Chef Malcolm Goh might have multiple awards in the culinary field under his belt and 2 Asian Food Channel’s TV series to boot, his real passion is in teaching. Which is why, an invitation to dine at Samplings on the 14th hosted by him is a rare opportunity to taste his food. After his stints in various prestigious F&B establishments such as Sheraton Imperial’s Villa Danieli and the Coffee House, Rossini at The Ritz, PRIME at Le Meridien; he moved into teaching in 2009, passing down his knowledge and skills to the younger generation of Chefs.
This special dinner however, was held to celebrate the completion of Back To The Streets 2, an original AFC production where Chef Malcolm paired up with Zher (popular radio DJ/Host) to go undercover as “foodie secret agents”, going around the country to search local culinary delights.I’ve even bumped into them last year when they were filming in Penang sampling the famous Teochew Chendul off Penang Road. He dressed up as an “auntie” complete with wig and loose flowery dress. Hilarious, yes? Yet contrary to his seemingly flamboyant personality on screen, he is a soft-spoken gentleman. We were told during our conversation he used to work Part-time at Sid’s Pub! Talking about small world.
Anyway, back to the food as I’ve digressed enough.
I was glad to see a vegetarian starter on the menu. I feel that in a lot of places, vegetables aren’t given enough attention so I respect a chef who makes plant food the star, and in this dish, the mushrooms. The Portobello Pavé (fancy word for rectangular food) has a hint of smokiness from the vinaigrette and is delightful to eat. The perfectly formed tortellini is choked full of soft filling, lovely with the slightly sweet tomato fondue. Finished with the refreshing salad, this dish definitely whetted our appetite for the next course.
This is a dish that ticked all the boxes for me. The “partially-cooked” Salmon (a combination of low temperature cooking and curing with salt) with buttery soft flesh, the earthy and slightly tart pickled beetroot, my current obsession: cauliflower: pureed into a lovely mousse, the super thing and crispy potato chips, complete with a spiced butter sauce. One of the best salmon dishes I’ve had recently.
Cooking food in lower temperature for longer time is said to improve the overall texture of the food, and in this case: chicken. Although I’d take a wild guess and assume that this has gone through a second cooking process to kill the rest of the bacteria (hope so, anyway). Technicality aside, this chicken was tender enough for a breast, and the leek stew provided much of the flavour to its otherwise bland taste. It would have been better if the chicken skin was larger, and in fact, some diners got double portion of the chicken too, most baffling. While I thought the little round potatoes were cute and somewhat filled me up, the red pepper emulsion needed a little more flavour.
Throughout the course of dinner, we were shown the particular episode where Chef Malcolm demonstrated the making of Coconut Ice Cream (made with dry ice, no less) with Palm Sugar Spheres. Naturally, we were looking forward to the same desserts. The same theatrics wasn’t shown live, and the Palm sugar spheres were swapped to Blackcurrant for some reason. I didn’t indulge in the perfectly quenelle-d ice cream as it was too sweet for me, and I felt that coconut and blackcurrant didn’t go so well, but Frank devoured both servings in glee.
Frank was served vegetarian dishes all night, including a rather large plate of pasta. That and the double serving of dessert, he was a happy boy.
And finally the night wasn’t complete with a picture of my favourite foodies.
Thank you AFC for the lovely dinner!
Samplings on the 14th
Berjaya Times Square Hotel ,
14th Floor Berjaya Times Square,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603-2117 8000 ext 8131
Fax: +603-2117 8155