Review: Curate Your Own Dinner Experience At Cantaloupe
Choose Your Own Adventure books, a product of the '80s along with Beanie Babies, hair scrunchies, and Nickelodeon, were an instant hit when creator Edward Packard found a publisher in Vermont Crossroads Press. Its chief factor of success? Giving readers the novelty of choice, which brings us to the topic of Cantaloupe's new menu.
Cleverly designed by Pierre-André Clergue, Troika Sky Dining's chirpy head of marketing, Cantaloupe's new dégustation menu begins by visually breaking down one's dinner options. The first step involves selecting four, six or eight courses respectively priced at RM250++, RM350++ and RM420++. While there is wiggle room for pescatarians in the said menus, a separate dégustation is offered to guests who shirk meat and/or gluten.
Like otoro (fatty tuna belly) of the land, tender ox tongue kicks off the meal in tandem with a savoury, spice-flecked custard. Chef Christian Bauer's amuse-bouche awakens the appetite, and oils our engines for the journey that is to come. Lemons excluded, fruit might not seem an ideal match for fish, but the Sardines, Cherries and Almonds dish abides by the same logic behind a charcuterie board, which balances fatty protein with fruit preserves. A treasure box waiting to be unearthed, the Spring Salad of Egg and Confit Tuna challenges the modernist maxim 'less is more'. Each forkful uncovers more delights, from bonito tuna to cured yolk and creamy curd to crisp vegetables. The chef's favourite dish of the season is also ours.
Things get more interesting when the time comes for decision-making. Will it be the Prawns with Wild Pepper Leaves and Foie Gras Toast or the Lightly Curried Halibut with Butter and Farm Vegetables? Bathed in emulsified butter and perfumed with Madras curry powder, the halibut is everything you want in a delicate fillet of fish, but it's the Prawns with Wild Pepper Leaves and Foie Gras Toast that makes our hearts quiver. As we discover, juicy crustaceans make a good bedfellow for goose liver.
In the next to last lap, your fish knife will be switched for something with more edge, and red wine will flow where white once did. Accompanied by tender faba beans, the Roast Black Angus Tenderloin with Black Olive Powder is cooked to a T, but one taste of our date's Lamb Loin Sausage in Ras El Hanout Broth gives us food envy—finish off every forkful with a dab of harissa mousse.
Sweet endings come by way of Roasted Persimmon with White Chocolate Truffle and White Chocolate Chiboust with Dark Chocolate Sauce, but if you play your cards right, pastry chef Ivan Ong might whip up a surprise treat of Mangosteen Granita. Regardless of what you run with, Ong's creative combinations often end in epiphany.
View Cantaloupe's Spring/Summer menu here.
- Photography Pierre-Andre Clergue