Today, we were looking for a lunch venue and after considering some old favourites and some recently opened restaurants, we eventually bit the bullet and opted for the novelty of opening day at Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie. Our decision was based on information that the chef (Evert Onderbeke) from High Tide has been recruited and that our past dining experiences at Nathalie's Gourmet Studio have been pleasurable.
Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie has taken over the premises previously occupied by High Tide Restaurant. The restaurant has been renovated and now sports chic lamps and furniture in purple hues. The atmosphere is relaxed and we could view both chefs in action through the open kitchen. Service was also very pleasant and efficient.
There are several menus available here. For lunch, one can opt for either the set lunch or a la carte menu. The set lunch consists of Nathalie's French bento for RM45, or fresh homemade tagliatelles for RM35. From the a la carte menu, there is a choice of 5 starters, 5 main courses and 6 desserts. There are also 3 specially designed menu; namely Nathalie's selection 5-course menu for RM135, Seafood menu 5-course for RM130, or Degustation menu 6-course for RM180. Some a la carte items are featured in the specially designed menu. Menu changes monthly, similar to Nathalie's Gourmet Studio.
Hubby suggested that we go for the degustation menu and that we chose one of the main courses each in order to fully explore the menu.
Lovely purple hues
One of the main differences between Cuisine Gourmet and Nathalie's Gourmet Studio is that this place serves alcohol and is opened from 12.00noon to 10.30pm daily (except Sunday). There is even a hi-tea from 3.30pm onwards.
Bar & Open Kitchen
We start off with Three Finger Food, namely tuna on blini, lightly seared scallop with Szechuan pepper foam and onion jam followed by a gingerbread and foie gras cremeux. The myriad of textures and flavours of this starter is absolutely wonderful and this was possibly my favorite dish of the afternoon. I also love how beautiful this dish looks.
Lightly seared scallop with Szechuan pepper foam and onion jam
Love the sweetness of the caramelised onions with the scallops
Gingerbread and foie gras cremeux
Love the taste of savoury foie against the slightly sweet gingerbread
Next up, was the morel soup with a truffle foam. The soup was very thick, rich and smooth and tasted even better after each scoop.
Another beautifully presented dish, the tuna tartar with pan fried duck liver was a visual delight. To be honest, I ate both components separately and enjoyed them like that. The tuna tartar had a subtle Asian flavour and was fresh tasting. The pan fried foie was pretty good, and melted in the mouth. I noticed the pretty pea shoot, a signature garnish of Chef Evert.
Neither of us had eaten snails before, today we preferred to refer to them as escargot as it definitely sounds more appetizing. Hubby confessed to be a little apprehensive on the first mouthful but to his delight, it turned out to be his favourite course of the afternoon. The flavours worked well together, and I especially liked the herb emulsion.
We almost missed the fine detail within the pasta sheets used to create the lasagna of this dish. Herb leaves have been embedded in the translucent pasta to create the visual effect shown below.
Out of the two main courses, we prefer the lamb loin which has been cooked to perfection. The lamb loin has been stuffed with fresh mint, roasted garlic and espelette chilli and was packed full of flavour and tender. It was served with some pearl beans, which I unfortunately couldn't finish since it was quite filling. But I definitely enjoyed this dish very much as it was delicious.
Lamb Loin Stuffed with Fresh Mint, Roasted Garlic and Espelette Chilli, Pearl Beans in a Broth, Mint Oil
After taking his first bite of the fish, Hubby commented that it tasted cold. A quick reread of the menu highlighted the words"lemon marinated ikan kurau" which led us to believe, rightly or wrongly, this was in fact a ceviche. Hubby later admitted that he fancied the concept of having the degustation menu today, however he did not spend too much time reading the menu in great detail.
For desserts, you get to choose from the a la carte menu. I went for the Jivara and orange chocolate tart which I enjoyed. The pastry was crumbly and the chocolate was to my liking.
Jivara and Orange Chocolate Tart, Cocoa Nougatine, and Vanilla Ice Cream
Hubby went for the Cafe Gourmand (selection of small desserts) served with a choice of tea/coffee. Upon it's arrival at our table he felt a little cheated because his speed reading of the menu earlier had led him to believe there were 5 items on his dessert platter, when in fact 3 of them were in the same glass. In all honesty though, he was more than satisfied with his lunch today and possibly would have struggled to polish off 5 desserts (then again maybe not since they were so good..)
The Lemon sorbet cleansed the palate in preparation for the main act, the creme caramel, which was very smooth and creamy. A fitting end to a quality lunch.
Caramel Creme Brulee in a Glass, served with Lemon and Thyme Sorbet and Lemon Tuile
Nathalie has quite a reputation, locally for producing quality macarons and this chocolate macaron was a delight to eat.
Two further macarons were presented to us by Nathalie by way of thanking us for visiting her new outlet on its opening day. This was a kind and welcomed gesture - Thanks Nathalie :)
They will also be opening another bistro/cafe, in the same building, directly opposite Cuisine Gourmet serving macarons and light bites in September 2011.
Click here for the a la carte menu for July 2011.
Verdict: The food here is well prepared and beautifully presented. The menu is pretty similar to Nathalie's Gourmet Studio. Both restaurants are good in their own right but the interior here exudes more class and offers more comfort. After a pleasant first visit, we would definitely be returning for more.
Price: RM180 per person for 6 course degustation menu.
Parking: Valet parking is available at Menara Taipan for a reasonable fee of RM10. Otherwise, you can park at The Weld and walk over to the restaurant.
Location: Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie, Ground Floor, Menara Taipan, Jalan Punchak (off Jalan P. Ramlee), 50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2072 4452
GPS Coordinates: 3.152011, 101.706153