Monday 27 January 2014

Cantaloupe, The Troika, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Every now and then Erin and I have a bit of a splurge on food. We usually pick out a fine-dining restaurant with a good reputation, and then throw caution to the wind. In this case, the meal was paid for by Erin's folks - a Christmas present that we decided it was time to cash in on.

The Troika is an easily noticeable building amongst the KLCC skyline; designed by Norman Foster, it is a luxury condominium with a small cluster of high-end restaurants. Here's what the building looks like:


Cantaloupe recently won the award for 'best new restaurant' in TimeOut KL magazine, and the chef used to work in Frangipani in Changkat Bukit Bintang. We went there on a Sunday evening and decided to book a table (although the restaurant wasn't full). We were put outside on the balcony, and there was quite a view:

 Cantaloupe offers the choice of a la carte or tasting menu. The tasting menu was a tad too expensive so we decided to go a la carte. Before our starters arrived we were given some freshly baked bread.

If my memory serves me correctly, the larger bread was sour dough, the greenish one was coriander and the last one was curry leaf-flavoured. The bread came with a fancy little plate of butter, balsamic jelly and cinnamon salt.

All three of these went nicely with the breads, however we didn't like the curry leaf bread as it had that distinctive fishy taste that is sometimes found in Malaysian cooking, which neither of us enjoy. The sour dough and coriander breads were very good though.

Next up was an amuse-bouche, a kind of mini-starter you will get in any serious fine-dining restaurant. This one was a soft shell crab, sauteed aubergine with capsicum reduction, some kind of dried noodles and foam! (there was to be a lot of foam during this meal....)

The crab was delicious, as was the aubergine and the sauce on the plate was a fitting compliment. Amuse-bouches are designed to whet your appetite - this one worked.

One thing I liked about Cantaloupe was the way the menu had been written, with each dish having a personal explanation from the chef. I ordered the scallops RM80 (approx $25) - have a look at the description above for more detail.

As you can see from the pic above, the foam takes over the plate somewhat. Here is a closer look at the scallops:

First of all, the scallops were high quality and well cooked. I also really liked the chorizo flavour, and the jerusalem artichoke / potato puree was great. It wasn't a big plate of food, but the mixture of textures and different flavours worked very well.

Overall - A lovely starter but maybe a touch on the small side - 4 / 5

Erin went for the Jerusalem artichoke soup RM50 (approx $17).

Although bigger than it looks on the picture, this was also a fairly small but satisfying starter. The soup was lovely and creamy while the sliced scallops were an interesting and worthwhile addition.

Overall - Another interesting and effective starter - 3.5. / 5

For my main course I went for the duck confit RM90 (approx $30).

I'm generally a big fan of duck confit. It can be a touch heavy, but if done well it's one of my favourite main courses.

At this stage it was quite dark outside so the photos haven't come out so well.

The duck leg was a good size and the potato chip acting as a well for the creamy mash was a nice touch. Behind the duck leg on the picture is the rillettes, which was the duck breast shredded into a kind of pate and covered in breadcrumbs.

The duck meat fell off the bone without much effort on my part. The meat itself was nicely salty, and when combined with the mash and mustard it was simply delicious.

Overall - One of the best examples of duck confit I've had - 4 / 5

Erin went for the wagyu beef RM 165 (approx $55).

What was clear when this plate of food arrived was that this is an excellent cut of beef; look at the marbling on the picture above. It tasted as you'd expect a top piece of steak to taste; tender, and full of flavour with the fat melting in your mouth. The torched minced fat on top was a really creative and effective addition and the accompaniments all worked very well indeed.

Ovreall - A really good steak - 4 / 5

For dessert I ordered the black forest bombe and Erin went for the marinated strawberries, both RM45 (approx $14). 

We'll start with the bombe:

The waiter kicked things off by blow-torching a container of cognac.

This was then poured onto the chocolate dome which slowly melted. This is what it looked like inside:

The mixture of congnac, dark chocolate, cherries, crunchy chocolate cake and chantilly is certainly not for anyone who is worried about their waistline. It was however a really nice mix, especially with the sourness of the cherries and the sweetness of everything else. We both started off loving this dish but it did become a bit too heavy after a while.

Overall - Definitely best shared but a good bit of culinary theatre - 3.5 / 5

These raspberry-marinated strawberries might just have been the best dish of the night. The eucalyptus caramel gel and fizzy lime sugar combined with the fruit resulted in a bright, refreshing and extremely delicious plate of food. It was the perfect partner for the chocolate bombe on the other side of the table.

Overall - Really imaginative and a great result - 4.5 / 5

So how good is Cantaloupe?

First of all it's an amazing place; the view, the interior and the sense of occasion it brings makes it all worth the visit alone. The food is also very very good but if I was to compare, it does fall slightly short of some outstanding fine-dining establishments we've been to in other countries.

I would however, wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone living in KL for a special occasion and a bit of a splurge. It is undoubtedly expensive but you're paying for the food and the views after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment