MENTION chicken breast and the first thing that comes to mind is a rough, fibrous chew.
But at The Library in Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, the corn-fed chicken breast has the texture of firm, silky tofu.
Stuffed with truffle mushrooms and cooked in a sous vide between 160°C and 170°C for no longer than 20 minutes, the dish was a delight.
This main course is the result of a cumulative effort between Chef Wai Look Chow, 49, and his son, Desmond, 22. Both are working in the same restaurant. Desmond is in the service side. Wai helms the kitchen.
“We have a sous vide machine at home. When I cook the chicken breast to take to the gym, my father would give suggestions on timing and temperature.
“After more than one-and-a-half years, he found out the optimal timing and temperature needed for the tender result, ” said Desmond.
As part of a five-course sampling menu, the dish using chicken sourced from Bukit Mertajam in Penang, is paired with Frescobaldi Remole (FR) Rosso, a wine from Tuscany, Italy.
Fruity with hints of blackberries and slightly tart with hints of woody notes, the wine also carried deep flavours of mangosteen.
The chicken is part of The Library’s new menu, of which a major portion of the ingredients are from Japan.
For starter, there is poached nasu (Japanese eggplant).
Sweet with a rich creamy flesh, Japanese eggplants are purported to be less bitter than the globular kind.
For this dish, the vegetables are poached in thyme for three hours.
It was then presented in diamond-shaped dollops garnished with avruga caviar and drops of grape juice jelly.
Complementing it is a Gerard Bertrand (GB) Cotes des Roses from Languedoc, France.
The wine was a pale shade of pink and had strong notes of citrus with hints of ripe mango as well as blood orange.
For appetiser, diners can either choose between a fresh bonito, lightly seared and served with freshly grated wasabi, or a medley of surf clam, whelk and geoduck cooked in a butter sauce enriched with soft-shell lobster stock.
The bonito carried the rich taste of the ocean in its amber-hued flesh.
Air-flown just four days before, freshness is guaranteed as Wai has been doing business with the supplier for the past 18 years.
This was one reason why Wai strongly recommended the molluscs, which came encased in a potato nest, as an appetiser.
Springy to the bite, the clams, whelk and geoduck were cooked just right as they were still plump with the sweet and salty juices of the sea.
To pair with the bonito is an FR Bianco. Not too overpowering, slightly dry and crisp with notes of green apples, it had an herbaceous bouquet.
The molluscs were paired with the same rose introduced with the starter.
There is a choice of three main courses.
One is the amazingly tender chicken dish. The other two are steamed Japanese red snapper in a fish stock veloute with boiled Kipfler potato and grain-fed Wagyu medallion with a marbling score of nine.
To glaze the Australian Wagyu is a rich sauce that uses foie gras as its main ingredient. Its backdrop is a lake of truffle jus, enriched with port wine.
The research and development process for cooking the perfect wagyu has taken Wai close to six years, simply because no two fillets are the same.
Timing and temperature are everything in achieving a buttery tenderness for meat and Wai has found a way to make such estimates just by feel and touch.
Pairing it is a GB Chateau L’ Hopsitalet from La Clape, a full-bodied red wine filled with notes of blackberries and maraschino cherries.
A yam mille feuille and chocolate tort, featuring a combination of dark and milk chocolates fight for attention at dessert.
There is only one way to overcome this dilemma. Bring a dining partner along.
This five-course menu, including a zesty tangerine sorbet sprinkled with dried, powdered sour plum, is priced at RM300 nett per person. If paired with wine it is RM450 nett. Available until mid-January 2020.
THE LIBRARY, The Ritz-Carlton 168 Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-2142 8000).
Business hours: 7pm to 11pm, daily. Noon to 3pm on Sunday.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.
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