Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie
MIGF 2014 Menu
Walled one side by glass with a verdant backdrop, and the other with smoky grey and chestnut prints brightened with colourful abstract artwork, the ambience of Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie is simple, yet classy. Wooden floors hold white linened tables dressed with glassware and candles. Amorous French melodies hum softly from quality speakers and are complemented by the mellifluous voice of a female French chef purring from the kitchen. Mauve chairs are padded and we appreciate the extra comfort as we prepare to settle in for the evening.
Rumours of Chef Nathalie Arberfeuille’s delicacies were first whispered amongst KL’s diplomats and elite when she began organizing fine dining events and fancy cocktail evenings a number of years ago in the city. In 2010 she opened her first restaurant and cooking studio, Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio, which brought her creations to the public and grew her reputation for producing the best macarons around.
With such popularity, a second, more fine dining outlet, Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie, was opened in the heart of town in 2011, and it seems success is only but continuing to swell. Increased popularity has led to the introduction of another distinguished chef, Clara Champonnois also from France, into the exceptional team.
The amazing self-taught chef, Nathalie, has been nominated for numerous awards since her humble beginnings and has gained multiple titles in the prestigious Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF). This year she continues to inspire the tummies of many a gourmet in Malaysia, with another superb festival menu line-up.
Classed as Modern French, Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie presents guests with expertly prepared, beautifully arranged and wonderfully flavoured dishes at affordable prices. While we can recommend a visit to Nathalie’s at any time, October sees a special month where masterpieces are prearranged in a fixed menu, joining Malaysia’s epicurean celebration known as MIGF. Chef Clara describes the menu as, “taking you on a different trip with every dish. Each course offers a small surprise.”
Guests have a choice of partaking in the full MIGF menu or a lighter version. (The regular a la carte options are also available). Enamored with what we’ve tried in the past of Nathalie’s creations, we decide to engage in the unabridged indulgence.
As in all wonderful experiences, the night is made in the details. And, as such, the voyage begins with a warm mini baguette served from a white clothed basket and harmonized with French butter with a sprinkling of sea salt.
A trio of canapés enthuse the eyes in their pretty arrangement. “Oh, oh, fabulous. It’s a real joy,” hubby declares on first bite of the Beef Gravalax, Whole Grain Mustard Blinis and Black Bread Tuile. The meat is soft, the mini pancakes firm and a suggestion of mustard finds its way to all kinks in the mouth.
Tuna Tataki, Sugar Snap Peas and Black Olive Dust is an artwork that I’m hesitant to spoil. Pink flesh is rolled in a generous garb of crushed olive and sits upright on the plate. A pearl of creamy avocado mousse trims the top alongside a skewer of viridescent pea. Sublime.
Hubby continues his rant, “Oh, that is awesome,” as a spoon of the third item hits his lips. Cauliflower Veloute holds fine Fourme D’Ambert Bites (a mild blue cheese), which linger on the palate long after the soup is swallowed. Crispy croutons and a drizzling of pesto oil not only garnish the top, but contribute their own distinct flavour and texture complexities to the incredibly satisfying pot. We’re clearly off to a positive start.
A wonderful smell of curry tickles the nose as the appetizer arrives. The eyes are next in line for their piece of enchantment as they gaze upon the beautiful cylinder of white, olive, pink, black and orange. And again, before the taste buds take their pleasure, the ears are teased with the crunch of noodles as the dish is sliced into. Slices of Warm Brittany Blue Lobster lounge decadently on top of a Celeriac Heart in Crispy Kadaif (a string like pastry). A Green Apple Chutney, Curry Tomato Jelly and Herring Caviar are not just attractive adornments, but tasty components and we don’t stop until every last bead of caviar is gone.
|Warm Brittany Blue Lobster, Celeriac Heart in Crispy Kadaif, Green Apple Chutney Curry Tomato Jelly and Herring Caviar|
The pairing of Moillard Chablis, Rhone Valley France 2010 is adeptly suited, and after first sip, I can’t imagine finishing the meal without wine. The food by itself is exquisite. Teamed with wine however, the experience is lifted to glorious heights.
It’s another envelope of luscious aroma that greets the senses before the vision has had time to register with the second starter. A smoky scent has us drooling as we first lay eyes upon the next graceful creation - Pan Seared French Foie Gras, Cantaloupe Jelly, Smoked Duck, and Port. A round of yellow melon jelly is installed in the base of the bowl with the fat nugget of rich liver acting as an opulent temptation on the side. It’s draped in a sumptuous port sauce, and if you pay close attention there’s a more condensed bubble on top, which luxuriously melts, dripping down the sides as the plate is laid on the table. We bite in. “It’s perfection,” I muse. “Triumphant!” blurts the hubster. It seems his eagerness has not waned.
A Bourillon Dorleans Vouvray, Loire Valley France 2011 will be the MIGF pairing for this dish, but as we’re getting a little preview ahead of schedule, the wine has not yet arrived so we’re assuaged with an equally well-suited Riesling instead.
Refreshing gazpacho is turned into an icy and intriguing palate cleanser with the Tomato Gazpacho Sorbet. Made with Japanese momotaro tomatoes, the flavour is full and creamy and dawdles on the tongue and roof of the mouth before finally disappearing. It’s another detail that has stroked both of our fancies and hubby cheers, “It has wow factor.”
Imported from France, is a Slow Cooked French Hake with a cushiony chicken Chorizo Crust. The flesh is exceptionally soft, while still maintaining body, and brandishes its origins with its faint salty savour. A spring green broadbean puree bases the fish, and a Parmesan cheese emulsion contributes an airy joy, puffing up on the fringe. Complementary texture is hidden in the base with a tangle of oyster mushrooms. We do hope they keep this one on the menu beyond MIGF as it will no doubt be a crowd pleaser.
Rich amber in colour, distinct minerals in the nose and a savoury finish that leaves us salivating, but also begging to pair with food is presented in the next wine match, Demessey Santenay 1er Cru Beaupaire from Burgundy France 2005. The wine becomes fabulous with the fish, and is one of those textbook examples of how some food and wine are meant to be relished together. On its own the wine is richly bouqueted, but rather flat in the mouth. After a bite of fish however, it magically develops, opening up to an ambrosial mouthful.
Our journey crescendos with Shallot Crusted Veal Tenderloin, Quinoa and Wild Mushroom Risotto and Veal Jus. We’re both silent for the duration of consumption of this plate. The quietude is broken only by groans of pleasure. Our knives contend as we grapple to take the last slice. The risotto is lavishly overflowing with cream and mushrooms and topped with the ultimate surprise - what looks like a black truffle is actually a hollow shell (of wafer thin black bread) filled with plush foie gras liquid. Our breath deepens as we each take a bite and we began conjecturing that this is possibly one of the most impressive meals we’ve had in the city.
The long legged seductress Chateau La Bourguette, Bordeaux France 2007, expertly cuts its way through the richness of this magnificence. The sommelier is clearly a virtuoso in his art.
White and Gold Chocolate Sphere, Mango and Passion Fruit Delight with Preserved Lemon Espuma is another plate that casts a spell of hush (which if you know hubby is hard to engineer). Guttural murmurs of pleasure unfurl from our throats as we’re spellbound by the delicate balance of sweet, creamy, fruity, tangy, cold, soft and firm. A shimmer of gold glitter crowns this masterpiece with the glory it deserves and in mere seconds this sensation vanishes.
Rumours Muscato from Warburn Estate, Australia 2014 will be the mate for sweets when the menu officially beings October 1.
And… it wouldn’t be a dinner at Nathalie’s if there weren’t a selection of macarons!
Sleek gently domed tops are eggshell thin and crisp, but don’t crumble apart. When pressed between the lips (or fingers) the casing cracks but stays held together with the soft inner texture and plump layer of creamy, sticky filling. Black Sesame features a speckled carapace and a robust wadding of black cream. The Caramel is a salted version. Ochre in hue, with a sweet and savoury viscid centre, it puts many macarons I’ve eaten even in Paris to shame.
While at the beginning of the meal my lips were bubbling with vocabulary, I’m now left with few words. My locution is reduced to that of teenage superlative excitement. I echo hubby with his expressions, “Wow, fantastic, aweeesome.” This is one of the best elegant dining experiences we’ve had in Kuala Lumpur.
The Full Festival Menu is priced at RM390++ per person with wine and RM290++ without wine. A Light Menu (1 appetizer, 1 main course and desserts) is RM310++ per person with wine and RM210++ without wine. *** Note: The wines above might not be the exact pairings during the festival. No doubt the matches will be fabulous, but we visited before the wine supply for the MIGF menu had arrived, so there might be changes.
Reasons to visit: Nathalie’s famous macarons, a magnificent line-up of modern French creations; every single dish on the MIGF menu; superb wine pairings.
Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie
Menara Tai Pan
50250 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2072 4452
Open Tuesday – Saturday
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm – 11pm