Flavours of Christmas reinvented at Mandarin Oriental
November 24, 2014 | BY Calvin Chong
Foie gras with Sichuan pepper and chestnut cream soup at Mandarin Grill are set to excite our Christmas.
With the halls decked in ornaments and lights, Christmas celebrations at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur has never been short of luxury. This year, with the help of newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Halat, the annual 5-course Christmas menu at Mandarin Grill lives up to its name as one of the best menus for the festive season
For both Christmas Eve and Christmas day, enthusiastic diners, looking for a delectable menu to celebrate the holidays, can head down to Mandarin Grill. From foie gras parfait laced with Sichuan pepper to chestnut-flavoured soup and duck breast served with cranberries sauce, those who visit Mandarin Grill will be rewarded with a night of wondrous delicacies that starts and ends with blasts of heart-warming flavours.
Read on for our full review of the Mandarin Grill 5-course Christmas menu:
Foie Gras Parfait
Kickstarting the night, chef Halat prepared a dish with explosive flavours that helped to whet our palates for the festive flavours ahead. The foie gras parfait layered with Sichuan pepper mousse in-between created a harmonious spicy and savoury flavour unlike any other of its kind. The hints of Asian spices, along with the side of salted cinnamon caramel sauce, brought warmth to the cold dish – emoting the winter season. However, the taste of the foie gras might be too strong for some palates. To help balance out the flavours, chef Halat prepared a light and fluffy toasted citrus-infused brioche to cut through the full-bodied flavour of the foie gras with its tangy notes.
Chestnut-Belgian Endives Cream Soup
Following the powerful appetiser, a beautiful plate of cream soup was served to calm down the palate. A mellow chestnut flavoured soup introduced mild sweetness, unlike conventional soup dishes, to our taste buds. While it wounded slightly odd, the slice of Belgian endives helped to harmonise the sweet nuances with its smoky aroma and earthy flavours. To finish it off, a crunchy quail praline was placed in the middle to add texture to the creamy dish.
Slowly easing away from the heavier tastes, a simple serve of poached salmon was served as the fish dish. Served with fennel brandade and sauteed spinach, the succulent salmon gave a light curry flavour to the palate. Again, this gave an illusion of a cold winter holiday warmed up with spiced flavours. Poached to the right consistency, the salmon had a springy bite that blended well together with the creamy spinach.
Grilled Duck Breast With Glazed Duck Galantine
After cleansing the palate with a cranberry and cider sorbet, diners will have two choices for mains - the duck or steak. For this tasting, we chose to try the grilled duck breast. For the duck dish, the meat was cooked in two ways - grilled and poached. Juicy slices of grilled duck breast and round duck galantine were plated with a light dash of cranberries sauce to add a finishing zest to cut its gamey taste. Sides of brussel sprouts and semolina strudel served as a extra crunchy bite to the chewy texture. While the dish seemed simple, the execution of the meat consistency and balance of flavours made it a standout as a main course.
Traditional English Christmas Pudding
Finally, chef Halat finished off the night with a traditional English Christmas pudidn that had our hearts melted and palates satisfied. A flavoursome Christmas pudding, made with 12 years old Scottish malt whiskey, gave a series of complex notes that varied from cinnamon to vanilla and dried autumn flowers as you bite into the dessert. Served with a cognac-infused hazelnut brittle ice cream, it enhanced the pudding with its mellow and nutty flavours. If you find the taste of alcohol too strong, try eating it with the candied dried fruits to lighten the palate. The aftertaste of cognac and festive flavours gave a warm fuzzy feeling to the bodythat made the night truly memorable, especially when it's a cold rainy night.
The Mandarin Grill 5-course Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner is priced at RM398++ per person and additional RM160++ per person for sommelier's recommended wine pairing. The menu will be available for 24th and 25th Dece,ber 2014. For more information and reservations, please call Mandarin Grill at +603 2179 8960.
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