Oct 10, 2012

Grill 582 : MIGF 2012 Classical Yet Twisted Menu

What? 12 successive years? Are you kidding me?
Hell yes! Malaysia International Gourmet Festival ("MIGF") made its debut in Malaysia back in 2001!
*fainted and fell from the chair*
I guess it is just me, the Kampung Girl, hasn't heard about MIGF. Well, you can't blame me, I was raised to accept the mediocracy and be contented with whatever I have. Fine dining? You have gotta be kidding me. To begin with, being a blogger does help a little, being with my foodie tanner half does help a million tonnes. It was Him who brought me to many first fine dining dinners in my life. He saved me from the deep well that I was stuck for 22 years and showed me the higher end of food-tionary.

The theme revolving around MIGF this year is "Classical Chefs – A Symphony of Great Cuisines” – chosen to symbolise and celebrate the roots and traditions of basic good cooking and the recollection of mama's cooking on the good old days. Being one of the participants in MIGF 2012, Grill 582 has presented their own interpretation of classic food, which I found intriguing, not only the creative use of ingredients but the odd name it has.

Garlic Bread (Perhaps) - The Complimentary

Garlic is a basic yet interesting character on its own. Nutrition aside, garlic is one of the many flavors which I relate to mama's cooking. I would believe that serving garlic bread was intentional; a teaser for what may come next. Dense in the inside, the crust was less crispier than it should be, which I believed I was the culprit for it. As much as I would like to believe it was butter that was served, the fluffy texture of the "butter" spread resembled to cheese to me.

'Vichyssoise', Leek Ash, Croutons and Micro Herbs - The Appertisers

Garlic and potato, potato and garlic, I was right about the tease element. The origin of Vichyssoise is a subject of debate among culinary historians; some say it is originated from France, some say it is originated from United States. Vichyssoise, the thick soup made of puréed leek, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock, was mashy, powdery, yet not boring, which I believe it was the play of contrast in texture (croutons and leek ash) and flavor (micro herbs). Perhaps most wouldn't realise but leek ash kept me wanting more of the Vichyssoise.

Duck Confit, Poached Granny Smith and Fresh Vanilla - The Starter

Judging by the menu itself, the highlight of the dish was supposedly belonged to the duck confit but what stole the limelight was the poached Granny Smith. To begin with, apple and duck confit is not an usual match for the not so adventurous one. However it was combination that made me fell in love with this duck confit.

On its own, this duck confit was not the best I have had, especially when it was intensely salted. However its moistened texture antagonized against the slightly muted crunchiness of Granny Smith ring, so was its antagonizing saltiness against the artificially sweet (sugarified and cinnamon-ed) and natural sour flavor. Both complemented one another so well that I found myself running out of Granny Smith while I had a quarter of my duck confit lying on my plate.

Ocean Trout, Tomato 'Ketchup' Dressing and Fennel Salad - The Entrée

Enticed by the exciting blast of flavor by the starter, I was anticipating more surprise to come. Subtlety was what coming my way instead. Resembling the color and taste of salmon, this ocean trout had almost convinced the whole table that it was salmon; the thin crispy "salmon" skin, the orangish color and flaky flesh, the distinctive smell of "salmon". What sold it off would be the slightly buttery acquaintance on my tongue and comparatively subtle smell of "salmon". We were half suspicious throughout the dinner until the chef, Jaffery Othman, had to try his best to persuade us to believe that it was actually Tasmanian ocean trout.

Having ocean trout on its own was not the best idea for me. Seared to medium well, I could taste the familar game of raw salmon sashimi, which was not one of the things I enjoyed. In between the gaminess, my tongue recognised some liquid which I believed it was the natural protein or fat. How could I possibly appreciate this ocean trout?

Thanks to Chef Jaffery, it was made possible by the thoughtful side dish and dressing, i.e. fennel salad and ketchup dressing. The unmistaken fresh onion slices tossed in fennel dressing shrouded the gaminess of soft and flaky flesh of ocean trout and allowed the slightly sourish ketchup dressing to shine through the complexity. Appetizing it was!

Mixed Berry Shooter - Palate Cleanser

It was quite a waste to wash off the lingering flavors of duck confit with poached pear and ocean trout and fennel salad. Despite the reluctance, I accepted the shooter with a sense of anticipation for what would come next. Namely the mixed berry shooter, I was expecting something more sourish and perhaps with some alcohol and the sight of the rough sugar crystal around the rim of the shot glass was somewhat an affirmation. I was then proven wrong by the plain sweetness of the shooter. Good but nothing exciting.

Grilled Lamb Rump, Dukkah Spice, Spinach, Honey and Black Olive Vinaigrette

We had duck confit; we had ocean trout; what were we having next? Chicken? Beef? Good guesses but the answer was lamb. Instead of shank or loin, what served right in front of us was this grilled lamb rump. Odd choice of lamb perhaps but it was intentional. Grilled to tenderness, it presented the slightest resistance against my eating tools. I must say I was delighted that lamb rump could nearly be as tender as the beef rump I had in Prime, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.

Dukkah spice was the newly learned item for me on the night itself. It is an Egyptian spice mixture used in most Middle Eastern cuisine. Made of mixed nut, sesame seed and cumin, it gave a very earthy and nutty taste to the lamb. Both Dukkah spice and lamb were equally pungent and somehow it worked. With a faint sourish to it, the dressing, alongside with the earthy Dukkah packaged into the complexity of flavor which I could only wish for more dressing.

Vanilla and Smoked Idiazabal Chilled Soufflé

A good meal would always come to an end, which is usually a sweet one. Being a sweet tooth, this chilled Soufflé did catch most of my attention. I almost shouted "Oolala" when the chilled souffleé was served. Shaped to a half moon, this chilled souffleé rested on a thin layer of crumbs, daintily decorated with a small pile of berries, and crowned with few precious slices of smoked Idiazabal cheese and a slice of mint leave.

The fluffiness of chilled souffleé was exhilirating; it was as fluffy as fresh whipped cream, but better. Its firmness held it together despite my relentless landing scoops into it. The crumbs was very eggy and crunchily lovely which I could whack it on its own. The pile of berries was almost too pitiful; half way into my soufflé, I found myself wanting for more to go with the rest of my dessert. The contrasting texture of soufflé and crumbs with the sweet, sour and salty flavor from soufflé, berries and Idiazabal made this dessert more enjoyable and complete as opposed to just soufflé soufflé.

Petit Fours

As expected of fine dining, Petit Fours was served last; it was none other than four small bites which I must say it was quite a waste to be downed in one bite. I took a small bite into it, revealing fruity and sweet ganache in the shade of dark pink. It did lure my curiosity but not enough to find out what was in it. Mediocre but done intricately; flavor wise, I was seeking for more element of surprise. Say liquor?

If I have to rate this MIGF menu crafted by Chef Jaffery for Grill 582, I would probably give 4/5 for the unusual combination of ingredients and flavor. The complete menu can be found at http://www.migf.com/2012/festival-menu/grill-582-menu and perhaps you should give it a thought when you feel like having an unusual fine dining.


  1. HiTomi,

    A gourmet dining adventure!

    You are most fortunate to enjoy such fare!

    I suppose a diet has to follow an evening of such indulgence.


    1. Yeap, you are indeed right about luck :)

      I try my best to exercise so I deserve such indulgence.


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