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France in Malaysia
We had the privilege of tasting the exclusive menus offered at four French dining venues around the Klang Valley ahead of the fête. Here are the highlights.
Coq au vin, roquefort cheese, Bordeaux wines, champagnes and macarons. These are just a few things to expect during Good France 2018 – the World’s Greatest French Dinner celebrated annually on the same day in numerous locations around the globe.
This year, 3000 chefs from 150 countries across five continents will mark the occasion on 21st March with specially curated menus in the spirit of Good France, including 18 participating restaurants in Malaysia. These menus will run for limited and varying durations, depending on each restaurant.
“We are very proud of the Good France momentum in Malaysia. We started with only 6 restaurants in 2015 and now in its fourth edition, we have 18 participating restaurants in Malaysia. Not to mention the quality contribution of the chefs in Malaysia to French gastronomy is being recognized by the committee in Paris,” says Roland Husson, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of France in Malaysia.
We had the privilege of tasting the exclusive menus offered at four French dining venues around the Klang Valley ahead of the fête. Here are the highlights to look forward to.
Literally translated as French house, Maison Française has long boasted an opulent abode in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Newly headed by Chef Floren Lescouezec, who also leads the kitchen at 2OX Bistro, it offers a timeless setting coupled with modern French cuisine for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Entrée: French Larnaudie foie gras
Unlike the more popular pan-seared version, this foie gras comes in a custard form, offering a deliciously creamy texture that lingers longer in the mouth. The artichokes Barigoule is a brilliant addition, complementing the foie gras’ rich flavours with its earthy notes. Further enhancing the plate of distinctive flavours and textures is a combination of smoked eel, sliced green apples and truffles – simply delightful to kick off a meal.
Fromage: Curated cheese selection by MOF Christophe le Meunier
While we didn’t get to try this at the time (as the cheeses have to be imported closer to the 21st to retain their quality), we’re sure this will be something worth anticipating. Given the curation by a Mileur Ouvrier de France or Best Craftsman of France, diners can be assured of the top French cheese offerings to be had this season, including bourbonnais, roquefort, and an 18-month comte.
Dessert: White chocolate and Bourbon vanilla crème brulee
We know we’re in for a sweet ending when there’s crème brulee and macaron on the same plate, and we are proven right – thankfully not to the point of being sickly saccharine. The torched citruses also add a nice hint of acidity to cleanse the palate. It’s the cardamom sherbet that takes the cake, however, giving the dish a surprise factor while balancing off the sweet treats.
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Maison Française’s Good France menu is available only on 21st March 2018. For reservations and enquries, log on to the website here or call 03 2144 1474.
Location: No. 5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
In case you’re wondering what Cocott’ means, it stems from the French word cocotte, designating a small French casserole used for slow cooking. Following that idea, this casual dining restaurant prides itself in its unique concept of serving dishes in cocottes meant for sharing. Helmed by Chef Geoffroi Herin, Cocott’ serves up hearty, traditional French fare with a dash of Malaysian flavours.
Entrée: Pan-roasted duck foie gras
Like with Maison Francaise, our first starter is a foie gras dish; but Cocott’s rendition comes pan-roasted in – you guessed it – a cocotte, and served with parsnip puree, glazed plum, and pomegranate. The generous, juicy foie gras simply melts in the mouth, while the glazed plum and pomegranate cut through its fat. The parsnip puree drives home the idea of casual comfort food synonymous with the restaurant’s concept.
Plat: Australian Beef Rib Eye
For mains, we are served sharing-friendly cuts of rib-eye prepared with choron sauce and a side of salad. Here, the tender game is wonderfully complemented by the sweet tomato spiked béarnaise. We particularly enjoy helping ourselves to the large green asparagus (served separately) in between bites of the red meat.
Fromage: Melted Raclette Cheese
Cheese is almost always one of the highlights of a French meal and Cocott’s comes in the form of melted raclette cheese. Served over confit potatoes and topped with red onions, every spoonful graces the taste buds with warm, cheesy goodness.
Dessert: Mango Tarte Tatin
To finish the meal, we have a crowd-pleasing mango tarte tatin. Beautifully flambed to achieve a delicate crisp, the pastry is truly a testament to French patisserie. With delectably caramelised mangoes topping it off, it’s a satisfying end to our hearty dinner.
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Cocott’s Good France menu is available only on 21st March to 22nd March 2018. For reservations and enquries, log on to the website here or call 03 2712 4481.
Location: 1-1 Greens Terrace, Jalan Wan Kadir 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
DC Restaurant by Darren Chin
We’re no stranger to Darren Chin’s expertise, hence why we’re always ready to pay another visit. Our latest visit yet again proves an extraordinary gastronomical experience, with new dishes to savour and more wines to accompany each course. There’s hardly a dish we don’t love, but these are the best of the ones we had.
Amuse bouche: Belon oysters
Starting off with an amuse bouche of Belon oysters, we are immediately blown away by the refreshing burst of flavours. The cucumber granite brings the flavours of the fresh oysters to another level, tantalising the palate for more dishes to come.
Entrée: Homage to M. Paul
As tribute to the late Paul Bocuse, a well-recognised name in French culinary, Chef Darren presents a dish inspired by Bocuse’s signature “red mullet”. While the menu says kerisi, we are instead presented with sea bass (based on availability) under a blanket of potato scales. Served with sauce maltaise sans beurre and wild flower honey, this reinterpretation makes a striking homage both visually and taste-wise.
Plat: 16hr slow roasted lamb rack
Chef Darren’s signature slow roasted lamb rack never fails to deliver. From the smell of the roasted game to its exquisite charred brown surface, it’s hard not to admire the culinary wonder. Toothsome, smoky and tender to the bone, the lamb is truly a pleasure to savour along with the creamy jackfruit seed puree, squash and triveso endive.
Dessert: Cheese platter
And here we welcome again the sight of cheese. No, really – Chef Darren’s cheese trolley is a dream for cheese aficionados here in Malaysia. The best part is we get to choose our preferred five from the wide selection offered, served together with a few jam varieties, crackers and nuts. C’est magnifique.
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DC Restaurant’s Good France menu is available from 20th to 25th March 2018. For reservations and enquries, log on to the website here or call 012 223 2991.
Location: 44, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Enfin by James Won
Anyone who knows Chef James Won will be familiar with his meticulous craft of epicurean dining. From the setting to the service to the presentation and of course, the food, nothing is overlooked by the French-trained culinary guru. With that, we step into the Hennessy Salon at Enfin by James Won, readying ourselves for a Journey of the Senses.
At first sight, this dish reminds us of Alice in Wonderland with its colourful, floral presentation. The actual ingredients are just as deceptive, what with foie gras disguised as mushrooms and baguette sticks appearing like fallen vines. When so much thought is put into an amuse bouche, you know where the bar is set right from the get-go. The accompanying house-fermented Bario Rice Wine also deserves a special mention for its invigorating flavours – a must-try in our opinion.
Entrée: Sea urchin
Underneath these “shards” of coconut meringue is a blend of sea urchin, chives, leeks, fermented beetroot, ikura, charred carrot in chicken fat and honey. As complex as the dish sounds, we’ll sum it up in one word: umami. Savour it with a glass of Krug Grand Cuvée (Edition 166th) for the utmost satisfaction.
Plat: Organic Broga Poulet
Our main is a unique twist on the classic coq au vin, reminiscing elements of Chinese rice wine chicken dish. The organic Broga Poulet is cooked sous vide and served with fermented wild Bario wine, brown meat drumstick, crispy chicken skin, mushrooms, chestnuts and truffle fondant. It's a wholesome combination that evokes memories of home – whether you're from France or Malaysia.
Dessert: Le petit-Antoine
Can you believe this work of art is made without eggs, sugar and gelatine? Even so, the layers of chocolate come together remarkably, offering am authentic taste of cacao beans. Its natural sweetness coupled with the mix of textures ultimately deliver a sublime end to our meal.
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Enfin by James Won’s Good France menu is available from 1st to 31st March 2018. Additional pairing of one cocktail, champagne, wine & cognac is priced at RM245 per guest; additional Krug Grand Cuvée champagne is priced at RM128.00/glass. For reservations and enquries, log on to the website here or call 010 288 7920.
Location: Level 2, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P. Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
Images: Courtesy of respective restaurants and the French Embassy in Malaysia