Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The genius that is Mark Best

meulle - foil of smoked bonito
How often does one get to dine on exquisite food prepared by acclaimed chef, Mark Best of Sydney's Marque Restaurant, who is currently Chef of the Year in the 2006 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide? Okay, you sir, if you're from Sydney, you can put your hand down coz you don't qualify. This is for the rest of us non-Sydneysiders. Yes, about 99.99999999% of the world population.

The Westin Kuala Lumpur is currently promoting Taste of Australia from May 11 - 20, 2007 which features celeb chefs such as Andrew McConnell, Daniel Mosedale and Mark Best. That's about all the publicity that I'm going to give to the Westin. They have enough money to promote themselves.

What I'm really excited about is the food.

chaud froid free range eggIf you've never heard of Chaud-Froid (Free Range) Egg, research it. There is so much literature out there. It is easy to think that it is just a half boiled egg in a cup. But scoop up some and taste it. The mixture of the slightly runny egg and the cream together with what tasted like syrup created an unexpected mixture of flavours in the mouth. The sensuous feeling of holding the egg in my hand as I cleaned out the eggshell immediately disappeared as it cracked under the pressure from my fingers. I'm no Nigella Lawson.

That marked the beginning of my journey of discovery. The pairing of the unexpected. Blue swimmer crab with almond jelly sprinkled with ground popcorn. Cured ocean trout with a slice of melon on top. Risotto made of calamari instead of rice. Smoked bonito with wafer thin crisp potato slices. Roast duckling with olive that tasted of liquorice. Goat's cheese with marzipan cake and rambutan. It was fusion food like no other. The descriptions were utterly baffling.

Despite that, the flavours of the unusual ingredients were a perfect match for each other. The trout served with a slice of melon and a single oyster reminded me of the sea as I inhaled its fresh fragrance. Close your eyes, and it is easy enough to be transported to a place where the sand is fine and white and ocean waves caress your feet. The blue swimmer crab served with smooth almond jelly and finely ground popcorn allowed the tongue to explore the various textures of the dish. The risotto which turned out to be finely chopped calamari in a bubbly broth had a touch of spiciness in it, the curry leaves providing a hint of asian flavour.

apple pectin jelly and salted caramel chocolateAnd for dessert, we were served goat's cheese with marzipan cake. Eaten individually, my tastebuds were overwhelmed by the piquant taste of the cheese. The marzipan cake, however, provided a perfect foil for the pungent cheese and an entirely new experience was created by the matching of these two unlikely-paired foods.

Mark Best's Sauterness Custard with Caramel, a deceivingly simple looking dish, will be forever imprinted in my memory. Sauterness, a dessert wine, gave the custard an intoxicatingly sweet flavour, and I savoured it slowly, jealously guarding my portion like it was my pot of gold.

Dessert also included dark chocolate with banana, coffee and apricot, apple pectin jelly and salted caramel chocolate. My dinner companions, Boo_licious, Splashie Boy and The Bald Eagle, seemed to enjoy the dark chocolate very much. Unfortunately, my tastebuds are not as refined; give me sweet anytime, and between the two types of chocolates, I preferred the salted caramel chocolate.

Dinner was at Qba at the Westin, a Cuban bar and Latin grill. As the night progressed, vibrant latin music combined with the consumption of different wines (my favourite being the Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2006) were perfect for an evening of lively banter and loud conversation for the four of us.

For more pictures of the food we ate, check out masak-masak.


sc said...

lovely write up..the food must've tasted divine :). i thot there'll be more photos though..

boo_licious said...

The food was so goooood! Definitely worth it and saved us a trip to Sydney to sample his food.

sc - the lighting was super dim for atmosphere. One dim halogen light on each table so pix taking was definitely hindered.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

sc, thanks. The food was very good. Photos - am exploring new realms...breaking away from my trademark big pictures...OK,OK, it didn't help that the place was darker than Ali Baba's cave. As Boo said, one halogen light per table. Mood was romantic. I shud hv chucked the camera.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Boo: thank God at least you took some "decent" pics! As for my pics, no amount of photoshopping helped. And yes, the food was worth it. I only wish I could get more of that custard.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

come to think about it..i probably get slapped by my gf if i took out my camera for such a romantic time call me ler..! oh yeah..saturday brekkie is where la
i m not familiar with the damansara area

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

joe: lol. I suppose you might. :-P Saturday (19/5) breakfast is still on. Try to get there 8.00am if possible. It's at Village Park Restaurant at Damansara Uptown. If you drive around in circles, you'll be able to find it at one corner. Call if you're lost.

wmw said... have two choices, chuck the camera and just eat or go prepared with a mini tripod! But with such surroundings and quality food, I'll go with the former! ;o)

Henry Yeo said...

what was the price tag again?

Precious Pea said...

Boo, I wouldn't mind flying all the way to Sydney for the food though. Provided I have the money, of course.

Lemongrass: Bring small torchlight next time. LOL!

MeiyeN said...

wondering if fiance gonna bring me here.. cause he just mentioned that we've been eating like king and queen and he asid, it's time for us to go mamak again :(

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

wmw: a food blogger never enters a restaurant without a camera! lol.

henry yeo: RM248++ per person (with wine pairing). But I got a discount.

precious pea: trust a food blogger to be so creative!

meiyen: my husband told me the same thing! looks like my next post will be on street food again!(not that it's a bad thing!)

backStreetGluttons said...

have loads of fun Sat !
till v meet !

Jackson said...

alamak! Another lovely write up about Australia food! Not fair, i wan to try!! But i dun think i can afford at the moment..

Anonymous said...

You never say how much? kekekke...
The egg you described is like so so delicate...turns fragile after you eat the inside :O
If I ever had a chance to have a meal with you, we won't fight for sweet chocolates, I am sure...cos' I will reach for the dark :P

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

team bsg: join us on saturday lar.

jackson: affordability is relative. There is always an opportunity cost. What are you willing to give up for good food? :-P

tigerfish: I mentioned the price in one of my comments. ;-) Phew...looks like I don't have to fight with most people over the type of chocolates I like to eat. hehe.