Dining Room, Macalister Mansion
The minute we heard there was a new menu at the Dining Room, Macalister Mansion, we made a reservation to try out the refreshed line up. Falling in love with Chef Lance’s previous degustation experiences, prepared using classic French cooking methods but celebrating local ingredients, we couldn’t wait to see what he had whipped up this round.
See previous write-ups on past dining journeys and comments on setting and service here (August 2013) and here (May 2013). Today I focus purely on our culinary capers.
The Host Table (Table d’ Hote) is a brilliant way to sample a range of dishes across the menu. Priced at RM183 for five courses plus an amuse bouche, bread and petite fours, it’s worth adding RM78 for wine pairing, which gets you five glasses of specially selected drops from around the world.
Mum and dad are visiting from Australia so I bring them along wondering if they’ll love the Dining Room as much as hubby and I do.
Freshly baked breads are first dished out on rounds of grey slate. Sourdough, muesli and white bread slices are soft within and crusty on the outer. They’re delicious on their own, but a smear of butter and a sprinkle of French sea salt, “heightens the flavour,” says dad, while mum says, “spoils it” who loves the leavened dough all on its own.
Sourdough, Muesli and White Bread
A Creative Beginning
The Amuse Bouche, Peking Duck Tuile and Five Spice Peanut Butter, starts the meal with intrigue. A wafer thin layer of chicken tuile with black sesame seeds is grasped by the hands of a metal photo frame. A wooden block base holds a smaller cracker of rich duck flavour with a peanut buttery finish. It lingers… almost like the real thing sticks to the roof of the mouth. Taste judgment is delayed as our minds try to comprehend what we’ve just eaten. It’s an impactful start.
Amuse Bouche Beetroot Ravioli comes with home produced truffle infused ricotta cheese, lemon beurré noissette and olive tapenade with a malt crumbling. Truffle wafts the air before the dish arrives. Not stated in the menu, but a surprise for guests, is a quail egg on top. The colours are gorgeous – canary yellow yolk, purple-red-violet pasta and a pale rosy pink centre. Mum and I love this plate and find it hard not to compare the rest of this meal with this beauty.
Beetroot Ravioli A French Aix Rose accompanies as the wine pairing. It’s light, crisp and provokes thoughts of picnics in the park. It’s an excellent match.
French Aix RoseSour Cream Olive Oil Mousse with potato consommé and grated heirloom potato chips makes a dramatic entrance. The soup comes in a steaming teapot and is poured over the small mound of multi-textured ingredients in the bowl. This one rips conversation from the table and nothing is heard except avid slurping and swallowing – it seems almost a race to finish. A smoky bonito flavour dominates. Sour cream smooths the palate and the fried tangle of finely grated chips add crunch. Micro chives make a natural herbal friend to the cream cheese.
Sour Cream Olive Oil MousseThe wine partner, Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, has a lovely sweet perfume with strong passion fruit in the mouth and a saliva inducing finish. We’d all happily have another glass.
Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc A Baked Tiger Prawn with Crustacean Oil is sided with a vanilla and bourbon jelly, pickles and wakame. Served on rectangular platter, the tiger prawn is butterflied and sprinkled with a black, but very mild in power, pepper. It sits on green seaweed. A trail of emerald, orange, yellow and ruby lead the eye to the end of the plate and a drizzling of oil made from lobster makes the dish glisten under the flash. Each item in the trail begs to be eaten alone to experience the distinct flavours, but then all together to understand the whole.
Baked Tiger Prawn with Crustacean OilA Lebanese wine, Chateau Kefraya Blanc de Blanc, compiles a smathering of grapes – viognier, sauvignon blanc, clairette, bourboulene, muscat a petits grains, ugni blanc, chardonnay and verdejo – and each sip intensely brings out the strong crustacean taste in the dish. It’s an interesting combination, but perhaps a tad too diverse for our Western palates to truly appreciate it.
Chateau Kefraya Blanc de BlancA sherbet of strawberry cider and yoghurt snow cleans, refreshes and prepares us for the main. Insulated glass bowls are cradled in wooden blocks. The blush coloured ice makes a pretty centrepiece and the scattering of yoghurt gives the appearance of a winter wonderland.
The Main Affair
Pan Fried Chicken Breast comes with a truffle mousse overlay. Black and red caviar and micro greens add bite to the flavour and, colour to the presentation. The chicken is tender and surprisingly moist for breast meat. A bell pepper coulis links a train of eggplant, zucchini and tomato ratatouille from the protein to the edge of the plate. Coriander oil shimmers the top and petite balls of potato rolled in black olive and orange zest further add to the artwork. Mum fancies this as her preferred dish (after the beetroot ravioli). The Argyle Willamente Valley Pinot Noir from Oregan, USA lingers in the mouth and proves a light red can go wonderfully with poultry.
Pan Fried Chicken Breast Argyle Willamente Valley Pinot Noir Duck Confit is filled with soft onion slices and is best mixed together with the jus, roasted sweet potato and gremolata. Tiny rounds of zucchini slices wrapping curd cheese are rolled in citrus powder and look like little pot plants with micro greens poking out of the top. This full flavoured bird is dad’s favourite main. He quite enjoys the Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva from Italy too with its soft cherry, vanilla, cocoa and spice, as the liquid companion.
Duck Confit Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG RiservaPan Seared Cod with salmon mousse, a crustacean veloute and avruga caviar is predictably the dish I’m most fond of. A strong taste of the ocean is presented with the mousse resembling sea foam. A black pepper Parmesan tuile carries through the original idea from the amuse bouche and black caviar and edible flowers add vibrant colour. The Argyle Willamente Valley Pinot Noir goes equally as well with this fish, as it did with mum’s chicken.
Pan Seared Cod The Wagyu is unavailable so hubby chooses a Rib Eye Tenderloin instead. It comes as a tower of meat layered with a rustic mushroom garlic sauce and plentiful greens. The outer flesh is caramelized while inside is pink and tender. It leaves a sweet aftertaste and hubby finds the beef the most desirable of the mains.
Rib Eye Tenderloin A Sweet Ending
White Chocolate and Yoghurt Mousse comes with almond praline, mango tuile and a sensational whipped mango ice cream. The mango tuile tastes of ripe tropical fruit and toffee and melts upon first contact with a warm tongue. The round middle resembles a tri-layered biscuit. The crunchy nutty base of almond praline grounds a gently flavoured mango jelly and is topped with the velvety mousse. Be careful not to fork the mango balls on the side! Gently scoop up the sun yellow spheres with your spoon and allow them to break in your mouth. Wow!
White Chocolate and Yoghurt Mousse A German wine, Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, complements the sweet conclusion with its citrus and minerals providing a crisp, acid intensity.
Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling AusleseLast time we visited, we were fond of the finishing petite fours, but wanted to see more of Chef Lance injected into them. We like his revamped ending. Instead of four nice but ordinary bites, the meal concludes with one single square of chocolate caramel. Coated with a fine coat of cocoa dust, it’s chewy, sticky and memorable.
Chocolate Caramel Chef Lance’s menus are packed with food worth contemplating. Plan to linger. Plan to partake in the wine pairing. And… plan on a surprise for your palate.
Reason to visit:elegant dining with a twist, lovely wine paired menus, gorgeous location, excellent service
228 Macalister Road
10400 George Town
+6 04 2283 888
Open daily from 8am – 1am
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Food Blog by: THe Yum List