Thursday, February 06, 2014

Malcolm Goh, Back to The Streets 2, At Samplings on The Fourteenth

I've been to Samplings on The Fourteenth before, many times, actually, but never for dinner, so was quite intrigued by this fine dining... well, okay, maybe not fine in the sense of pretentious dress up to dine places, but a sit down dinner, complete with table settings and gasp, NAME cards, which of course the early birds conveniently swapped and shuffled to make sure they end up sitting next to more palatable company.   Samplings is the experimental kitchen, I'd say, for the Berjaya University's College of Hospitality, with a lovely open kitchen encased in glass, much like an aquarium, but instead of watching fish swim around aimlessly, you get to see chefs very focused, whipping up meals for the occasion.

This occasion was the launch of local celebrities, Malcolm Goh & Tham Zher Peen's 2nd season of Back to the Streets, (no, it is not like Back to the Future), and AFC, through my namesake, very kindly extended an invite.  As we milled around the foyer munching on wasabi green peas, Frank The Mat Salleh, (Kelly Siew's Frank), and Kelly Siew, bemoaned the lack of any alcoholic substances present. Ordinarily I would have as well, (bemoaned the fact) but I had just recovered from a hangover, so the idea of a teetotalling evening was thoroughly appealing.  But had I known there was such a demand, I would have magnamimously brought along my hip flask.

Nicely laid out table settings...

One of the episodes kept screening cyclically on the big screen, by which time I was PARTICULARLY intrigued by one particular dessert, called Coconut Ice Cream With Gula Melaka Spheres, and was therefore thrilled to note that it WAS on the dinner menu.

Malcolm supervising the chefs in the "aquarium".

One often what these "celebrities" are like in real life, and do their on screen personas reflect the real person. Of course, I hear that even Gordon Ramsay is actually very charming in real life. In the case of Malcolm Goh, while he certainly is not Ramsay on screen, spouting expletives and screaming away, he really seems very affable in real life, and quite entertaining. Zher Peen actually is even more friendly in real life. It was quite fun getting to chat with them albeit briefly.

Roasted Portobello Pavé with smoked garlic vinaigrette, mushroom tortellini and herb salad.  Top marks for creativity.  The portobello pave was interesting, the texture was almost pate like.  After some research, (as in google), I kinda gather the word Pavé is the french word with the slash above the e...which means tightly compacted, like a brick, or gemstones. So yeah, it probably meant portobello brick.  The tortellini was adequately tasty, and as it was the first course, the plate was licked clean.

Salmon Mi Cuit ("mi kwi",  or half cooked.  Wonder what is half baked?  That would be a useful word to describe a lot of things, not least our politicians), with pickled beets, cauliflower mussolini ...ooops, mousseline, potato chips and spiced butter sauce.  I enjoyed this dish, the salmon was really mi cuit, and not cooked to death, as some places do, and the sauces subtle enough so as not to drown the flavour.

Sous vide (I wonder if they teach French as a second language in these hospitality schools, I can imagine the nebulous array of pronunciation errors that must go on at the best of times) Chicken, which actually led to to remark, "why on earth would anyone sous vide chicken", crispy skin, (the only thing recognisable from the fowl), creamy leek stew, golden potatoes and red pepper emulsion.  I have to say the best thing about this dish was the crispy skin, which I accidentally ate to fast, and lo and behold, it was gone.  To give credit where it's due, the sous vide did give the chicken a rather unique texture, which if blindfolded, you might think was taufu.  Actually, heck, even sighted people thought it was pillars of beancurd.

I couldn't wait to try those gula melaka spheres....

..........EXCEPT they weren't!!! SOB! At the last minute, they changed it to "raspberry spheres" because the coconut ice cream mixture was too sweet and they need some balance, so no gula melaka.  NOOOOOOOOOOO!  Anyway, it's a really interesting concept, cos that little bubble bursts in your mouth, and that explosion of flavour is rather extraordinary.

It's true, standing at the side of a group photo adds 10 kg to the 10 already added just by being in a photo. Even KY of KY Speaks doesnt look his scrawny self.



Kenny Mah said...

I wonder if we might not see you supervising a little army of chefs in your own "aquarium" one day? Hehe.

Ciki said...

see! even you didn't give credit to the person who said "why on earth would anyone sous vide chicken" !! HAH! :P Great dinner... but too bad about the booze yar...

Kelly Siew said...

I thought you would have been the one with the sous vide comment and woi I wasn't the only alcoholic there!

fatboybakes said...

Kelly, haha, it WAS me who said it la.