

Petit Fours

RM298 nett or RM430 with the wine.

No comments:

Post a Comment