Louise Miller and Monica Tindall
Escaping the horribly hazy streets of KLCC to experience G Hotel’s effortlessly elegant Tanzini restaurant provided a much needed injection of serene purity to our hitherto polluted evening. We breathed clean lung-filling sighs of relief as we took in the stylish design and ambience of the dimly lit dining room: tables adorned with crisp white cloths and a host of gleaming wine glasses; leather chairs in muted beige and brown tones; walls lined with wine bottles and an abundance of real plants (big, healthy leafy ones) in huge ceramic pots which added vibrant verdant touches to the dining space. All of this created a relaxing yet sophisticated and romantic setting.
I was excited to try out the Bocuse d’Or Gold Medalist, Chef Kenneth Loke’s MGIF menu – Not just because of the impressive list of culinary accolades in his career but also because Monica and Caning were already familiar with his innovative talent and I’d heard great things from both of them. The meal opened with ‘amuse-bouche’, compulsory in a meal of this calibre. I love it when a meal opens with these little palate-pleasing surprises and so, with the discovery element in mind, here is a spoiler alert: scroll down a paragraph if you prefer the mystery!
We were presented with tiny rondelles of red radish, dusted with roselle powder and arranged to sandwich a filling of crab meat with smoked emulsion and abiko. The flavours were truly delicious, beautifully balanced but dominated by the crab and the decorative fronds of fresh dill. The second amuse-bouche were the stunning little charcoal powder cones filled with a jerusalem artichoke puree and jerusalem artichoke crisps. A couple of bites revealed a further, deeper filling of velvety foie gras, it was at this point that I felt that I’d somehow been transported to gourmet heaven.
We’d been served a fruity yet dry medium bodied Ca N’estruc Blanc 2013: a zesty Catalonian wine with perfumed aromas of peony, praline and a citrusy melon and slightly smoky mineral accented finish. This was a great partner for the appetiser, Lightly Charred Marble Goby. I’d never tried this local fish before and was impressed by its pure white, delicately flavoured flesh which had been cured before charring and was brilliantly paired with the uber fresh sugar snap pea juice, smoked mayonnaise and punchy horseradish oil and wasabi pea powder.
Our next course was soup but this title hardly does it justice. A stunning ensemble of plump pan-seared Hokkaido scallops, fern-like fronds of red and green seaweed and a mound of glistening trout eggs were placed before us before the pouring of a beef bacon dashi saw them bathed in golden liquid. The exquisite flavour of the consommé combined with the sweet scallops rendered us speechless in enjoyment and admiration and had me slightly concerned about how the following courses could possibly reach the same high standards – had this menu peaked too soon?
Whilst mulling this over, we cleansed our palates with a wild cosmos or ulam raja granita. Mixed with coriander, sugar syrup and lemon juice to soften the bitterness of the local herb, this was a delightfully refreshing intermezzo with a gentle zing.
The arrival of the menu’s two main course options, allayed our concerns. The first was a Sakura Chicken Ballotine with Mushroom. The super succulent white chicken meat was wrapped tightly with its tasty truffle infused skin, filled with minced black trumpet mushrooms and accompanied by a truffle emulsion further flavoured by sherry vinegar.
The Grilled Rack of Lamb was another triumph: the Australian lamb was so juicy, flavoursome, perfectly cooked and served atop a buttery bed of parmesan polenta with a side garnish of cherry tomatoes, watercress and fennel with a lemon and pommery mustard dressing. We were lucky to have been able to sample the two mains as MGIF menu diners will have to choose between them. Monica and I would probably have opted for the chicken whereas Caning favoured the lamb.
The dessert announced itself on our menu as Rice Pudding but this was mischievously misleading. Its theatrical arrival at our table left a trail of dry ice vapor in its wake and inspired a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ . It wasn’t just the dry ice drama effervescing at the bottom of the dessert bowl, that had us enthralled though: the taste and textures of this dish were simply sublime. Composed mainly of a kind of Kaya ice-cream that had the texture more of a custard or crème brûlée, it was topped with a ridiculously delicious crispy layer of crumbled feuilletine, salt crystals and a butterpea flour that gave it a surreal bluish tint. Now, I’m generally far more a fan of savoury than sweet, in fact I’ve been known to order a second starter at the end of a meal rather than go for dessert, but with desserts like this on the menu, I’d be tempted to do it the other way round – it was most definitely amongst the best desserts, if not the best I’ve ever had.
To end our meal, we were served some mignardises or petits fours, a trio of macarons: pumpkin, pistachio and salted caramel in flavour and an accompanying trio of nougat cubes. They were of course served with the same creative flair with which Chef Kenneth had marked the entire menu: the macarons perched in a nest of intertwined twigs and the nougat positioned on a wooden stump – our table looked like a friandises forest.
A glass of cognac and homemade chocolates provided a suitably decadent conclusion to this very special MGIF menu which is available throughout the whole October and is great value for money at RM250 nett per person. There are also some great festival perks to take advantage of when ordering the MGIF menus such as a 10% discount on selected wines, champagnes and all other beverages and a complimentary digestif or hot drink to end your meal.
If you fancy experiencing this feast with friends, perhaps for a special celebration, there’s a 15% discount for parties of ten or more. You could combine your meal with a staycation and pay only RM330++ for an executive room (RM360++ for double occupancy). Festival menu diners are also entitled to one complimentary Snack of the Day from Bridge Bar after your dinner (although you might not feel like claiming this after so much feasting), a complimentary 5 day pass to the fitness centre at Element Gym, a 10% discount on Christmas and New Year bookings, 10% discount on the entire bill if you celebrate your birthday in October and finally, if you spend over RM800 in a single bill you can redeem two glasses of Champagne or Martini cocktails on your next dining visit.
Reasons to visit: a truly excellent fine dining experience with some really memorable dishes in a fabulous setting and great service with attention to detail. Great MGIF deals!
Tanzini is open from Monday to Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm for lunch and from 6:30pm – 10:30pm for dinner and on Saturday for dinner from 6:30pm – 10:30pm.
Level 28, GTower
199 Jalan Tun Razak
+603 2168 1899