Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Theodor Falser Returns to Gobo Upstairs, Traders, To Guest Chef With One Michelin Star Under His Toque

Once upon a time, circa ten years ago, when Traders Hotel KL was born, the Marcomm Manager, Theresa Goh made a wish, that the gods of the culinary world would send her a good looking Chef, to make her life easier to market the new hotel's F&B outlets.  Clearly, her wish was granted in the form of Chef Theodor Falser...

Chef Theodor left for his home Italy a few years later, and fast forward to a few years down the line, he returns to Traders as a guest chef for a week or so, but this time with a Michelin Star under his chef's toque.  The return to his homeland saw him cultivate his brand of Italian cuisine using herbs and vegetables, often cultivated within the grounds of the Hotel Spa & Resort Engel, Italy.  Apparently he also runs a burger joint at the side.

Every now and then, life tosses you a bonus, and I was delighted and privileged to be invited for a special media preview of the Wine Pairing Dinner paired with the works of Theodor.

Chef in action, and he always seems rather smiley, clearly driven by passion for what he loves doing.

He seems to calm and unflustered as he prepares the dinner for a group of 30 or so privileged guests.

I particularly like this candid shot of the ever elegant Theresa so I'm putting it in this post.

With eight or so different wines, and pre dinner Prosecco, we knew it was going to be a great night, and that menu looked simply divine

Grilled Potato  Focacia and whole wheat bread with walnut pesto.  Perfect serving slice, and the nice thin focacia was just the thing to titillate our palate to whet our appetites for more.  The Ruffino Prosecco NV was also the perfect pre dinner drink to get everyone in the mood.

Jerusalem Artichoke done 2 ways, with elder caper dressing, and salted peaches, paired withe the Ruffino Lumina, Pinot Grigio Veneze 2014.  Artichoke is not something you'd see regularly in our menus, so it's really quite a treat if you like artichoke, like me.

Mackerel Lemon and Onions, Salmon Caviar and confit grosny.  To the uneducated plebians in our midsts, me included, grosny is a kind of tuber, probably the cousin of a potato.  In truth, I found this dish a tad on the salty side, but that was easily neutralized with a sip of the Ruffino Verdello Blend, Orvieto Classica 2014.  In case I hadn't mentioned it earlier, the wines for the night are Italian, Ruffino, distributed in Malaysia by Caldbeck.

Risotto Rocket Salad, Peanuts, Olive oil and poached lamb, sous vide-ed at 54C, for a tender medium rare doneness.  This was easily one of my favourite dishes of the night.  The simple yet complex sauce that engulfed the al dente rice, plus the myriad flavours of the herbs, subtly imbued into the overall equation, plus the gaminess of the lamb, simply divine.   This was paired with the first of the reds, a Sangiovese Blend Chianti 2014.  The light Chianti plus the heavy-ish risotto was a match made in heaven.

Italian Pasta "wonton" bundle with beef cheek ravioli and truffle in a pine celery root soup.  Ah, such exotic sounding ingredients.  The broth was superb, although the general comment was, "can't taste the truffle".  But a Q&A session with chef later revealed that real truffle is subtle, not in your face, a scent and flavours found in truffle oil that is manufactured like perfume.  "Mr" Baby Sumo asked Chef if he brought the wonton idea from KL to Italy or vice versa.   This was paired with the Ruffino Riserva Ducale, Sangiovese Blend, Chianti Classico 2011.

Excellent wines too I might add.

Some of the wines we had through the night.

Undoubtedly the star dish of the night, the Dry Aged Entrecote Steak (Black Angus, Australian), with blueberries, root vegetables and fermented garlic.  One of the finest steaks I've had the pleasure of chomping down, and it didn't even need to be a wagyu.  Also sous vide-ed at 54C for the PERFECT medium-medium rare doneness.  Unanimously everyone's favourite.  The full bodied Ruffino Modus Sangiovese Blend Toscano 2011, a decadent red was a great partner to this strong dish.

Mascarpone, Rhubarb and Chamomile Crumble, a decadent rich and creamy end to a fantastic meal.  It was paired with a dessert wine, Ruffino Serelle Vino Santa Malvasia Blend, Chianti 2010 which I didn't care much for, as I am totally not a dessert wine person, no matter how good.

Applauding the kitchen staff ...I think...was quite pleasantly buzzing by this time.

Oh, and a special bonus, this lovely Grappa.... that tasted almost like a cognac.  I am not usually a grappa fan, the few I've had almost reminds me of kerosene....but this was so good, Mr Babysumo and I kept getting refills.

It would seem these two don't see eye to eye in the kitchen.... but far from it.  Sous Chef Kelvin has a really delightful smile as well...

Some photos of the night....

One picture for the road....with my favourite fellow hobbyist food writers...

The bad news is, the wine dinner on the 21st of April, priced at RM350 nett with the above menu, is fully booked.  The GOOD NEWS is, on other nights the a la carte and set dinner menus are available,  at GOBO UPSTAIRS, as are seats.  The cooking class on Saturday 23rd is fully booked, but the one on Sunday 24th still has vacancies, at RM200 nett, which includes lunch with WINE.

It really was a great treat, so do hurry to try it out if you can.  Ala Carte prices are really reasonable as well, and that's coming from ME, #iamacheapskate.

Address:  Traders Hotel KL, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur
Phone:03-2332 9888

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