Mosaic of flavours
Mandarin oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03- 2179 8881
Mosaic, Mandarin Oriental’s latest all-day dining venue, leaves no stone unturned in its quest to become Kuala Lumpur’s dining destination of choice.
DISTINCTIVE, lively and imaginative are the first three words that came to mind when I was ushered into Mosaic, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur’s newest all-day dining venue.
Conceived by Tokyo-based Spin Design Studio whose exceptional, edgy interior designs adorn the Ritz-Carltons, Four Seasons and some of the world’s finest boutique hotels and upmarket restaurants, Mosaic’s opulent interior and interactive layout has certainly upped the ante for its culinary competitors.
Overlooking verdant vistas of the KLCC Park, Mosaic serves up a vibrant montage of Peranakan-inspired finishings and decorative accents: quaint floral tiles, bespoke mosaic walls and columns, retro-style display cabinets and side cupboards filled with a treasure trove of ancient Straits Chinese ceramics and bric-a-bracs. Overhead, rows of pewter pendant lights and ornate lamp chandeliers lend a luminous glow to sleek marble-topped counters and intricately carved Oriental-style wood panels.
Central to this posh, elegant restaurant is a circular, tiered marble counter laden with every type of salad and appetiser imaginable. What really piqued our interest was how chef de cuisine Raymond Abou Rjeily had incorporated a wide assortment of Middle Eastern breads, dips and starters as well as fresh micro sprouts and flavoured olive oils into the usual line-up of garden greens, Continental dressings and condiments.
The puffy Arabic breads, smeared with smooth Hummus (chickpea puree) and smoky Babaganoush (grilled eggplant puree) were so addictive we had to restrain ourselves from gorging too much. Equally tempting were the crunchy Lavosh (crispbread), Fattoush (fried pita bread pieces with mixed green salad) and Tabbouleh (bulgur wheat, tomato, cucumber, parsley and mint salad).
Other notable finds included the signature Cobb Salad (roast corn, avocado, quail’s egg blue cheese and smoked chicken salad), Swiss Potato Salad and Tuna Tartare with Mediterranean-style Grilled Vegetable. You can also rustle up a classic Caesar salad on your own or let your imagination run riot with the plethora of olives, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and cheeses available.
Nicely laid out on crushed ice, the freshly shucked Oysters, Hard-shell Clams, Green Mussels and Shelled Prawns quickly had us hooked on their inherent freshness: simply enhance their natural sweetness with a splash of lemon juice, Tabasco or wasabi mayo. We then ate our fill of Sashimi, Sushi and dainty appetisers such as Beetroot Cured Salmon, Scallop in Vinegared Dressing, Sliced Air-dried Beef, Smoked Duck Breast and Marinated Baby Octopuses and Calamari before moving on to mains.
Since Mosaic’s live kitchens are segregated according to cooking techniques rather than cuisine type, you’d find noodles, stir-fries, grilled and tandoor specialities served at different, dedicated cooking stations. This means the dishes are proffered in small amounts; fresh and hot off the pan, pot and wok or straight from the grill and oven.
Since it would be impossible to try everything, I focused on offerings made with unusual ingredients, required painstaking preparation or professional culinary skills.
The piquant Laksa Kelantan topped my list of preferred dishes. Its spicy broth which tasted overly sweet at first, only needed a squeeze of fresh lime juice to balance it. Coming in a close second was the juicy, tender Lamb Chops with onion, lotus and mushroom covered in sublime sauce.
In fact, the wafer-thin, crisp Salmon Pizza, scrumptious Fried Rice with Egg White, Diced Scallop and Tomato, robust Lamb Shajhari in Saffron Gravy and chunky skewers of Chicken Satay (even better than the famed Kajang ones!) were so good, we unashamedly scurried back for extra helpings.
Only the Clam Chowder was the evening’s misstep. There were scarcely any clams in the broth and it left a floury aftertaste on our palate. Executive chef Uwe Faust graciously accepted our feedback and promised to rectify the shortcoming.
The final icing on Mosaic’s cake has to be its lavish dessert bar. Outfitted with nifty glass front drawers that slide out smoothly, each one bears a sumptuous variety of bite-size sweet treats such as Violet Macarons, Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Berries, Miniature Fruit Tartlets and Pralines.
Also not to be missed are the hotel’s exquisitely rich Flourless Chocolate Cake, Homemade Ice Creams (caramel, black sesame, green tea, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla) with your choice of toppings and sauces, pillowy-soft Bread Butter Pudding and a multi-tiered chocolate fountain for you to dip skewers of fruits and marshmallows into.
Be prepare to spend RM88++ per person for the buffet lunch while dinner is priced at RM108++ per person (Sunday to Thursday) and RM128++ per person (Friday & Saturday).