TWO decorated chefs were challenged to deliver a gourmet menu to showcase a champagne house’s wines.
Chefs Satoshi Uehara and Su Kim Hock have rather contrasting styles.
Uehara strives for balanced flavours whereas Su’s dishes have stronger, bolder profiles.
Nevertheless, the duo managed to pull off quite a remarkable eight-course dinner paired with Delamotte champagnes, and their individual styles shone through even in the appetisers.
Su’s charred lady’s fingers, jalapeno ketchup, Pringles espuma and pickled shallots teased the palate with the variety in texture and taste.
The acidity from the pickled jalapeno and Japanese vinegar-pickled walnut, and palm sugar really whet the appetite while the charred lady’s fingers paired well with the espuma.
Uehara’s steamed abalone with yam, dashi and baby spring onions could be described as “the calm after the storm”.
The firm abalone was served in a pool of bonito-flavoured jelly and had added texture from the mashed yam.
Besides the sharp umami flavour from the Caspian Sea caviar, the dish had a mild, balanced taste that enabled the diner to distinguish the individual ingredients.
Both appetisers were paired with Delamotte Brut, a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier, which had a citrusy, refreshing taste.
The evening featuring Delamotte champagnes was organised by Dajin Food and Beverages at Ushi Kuala Lumpur, St Regis Kuala Lumpur.
Champagne house Maison Delamotte was founded in Reims, France, in 1760 by vineyard owner Francois Delamotte, making it the fifth-oldest house of champagne.
The dinner showcased five champagnes including Delamotte Blanc de Blanc and Rosé.
Su is chef-proprietor of Michelin-starred Restaurant Au Jardin in Penang while Uehara is executive chef of Ushi Kuala Lumpur, a Michelin Selected Restaurant.
Su said, “I trained in French cooking in the United Kingdom for four years.
“When I was based in Taipei, the Taiwanese had very low acceptance of salty dishes or food with extreme flavours, so that helped me to polish the flavour profile of my dishes by using fresh ingredients.”
Su’s pickled crab cilantro emulsion, shellfish biscuit and horseshoe crab beignet was inspired by crab curry. It was served with a creamy sauce made of peanuts, crab stock and kaffir lime, then topped with a crab stencil.
“The vegetable component in the appetiser paired well with creamy Chardonnay but it was a little tricky when it came to the crab dish,” said Su.
“It usually goes well with something more edgy but Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blanc NV works well for this dish.”
This was followed by Uehara’s dish of Spanish mackerel, chrysanthemum greens, spinach and edible flowers.
The floral dish had a piquant fragrance and the sliced fish from Okayama, Japan, which was grilled skin-side, had a tender, succulent texture.
Both dishes were paired with Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blanc, which had a slightly chalky body but delivered more depth of flavour compared to the Brut.
Both chefs collaborated on the main course – baby veal short rib, poached liquorice, yuzu ponzu and jus maison.
The flavourful veal short rib was tender and succulent with a mild sweetness, but the highlight was the jus made from a reduction of liquorice-poached veal bones, which was a savoury delight.
It was paired with Tiano and Nereno 2014, a vintage of 90% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc, which had a dry body and bold flavours with hints of berries and figs.
Next was Uehara’s famed roast Ozaki Beef with chawan mushi, curry and mustard, which showcased an innovative take on Japanese cuisine.
While red meat is typically paired with red wine, the Ozaki Beef was surprisingly good with Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blanc 2014.
Next was Su’s foie gras with pickled rice cake, oba leaf and seasonal black truffles from Italy.
The al-dente rice, flavoured by the fatty goose liver, was appetising.
Finally, Uehara’s strawberry ice-cream in wafer and strawberry with jelly was served.
The jelly was made from white wine and Cointreau, a triple sec orange-flavoured liqueur that had a balanced sweet, tangy flavour.
Both dishes were paired with Delamotte Rosé, which had a sweet, subtle berry note.
USHI KUALA LUMPUR, 3A, The St Regis Kuala Lumpur, 6 Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2727 6688) Business hours: Noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm (Tues-Sun). Closed on Mondays.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.