The Malaysian International Gastronomy Festival (MIGF) is an annual affair showcasing the best of the local food scene, especially of the fine dining variety. Chefs from top Malaysian restos put on their thinking caps to bring some truly delectable dishes to diners throughout the month of October.
2016 marks the festival’s 15th year with the theme High Octane Chefs. 25 participating restaurants are serving special ‘festival’ menus until Oct 31. (I know there are only a few more days left, but I got caught up with stuff and forgot to post it .__.).
I did a writeup for work though (which was why they invited me!). You can read the article here.
The good people from Resorts World Genting had me and some other media friends over for a full day of non-stop eating (we were so stuffed by nightfall we had to roll to the van) at two of their restaurants, namely LTITUDE Bar, Restaurant and Lounge at the Genting Club, as well as the award-winning The Olive Restaurant next door.
At LTITUDE, we got to enjoy a 10-course meal as part of MIGF’s Festival Menu. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the young and talented Chef Mandy Ding. She’s only in her 20s and already commands a resto of her own at one of the most prestigious hotels in Malaysia – now that’s achievement! Having worked in top notch kitchens in Singapore and Hong Kong, Mandy knows her stuff and describes the cuisine at LTITUDE as a blend of her classical French training with modern techniques and ingredients to suit local tastebuds. One can tell Mandy is passionate about food just from the way she explains stuff to us. There are no airs from her either – when she’s telling us how she marinates her truffles in a jar, it’s like we’re just chilling around with a friend over the dinner table.
Canapes: Flat bread, Sturia caviar and lemon mascarpone topped with cherry ragout
Wafer-thin and crackly, the flat bread’s texture comes closer to crackers than bread – sort of like the skin of a very crispy popiah. On it’s own it doesn’t have much taste, but we were supposed to eat it with the salty caviar, a dollop of sour and creamy mascarpone, and balance it out with the sweet cherry ragout – so you have all the flavours packed into one small bite.
Amuse Bouche:Garden of Greens vs Wild Mushroom Tea, with petit pois, baby leeks, truffle brioche and hollandaise.
One of the few ugly pictures taken with my phone, coz they didn’t provide me with any. I like the deconstructed way the dish was presented, and true to the name, it was like walking through a nice garden, filled with different colours and textures. I particularly like the wild mushroom tea, which was warm and comforting, especially in Genting’s cold weather. The black bits are actually mushrooms from the tea that have been deep fried into a crisp, making them a great snack.
Starter: Hokkaido scallops, Romanesco cabbage and mint snow
I love scallops, but can’t always have my fill because they’re so pricey. Good thing the ones here are big, fat and juicy. The cabbage and mint snow was fresh and minty, which brought out the sweetness of the shellfish even more. A very refreshing opening for the heavier main dishes soon to come.
Soup: Purple Artichoke Soup with Black Truffle and Albali White Wine
This smooth and creamy soup was so addictive, most of us asked for seconds, even knowing we still had a long way to go for the meal!
Simmered for four hours, the soup slips down your throat and warms the belly. The earthy flavours of truffle and the strong aroma of wine come through exceptionally well, which Chef Mandy attributes to her ‘jar’ – a tank of port wine which she has been keeping truffles in for over a month. Crunchy artichoke bits give the soup texture, so we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the creaminess.
Another ugly photo (Time to buy iPhone?) of the truffles in port wine, used to make the soup.
Appetizer: Organic egg at 62 degrees, Sweet Iberico Ham on butternut squash foam
So after all that, we’re only at the appetizer!? Now I understand why fine dining always comes in miniscule portions. .___.
The egg was lovely – soft, oozy center and bouncy egg white, sitting on a bed of light and airy butternut squash foam. Connoisseurs will know the prized Iberico ham, which is cured and produced in Spain and Portugal. It’s very sweet and rich, since the free-range pigs roam oak forests and their diet impacts the flavour of the meat.
Main 1: wild caught French sea-bass, Swiss chard and vanilla foam
Finally ! We have made it to the mains :) Seafood lovers will like the sea-bass, which is firm and fresh, seared at the top but soft and juicy at the bottom. The vanilla foam gives it just a hint of sweetness. Admittedly, this wasn’t my favourite coz I’m not a big fan of fish.
Couer de Boeuf: sorbet of heirloom tomato and plum granite
Served on a big block of ice, the palate cleanser was great for getting our taste buds back on track again. Light, refreshing, with a slightly sour tang similar to assam (tamarind).
Main 2: Slow cooked Iberico spare ribs, with side of Bluefoot mushroom and Charlotte potatoes
If you’re looking for flaky, melt-off-the-bone meat, then look no further than this dish. First marinated in salt, pepper and barbecue sauce, the ribs are slow cooked for four hours til tender and soft, then grilled to get a nice, seared crisp on the fat. Cut off a chunk and feel it just melt onto your tongue. Oof.
The side of Bluefoot mushroom is packed with earthy flavour, while the Charlotte potatoes are creamy without being overly rich.
Dessert 1: Textures of Blood Orange Terrine, Sorbet and a Soft Panna Cotta
Ending on a sweet (okay not exactly) note is sorbet of blood orange, which has a slightly sour touch which balances out the sweet panna cotta.
Dessert 2: Guanaja souffle and Valrhona Chocolate
Last but not least, this chocolate souffle with just the right amount of bitterness, offset by sweet sugar crumbs on the side and which carried the texture of velvety bread pudding.
LTITUDE’s festival menu is priced at RM288 nett per pax and RM448 nett (with wine pairing).