MIGF 2013 – QBA Latin Bar and Grill, Westin Kuala Lumpur

QBA became my favourite steak joint during the time I had my Starwood Privilege Card and is still is today. I go around eating steaks a lot (that and burgers) and admittedly, I can be fussy with my meats.
Though expensive, Qba had never disappointed me even after numerous visits. There were parts of the meals that wasn’t 100% to my liking, but overall it was never entirely bad.
To date, I had sampled almost 70% of the ala-carte menu, which means I need a reason to re-visit. I was itching for something new, an excuse to dine at Qba again. And thus the MIGF was just timely.

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The menu last year deserves a solid ‘A’ for taste, presentation and value. Happily enough, Chef Pearl surpassed expectations again this time. This year’s MIGF menu was both surprising in terms of creativity and flavours.
From the start, the trio (have I said I love having variety on a plate?) of shrimp, chicken and corn chips – crunchy chips, sweet zesty tomatoes and the smoky BBQ sauce worked the digestive juices into overdrive in anticipation of the evening ahead.

A Composition of Tapas:
Chili Con Carne, Corn Chips, Sauteed Shrimp with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Smoked Chipotle Chicken with Orange Barbeque Sauce.

MIGF 2013 - A Composition of Tapas - QBA Latin Bar and grill

The QBA MIGF menu has 3 starters of which should have filled up half of any moderate diner’s stomach capacity even before the mains. The 2nd starter of wagyu beef was flavourful thanks to its marbling. Each chew releases beefy juices which sent my senses reeling. The texture wasn’t entirely melt-in-the-mouth, but leaned more on a soft, pleasant chewiness.
Eat each piece on its own, or wipe it over the balsamic drops on the plate for a bit of acidity. Most importantly, do like I did, chew slowly and savour the flavours as it floods your mouth cavity.
Fun fact: Intercostal are meat between the ribs and are pretty uncommonly used for any dish. It can be a bit chewy and thus the degree of doneness are of paramount importance. It’s perfect if medium rare, and that’s how exactly Chef Pearl served hers.

The earlier starters were foreplay, but with the wagyu, the evening just got more interesting. 😀

Grilled Australian Wagyu Beef Intercostal, Chimichurri Sauce, Micro Greens, Red radish, Honey Balsamic Reduction.

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Arrangement of Duo QBA Soup.
Brazilian Seafood Stew of Shrimps, Cod, Plantain, Coconut Milk.

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The stew can lazily be described as seafood bisque but that wouldn’t do it justice as there were distinct differences. For one, it is creamier due to the coconut milk. The bouquet was more pronounced on the shrimps, and if I may I would say it is almost like prawn stock soup!
I was full by the time I had my last sip since I greedily cleaned out the bowl. Though having soft sweet bananas (to be exact it’s plantain) in a savoury fishy soup may sound funny, it actually works.
And that’s precisely why it is worth the time, effort and cost to sample the MIGF menu here at QBA. You get to enjoy variety and enjoyable flavours with pleasant twists in the recipe, but never a nasty jolt that makes you want to send the dish back to the kitchen. 😀

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Palate Cleanser: Green Gazpacho of Cucumber and Kiwi, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This was a shock. It started out mild, for first few sips was essentially chilled cucumber juice. Then the sourish kiwi on ice with pureed pulp came froth. The added olive oil was supposed to balance & add some flavour to this glass of icy complexity but I can’t say I like drinking olive oil.

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Still, it prepared our palates for the mains. I sampled both the fish and the meat and both has its merits. If you know me, I would opt for the meats anytime. 😀
THE SEA:  (1) Seared Petuna Ocean Trout, Cream of Corn, Pomegranate Salsa, (2) Grilled Black Cod, Pumpkin Puree, Roasted Tomato Jam, (3) Anticucho Tiger Prawn and Scallop, Arugula Lettuce.

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THE LAND: (1) Grilled Lamb Breast, Guacamole, Hot Salsa, (2) Australian Wagyu Eye Fillet, Taro Cake, Truffle Port Wine Sauce, (3) Slow braised “Oaxacan Mole Black Angus” Beef Short Rib, Sweet Potato Puree.

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Last year we had trios of every course. Starters, soups, mains. This year is almost similar, and I must say I really like a menu this way.
Somehow it feels like you’re paying one price for three. 😀

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As you can see each fish or meat are cooked individually and had different accompaniments. Yet the taste and flavours of each are harmonious. You can choose to finish one before moving to another, or take bites of each as you go along.

My favourite from the meat platter is the wagyu eye followed by the ribs. Both were adeptly prepared and hence the perfect textures; the wagyu eye had a firm bite but wasn’t too chewy while the ribs easily disintegrated in the mouth. The taro cake on the other hand was the chewy one, almost glutinous-like and sticky. The ribs wowed us with its intriguing mole sauce; savoury velvety chocolate that’s a challenge to describe with my limited vocabulary, but certainly a sauce to remember and a good diversion from the usual ‘au jus’ and brown/red wine reduction/mushroom sauce.

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The sea platter; as we know, requires absolutely fresh seafood and correct cooking temperature to the right degree. Obviously the team at Qba can handle that, and it’s matter of preference if you like the trio or not.
As for me, what’s not to like about cod, salmon trout and scallops? 😀

Dessert – Layered Pumpkin and Milk Chocolate Mousse. 
We were all having trouble breathing by then. The trio of meats are a 100 grams each! That’s 300g of meat on one plate. All the above (choose fish or meat for mains) plus this delectable dessert for RM190++, minus wines is A STEAL for a venue like QBA.

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Superb food by Chef Pearl and her team plus wonderful company. It was a night to remember.

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Treat yourself this October. Book a seat at Qba  Latin Bar and Grill and give Chef Pearl’s MIGF menu a shot! 🙂

** Full Festival Menu RM330 ++ per person with wine
** RM190 ++ per person without wine

QBA Latin Bar and Grill,
The Westin Kuala Lumpur,
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Malaysia.
GPS Coordinates : N 3.147794, E 101.714548
Phone: +603-2773 8338