Le Midi sets the mood for Valentine’s Day.
LE MIDI RESTAURANT
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Lot T3, 3rd Floor, East Wing
285 Jalan Maarof
Tel: 03-2094 1318
Business hours: 11am to midnight, daily. Kitchen closes at 10pm
COUPLES all around Malaysia will be dining out on Valentine’s Day in search of a special meal to say “I love you.”
For those opting to dine at Le Midi restaurant in Bangsar, the yacht-inspired interior, complete with timber decking and soft, white leather lounges will certainly set the mood.
Le Midi’s Valentine’s Day menu consists of five courses, including a glass of wine.
Owner Melissa Groot opened Le Midi in 2010.
A keen traveller, Groot sought to bring her European fine-dining experiences back to Bangsar, but in a more relaxed setting.
“When Le Midi opened, we were defined as a Mediterranean restaurant, but the cuisine was a little confusing for our customers, so we now combine French, Italian and occasionally Spanish influences,” said Groot.
“We try to give the best of both worlds: semi-fine, elegant dining, in a more relaxed environment, with large windows providing a beautiful view of the Twin Towers, as well as a fine dining section.”
Le Midi’s Valentine’s Day menu marks the first outing for the restaurant’s new chef, the multi-Michelin Star winning Andrea Alimenti.
“I want this menu to be very light, but also offer a variety of flavours.
“Some of the dishes are classical, and revisit the spirit of St Valentines Day, while others come from the nouvelle style of European cooking,” said Alimenti.
“Today, people do not just eat because they are hungry, they eat because they want an experience.
“That is how I designed this menu.
“First is the sight, then your nose catches each dish’s aroma.
“It’s like love, after a while, you can’t wait to bite it!”
The menu is a master class in balance, particularly in relation to texture.
The experience begins with a starter of marinated beef carpaccio, topped with crushed, toasted almonds and shaved white celery.
A light dish, Alimenti pointed out how “the tenderness of the beef contrasts with the crunch of the almonds and cool freshness of the celery”.
Drizzled in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, the dish fuses Italian and French influences, and makes for an easy, soft start to the menu.
For the entree, mozzarella ravioli with basil pesto sauce is served, a more obviously Italian dish than the fusion-style starter.
Duck breast with honey, sweet wine, onions and cinnamon-apple puree.
Despite being cheese based, the ravioli is sweet, with its dense mozzarella-filling balanced nicely by a sugary tomato and pesto sauce.
The pasta is served in a small pool of olive oil, which makes it very smooth.
As a result, its texture flows on nicely from the tender starter.
Indeed, given its sweetness, the ravioli makes for quite an appropriate entrée for Valentine’s Day.
The dish was paired with a French sauvignon blanc, specially imported by Groot for Le Midi’s patrons.
The menu’s first course consists of a lobster tagliolini, topped with diced zucchini and saffron oil.
“This is a very popular dish at Le Midi, which trades on our key principle of quality,” said Groot.
Large, meaty chunks of lobster rests between slim tagliolini pasta strands, with cooked cherry tomatoes adding a tang to the sweet flavour, and saffron oil adding a luxurious, exotic touch.
Impressively, the pasta is al dente, but doesn’t fall into the trap of tasting undercooked; a technical challenge that makes it obvious an Italian chef is overseeing the kitchen.
Diners can choose from two mains, either a barramundi fillet served with asparagus and lime in a Prosecco wine reduction, or a honey glazed duck breast, served with spring onions and an apple and cinnamon puree.
The barramundi is creamier than the other dishes on offer throughout the evening, though the crunch of its asparagus helps to balance the dish’s texture.
Similarly, the slight fizz of the prosecco reduction adds a necessary layer of sweetness, in keeping with Valentine’s Day.
Of the two, the duck is the standout.
As Alimenti intended, the first thing diners notice is its smell, a sweet mix of honey, cinnamon and apple.
The small slices of duck breast are displayed as a fan, and the dish avoids the trap of being too dry or chewy.
Instead, tender, fatty chunks of meat absorb the honey and cinnamon, making for a soft but very flavoursome meal.
Following on from the taglioni, the duck also makes for a nice contrast in texture; where al dente pasta is invariably quite firm, the duck breast’s suppleness represents a pleasant change.
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without dessert, and Le Midi’s chocolate fondente, covered in sponge cake and Chantilly cream, is perfect for the occasion.
Looking like a cloud of cream, the dessert consists of several layers.
Inside the cream, sponge cake conceals a chocolate centre. The sponge is quite milky, and complements, rather than jars with the cream, leaving the chocolate fondente and base of fresh raspberries to provide a necessary element of tang.
The dessert is a fitting end to Le Midi’s Valentine’s Day menu, and embodies the dining experience as a whole.
While there is a lot going on, with orange, raspberry sponge, cream and chocolate all vying for a diner’s attention, Alimenti manages to balance each flavour.
In doing so, the menu reflects the kind of cohesive meal people ought to expect of a high-end restaurant.
“Our Valentine’s Day menu offers a proper European fine dining experience, modelled on French silver service, but toned down,” said Groot.
“It’s not just the food, it’s the whole experience that’s important. I created Le Midi out of passion, so I know Valentine’s Day will be packed!”
This represents the writer’s personal opinion and not an endorsement by StarMetro.