Thursday, November 20, 2014

Michelin-Star Chef Mario Gamba of Acquarello Munich @ Mandarin Oriental KL

I was excited to hear that Chef Mario Gamba of Michelin-starred Acquarello in Munich was coming to KL and was even more excited when I received an invitation from the Mandarin Oriental KL hotel to attend a cooking demo and 7-course dinner at Mandarin Grill.

Chef Mario Gamba will be at the award-winning Mandarin Grill from 19 to 22 November 2014 and diners can choose from a 5-course dinner for RM498++ per person or 7-course dinner for RM698++ per person. There will also be a 6-course wine dinner featuring Chateau Cantemerle on 22nd November for RM598++ per person.

Chef Mario Gamba's restaurant in Munich, Acquarello was awarded one Michelin-star in 2000 and has been listed among the world's 100 best restaurants by Forbes. He has trained under Michelin-starred Chef Alain Chapel in France, Chef Heinz Winkler of Tantris and Chef Gualitero Marchesi. He is specially flown in by Qatar Airways with his assistant Chef Bastian Gebhardt to give diners an exclusive Italian dining experience.

Earlier at the cooking demo, Chef Mario Gamba shows us how to make a pea risotto topped with scallop saltimbocca and Amalfi lemon foam. He tells us that to make a good risotto, it is important to buy good risotto rice (either Carnaroli or Vialone Nano). During his cooking demo, he uses the 9-years aged Acquerello rice, which is often hailed as the "Roll-Royce of rice" due to its superior quality. The aging process guarantees a perfect stability of the starch within the grains, that is indispensable to exalt their qualitative and nutritional values.

Saltimbocca is given a twist by Chef Mario Gamba, as he tops the lightly seared scallops with raw tuna drizzled with sesame oil. Another tip that he shares is to add some acidity to the risotto, either by adding a splash of wine or white balsamic vinegar and butter to finish off the dish. The risotto was perfectly executed and by the time I finished eating it, I was certainly looking forward to the 7-course dinner that was to come.

For dinner, we were ushered into the private dining room in Mandarin Grill restaurant. To start, we were served a selection of bread with salted and smoked butter, followed by an amuse bouche of veal with tuna foam, his take on the Vitello Tonnato.

Our dinner venue, the elegant Mandarin Grill

During the cooking demo, Chef Mario Gamba revealed that in his Acquarello kitchen in Munich, he prefers to serve a light menu to his diners by using less butter and sugar. He also tells us that his favorite method of cooking is sous vide, as it is healthier and the flavours of food are sealed in. The veal in the warm veal filet salad was prepared with the sous vide method, and then served with artichoke, basil oil and truffle shavings. Yup, be prepared for a truffle extravaganza ;)

"You must try the gold egg later" Chef Mario Gamba enthusiastically tells us. And I can see why - the truffled egg is topped with edible gold leaf, celery mousseline, and Madeira foam. This was definitely my favorite dish of the evening - absolutely exquisite and bursting with flavour.

Chef Mario Gamba grew up in Northern Italy, and his grandmother used to make ravioli for the family on weekends. For the next course, we were served with a potato ravioli with sherry foam and white truffle shavings. I liked the texture that potato filling gives these delicate parcels and the sherry foam packs quite a punch flavour wise.

The filet of cod was served with a sauce made from duet of bell pepper coulis, topped with scallop cream, black truffle shavings and cannellini beans foam.  Super love the sauce, paired with flaky fish.

Cappuccino of Potato with Parmesan Foam and Truffle

The main course is a lamb loin in a crisp bread crust. Beautifully pink in the centre, this was served with a rosemary jus with ratatouille and baked eggplant praline on the side.

By the way, Mandarin Grill is also having a truffles promotion- RM180/g for white truffle, and RM90/g for black truffle.

And to end our wonderful meal, a gorgeous ricotta souffle served with Alba white truffle ice cream, pear coulis and Tahitian vanilla. The truffle ice cream was amazing, wish I could have more of that!

Thank you to Mandarin Oriental KL for extending the invitation to this exquisite dinner.

Opening times: 12pm to 2.30pm; 7pm to 10.30pm.


Price: RM698++ per person

Location: Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2380 8888

GPS Coordinates: 3.155514, 101.711555

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  1. What a wonderful experience! We recently got to try white truffle and it was exquisite! I guess it is truffle season in Europe now so now is the time :)

  2. Love the presentation of the food :)


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