The boards are still up, but we were privileged to be invited for an exclusive preview of what Blu Med has to offer once these very boards come down.
Never one to turn down an opportunity to savour food prepared by an esteemed accomplished chef and of course the chance to meet one, I excitedly accepted the invite for the pre – menu tasting of Blu Med, a Mediterranean + Italian restaurant under the Texchem Group (Sushi King, Waku Waku, Goku Raku Ramen).
Our tasting menu that evening is specially designed by Chef Yasuhiro Sasajima, of the Iron Chef program fame. I was under the impression that he would be present, but no, he wasn’t so I must say I was quite disappointed.
Blu Med Restaurant consists of 2 levels; the lower space dedicated for casual dining where each dish are priced from RM10 to > RM50 (depending on your order of course) while the upper floor serves degustation menus starting from RM90.
On the evening of our tasting, we were seated on the upper floor which is divided into 2 private rooms, an open dining space and a kitchen hidden at one corner. Wood is the predominant main element, and the space reminisces of a Japanese eatery if not for the modern furniture.
Chef Sasajima is known for his unique style of Italian cuisine with a Japanese touch. Naturally our menu for the evening were based on similar concept.
Buffalo Mozzarella and Plum Tomato “Caprese”.
Blu Med philosophy is to use local produce wherever possible thus most of their ingredients are sourced locally. A much applauded sustainability effort though I still very much prefer the deliciously sweet momotaro or even imported heirloom ones over local tomatoes anytime.
This salad was familiar, safe and utterly boring. The drizzle of vinegar & olive oil dressing as well as the basil oil on the side helped tremendously to impart much required flavour. As in consolation, I was informed also that this is synonymous with the concept of Mediterranean food, where flavours are simple and fresh. Ah, one can’t argue with that.
On the other end of the spectrum the Carpaccio of Hirame with Wild Rice and Soft Aubergine was a worthy dish of Chef Sasajima reputation.
The light, clean flavor and firm, almost crunchy texture of hirame worked wonders paired with tangy mashed aubergine and nutty wild rice. Overall this plate of differing textures offers a myriad of flavours with each chew. My appetite and mood for the evening improved visibly.
The imperative pasta dish then made its way to our table. This is after all, an Italian/Mediterranean outlet.
Spaghetti Tomato Sauce with Sea Bass and Grilled Vegetables.
It sounded simple on the menu but I had expected Chef Sasajima to work his magic. When it arrived looking ordinary too my heart sank. That’s until the first forkful went into my mouth.
The oceanic flavours were evident immediately though the tomatoes base was a tad watery. Fortunately, the sauce retained enough flavours to coat the whole bowl of pasta so it didn’t turn out too bad.
The pasta was slightly pass al dente but that was on purpose as the cooking process has been tweaked to suit the general palate of Malaysians. As for the thin base, it was justified too. It was explained that no canned tomato paste was used but purely fresh tomatoes instead. The water content from fresh tomatoes are high so it leaves the base a bit watery. As for the oceanic, briny flavour, the pasta was cooked in dried konbu (a type of seaweed) water instead of the common salt. Thus the overall dish was slightly fishy though not in an unpleasant manner.
Last but not least was a Panna Cotta that shouldn’t even be served. A slight mistake in the kitchen rendered a version that was too firm.
To be fair, it was preview menu out of a kitchen that was barely ready. I’m not sure if a media preview should be held in such a situation. Tell me, should I (and the other media) be outright honest or should we be forgiving in our reviews under such circumstances?
To say the food was bad may be too harsh and to say the food was good, well, it certainly wasn’t impressive though I did like the Hirame dish.
Mid Valley Mall Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur. (opposite of Starbucks/Delicious.