Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Millesime, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur

We like so many others have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Millesime, the new restaurant by Max Chin. Having had numerous good dining experiences previously in Max @ iHaus, our expectations were high. Furthermore, we have read some early reviews online, including that of EatDrinkKL which fueled the already blazing fire within us so we headed off to Solaris Dutamas this afternoon for what we fully expected to be a lavish lunch. However, after our lunch today, we have affectionately renamed this precinct Solaris “DoubtingThomas”.


We are familiar with Solaris Dutamas, having dined at the nearby Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio. Despite that we still had a bit of trouble locating Millesime. Currently there are no assigned parking spaces for the restaurant. During the week the adjoining car park servicing the offices and shops is very full. Today almost every vacant position was reserved for a unique car registration. We eventually found our destination having made a detour through the art gallery, spotting Paranoid Android and Nomad Gourmand going in the opposite direction.

Sleek interior


Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by the maître d' by name (being the only reservation for lunch today). We were escorted to the table of our choice and presented with the printed “Lunch Menu”. Spotting Max Chin in his civilian clothes, issuing instructions to shopfitters who were executing finishing touches to his new premises, we had to double take both the menu and each other as we were seated. Our hearts sank, the reality that Max wasn’t cooking and that we were not being offered the “off menu experience” that we expected almost had us prematurely excusing ourselves from the premises in disappointment.
The open kitchen


I think our puzzled expressions and saddened glances at each other alerted the maître d' to our quandary. We sought clarification as the last thing we expected to see at Millesime was a set lunch menu. Albert, the maître d' explained that the lunch menu was designed to cater for nearby office workers and suggest the degustation menu would still be available to us should we have time. We had all the time in the world. Things were looking up. We quickly informed him of our intention not to take the lunch menu and of my post confinement dietary limitations (no shelled seafood).

Suddenly it was game on – degustation menu for two with no shelled seafood in sight.
Floral display at entrance

The familiar freshly baked bread with balsamic vinegar reduction


A degustation menu is widely recognized as a “carefully put together menu of various foods, focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art, and good company." It usually showcases the chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. Regrettably , the only thing present in our degustation meal today was good company.

The printed degustation menu presented to us was as follows:
Amuse bouche
Marlin Fish Fillet layered with smoked oyster and remoulade
Piquillo Pepper with crabmeat and saffron aioli
Unagi fillet with duck foie gras terrine and cauliflower mousseline
Roasted French Quail with glazed chestnuts and morel cream
or
Thyme-Lemon Baked Cod fish fillet with rosemary jus
Valrhona bitter sweet chocolate soufflé with amarena ice-cream

On another day we would have settled for this menu, but while in post confinement we made it clear that I could not have shelled seafood, so the piquillo pepper with crabmeat would have to be omitted. I was prepared to eat the Marlin and simply pass the oyster to Hubby. The maître d' however suggested that the chef could create an alternative first and second course without shelled seafood for us, to which we agreed.

Our first course arrived, a salad of sautéed avocado with orange vinaigrette, which to our dismay was an item directly off the set lunch menu which we had clearly opted out of. Earlier when reviewing the lunch menu I had striked out 2 of the choices due to shelled seafood content and had commented to Hubby that I had no real enthusiasm to eat avocado salad. This turned out to be a very uninspiring dish to be served on a newly opened kitchen’s degustation menu.


I told myself not to be disheartened, but when the next dish arrived, Haloumi Cheese with beetroot, my heart sank even further. It wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring. Although I had enjoyed haloumi cheese at Max@iHaus, there was something missing from today’s combination.


We were now greatly looking forward to our unagi with foie gras, thinking that we would be getting this dish next, as it did not contain any shelled seafood. However, we were deeply disappointed to be served smoked duck breast with mushroom ragout. Stand alone it was in fact a good dish, but where was my unagi and foie gras? We don’t recall telling them we couldn’t eat unagi or foie gras. Again, the smoked duck breast was conveniently something off their set lunch menu .

By now, I was pretty sure that the on-duty chef did not have the skills to conjure up an off-menu creation in Max’s absence and regrettably just gave us what was on the lunch menu as alternatives to shelled seafood. We took the opportunity to clarify with the maître d' that we wished to be served one of each of the degustation mains before being presented with who-knows-what... Something off the lunch menu would be a fair guess.

Just before our main courses arrived, we realized that we had not been served any amuse bouche, which is included with the degustation. We signalled the maître d' over and after conference with the kitchen their story was that they planned to serve this to us after our duck course. This was a pretty lame excuse, we all know an amuse bouche is served at the start of the meal. It appears the kitchen had forgot to serve the amuse bouche. But how could they have forgotten – we were the only 2 diners in there, it was not like they had a lot of orders to deal with this afternoon.

To make matters worse, the amuse bouche served was seared tuna with marinated clams. Up to this point, each course was described in detail when it was served to us, but the amuse bouche was sheepishly placed in front of us and introduced simply as ‘your amuse bouche’. Served on a fork, the amuse bouche was attractively presented in such a way that the clams were actually sandwiched between the tuna, so we did not notice it immediately. Additionally, because it was bite-sized, we immediately popped it into our mouths without second thought. However, some overspill remained on the plate, which I recognized as "clams". Hubby didn’t quite believe it was clams (since we specifically said NO SHELLED SEAFOOD and hence the reason why we were on a revised degustation menu) so we signalled the maître d' again to pose a simple question “What is this?”, pointing to the clam as we asked. He replied “marinated clams”, to which we replied “Isn’t that a shelled seafood”? To say the least, our already below-par lunch had now become a farce.


Our mains were up next, Roasted French Quail and Lemon Baked Cod Fish. I didn’t enjoy my quail, I felt that it was too tough. My passion to review the food in front of me had desserted me. Hubby’s cod fish was slightly better but it only equalled the Dory we have been accustomed to receiving at iHaus as part of their RM25 set lunch.



We have encountered this dessert, Varlhona bitter Sweet chocolate soufflé before at Max@iHaus and we can’t fault it. We were also served an additional complimentary desert, Glazed plum with yoghurt ice-cream, again another item from the set lunch menu as an apology for serving us shelled seafood. It’s ironic how everything we opted not to eat today kept appearing before us.


On our drive back after the meal, our minds were cast back to The Star article which we reread upon our arrival home. To quote the article:

“Gone are the days when you get to thumb through a menu and take 30 minutes to decide on a main course. Because at Millesime (which means “great vintage” in French), you will literally be given no choice”.
We chose not to eat the set lunch but in the end, we were effectively given no choice...
We asked not to be served shelled seafood but again we were given no choice...
However, it is surprisingly contradictory that degustation diners are given the choice of two main courses to select from.

What if you don’t agree with the chef’s choice of the day? With a shake of his head, Chin ensures that will never happen. Anything served in Millesime will be a “guaranteed meal by Max”. If you have qualms over a specific ingredient, like beef or duck, you can always inform the chef beforehand.
Max introduced himself to us before quickly vacating the premise prior to our meal commencing only returning as our mains were being presented at the table, this was hardly a guaranteed meal by Max. We made it clear to the maître d' that we did not want shelled seafood but the kitchen staff blatantly overlooked this. What if my reasons for not having shelled seafood was due to a serious allergic reaction?

If your concerns are catching Chin on a bad day, don’t worry. “If I’m angry, I just don’t cook,” he says. And you best let him have his way.
Today must have been a bad day for Max as he certainly wasn’t cooking, or even closely supervising his kitchen. Our meal suffered as a result.

For the first week, customers will be able to determine their own price for the food served. Chin plans to use this as an “experiment”, while the money collected will be given to charity. “Pay what you think it’s worth,” he says.
We were left wishing we had gone on the “charity week” and had the choice of paying what we thought the lunch was worth today because it was not worth the RM 300++ we paid.

As a restaurant which markets itself as “first of its kind in Malaysia’ we expected every course to be a winner. I would return to Millesime in the near future only if I know that Max is cooking or at least closely supervising in his kitchen on that day. If we knew today that we were going to be served courses off the lunch menu as alternatives, we would have simply ordered the lunch menu and not the degustation menu.

Despite our experience today we wholeheartedly respect what Millesime aims to offer and we recommend that you do make a visit when you can. There is no doubt that Max is a great chef as we have enjoyed many lunches at Max @ iHaus. We rolled the dice today and fully expected to come up with two sixes unfortunately in Max’s absence his staff rolled out a pair of twos.

Opening times: 12pm - 12am.

Price: RM55++ for 3-course set lunch. RM150++ for 5-course degustation menu.

Location: Millesime, G1-01-3, Level G1, Menara Kencana Petroleum, No.1, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-6211 0648

GPS Coordinates: 3.1711, 101.66583

19 comments:

  1. A fair review

    At least the money is paid for charity

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  2. smallkucing: Charity week was last week. RM150++ is what's being charged for the degustation menu now.

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  3. the degustation as good as Cilantro's Luncheon since almost the same price..?

    Might squeeze out some time to go there at Dec~~

    so there's only 1 choice of degustation menu and change from time to time?

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  4. yeah it does look like pure laziness..in that case, you would have been better off tailoring your own degustation menu..

    but rm150 for 5 course if done correctly and in a nice setting is quite good value for money but it doesnt look like a comparison to Cilantro and Sage just yet from reading this.

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  5. Fui Lemonadelime: Based on yesterday's lunch, I would have to say that Cilantro's luncheon is way better, both in terms of food and service.

    If you do plan a trip to Millesime, I would strongly advise you not to go during lunch hour unless Max is cooking in his kitchen that day. Lunch is targetted at the office workers.

    Yes, only 1 degustation menu per day. However, we understand from the maitre 'd that the degustation menu may differ daily depending on the produce they get their hands on.

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  6. Joe: If they couldn't cater to our "no shelled seafood" requirement, they should have told us right at the start and either ask us to have the set lunch menu or not serve us at all. It's pretty poor that we made it clear we didn't want the set lunch but they still served us courses off that menu. Not terribly impressed with their choices as well.

    Btw I'm so annoyed right now because I am suffering from a bad rash due to those darn clams.

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  7. Such a shame tho. I had a horrible food experience yesterday for lunch at another 5-star diner! It left felt so sad! :(

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  8. I have to admit I wasn't too impressed during dinner and when I returned for lunch the next day it did not fare very well too. But to be fair, they have just opened and need some running in. For the time being, I will delay commenting.

    The Coutanceau Dinner at Senses was way below par, but I am not sure what I am going to write as they were cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen as well. But I suppose certain standards should be adhered, being the chef de cuisine at a 2 star michelin rated restaurant. Sigh!

    Anyway, congrats (I did read confinement) and hope to bump into you again somewhere.

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  9. I am sorry to hear of your experience at our restaurant recently. In our continued effort to improve, we would like to invite you to another tasting.

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  10. Oh my,at least someone agrees with me.
    My set lunch was disappointin. And almost made me never to go back again (actually aft tht lunch I cancelled my dinner plans at Millesime).
    Totally not up tp expectations.

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  11. Big boys oven: yeah i know exactly how you feel. To have all that expectation and then crushed.

    PA: Ah, if we were 5 minutes earlier, we could have bumped into you at the restaurant. Thanks for the well wishes :)

    We had wanted to go to that Coutanceau dinner at Senses too, but we looked at his menu online and it consisted of too many seafood elements so I had to give it a miss. Pity it wasn't great for you.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Max: Please drop us an email which we could reply to. Thanks.

    thenomadGourmand: We were definitely disappointed with our meal as well especially since Max is one of our favorite chef's. Looking back at EatDrinkKL's post, there were many non shelled seafood items which could have been served to us, but I guess it just wasn't our lucky day.
    Maybe a visit few months down the line would restore our hope.

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  14. Aww, a dissapointing meal indeed especially when u had a high expectation for it. But hey, Max invited u for a tasting session. Hope it'll turn out good! :)

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  15. Oh no! Sucks that you didn't have a good experience. I would have just thrown a fit. You were calm to say the least. Teething problems perhaps?

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  16. qwazymonkey: We were just downright unlucky. We were led to believe that the degustation menu was available to diners all day but clearly this is not the case.

    We did speak to the maitre 'd and voiced our discontentment about the dishes being served to us (ie from the lunch menu) but all he did was shrug and walk away. I was miffed that I had to pay RM150 for what seems to be a lunch menu plus 2 extra courses.

    Lesson learnt: Always call beforehand to make sure Max is cooking in the kitchen. Because everyone else who has had Max cooked for them has had nothing but good food served before them.

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  17. You can email to rsvp@millesime.my or contact 6211 0648

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  18. Max: Emailed back in Dec but never got a response.

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  19. We went for dinner there last night, looking forward to great food - which we miss so much since Max left Bukit Bintang, but sad to say,we left quite disappointed with what we had @ Millesime.

    My wife had the normal degustation menu @ RM220 and I chose to have the Kobe degustation for RM140 extra.

    The Champagne Mignonette Marinated Oyster was salty but what was most disappointing was the Kobe beef was not fresh and the sauce was overpowering.

    The waiter was kind enough to offer to replace the dish, but frankly I did not have the appetite for another dish after that.

    The highlight of the meal was the sorbet on the stick.

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