Nobu Chefs Take Creativity to New Culinary Heights
Chef Hervé Courtot is back! And he’s up for a challenge together with Executive Chef Philip Leong and Head Sushi Chef Micheole ‘Chico’ Anung Dator from Nobu Kuala Lumpur. Chef Hervé, Corporate Chef of Nobu Worldwide and team is putting their chef’s hats on to curate a menu using selected local ingredients.
Off to an early start, the Nobu team headed straight to the iconic Pudu wet market together with members of the media and blogger to select the ingredients for the challenge. The Pudu market is filled with every imaginable ingredient and produce, ranging from familiar ones to local interesting ones. The chefs spent quite an interesting morning checking out the market while the media had fun selecting the ingredients for the team.
After a fruitful morning, the whole team took the bountiful ‘Mystery Black Box’ ingredients of Indonesian mud crab, huge tiger prawns, parrot fist, catfish, Chinese stem lettuce, purple beans, petai, lychee and more back to the restaurant. It was certainly an anticipated evening meal with much excitement to look forward too!
Nobu has always take pride in their fine Japanese Peruvian inspired menu. Ardent gourmands sip Nobu’s creative cocktails while savoring Nobu’s fine menu of Salmon or Octopus Carpaccio, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Tuna Tartare with Caviar, Rock Shrimp Tempura, Kobe Beef and more. The dining experience is also enhanced with a gorgeous scenic view of the city’s beautiful skyline along with our nation’s iconic twin towers.
That evening kicked off with a monthly special of Jinzesuto. Utterly refreshing and fruity notes of passion fruit juice jazzed up with gin, sake, plum wine and finished with Yuzu citrus, Shiso and mint with a spritz of soda, the cocktail certainly perked up the palate for the highly anticipated menu to come.
Before we dine, we caught some chefs’ action in the kitchen and sushi bar. Chef Chico’s clever take on using the catfish at the sushi bar won some brownie points from us. Echoing similar flavour and texture to the classic Japanese unagi, the catfish was prepared in two ways as a starter for the menu.
Chef Phillip took the local vegetables and elevated them into fine Nobu appetizers as well as main dishes for the evening while Chef Hervé whipped the seafood into gastronomical dishes fit for royalty.
Our starter of the evening was a trio mélange of Sushi Bar Moriawase from Chef Chico. A pop of finely minced Spicy Tuna on baked Mountain Yam was cleverly balanced with a pickled Yamamomo Japanese mountain peach. Followed by crispy Catfish on Avocado with a drizzle of teriyaki sauce and finished with grilled Catfish Nigiri Sushi. Chef Chico masked the catfish heavy aroma well through the clever process of smoking and grilling the fish and paired it with the bold savory and sweet teriyaki flavour.
Kudos to Chef Phillip for his creation of Petai with Fresh Corn in Chili Garlic Sauce! Perhaps this may be the only time one will ever get to taste the stink beans on the menu of Nobu and yet, many of us may yearn for the Nobu team to consider putting this on their menu since the dish was so well-received. The bold smoky charred aroma took the dish to new heights as it worked so well with the unctuous flavours of petai and sweetness of juicy corn kernels. Coupled with the brash usage of Japanese Shichimi spices to give the dish some heat, this appetizer is a keeper for our local palates.
Chinese stem lettuce or Wo Sun, more commonly used in Chinese cuisine, has taken on new profile in Japanese cuisine. Chef Phillip has paired the sliced crisp stems with juicy sliced fresh water chestnuts and flavoured them with miso. The nutty savory sprinkled of dried miso worked very well on the stem lettuce and chestnuts, giving the Chinese Stem Lettuce with Miso a hint of bitter ending with crispy Yuba as an added crunch factor.
Chef Hervé did much justice to the Indonesia mud crabs by using the shells to churn out a sublime Crab Bisque Cappuccino. Relatively small served in a cup, the crab bisque boasted of magnanimous essence of the crab and other seafood. Lusciously delicious, each sip of the bisque was divine on the palate.
The Parrot Fish with Black Bean Paste made quite a grand entrance with the whole fish perched on the side of the plate. The fillets of the fish are beautifully steamed in the rich dark bean paste sauce before being finished with splashes of hot oil on to the julienned ginger and spring onions. The flesh is silky smooth and delectable sweet and firm. A rather classic preparation that ultimately delivers a delicious dish to the diners.
The steamed flesh of the Indonesian mud crab is handpicked and gracefully blanketed with Nobu’s creamy spicy sauce, sprinkled with freshly cracked black pepper and broiled to perfection. Each spoonful of Steamed Crab with Spicy Sauce is a revelation of scrumptiousness in the mouth, lending small peaks of satisfaction of the pleasures of sweet crab meat with hints of heat and cream.
Grilled Tiger Prawns with Anticucho doesn’t not only looks fabulous at sight but in taste as well. Cooked to perfection, the firm and tender crustaceans had a good dose of smoky chargrilled aroma that paired so well with one of Nobu’s signature anticucho sauce. Expect sweetness from the prawns and robust notes of heat and umami notes from the sauce.
An interlude from seafood and meat, the sizzling Purple Beans Tobanyaki had us enjoying buttery beans cooked al dente. The aroma wafting from the tobanyaki was amazing…
Tuna Poke Nobu Style reminded us again what Nobu is all about. With a based of lentils and brown rice crowned with cubes of tuna, avocado and cucumber, the poke also had seaweed and generous sprinkling of sesame seeds for textures. Dressed with a garlicky spicy miso sauce, the poke is easy to enjoy and healthy too.
A trio of vegetable dishes followed pursuit, perhaps a clever timing from the chefs, to appease our palate for some greens amidst the indulgence. Crispy Bok Choy with Miso, simple and sufficiently tasty, showed off crispy fried bok choy leaves flavoured with dried miso dust.
There’s also local Asparagus with Shiso Salsa, an artfully arranged batons of crispy asparagus on a pool of herbaceous Shiso sauce. It’s the sauce that makes the dish rather unique. Asparagus has a unique flavour profile and the aroma and taste of the shiso leaves seemed to work wondrously well as a countering note to balance the vegetable.
Creativity takes on new heights again with Chinese Stem Lettuce & Four Angle Beans with Yuzukosho Kombu Dashi. The most unlikely pairing at first thought, it was surprising on how well the dish turned out to be. The spicy moreish notes of jalapeno heat with citrus and the umami notes of kombu jazzed up both crunchy veggies well, even to the extend of enhancing the sweetness of the stem lettuce.
Our final main of Lamb Chop with Eggplant Puree was exceptionally delicious. The French trimmed cutlet was cooked to perfect pinkness and served with Tozasu butter sauce on a bed of eggplant and pumpkin puree. The Tozasu butter sauce, a simmered down bonito flakes and ponzu sauce, is what made the lamb chop bursting with much flavours.
To sweeten the evening, our much beloved local lychee fruit was turned into Lychee Panna cotta with Grapefruit Sorbet. Served with lychee and grapefruit segments, the dessert was vibrantly refreshing and tangy with a little hint of creaminess.
Chef Hervé was present at Nobu Kuala Lumpur to showcase Nobu Trilogy Osusume promotion that took place from 1 July to 7 July, 2019. The Nobu Trilogy is a prelude to the latest Nobu restaurant to be open in Nobu Hotel Barcelona in September 2019.
A big thank you to Nobu Kuala Lumpur for the priceless excursion and dining experience with the Nobu culinary team. Chef Hervé, Chef Phillip and Chef Chico has certainly outdone themselves in curating a truly unique Nobu menu with the ingredients that were given to them. An unforgettable Nobu experience like no other…
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