If there’s one thing I can say about Chef Yogesh Upadhyay (Yogi) of FLOUR, it’s that he does not set out to please. He curates and cooks with a purpose in mind – to enlighten and engage his guests on the wonders and potential of Indian cuisine, its history and evolution.
I’ve had three menus from FLOUR so far, and all three experiences were different but somehow linked. FLOUR’s Aarrambh menu floored me because it wasn’t what I’d expect; it was better.
I opted for Mother Earth while Jien took the meat menu for comparison. I’m surprised I enjoyed Mother Earth more than I did the meat menu, a revelation since I’m a meat eater.
The beauty of both menus is the orchestration and attention to detail by Chef Yogi – both were journeying parallel yet different, as some courses were the same while others were different in terms of ingredients and cooking techniques.
Sago vada comes with buttered king mushroom and Gruyere cheese for me, and for Jien, scallop tartare and caviar. Both stunning – mine subtler, while Jien’s packed a stronger note from the spices and caviar. The freshly grated wasabi atop FLOUR’s fafda and jalebi lends a touch of nuttiness and kick to the spicy sweet snack.
Then comes Lentils & Root, with onion cream for a luscious mouthfeel. Caviar is added to Jien’s dish and gram flour balls for mine. This time around, the spice play for mine is bolder.
Vegetable Farm succeeds the Ker Sangri from Yogi’s previous menu; the tamarind and hung curd is beautifully balanced, and the textural layers from the French beans, asparagus and cherry tomatoes is what opened my eyes (and palate) to the wonders of a vegetarian dish done well.
Jien’s salmon cuts almost like butter; I’ve not eaten salmon this good thus far. My dish was bok choy on a bed of miso. Both served with bearnaise, made using rice wine, cloves and pink peppercorn.
Mango Lassi features creamed mango pulp with rose extract pearls for me and caviar for Jien. The latter offers a balance of sweet and salty, without the caviar overpowering the delicate nature of the mango. I’m told FLOUR’s caviar has a customised salinity of 1.8%, which is lower to complement Yogi’s food better.
My Varagu looks vastly different from Jien’s charcoal roasted spring chicken, but after tasting both, the spices and flavours somewhat interlinks. I’m blown away with mine; a green parcel of Kodo millet, smoked eggplant, broccoli and king oyster mushroom with coconut chutney.
Both menus meet again at Pumpkin, a sweet respite of butternut squash, Japanese pumpkin and artichoke sauce. Orange and basil oil add depth and aroma to this.
Kozhambu is a beautiful interpretation of “banana leaf rice” by Yogi, showcasing vegetable bouillon with kokum, Rosematta rice, lady’s finger French beans and zucchini. The layering of spices and texture in the vegetable bouillon is amazing. No dairy or thickening agent was added to this bouillon at all; I truly enjoyed this.
Regulars of FLOUR would know the wonders Chef Yogi can do when it comes to lamb, and the Aarrambh menu is no different. The spices on his charcoal grilled organic lamb is strong yet balanced not to overpower the flavour of the meat. This why I like FLOUR. Nothing overpowers, and the clever play of balance and ayurvedic practices make the experience enjoyable and satiable.
We arrive at White Apricot (a favourite of Babur, the Mughal emperor), encased in an almond tart with diced Japanese strawberries topped with strawberry cream. We had this with Armagnac, which pairs nicely with the tartness of the apricot.
Our dinner comes to an end and already, I’m looking forward to revisit the same menu and his next menu in July. Until today, I can’t find enough words to describe FLOUR. You need to experience it for yourself, really.
12, Jalan Kamuning,
Off Jln Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 012-960 0053