Sunday, December 4, 2011

Degustation Menu at Cilantro KL - Sampling the best Chef Kimura has to offer.

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Cilantro - Malaysia's top restaurant (and 6th best in Asia) according to the Miele Guide. Even if you're not into the whole foodie scene it's likely you've at least heard about the restaurant, or its' mastermind behind the scenes, Chef Takashi Kimura. For the vast majority of us it's not a place you go to other than for special occasions, though, so when the darling mentioned her intent to give me a nice birthday dinner treat here, I jumped at the opportunity!

Who wouldn't? :)

Three different kinds of bread were served nicely wrapped up in a napkin. I have to say that the bread itself was rather ... ordinary, unlike the uber-delicious loaves served at Prime (for example). Perhaps it's done on purpose so as to not overpower the heavenly Truffle Butter? We didn't want to stuff ourselves too much so we didn't finish the bread - but we did manage to almost finish two helpings of the butter.

It wasn't too long before the first course of the night's degustation menu is served - the Hokkaido Sea Urchin with Carrot Jus - cold, creamy, fresh & sweet sea urchin sandwiched between a layer of carrot foam on top, and carrot juice/puree on the bottom. Superb dish to whet the appetite and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

The magic continues with the Capellini Pasta with Abalone. Perfect al dente pasta with abalone slices and what certainly tasted like shaved sea salt - can't find any fault with the dish at all.

Don't be fooled by the colour of the fishy flesh in the next course - it's not salmon, but Ocean Trout! To be exact, it's Lightly Smoked Ocean Trout with Eel and Potato Chips. And Beluga Caviar. I loved the pairing of the semi-cooked, semi-raw fish with the crunchy texture of the potato chip. The other pairing ... not so much, mainly because after finally being able to try it, I can't understand what's so great about Beluga Caviar. Probably just my pleb taste buds talking, though.

The course of the night that we least enjoyed was the Fillet of Doraude Royale with Oyster and Autumn Truffles. Firstly, because neither of us like oysters (I know, right? A "foodie" who doesn't like oysters?!?). And also because we thought the fish had a slightly muddy/mushy texture, and a very strong fishy taste. I prefer my fish with solid meat - like cod, or the garoupa families (七星斑 and all his brothers & sisters).

While we're on the topic of "least enjoyable," I'll go on a tangent and say that ambience was nice, but sort of very ruined by a very loud, very boisterous birthday group. Despite being in a private room, they were so loud that practically every other table in the room was throwing glances their way!

No matter, though - back to the food, with the Roasted Partridge with Foie Gras and Périgueux (a rich brown sauce flavored with Madeira and Truffles). Foie Gras is, well, Foie Gras! Everything is better with Foie Gras. Although we would have perhaps preferred it to be seared a little more to get that little contrasting "crunch." For the partridge, each plate comes with both "types" of meat - a tender, juicy slice from the breast, and a firmer, stronger (gamier)-tasting cut from the wing/drumlet. Oh, and the white cubes are pear cubes.

The sixth course is where you have a choice of Blackmore Wagyu, Limousine Veal or Pyrenées Lamb. Me being a meat person, the natural choice is the Wagyu! I'm not sure if this qualifies as the medium rare I ordered (looks closer to rare to me), but no complaints - nice slightly-charred surface taste/texture, juicy and flavorful on the inside!

The darling had the Pyrenées Lamb, which comes with 2 cuts of lamb and an unidentifiable third food item (served with encrusted cheese). The waiter mentioned that it was hoba miso, but a quick google search seems to suggest otherwise. If any of you are able to identify it do enlighten us in the comments!

By this point in the meal the both of us are stuffed to high heaven, so it's with mixed feelings that the next course, the Pineapple Granité, is served. Happy because it would be difficult to eat more food, sad because the Granité signals the end of the culinary journey :(

There's always room for dessert, though, especially for one as awesome as the Chestnut Crème Brûlée Feuillantine. With caramel ice cream, too! Presentation was interesting because I've only ever eaten crème brûlée in a bowl. Tasted as good as it looks, too!

And finally to let the stomach rest before heading home - Chamomile Tea with Petit Fours, and that marks the end of the night's dinner. Huge *muaks* to the darling for the treat! Cilantro's not exactly cheap - it starts at rm150 for a lunch set and goes all the way up to rm300++ for the degustation menu, but in our opinion - most definitely worth the money. For special occasions only, of course :)

Personally, the food was great and I felt that Cilantro & Chef Kimura definitely deserve the accolades they've been getting - but I also felt that the experience was ruined somewhat by the rowdy, noisy birthday party group. I mean, if you're going to make so much noise, do it in a bar or a club somewhere, not a fine dining restaurant. I was also a little annoyed that the wait staff did nothing about it - surely they should have politely requested the offending party to would you please be a little more considerate? Or were these unrealistic expectations? Let me know what you think in the comments!


  1. partridge! that's a bird i've only ever tasted once in my life. always reminds me of christmas though, because of the song with the lyric 'a partridge in a pear tree,' heh. the lamb looks interesting too; i don't think i've had that type of lamb before :D

  2. Hii.. Thanks for you posting this blog.
    I bookmarked this blog. I will try it this in summer.
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