Frangipani: New Executive Chef, New Menu with a Spanish flair

*Cough* *cough* Sorry for the lack of recipe post, I’m down with the most annoying thing: dry cough. That’s what happens when I neglect my immune boosters (and also eating out too much, not taking in enough nutrients) and it comes back to bite me firmly on my throat. Needless to say all I have been eating (or drinking) is soup, porridge etc. Nothing interesting to post here. Anyway, I need to get better by tomorrow because it’s not only my big 3-0, I have to perform at night too! So please send your positive thoughts this way. 🙂 Anyway, back to topic:

Frangipani has been on my ‘to-eat’ list for ages, but for some reason we’ve never been able to go. I guess it has come to the point that the stars have to be aligned for Frank and I to be free at the same time. Anyway, an invitation did come at the right time and when I heard that Frangipani has appointed a new executive chef (and thus, a brand new signature menu), I knew I had to check it out. Hails from Malaga, Spain, Chef Manuel Lopez Quinones has worked in many countries as well as his homeland, and most impressive accomplishments includes his stints at 2 Michelin Star “La Broche” in Madrid and 2 Michelin-star “Arola” in Barcelona, under the famed Sergio Arola. Previously spotting a predominantly French menu at Frangipani, now Chef Manuel brings a bit of Spain to the table.

We were most impressed with the beautiful layout of the intimate dining area with a pond in the middle, and the lighting was sufficiently dim to create a romantic ambiance. Without further ado, we were given a menu to choose our dishes from the Signature menu. And I decided to stick to seafood and let the service staff do the wine pairing for me. As Frank is now almost 100% vegetarian, Chef Manuel has kindly designed a vegetarian menu for him, which was pretty cool (turns out his wife is a vegetarian too, so it’s a breeze for him to come up with creative vegetarian dishes). So before I start, let’s just say this will be quite long post!

Once we have finally settled down in our seats, the amuse bouche was first given to us.

Arugula, Smoked Salmon, a touch of cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts.
Arugula, Smoked Salmon, a touch of cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts.

This is such a tasty combination. The arugula lends a peppery and bitter note this which I enjoyed.

Mango salad
Mango salad

Vego option for Frank: Mango Salad with coriander, mint and chili. Refreshing.

Yum!
Yum!

We couldn’t get enough of the yummy butter and fluffy bread. I was trying to figure out the umami specks in the butter: olives? seaweed? Nevertheless it was delicious.

My first course was Sauteed Baby Squid and I love the simple and elegant plating.

Quick Sauteed Baby Squid
Quick Sauteed Baby Squids

Adorned with super finely chopped parsley and chives (impressive knife skill), garlic, extra virgin olive oil with a quenelle of mash on the side and dots of aioli surrounding the baby squid, this was almost too pretty to eat. The herbs and EVOO definitely enhance the flavours of lightly sauteed squids. They were cooked to perfect, tender with just a touch of bite. The mash is on the light side as we were told Chef Manuel doesn’t like to use a lot of cream and butter, which is refreshing actually.

Mixed Leaves salad with Parmesan Crisp and balsamic dressing.
Mixed Leaves salad with Parmesan Crisp and balsamic dressing.

Frank started with this beautiful mountain of salad. The Parmesan crisp was star of this show. I also love the crispness of the leaves against the sweet tangy balsamic dressing. Simple, yet easy to eat (which is actually quite difficult to achieve with salads).

My second course was grilled Hokkaido Scallops presently daintily on 2 rings of Mango salad.

Hokkaido Scallops with Mango Salad
Hokkaido Scallops with Mango Salad

Once again, the presentation is so elegant. Look at the giant sized scallops with beautiful char marks, what a sight to behold. I love the meaty scallops, the texture was dense yet delicate and soft, pairs well with the mango salad which had some coriander, mint and a touch of chili heat. Perfection.

Warm pumpkin with ginger soup
Warm pumpkin with ginger soup

Frank’s pumpkin soup comes with a shaved black truffle (in the middle), drizzle of truffle oil, golden croutons and micro herbs. Smooth and silky, warming and inviting, with good balance of sweet and savoury note. Although being Frank (read: not a big fan of truffles), he thought the soup could actually do without the overpowering truffle oil.

I’ve chosen to go with a fish dish for my main, because I’m still trying to stay off red meat. (Sorry Wagyu Rump, I will give you a chance next time!)

Confit Fillet of Cod with Creamed Organic Corn
Confit Fillet of Cod with Creamed Organic Corn

I love the simplicity of this dish. Black cod is my favourite fish and it was amazingly soft done this way. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever had confit fish before. This was heavenly! Pairing with corn gives it a very clean flavour profile. The assorted sprouts on top, and the lightly charred baby corns provided a contrast to the the texture. Delicious!

Pumpkin Milanese and Flor De Ronda Goats Cheese with Rocket salad and Mixed red fruits
Pumpkin Milanese and Flor De Ronda Goats Cheese with Rocket salad and Mixed red fruits

What a mouthful to read. Pumpkin crumbed and deep fried, with a huge round of cheese, sounds like we hit the cheese jackpot! I had a bite of that Pumpkin Milanese, it’s very lightly flavoured, but rightly so because of that bold cheese on top. Very good pairing and I believe Frank mopped up every crumb.

Pan-seared Foie Gras with Sauteed Apple, Vanilla and Quince Membrillo
Pan-seared Foie Gras with Sauteed Apple, Vanilla and Quince Membrillo

This foie gras dish is not included in Chef’s signature menu but we ordered it anyway because I heard Frangipani does it well. And people have spoken, as this was hands down the best foie gras dish I have tasted so far (in my life, even, since I haven’t actually eaten FG in France). The liver was perfectly charred outside and buttery soft inside, great mouth feel. Pairing it with apple is quite surprising, but it works. I had to google “Membrillo” haha, but it is actually quince ‘paste’ (the orange cube in the pic).

I thought the foie gras was going to be the highlight of the dish as I’m usually not crazy about dessert. Boy did I get it wrong! The desserts are not specified on the menu so when this dessert was presented to me, my eyes lit up instantly.

Toffee of banana and Vanilla ice cream
Toffee of banana and Vanilla ice cream

I love everything about it. The icecream was the first one I went for and I could taste a bit of Creme brûlée in it, perhaps due to the toffee with the banana and the real vanilla beans. The “fritter”, crispy with well caramelised banana inside. It was like Chef read my mind and knew exactly how I want my dessert. I almost had tears in my eyes while enjoying this.

Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry, Mint Sauce
Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry, Mint Sauce

I didn’t taste the Panna Cotta because Frank had the whole thing to himself (only fair because I wouldn’t let him try my dessert, haha). I did have a drop of that mint sauce though. Strangely, tasted a bit like Sambucca?

Good food, great service, what more can I ask for? The wine never stopped flowing (at least in my perception, I’m a light weight nowadays), and the staff were engaging without being too disruptive. We had a wonderful time! Now we just gotta find another chance to go back.

Frangipani Restaurant & Bar
25 Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone : +60 3 2144 3001
Email: reservations@frangipani.com.my

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15 thoughts on “Frangipani: New Executive Chef, New Menu with a Spanish flair

  1. Hi Kelly, happy birthday in advance. Hope u feel better soon. I dined in Frangipani abt 2 years ago, during my birthday. The place has such a romantic ambience. The new menu by the new chef looks divine.. esp the scallops, cod and foie gras!

    1. I wanted to go there for my birthday last year but Frank was pressured into booking another place. Nvm, the new menu is great! Good way to kick off my birthday month, haha! Thanks for the wishes, not so far advance now, less than 2 hours left.

  2. First thing first, a very Happy Birthday to you, hope you have a great day today and every day in the year ahead. Cheers!!!

    Exquisite delights, nice presentation…but do stay off the mango if you’re having a cough…or at least, that’s what the old folks say.

    1. Thanks! The meal was one week ago lol. I didn’t have mango last night. In fact I have combined Western and Chinese Medicine when it comes to looking after my throat. It is my greatest added after all.

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