DISH, Dua Annexe: The Art of Dish-ing by Chef Steve Allen

By A Lil’ Fat Monkey

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My friends must think that I’ve gone missing by now. They’ve not heard of or seen my face for a good while now. But try explaining to them how your bosses and colleagues expect you to be a creative solution agency, an events company, a marketing & communications expert, social media titan, Bob the Builder, Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright, home decorator, motivational speaker, photographer, video producer and street directory all rolled into one. Oh, and with all the recent international visitors we’ve been getting at work, let’s count in a travel guide in that long list of things to do.

My mum thinks I’m workaholic and busy hobnobbing with the big guys because I’m never home, or at least not when she’s awake. Restaurant and hotel PR managers probably think I’m a snob because I keep turning down their invites to catch up or to taste the latest dishes around. Frankly, I just don’t want to be “gently” reminded to put up a post-coverage article.

And you, my dear readers, probably think I’m dead since I’ve not been updating the blog regularly as I should. But the sad truth is that I’ve not gotten much time to spare at the end of the day and I keep going back to the same old few places because there is just not that many places that caters to late diners. So really, there is not much to write about these days. My life has become such a routine.

Of course it’s not always gloomy here. There are a days, albeit few and apart, where the stars miraculously align together and the universe decides to treat me with a weekend free of any commitments. Last Saturday was one of those special days. And that is how I ended up accepting an invitation for lunch at Dish, the Delicious Group’s casual fine dining restaurant located in Dua Annexe.

Speaking of stars aligning and all that astrological mumbo jumbo, you know how the universe just likes to send you a message every now and then? As if it knew that I was struggling to make sense of my work-and-life balance, it introduces me to one chef Steve Allen. You see this young but no doubt talented chef has worked with perhaps the worst boss one can possibly get, one who is known to hurl unrestrained abusive assaults in your way and kick you out the kitchen if you ever inclined to screw up. Perhaps by now you might have guessed that he has been working alongside none other than the merciless chef Gordon Ramsay himself.

Obviously by this moment, my own current predicaments seem rather minuscule and cannot be compared with working in the depths of Ramsay’s hellish kitchen.

While he may regaled us with tales of heated kitchen dramas in the past when he thought his days of working under Ramsay’s mentorship would come to an end, he was also quick to add, “In all honesty, Gordon isn’t as bad as you may think he is. That’s all for television. He hardly screams at anyone in real life. If ever you find him raising his voice at you, you know that is the end of your career in the kitchen.”

It must say something that Steve stayed with Gordon for over a decade where he is thankful to have learned not only culinary skills and techniques, he has also learned everything he needs to know in the food business including handling finances, business development and even how to build his own brand and showmanship.

Of course, working for a celebrity chef also has its perks. Bitten by the travel bug while helping Ramsay out in his TV shows and cookbooks, Chef Allen has recently flown into KL directly from London’s esteemed Claridge’s, where he was the Head Chef. He would travel as much as he can and was looking for an opportunity to expand his wings to this part of the world after discovering it two years ago. He got lucky. It turns out E&O’s managing director Datuk Terry Tham is a regularly dines at Claridge’s. See how the universe was hard at work once again!

Today, he takes on the new challenge as E&O’s Group Creative Chef. And with only for a little less than a month after revamping Dish, which is now his very own playground, he has already made quite a buzz with his newly created menus.

The first to roll out is an ala carte menu featuring 34 stunning dishes, which he has proudly managed to introduced his own brand of cool Britannia without isolating what Dish fans have come to love about the restaurant.

Taking note that women are mostly curious creatures and are usually more taken by what goes into the dishes and how they have been put together, he is confident that the new items like the Sauteed Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Vitello Tonnatta will sent them lady hearts fluttering in the wind.

Cooking scallops perfectly is perhaps one of culinary greatest challenges, a simple task yet many has failed miserably. Here not only were they cooked well, they were interlaced with fine crunchy apple slivers, then laid on a fluffy puree of cauliflower with turkey bacon bits, topped with a couple of deep fried ‘keropok’-like cauliflowers, fragrant wasabi shoot, and finally sprinkled with almond crumbs for a sensational mouth feel. The Vitello Tonnatta is another highlight not to be missed; fine marinated veal slices beautifully assembled with arugula on top and thinly drizzled with spirals of tuna flavoured mayonnaise.

We also fell in love with the simple pleasures of the Seared and Marinated Tuna, Pickled Radish, Crispy Quail Eggs. I may be biased, but I love tuna. Especially thick, hunky cuts of moist red meat that has been seared no more than a millimeter off its sides. There were no more than a handful of ingredients, all beautifully curated on a white plate, yet it processed an exquisite play on textures and flavours. I …read more

Food Blog by: DISH, Dua Annexe: The Art of Dish-ing by Chef Steve Allen

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