Monday, September 14, 2009

Lunch With Michael Elfwing, Senses, KL Hilton

As at the time of writing, I can safely say that this meal I'm gonna blog about is the BEST meal I've had this year. It was already thrilling enough to get an invite, courtesy of MY NOURISHMENT magazine, (thanks, Chief Editor Ryan Khang) to have lunch at Senses, with Chef de Cuisine of Senses, Chef Michael Elfwing. (who is Swedish).

Are all celebrity Chefs good looking, or do they become celebrity chefs BECAUSE they are good looking? And how the heck do they remain so slim? I guess life in the kitchen can be quite gruelling, on your feet all day, in a perpetual sauna, ..... but oh, when you see the chef at work, like an artist brandishing his paint brush to create a masterpiece, you can't help but develop a certain awe and newfound admiration for these gurus who bring so much joy to our palates.

Today's meal was indeed an attack on ALL the senses. Sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Oh, and a bit of the sixth sense too, as I had a premonition that I would be sinfully full after that meal. As the Director of Markeing Communications, Sally, very kindly briefed us on what to expect, by the sheer variety, we were expecting bite size morsels of every dish, ..... kinda like those portions in degustation menus that leave you wondering if you need Hokkien Mee later on.

Boy were we wrong!

The original guests were supposed to comprise A Whiff of Lemongrass, A Lil Fat Monkey, Frat Mustard, Ryan and me. [Ciki was invited too but was off to Singapore] But as the event was postponed, Lemongrass had already arrived in London, Monkey had a working lunch, leaving Frat and Me, together with the two lovely sisters of THE COOKING HOUSE, photographer Ah Po, and Ryan, for this decadent lunchtime soiree.

I am sure most readers by now have met Frat.

I like this place already. They serve REAL butter with their buns, which were incidentally, excellent. My rye bread was yummy. But in retrospect, I should have laid off the bread completely!!!!

Excuse me while I hide behind these cards, I need to loosen my belt.


.......that's the name of the dish. Sous vide Tasmanian Ocean trout smoked at the table, new season potato salad, cucumber cress and sweet mustard dressing. Those little leaves that look like weeds, taste like cucumber skin. The trout was amazing. Look at that glorious color, which bears testimony to the excellent farming methods in Tasmania. Chef said that ideally, of course, he would prefer WILD, but WILD being WILD, isn't always available. The slight hint of smokiness on the trout, which wasn't too salty, was delicious. As assailing of Sight, Smell, and Taste.

Beetroot & Scallop Salad....The scallop on the right, is the MUKI HOTATO, while the other two on the left, Hokkaido scallops. Chef had given us both to taste to contrast the texture of the two types. Indeed, one was chewier, but so very flavourful, and sweet. The Hokkaido ones were more normal, but also seared to perfection. Who'd have thought the beetroot mash could be so delicious.

Organic Butternut Pumpkin & Perrier Soup. Oh, did I mention the main purpose of the meal was to showcase organic stuff as well? Of course, organic in my mind equates to healthy and bland. Hence, the GENIUS of Chef Michael. How is it possible that pumpkin and perrier can taste so good????!!! Superb!

Chicken Terrine, with Beurre Bosc Pear Chutney and Rock Melon Salad, Summer Truffles. And yes, those thin slices ARE truffles. The terrine has some foie gras in it, as a replacement for fat. How decadent is that?!!! My limited culinary vocabulary can't even think of adjectives to describe the kaleidoscope of flavours.

Frat and his Truffle.

Queensland Goldband Snapper with minute cooked coz lettuce, Boston Bay mussels, tomato basil beurre blanc. As you can imagine, by now, we were getting pretty full. The snapper, though it looks ordinary, was super fresh, and cooked just right. Nothing like the taste of fresh, good fish, cooked well, to almost convince you that you can give up meat.

As the Photographer was vegetarian, .... hmmm, did he say vegetarian? I am sure fish is not a vegetable.... Chef served him this delicious looking Loch Fyne Scottish Salmon, pan roasted, with grilled razor clam and garlic butter. Apparently he's a pescitarian, ie, can eat things that don't move, like scallops, razor clams. Anyway, whatever his culinary beliefs were, that dish looked good.

At this point, we nearly keeled over when Chef Michael brought out these platters of meat, a mixture of Kagoshima, Wagyu, Mayura Station Platinum Wagyu, Angus cross Wagyu, with marbling scores from five to TWELVE!!!! TWELVEEEEE!!!!!! The highest I've ever had was nine, and that already made me ahem.....

Our accompanying vegetables to go with the beef.

Without a doubt the Wagyu Rib Eye, from Darling Downs Australia, with marble score 12, full blood wagyu, AND the Mayura from Limestone Coast, South Australia, Marble score 12, 600 days grain fed, ...WITHOUT A DOUBT, has KILLED it for me. HOWW, I ask, HOWWWWW will I ever eat normal beef again??!!!! It was sheeeeeer heaven. I salivate at the very thought of it. It's almost obscene. I daren't even ask the price.

Melt in the mouth took on another meaning. Every single sense was assailed. The sight of that marble, the tongue tingling taste, the glorrrious texture (touch), the aroma that makes you want to live in a kitchen forever, and the SOUNDS of everyone going ooh and ahhhh..... and FRAT muttering incoherently as if he had just "arrived".

Thank Goodness for the "there's always room for dessert" theory, which by and large, is true.

Manjari Emulson, ...need I say more. Valrhona, 56% I think, not too bitter, not sweet, AMAZING texture, made only from Manjari and....water, apparently. I am soooo going to order this the next time I visit KL Hilton.

Lime & Gooseberries, lime curd with hazelnut and sable crumbs, Valrhona Ivoire Chocolate Emulsion, Physalis Compote and sorbet. Not a white chocolate fan, I didn't prioritize to try the white chocolate emulsion, and it was gone by the time I did want to try. The physalis sorbet was refreshing.

Mango Parfait Cannelloni....perfect for a hot summer day, which is every day in KL, except we were blissfully unaware all the heavens had opened outside, and it was pouring! Lovely texture, and strong definitive mango taste.

Pink Kiss Apple, orangic apple variation with crepes, vanilla espuma, fresh donuts & cinnamon sugar. At a glance it looked like some local dessert. Well, with all the other sinful offerings, this one, being organic and all, seemed rather tame, although the apple crumble was delicious.

Twisted Ganache, pink guava & passionfruit sponge, orange creme and toffee ice cream. The ganache was splendid, and eaten all together, really creates whole new sensations!

Grand Marnier souffle. I usually don't like airy desserts.... I mean, if you're gonna indulge, it should be solid right. Not eating air. But this souffle was sooo yummy.

Bread and Butter Pudding, for those who want something familiar and homely. Delicious, but not something I'd order especially with SOOO MANY OTHER FASCINATING CHOICES!!!!

TRUFFLE ICE CREAM. The height of decadence!!!! Eggs that had been sitting together with truffles, so that the truffle aroma permeated into the eggs.... wow!!!! This finished in a jiffy.

And at the end, Frat pengsan-ed.

Thank you Chef Michael for the real treat. It really was a memorable fantastic lunch. Oh, and thank you Sally too for your hospitality. Of course, thanks to Ryan and team for securing us an invite. (Sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech).

Reminds me of the song, A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL...Michael Bolton...except, this was A LUNCH SO BEAUTIFUL...Michael Elfwing.


Wilson & Rachel said...

Wah, pictures so nice...

Foods look very good!

Nic (KHKL) said...

i changed my mind on my earlier tweet. this is THE most extravagant lunch post of the year so far! and marbling score of 12??? i'm...*ahem*

btw, u get to take that little pot of truffle home? wahhh...

Life for Beginners said...

"HOWW, I ask, HOWWWWW will I ever eat normal beef again??!!!!"

I guess from now on, we'll be calling you Mr Wagyu? :)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

obscene is probably about the only word i can describe tht meal..


CUMI & CIKI said...

Hey, ciki mentioned in pink hor.. Kinda like ur ultra-marbled, sunofagunofawagyu! So good it makes me PINK wiv jealousy:p

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Booo... Why never invite me? :( :(
(*Looks longingly at the photos and siiiighs*)

spunkz said...

wah. Wah. WAH. you bring food porn up so many notches. *heaves a longing sigh*

The Jackal said...

CY, told you I should be a foodblogger!!:-)

Julian Si said...

Marbled to 12 !!!? PHWOOOAAaaar...

gfad said...

I did not know I could be a vegetarian who eats fish. I think I'm becoming a pescetarian. Only the seafood and desserts interest me. And I've noticed recently my selection of food in restaurants include mostly salads, seafood and seafood salads.

Mighty generous with the truffles, the chef. :)

thenomadGourmand said...

pescitarian? My, reading yr post sure is educational, first is redux, now pescitarian. But i tot Salmon does "move" as in err..swim?

And yea..I shall refrain frm asking for the prices too..(tho I'm a bit itsy bitsy curious...) Comm selling a condo in KL might jz cover the desserts?? ;p

qwazymonkey said...

I changed my mind. I HAD to see what's the fuzz and sms was all about.

All I can say is "Sigh, sigh, sigh". Now u know why I hate my Parisian Musketeers-Frog-French Inquisitions-Croissant Mafia or whatever you wanna call them!

I want an obscene meal liddat too! Hmmmphh

fatboybakes said...

monkey, hahaha, ignorance is sometimes bliss.

TNG, sorry, i think its spelt pescetarian. GFAD's spelling look more korek than mine. yeah, i guess salmon do move. soon hock i think can. they dont move. oh, but actually, i just checked wikipedia, pescetarians are vegetarians that eat fish. my bad!

fatboybakes said...

gfad, yup, he was certainly VERY generous with the truffles. i think i could become a pescetarian too.

julian si, i think i am paying the price in other ways now, for eating that grade 12 wagyu.

THE JACKAL, ooh, i think you have commented here before right? i heard your koi have moved back home.

spunkz, porn can only be porn when the subjects are desirable, so yeah, guffaw, i guess this IS porn.

fatboybakes said...

J, awww, it wasnt within the power vested in me to invite anywho i wanted. if it was, opcors i'd invite you.

ciki, dun blarf la, you prolly had a roaring great time in singapore and forgot all about us.

nipple, yar, it was obscene

fatboybakes said...

LFB, no la, if u called me mr wagyu, i'd soon be mr pokai....not to mention mr on the brink of heart attack and gout. i'm turning pescetarian.

hairy, what earlier tweet? fat hopes, taking truffle home.

superwilson, yup, it was outstanding.

Paprika said...

Whaaaat?! You lucky *******! Every single dish sounds absolutely deeevine! And check out those truffle shavings huh?! Mmmm.....

The Jackal said...

Hi CY. Nope, that was my first ever comment.'re right about the koi. :-) Your son sure keeps you up to date!

UnkaLeong said...

What's all this about eating fish then? Hahaha...Grade 12? *closes mouth and wipes saliva*

Life for Beginners said...

You're turning pes-ce-what? I still think Mr. Wagyu sounds better (not to mention easier for me to pronounce also).

P.S. Remind me to tell you a joke about truffles and an Australian the next time we meet. Or maybe not so much a joke as an inadvertent insult courtesy of yours truly. :P

fbb said...

ooh, LFB, u must tell me soon.

unka, cows are land fish mah. just like dugongs are sea cows.

jackal, yup, koi boy keeps me updated with koi man's exploits.

paps, i've never seen so much truffle in one place before.

Simon Seow said...

Wow, if have to pay, this meal course will like cost a thousand ringgit.