I first met Chef Florent Passard and Chef Nicolas Le Toumelin at Shook! Starhill Gallery in January 2011. Back then, both could barely converse in English, thus making any effort for a Q & A session difficult.
Now a year plus later, I had the privilege to savour a full course dinner personally prepared by Chef Florent.
After his short stint at Shook!, Chef Florent (left in the picture above) has returned to Muse Hotel in Saint Tropez briefly before he was transfered to Tanjong Jara Resort, where now he takes charge of the resort’s menu redesign while simultaneously injecting fresh perspective into the dining options here.
Barely 2 months into the job, Chef Florent has been diligently experimenting with the local seafood and produce. My dinner that night showcased some of his “experimental dishes”.
Below: Dinner under the stars, on the soft sand facing the South China Sea and cooled by the gentle evening breeze.
It was the subsequent courses that really flaunted Chef Florent’s expertise in seafood.
Our appetiser, a local tuna was cleverly crusted with a coat of sesame for a nutty flavour, effectively masking any fishy odor. This piece sit on a flim of shoju jelly, which imparts a salty essence to the piece of perfectly cooked tuna.
Squid Tart with Povencale Style Vegetables.
I admired the finely julienned strips of perfect chewy squids. Though subtle, it was a nice touch and makes for an easier chew; not to mention being asthetically pleasing as well, since the strips curled prettily.
This came sitting in a buttery, crusty tart which complemented the savoury fillings of sweet peppers and aubergines sauted with onions. The foam/cream you see below is made from reduced chicken stock with milk and perfumed with lemongrass, rosemary and thyme.
If you’re starting to feel things are getting “fishy” here, your intuition is not far off. Chef Florent specialty is seafood, so it wasn’t a surprise that the main for the evening was well, fish.
Mirror Fish and Mackerel with purple sweet potato, carrot mousse, aubergine.
I had no idea what was mirror fish and I personally detest mackerel. The dry, flaky texture of mackerel flesh somewhat puts me off.
Thanks to Chef Florent, I discover newfound appreciation for mackerel. As pictured below, both fishes were soft, flaky and moist. The natural sweet flavour was present, and amazingly, these weren’t even imported fish, but were caught just off the coast of Terengganu.
Great care were taken for each component on the plate, rounding up the whole dish nicely. The spread of orange is pureed carrot with milk and turmeric; sweet and smooth. A tuber lover, I wiped the mash purple potato clean off the palte. Kudos to Chef Florent for making such simple, comfort food so palatable. Most mash are guilty of being overly buttered and creamed, but this one was perfect.
The dainty portion of aubergine took many steps to prepare; starting with cutting an aubergine into 2, slow oven-baking it in foil with garlic oil and lastly scooped from its skin before presented on the plate. All details are in place; ensuring an enjoyable dish.
We rounded our meal nicely (and thankfully without any seafood, though it was be interesting to have a SWEET fish mousse for dessert) with Green Tea Tiramisu in a Chocolate Cup.
It was fitting end to the meal, delicate creamy mousse green tea with caramelized pistachio and walnuts in honey.
As the evening progressed, a real bon fire was lit to keep us warm. My, it has been decades since I had a bonfire dinner, back in those days as a girl guide. 🙂
Tanjong Jara Resort has a total of 3 different dining venues, each offering distinctively cuisine to suit different palates and preference.
Here, the fare on offer is matched in variety only by the settings where you can savour your meal. Gazing out to sea at the Nelayan, under the shade of rustling palms at Teratai Terrace or over the meandering river at Di Atas Sungei.
My dinner was at Nelayan, helmed by Chef Florent Passard, and where a variety of Asian and Western light meals are served for lunch and Western cuisine at dinner.
Nelayan assumes a romantic ambience after sunset and guests have the option of enjoying a delightful alfresco dining experience on the beach featuring bamboo torches and the gentle sound of the waves (like I did!) or stay inside the warm comforts of the restaurant.
Nelayan is also perfect for an after-dinner drink by the poolside or the sea.
Thank you Chef Florent for a fantastic meal! I never knew our local seafood could taste so good! 🙂
Guys, check out their Resident’s Package at Tanjong Jara Resort which starts at RM799 nett per night per room, and it includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner with complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water served during meals for every night of stay. You can read more about it in the PDF attached. :DD
Tanjong Jara Resort
Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun
23000 Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia
GPS: N 4º 48’ 35.10”, E 103º 25’ 23.65”
Tel: +60 9 845 1100
Fax: +60 9 845 1200
Email: [email protected]