This eight-course midday meal will take more than 60 minutes.
A gourmet lunch in under an hour sounded highly unlikely but savouring an epicurean meal at midday while taking in the sights from Troika Sky Dining, were encouraging factors to see if one could wine, dine and beat the clock.
Known for its elegant setting with the Petronas Twin Towers for a backdrop, walking into Canteloupe at noon gave a different perspective of the restaurant with bright light streaming through its full-length windows.
After exchanging pleasantries with Troika Sky Dining director Eddie Chiew and his external public relations team, we got down to the serious business of delighting in an eight-course meal in 45 minutes, or so we tried.
Giving the menu a once-over, I asked Chiew if it was possible to accomplish the feat in such a short time to which he replied, “Yes, but there would have to be very little conversation in between.”
Chiew explained that having an eight-course menu may seem ambitious but the intention was to offer a different experience for lunch.
“When we first started operations, we had a three-course lunch menu and to me, it was like any other restaurant that served three-course meals at midday.
“I thought it would be nice for customers to be able to sit down to an eight-course gourmet meal in the afternoon.
“After all, when people come here, they expect to get a gourmet dining experience.
“I shared my thoughts with the chef and the next day, he presented an eight-course menu,” said Chiew.
Known for his flair in cooking and creative use of ingredients, executive chef and director Christian Bauer was tasked with drawing up the lunch menu, every month.
Bauer said the only thing that remained constant in the Express Lunch Gourmet menu was the number of courses.
“The rest changes as we discover seasonal produce coming in, either locally or on the import list.
“It is difficult to say where the inspiration for each dish comes from.
“Sometimes it is a product, a colour or even just a texture, and sometimes it is a technique that forms the basis of the idea,” said Bauer of his ideas on a plate.
Having tried September’s menu, the first course of Tomato Tartine, Sorrel Leave, Brie Cheese Sauce, Fresh Thyme was simplicity at its best for it was fresh and uncomplicated.
The Orange Tobiko, Konbu Butter Sauce, Young Coconut Jelly, Nut Oil appeared as soon as the first dish was cleared.
We relished this dish with much ease and then appreciated Bauer’s serving of Roasted Celeriac, Mushroom Carrot Glaze, Sakura Leave for its clever combination of flavour and texture.
The fourth course of Grilled Smoked Cat Fish, Crispy Chicken Skin, Sesame Oil Vinaigrette was an indication that the chef had upped things a notch and it was time for the more substantial ingredients to roll out.
The tasty fish was delicate and the char siew style marinade of spices and honey, made this presentation very enjoyable.
To prepare the palate for the main course, Bauer presented a treat for the senses in the form of Grape Juice Granita, Hibiscus Foam that was both visually pleasing and toothsome.
“The Grape Juice Granita and Hibiscus Foam is a combination of an imported fruit, grapes married with hibiscus, a local flavour.
“We use a concentrate to get a more intense flavour into the foam.
“This is a system we often use, juxtaposing the local with the imported,” said Bauer.
The Marinated Sous-Vide Beef, Chanterelle Mushroom, Parsley was our main course for the day.
Here, the chef picked a simple herb and garlic oil marinade for the beef, cooked sous-vide, to show off the meat’s natural flavours.
“The amount of meat, seafood or fish dishes on the menu is entirely random.
“We do not create the menus using a formula, so we can stay fresh in our approach.
“The one thing that we try and incorporate every time is a vegetable, which we highlight alone — in its own course and not as an accompaniment to something else,” he said.
Dessert was simply tempting with a beautiful Strawberry Mille Feuille and a refreshing Fresh Blueberry, Mint Granita, Crispy Brioche, Mascarpone Cream.
Canteloupe’s menu for October features Prawn Bisque, Prawn Cannelloni, Orange Tobiko, Chive; Roast Butternut Squash, Mix of Seed, Rocket, Olive Oil; Pickled Mussel, Sliced Zucchini, Sliced Carrot, Frisee, Crouton, Sea Water Foam, Strawberry Puree, Almond Milk Granita, Lemon Jelly, Fresh Strawberry, Foie Gras Torchon, Teriyaki Eel, Baked Apple, Puff Pastry; Steam Cod, Broccoli Puree, Broccoli Couscous, Broccoli Stalk; Mango, Pomelo, Chiboust, Creme Brulee and Chocolate Ganache, Amaretti, Almond Nougatine, Raspberry, Passion Fruit Curd.
The lunch menu is priced at RM120++ per person and is available from Monday to Friday.
I am happy to say, we failed the time test as there was too much chatter going on over lunch, but with such an inviting menu, why rush through a gastronomic adventure?
CANTELOUPE, Troika Sky Dining, 23A, Tower B, The Troika, Jalan Binjai, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2162 0886). Business hours: Noon to 2pm (Monday to Friday), 7pm to 10.30pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement of StarMetro.