THE dining landscape has grown by leaps and bounds, making it possible to savour a range of cuisines right here in Kuala Lumpur.
In the past, South American cuisine may not have been accessible to all but globalisation has made it possible for chefs to journey across continents to promote food native to their country.
Chef Ramiro Alberto Moya is one such person.
His yearning to discover new destinations has led him on an interesting adventure of discovery and tastes.
The Mendoza-born Argentinian’s culinary career includes having cooked with world-renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Pablo Massy and Fernando Trocca in popular establishments including 1884 de Francis Mallman (one of South America’s top 10 restaurants), Park Hyatt Mendoza and popular boutique destination Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand.
Moya, interestingly, is not new to the city as he entered our food scene in 2014 and has worked at several restaurants.
As the new chef de cuisine at Prime, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, Moya is keen to present his touch of South American flair to the fare.
Working alongside executive chef Antoine Rodriguez, they plan to increase usage of locally grown ingredients such as microgreens, root and cruciferous vegetables as well as greens from selected farmers at Prime.
For Rodriguez, Moya’s Argentinian heritage, vast experience at steakhouses and handling prime cuts as well as his in depth knowledge of food and wine pairing makes him the perfect fit for Prime.
Known among gourmets as the place to go to for dry-aged steaks, Wagyu prime rib as well as grass-fed lamb and beef, Moya’s invaluable experience is expected to heighten one’s sensory experience.
In his first speciality menu for Prime, a balance between seafood dishes (ceviche, seafood croquettes, tuna tataki and fish and chips) and meats (Augustus Angus grilled thick skirt, Augustus Angus oyster blade, lamb loin and tenderloin) is apparent.
To showcase its new-found talent, the hotel joined hands with Albert Wines and Spirits Malaysia (M) Sdn Bhd to present an impressive range of Argentinian wines to accompany some of Prime’s new dishes.
Albert Wines’ Digital Development director David Stephan also helped walk diners through the wines that evening.
To tease the taste buds, pretty servings of Seafood Croquettes with Greek Yoghurt Pesto and Japanese Cucumber Salad, palate cleanser (in shot glass) Marinated Red Snapper in Lime and Lemon Juice and Fresh Corn, Cilantro, Red Onions and Habanero Chilli were served.
The light yellow and fruity Finca La Linda Torrontes 2017 proved to be the perfect wine to make that first impression of flavours to come.
The combination of three grape varietals aged in oak barrels in the form of Luigi Bosca Gala 3 Viognier-Chardonnay-Reisling 2015 is a white blend that charms at first sip.
For this fresh and slightly acidic flavour, Moya identified the Beetroot Cured Salmon, Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Okra, Compressed Cherry Tomato and Radish Cress for the pairing.
The Veal Sweetbread with Parmesan and Japanese Panko, Triple-cooked Fries, Saffron Sauce is an unusual find at a wine dinner.
It was, however, Moya’s attempt at exposing diners to a traditional dish from home.
Thankfully, the deep purple-red Luigi Bosca Merlot 2015 dominated the palate to tone down the unfamiliar taste of sweetbread, something I prefer abstaining from.
The succulent Wagyu Thick Skirt, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Tomato Conserve with Yuzu, Roasted Root Vegetables redeemed the night with layers of juicy goodness in the meat and combination of citrus, tanginess and earthiness in the sauce.
Malbec is a personal favourite and the Luigi Bosca Malbec DOC Single Vineyard 2015 was the right accompaniment for the main course.
Bold, refined and with firm tannins, this deep violet wine is bold and fruity with an elegant finish.
Last but not least is the Argentina Egg Flan, Dulce de Leche, Whipped Cream and Fresh Blackberry.
The addictive egg flan was proof that Moya’s talent went beyond handling savouries.
The velvety and creamy richness of the egg flan was unforgettable. In fact, it is worth going back for.
PRIME, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, 2, Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2263 7434). Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday); 6.30pm to 10.30pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.