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Nicolas Isnard at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

I first tried Chef Nicolas Isnard’s food in 2011 and found the dining experience to be insightful and memorable. This one-Michelin-star chef was at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur last week to present some of his signature dishes with highlights of his culinary philosophy – “epicurean approach, respect for the product and a fresh cooking.”

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Edible gold leaf

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur graciously invited rif and I to Chef Nicolas’ dinner on 4th October, paired with a selection of vintage Moet & Chandon. I tucked into some champagne before dinner and adjourned later on to MO Grill’s private dining room for the 7-course meal.

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*Seared Foie Gras with Lemon, Endive and Treviso Vegetables*

The Seared Foie Gras with Lemon, Endive and Treviso Vegetables came paired with Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV, and tasted as sumptuous as it looked. The bubbly was crisp and fruity, very nicely paired.

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*Hokkaido Deep Sea Scallop with Green Peas and Minted Grapefruit*

Next was the Hokkaido Deep Sea Scallop with Green Peas and Minted Grapefruit, paired with the Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2004. Echoing Chef Nicolas’ philosophy, the scallop was beautifully seared, complemented by the vintage 2004’s supple overtone.

This champagne is light golden in colour, with fine, jewel-like beads. Very straightforward, yet complex with a long and rich finish. rif liked this as he felt it still retained a very ‘champagne-like’ nature, compared to the vintage 2002.

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Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002

I on the other hand loved the Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002, paired with the Contemporary Style Onion Soup with Onion Ice Cream. This champagne was almost wine-like, with refined bubbles and a smooth mouth feel. As this decants, the flavours developed further – bolder fruit flavours, with strong hints of mandarin orange and grapefruit.

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*Contemporary Onion Soup with Onion Ice Cream*

Chef Nicolas’ onion soup is served with onion ice cream; very contemporary and went well with the grand vintage 2002. That said, I preferred the version he served in 2011.

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*John Dory Fish with Variations of Beetroot*

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*Black Angus Beef Fillet with Forest Mushrooms, Potato Gnocchi and Marinated Purple Artichokes*

I was less excited about the John Dory Fish with Variations of Beetroot (paired with Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial NV) compared to the Black Angus Beef Fillet with Forest Mushrooms, Potato Gnocchi and Marinated Purple Artichokes. The latter was paired with the Rose Grand Vintage 2004 – medium bodied, subtly tangy and a refined finish. Such a tease!

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Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rose 2004

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*Lemon Tart with Meringue and Almond Crumble*

The Lemon Tart with Meringue and Almond Crumble was a vision of gold and quite delicious too. I liked that the pastry base was perfectly buttery and accented by the citrusy nature of the meringue.

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*Chef Nicolas’ Melba Peach*

Chef Nicolas’ Melba Peach was served with a glass of Chateau d’Yquem 2006, a sweet and concentrated dessert wine with strong floral notes at the end. Another 5 years or so and this would taste even better, I feel.

Overall, it was a wonderful dining experience and the champagnes paired beautifully with the dishes. Thank you Mandarin Oriental, for inviting me to dinner. The Vintage Champagne Dinner with Moet & Chandon (4th October 2013) was priced at RM598++ per person.

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Mandarin Grill
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2380 8888
Website: www.mandarinoriental.com/kualalumpur
Facebook: MandarinOrientalKualaLumpur

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