The Library At The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur Tells A Story On Each Plate
White asparagus, the vampire of the vegetable world, only sees the light of day in brief flashes and towards the end of its life. Unearthed from mulch and rinsed, occasionally processed and tinned, these delicate spears are then carted to kitchens in France, Japan, America, or as tonight's dinner evinces, Malaysia.
"They have been very gently prepared," enthuses sommelier David Stephen, eyeballing the pale spears with approval. Only the most tender parts of the 25-centimetre-long stalks are utilised, and given a milk bath to boot—Cleopatra of Egypt wasn't the only one to get the royal treatment.
Also in favour of cold environments, Hokkaido scallops thrive well in frigid waters. Luckily for us, spring latches onto the tail-end of bitter winter, giving us access to the shellfish at their plumpest. “The chef gave them a light sear using the tataki method," says our handsome server, who also happens to be Chef Wai’s son Desmond. "Enjoy them with the Amera tomatoes," he adds, drawing our attention to one of the world's sweetest tomatoes.
Other kinds of seafood, like the sturgeon from Malaysia's first caviar farm, require more process. Smoked with TWG's Bain des Roses, the rich fish calls for an ideal partner by the glass. Ask for a bottle of De Bortolli Chardonnay from Victoria, Australia, which has wide enough shoulders to hold up to the flavourful dish.
For those in favour of poultry and livestock, other spring specialities include corn-fed chicken with a Chinese touch of dried scallop, short loin of lamb boldly accompanied by brinjal, and (for what could top Wagyu but...) Wagyu served two ways.
For a sweet finish, fragile figs are given a new lease of life through caramelisation whereas chocolate, also from Pahang, is purchased from the Semai people to be transformed into chocolate moelleux.
The Library's spring specialities are, quite simply, vehicles for stories about provenance and produce. Devour them as you would your favourite novel.