Prime, Le Meridien : Chef Philippe Marc – 3 Michelin Star Dinner

Just yesterday I found out that Chef Philippe Marc, a 3 Michelin Stars chef is in town!

oct 2012 Prime Le Meridien - Philippe Marc Michelin Star

I’m leaving for Japan this coming Thursday and frankly my schedule is stretched to its limits. But will I miss a dinner by a 3 Michelin Stars chef? Hell no! 🙂

I was rather stressed out with the accommodation arrangements in Tokyo. My flight is tomorrow and I haven’t booked my accommodation. Even the dorms are rather costly. It reminded me of my Europe trip; and how sad our Malaysian currency is.
When I was in Europe I didn’t manage to dine at any of the France restaurants, much less a Michelin Star one. So when I had to pay in Malaysian Ringgit, minus flights and accommodation for a meal by a 3 Michelin star chef right here in Malaysia – I didn’t hesitate to book myself a table.

My dinner was RM488++, minus wine pairing.
5 courses, a short chat with both Chef Antoine of Favola and Chef Philippe Marc himself and a memorable photo. Not a bad night at all. 🙂

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In all honesty, food that night wasn’t mind blowing. Chef Philippe Marc’s menu is simplistic and elegant; a reflection of classic french cuisine. If you go expecting smokes, spherical objects and unidentifiable ingredients, you won’t find it in his menu. Instead, expect timeless French favourites, adeptly prepared by a truly French chef.

To start with, my amuse bouche was a rather salty ensemble of smoked halibut with dreamy potato foam and Arenka Caviar.

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In case you’re unaware, Arenka caviar is a caviar alternative that costs a fraction of the price of the original sturgeon roe. Arenkha resembles caviar in terms of taste and texture, but is not made with fish eggs. Instead it is produced (man-made) using a technique that combines smoked herring with squid ink, lemon juice and spices. It is smokey and briny with a hint of the sea. Basically it allows you to enjoy the gourmet sensation of caviar minus the pain of the price.

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My entree came in the form of a rather classic timbale of King Crab and Celeriac Remoulade, Granny Smith Apple and Coral Jus. Though familiar, this version was made more enjoyable with the addition of julienned green apples and grated celeriac which imparted a slight sharp and zesty flavour to the creamy remoulade of crabmeat. Again, for the uninitiated; rémoulade is classified in French cooking as a derivative of the mayonnaise sauce.

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And just what is coral jus you ask?
Well to me it tasted like a very intense version of lobster bisque, which I found out later after a chat with the chefs that I wasn’t far off. A myriad of ingredients goes into the making of this sauce; just like every other components of each dish that was served that night. Chef Antoine has remarked at the beginning of our chat; ” The dishes may look simple but none of the preparation was simple”.

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Sea Scallop topped with Fine Crispy Dough, Artichoke Puree and Truffles.

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What’s French dining without truffles? The unmistakable scent hit my nose as the plate hovered over me; even before it was placed on my table. But it was the velvety artichoke puree that had me wiping the plate clean.
It was a welcome alternative from the usual celeriac/pumpkin/potato puree served in European restaurants and if you have a soft spot for this creamy, sour, mild “green” flavor vegetable (it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact taste of artichokes), you will lick the plate like I did.

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Steamed Sea Bass Fillet, Green Asparagus Polenta, Sweet and sour Sauce.

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Lovely. Especially if you love asparagus. The fish was firm and flakes easily. The boring polenta was injected flavour with asparagus and spinach puree. I was surprised to be told that the “sweet and sour sauce” was made using oyster sauce (China oyster sauce! Yes, REALLY.) as I couldn’t identify its complex flavour at first. Other than that, coriander, cinnamon, honey and ginger made up the rest of the sauce.
Chef Antoine wasn’t joking when he said that “the dishes may look simple but it isn’t simple”.

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Crispy Lamb Cutlet, Sauteed Zucchini and Artichokes “Poivrade”, Caramelised Onion Juice.

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This was absolutely perfect. Blame it on my carnivorous palate but I couldn’t find fault with red meat served with a crisp outer and tender, juicy insides. I wasn’t asked for my preference of doneness by the service staff but I figured that Chef Philippe won’t be serving me my red meat in any other form than a perfect medium rare. And indeed this came out just fine. Obviously, this dish was my top pick of the night.

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DESSERT: Classical again – Chocolate!

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I finally had my 3 Michelin Star Chef dinner, though not in a 3 Michelin Star restaurant. But maybe soon I will.  🙂

For your chance to savour Chef Philippe Marc’s cooking, details are as below:

22 – 27 October 2012 – Prime, Le Meridian Kuala Lumpur
Price: 5 Course Dinner menu @ RM488++ per person OR 5 Course Dinner menu & wine pairing @ RM598++ per person
For reservations, visit www.discoverlemeridien.com, email: [email protected] or call dining reservations at 03 2263 7434.