Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) is back with an interesting theme “Cool Chefs – Cooking with attitude”. Having missed out on the Taste MIGF due to work commitment, naturally I was excited to receive an invitation to try the MIGF menu at Nook, joining the festival for the very first time. This menu is extra special to me because Chef Steven Seow, though not actually from Sarawak, has taken the effort to feature the treasures from Sabah and Sarawak. You’ll see when we talk about the dishes.
It wasn’t our first time dining at Nook as I have tried out the buffet spead as well as ala carte dishes numerous times when I was performing at W XYZ bar back in June. I also went for an invited review earlier in the year when it was still brand new. I know that they have taken a special interest in improving their dishes because each time I visited, the dishes just kept getting better. FYI, 2 out of 4 dishes on this MIGF menu I have already tried as ala carte, albeit a little less luxurious. I shall stop rambling and let’s get started on the food. Starter first.
Ooh! Here’s a little bit of molecular gastronomy to please my inner food geek. I loved the presentation and this looks like a well-thought-out dish with different components.
The glass contained the smoke (for the wow factor, I guess), I was told it was lemongrass flavour but it dissipated too fast for me to catch a whiff. The scallop umai is basically a Sarawakian citrus cured seafood, very much like ceviche but with local flavours.
I enjoyed the sweet, sour, savoury, herbaceous combination of the Scallop umai sushi. Moving on to the duck confit with a tiny piece of skin, well that was seasoned perfectly with good umami flavour and you can give me more of that crispy skin. Yum! I tried that with the sweet fruity coulis, pomegranate seeds and raisin separately and all worked very well together. You simply can’t do wrong with sweet and savoury pairings in my book. Oh and the Yoghurt sphere actually popped in my mouth. How cool! What a great introduction to the night. This course is paired with Villa Maria Chardonnay, NZ. Lovely crisp and easy to drink.
Interesting, Chef Steven Seow has chosen to pair the next course with a beer, and I can understand why.
I like to refer this to Sarawak Laksa on steroids. Haha. You see, the robust flavour of prawn and chicken stock in the broth with all that laksa spices would be too strong for a white wine, but pairing it with a red will totally overwhelmed the delicate lobster and abalone. So it totally makes sense. Compared to our first visit, this Laksa has totally exceeded my expectation. The broth is perfect (perhaps a little spicier than usual) with the right ratio of coconut milk: spices. Paired with grilled lobster that was juicy and sweet, it was rather divine. I am not normally a fan of abalone, but here the abalone was cooked with some butter and herbs, giving it a lighter flavour than usual, so this fussy eater approves.
While the usage of soba will probably induce a pang of panic for the purists, I don’t think it’s a huge problem because I love soba noodles anyway. Chicken was poached just right and I like how delicate the omelette strips were.
The next course is the heaviest of all and it features Sabah style cooking.
Some might think using Wagyu beef in rendang is simply sacrilegious. But since Wagyu beef cheeks are used commonly in braised dishes (especially by the French), why not give it a local twist? Here the beef was incredibly tender and the rendang flavours worked pretty well with this cut, although slightly on the rich side for me, probably because of the lighter dishes beforehand. The achar jelatah is Sabahan and it was just sour enough to help balance the dish.
Do not underestimate the portion of this: the rice was compacted hence we were mostly fooled. I am a small eater so I could only manage half of the Turmeric Coconut Rice (Sabahan) before waving my white flag. It was suitably aromatic and not overly rich though. I would have happily gobbled the whole thing up if this was the only course (which I had done previously, yum). This course is paired with Madfish, Shiraz, Australia.
Time for dessert and this was super fun!
Call me nerdy but any food item presented in lab or medical appliances gets me pretty excited. Before getting the injection on, let’s see what we have here in the bowl: jackfruit, sweet potato, sago, cendol, black jelly, blackberries, strawberries and blue berries and of course a scoop of ice cream as cherry on the cake. As for the syringes: they are filled with colorful syrup including yellow – orange + lemongrass, red – rose + strawberry, green – pandan + apple, brown – salted palm sugar, white – cornflakes creamer.
In order to not confuse our taste buds, it is recommended we try individual syringe first to see what we liked best. My favourite is the salted palm sugar, followed very closely by the orange/lemongrass concoction. I thought the corn flakes flavoured milk was pretty interesting too.
There are 2 options for this MIGF menu: The light menu priced at RM160+ per person which comes without the Sarawak Laksa from set listed above. The Go Strong menu (full menu) is priced at RM180+ per person (RM280+ with wine and beer pairing). This set menu is available through lunch and dinner and in both September and October.
Nook @ Aloft KL Sentral,
No 5 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Tel: +603 2723 1154