A Swiss epicurean affair
HOTEL EQUATORIAL KUALA LUMPUR,
Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Tel: 03-2161 7777 ext 8219/8333
Business hours: 6.00pm to 10.30pm, daily.
WHEN a Swiss restaurant takes part in the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) 2011, one can expect its menu to feature flavours from Switzerland.
And the Chalet is not in a habit of disappointing its guests, so it roped in chef Fritz Tschantre from Zurich to helm the ‘Exquisitely Swiss’ promotion this month.
Chef Tschantre, who specialises in European cuisine is no stranger to Chalet’s kitchen having been its second chef from 1981 to 1987 before he moved on to gain wider exposure at various top hotels in the world.
It was evident that careful thought had been put into designing Chalet’s MIGF offering with prominence given to specific Swiss ingredients from Buendner, Basel, Aargau and Saanen to heighten one’s dining experience.
Chef Tschantre said the menu was planned as far back as May, focusing on ingredients that would treat diners to traditional Swiss flavours that are hard to come by in these parts.
The simple but delicate offering of Bouquet of Green Asparagus, Apple Balsamic dressing and Air-dried ‘Buendner’ beef as our first course, presented thin slices of salted beef with a slightly tart dressing that complemented the meat and asparagus nicely.
Dried in the Alps, the ‘Buendner’ beef is high in protein but rich in sodium and its saltiness, needless to say, makes a pronounced but nice presence on the palate.
The deep dark maroon slices, said chef Tschantre cost approximately RM300 per kg.
The distinctness of the morel hit the senses as soon as the small cup of Cappuccino of Morels with Caramel Pear Skewer sat before us.
The thick, frothy and creamy mushroom soup was agonisingly good!
I am quite sure that most of us at the table would have appreciated a larger serving but morels are known to be expensive, so the chef’s superb rendition of the soup was savoured with much joy.
The Caramel Pear Skewer with lightly toasted sesame seeds dotting the surface offer a balanced nutty flavour to the fruit.
Served alongside the soup, this sweet aftertaste is not to be dipped into the soup but is to be savoured like a cracker because soaking it would definitely earn a frown from chef Tschantre.
From Basel, we appreciated the sweet onion tart served with tomato coulis as the city is popular for its onions and the Basel Onion Tart.
As soon as we were done with the starters, the refreshing and slightly intoxicating Sour Cherry Sorbet with Pineapple Crisp prepared our taste buds for the menu’s more serious items — Pan fried Giant Prawns with Poire Williams-Vanilla Sabayon and Roesti Potatoes and Sauteed Milk-fed Veal ‘Steak’ on Semolina Cake.
For dessert, chef Tschantre put out the ‘Saanen’ Mustard Ice Cream Timbale with Fresh Berries.
“The mustard in the dessert is used only for sweets and this particular dessert is famous in Saanen, an area famous for ski resorts,” he said.
Chef Tschantre is joined by Chalet’s chef de cuisine Haffizul Hashim who presents the Nouveau Set Menu featuring a menu of Sunchoke Puree with Veal Sweetbread, Sauteed Mushrooms and Herb Silhouette Potatoes, Foie Gras Terrine Crusted Toasted Almonds with Apples, Walnuts and Herb Sprout Salad as appetiser, Sour Cherry Sorbet and main course of Seared Cod Fish, Scallop, Shrimps and Mussels with Leek Confit in Saffron Veloute or Wagyu Beef with Green Peppercorn Brandy Cream Emulsion, Swiss chard and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli, Escargot Popover and Jus de Viande with Sweet Spiced Pyramid with Frozen Nougat on Vanilla Honey and Candied Orange.
Chef Tschantre’s Classic Menu is priced at RM225++ per set while the Nouveau Set Menu is tagged at RM238++ per set.
The promotion is sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland in Malaysia, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd, Lufthansa German Airlines, Titlis Rotair Cableways, Hotel Terrace Engelberg, Renaissance Hotel Zurich, Lindt Master Swiss Chocolate, Swiss Travel System and Rado Switzerland.
Known as the oldest Swiss restaurant in town, the Chalet was recently named one of the top 450 best restaurants in Asia by the Miele Guide and has also been recognised by Wine Spectator magazine for the fifth consecutive year for its wide selection of wines.