This year is shaping up to be a hectic one for award-winning Singaporean chef Justin Quek. Just over a month after closing his fine-dining restaurant Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the pioneer of Franco-Asian cuisine in Singapore has been occupied with negotiations for a new dining concept with MBS and work-related travels for his restaurants in Taipei and Beijing.
Despite his packed schedule, the celebrity chef still managed to stop by Kuala Lumpur to serve up a special four-course dinner menu featuring his signature Franco-Asian cuisine — where Asian dishes are reinvented with a French twist. The dinner launched today, and is available until 15 July at The Library at The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur.
Quek, who also owns wine bar Grignoter in Singapore, will only be in town until the weekend and it’s unlikely for him to be back for another round. And so, we call ourselves to be truly lucky to have caught him in his chef’s whites, coming over to our table to tell us about the various dishes on his menu, which comes paired with his personal picks of fine wines.
Inspired by French art, presentation, and complexity in preparing the dishes, Quek’s three starters — which included cauliflower puree, mushroom cappuccino, and duck foie gras xiao long bao — impressed us. Our favourite was the latter, which was filled with just the right amount of buttery and fatty duck liver with a wonderfully smooth texture.
The frothy mushroom cappuccino was creamy and packed with flavour. It was served in a shot glass, and contained button and Cep mushrooms swimming in a mixture of milk, cream and water. To mitigate its slightly overwhelming flavour, it came paired with a glass of Canard-Duchene Cuvee Leinie Brut, a fruity and full-bodied champagne.
Seafood lovers will enjoy the exquisite duo of Maine lobster and wild mushroom that are soaked in a light Shaoxing wine cream sauce. The mildly sweet crustacean meat is succulent and generously portioned, and pairs well with J. Moreau & Fils Fourchame’s Chablis Premier Cru.
After the lobster, we didn’t think the night could get any better until a plate of braised Angus beef and seared wagyu beef was laid in front of us with a glass of Knappstein Shiraz Clare Valley red wine.
Well-marbled and juicy, the A4 wagyu was served rare with asparagus, broccoli, leeks, mashed potato and vegetables surrounded by a delectable blend of white wine and braised beef stew. It was seasoned with fermented bean paste and spices like garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, liquorice and star anise, and had a beautiful balance of savoury flavours.
If you’re not so keen on beef, an equally tasty alternative is Quek’s crispy scale blue cod fillet with clam and herb fondue. Reminiscent of fish keropok (deep fried crackers), the cod’s scales were wonderfully crunchy. The fish was matched with Dr. Loose Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett, which highlighted the meat’s natural sweetness.
For dessert, we enjoyed Quek’s chocolate and mint floating island with caramelised crispy rice. The crispy rice had the texture of meringue, and paired well with the sweet and nutty Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry. We also enjoyed the salted almond tuile, which was crunchy and addictive.
Available until July 15 from 7pm until 11pm, the four-course dinner is priced from MYR300 per person, or RM450 with wine pairing.
The Library, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, No. 168, Jalan Imbi, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3-2142 8000