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A MEAL can transcend from being a mediocre affair to something memorable, if its accompanied by fine drinks, be it wine or champagne.

During the special Louis Roederer Cristal Dinner at Frangipani recently, diners were treated to good champagne paired with fine food.

“Champagne has a light flavour and as such, the food should have similar quality too. However, with a dinner like this, where four different vintages are served, there is the risk of the meal becoming too bland,” Frangipani’s chef Chris Bauer said.

He said the key to keeping the meal interesting was to increase the flavours with each dish and giving diners a ‘wake up call’ somewhere in between.

“A bisque is more commonly paired with champagne but I went with the bouillabaise to wake up the taste buds of the diner. The only difference to the bouillabaise was that I strained out the little hard bits,” he said.

Bauer’s thick and smooth Quick Smoked Beurre Noisette Poached Lobster Bouillabaise was accompanied by the Louis Roederer Rose Vintage 2006, that has a delicate pink tone and richness that expressed the lively structure of Pinot Noir.


Standing tall: (From left) The Louis Roederer stars of the night namely Brut Premier NV, Brut Vintage 2003, Rose Vintage 2006 and Cristal Vintage 2004.

The night, however, had started off with the Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, a blended champagne considered the most difficult to produce.

Brut Premier is a blend of at least four vintages composed of Chardon­nay, Pinot Noir and Meunier with the inclusion of 10% reserve wines matured in oak casks for years to give the characteristic Louis Roederer complexity and full body.

This was paired with Bauer’s Sake Poached Oysters with Chive Creme Fraiche Gnocchi, Yuzu Fish Fumet and Seawater Foam, something that Bauer described as an ‘obvious combination’.

Following this was the Pan Seared Scallop and Flash Grilled Tuna Belly Burger with Raspberry Ketchup and Wasabi Tobiko Fries, Bauer’s little surprise for diners.


Colourful presentation: Rum Soaked Savarin Cake with Marinated Fruit and Creme Chibouste ended the five-course dinner.

The intense notes and rich aromas of the Louis Roederer Brut Vintage 2003 complemented the unique flavours of this dish.

However, the highlight of the evening was none other than the Louis Roederer Cristal Vintage 2004 with a silky texture and delicate bouquet that ended on a fresh if not tart note.

“There should only be one star during each course so the dish of Pan Roasted St Pierre Fillet with Ginger Steamed Baby Vegetables in a Bacon and Caviar laced Waterzooi plays a complementary role here,” Bauer quipped.

The Cristal was first created in 1876 after Tsar Alexander II demanded it be served in bottles made of transparent crystal glass with a flat bottom to make them easily identifiable and therefore giving birth to the notion of something premium.

The night ended with the Rum Soaked Savarin Cake with Marinated Fruit and Creme Chibouste and many guests at the dinner sipping their favourite champagne of the night.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by Star Metro.

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