Exploring European cuisine


The famous Chocolate Souffle held up! — Photos: SHAARI CHEMAT / The Star

The classic carbonara owes its creaminess to egg yolk and cheese. There’s no cream at all. At Marco Creative Cuisine, all it took was a fork twirl of the Carbonara Pasta and I was hooked.

An absolutely scrumptious carbonara spaghetti topped with strips of fried gianciale, it was finished with a flourish of grated grana padano. The smoky and rich gianciale, and flavourful creamy egg yolk sauce was simple but so well-executed. Every strand of the al dente pasta was well-coated. I would say it was one of the best carbonara I’ve tasted.

The classic Carbonara.The classic Carbonara.

The aroma of truffle trailed the Wild Mushroom Risotto as it was brought to the table. The Aborio rice had been slowly cooked in the broth of mixed forest mushrooms and truffle paste, then ganished with a parmesan crisp. The risotto delivered firm grains of rice drenched in the deeply flavoured broth. I relished the textures of the different mushrooms atop the risotto, and would have been even happier with a bigger parmesan crisp.

The 24 hours Slow cooked Pork Shoulder in Ikura Glaze was one of the most tender I’ve encountered, served with pomme puree.

“I learnt the technique of doing this when we did the Christmas ham,” said Daren Leong, chef/owner of Marco.

Using the Japanese technique he had learnt while working at the Japanese café during his stint in Singapore, plus a touch of his own inno-vation, he turned out a luscious, juicy slab of pork bathed in a tasty sauce with globules of ikura. The pork shoulder had the perfect ratio of fat to meat, paired with smooth buttery pomme puree.

Wild Mushroom Risotto.Wild Mushroom Risotto.

Of course, dessert had to be souffle, a long-standing favourite among Marco’s diners. Leong served two Chocolate Souffles, a French dessert made with Valrhona caraibe − 66% chocolate − served with a scoop of ice-cream each. We happily savoured one, revelling in its light, creamy texture and rich flavour. The second souffle stood tall and proud, and was only slightly deflated 10 minutes later. In Leong’s words: a souffle is the epitome of egg.

“To make souffle, we separate the yolks from the whites. The yolks become crème patisserie while the whites become meringue. Then we combine them again and bake to get souffle,” says the chef.

I’ve enjoyed the Famous French Toast with Whipped Cream here before, and I’m eyeing at the Bruleed Cheesecake for my next outing here.

Pork shoulder with Ikura Glaze.Pork shoulder with Ikura Glaze.

In keeping with the Italian style of dining, the portions at Marco are big enough to share, allowing customers to try more dishes. The dishes are in keeping with Marco’s aim to serve modern European cuisine, so prices are quite affordable.

Besides 1 Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya, there’s also a Marco outlet at The Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

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