*Guest post by Kevin as I was in Penang for the Berjaya Air media trip
Celebrating Valentine’s day at a Venetian styled restaurant would be an excellent idea, and hence the Valentine’s day menu at Favola, where executive chef Antoine Rodriguez has designed a dinner menu specially for couples on the 14th of February.
As with most multi course dinners at hotels, there is sure to be bread to keep that appetite (and temper) in check before the first dish arrives. As you can see from the picture below, Favola offers Foccacia, Ciabatta (the whiter one) and 3 different types of breadsticks, namely cheese, olive and spicy. Do note that the foccacia here is slightly spicy, and the spicy breadstick does pack quite a kick too especially when caught unaware.
* Beetroot – light sweetness from the beetroot, but not overpowering
* Olive oil & Balsamic Vinegar – somehow serving this standard condiment didn’t seem to work as well here, as it’s almost impossible to get the balsamic vinegar on to the bread, and I ended up with bread and olive oil coating
* Apple & Celery – subtle flavours, not much of the distinctive celery aroma.
Now for the dinner to start:
Aperitivo (mise en bouche): Potato espuma, Beef salami floss and parmesan cloud
As a small starter, this dish is somehow subtle looking and has very light textures. Taste wise, the foams do not lack in flavour, while the beef salami floss is a outstanding flavor in contrast to the dish as a whole. Eaten together, the potato espuma mellows out the boldness of the beef salami, giving the dish some savoury balance.
Now for the second dish of the evening:
Antipasto (appetizer): Salad of Maine lobster, seared chermoula crusted tuna, rose pickling radish and herring pearl caviar on tomato sorbet.
There are 3 components to this dish, and the presumed progression would be to start from the bottom up so that you will end with the tomato sorbet at the end.
To start off, the Maine lobster is paired with with salad, avocado & mandarin oranges where the juicy, succulent lobster meets the creaminess of the avocado and sweet tang from the oranges. The citrus dressing (orange, lime & olive oil) makes this a refreshing mini dish by itself.
The tuna looks seared almost right, but I had expected a redder cut. Also the crust tasted heavy on garlic, which is a component of the chermoula mix.
Note: Chermoula is a Middle Eastern marinade used mostly for fish.
Last but not least, the tomato sorbet with herring caviar and some fresh basil leaves as garnish. The sweetness of the tomato sorbet combined with the saltiness of the caviar gives this dish a nice balance between sweet and savoury. Eaten with the basil garnish, I wished I could ask for another serving!
Primi piatti (entree): King scallops, morel cream, wilted spinach, truffle crisp filo.
Perfectly seared scallop (thin crust on the outside and juicy, translucent insides), rich creamy earthiness of the morel sauce; although the spinach tasted a bit like chinese style stir-fry with garlic. The truffle filo is not overpowering, seems like more of a light savory snack component.
I secondi piatti (main course):
For the main course, the menu offers a choice between either the seafood or meat dish. However, for our review, Chef Antoine stated that both seafood and meat dishes will be served; but it will need to be shared between 2 people, considering the fact that most of the guests arrived as a pair.
First off: Pan seared cured salmon trout with prawn sausage, pumpkin tortelli, squid ink mayo, and snap peas.
The fish is perfectly cooked; nicely crusted on the outside and pink/rare in the middle with a fresh taste, while not much of the saltiness associated with cured fish.
Next would be the prawn sausage, which is really juicy with visible chunks of prawn amidst the filling.
The tortellini pumpkin filling is just right, with the sweetness of pumpkin shining though not much in volume. The squid ink mayo itself tastes like an aioli with squid ink to colour it black.
Now for the meat dish: Warm beef terrine, italian smoked sausage and pan seared foie gras, boiled purple potato, arugula puree and charred baby carrot.
To start, the potato is somewhat normal, but the braised black grapes and carrot are wonderful, giving sweet juiciness to the dish.
The beef terrine itself is nicely flavoured, but seemed a bit on the firm side. The sausages pack quite a kick due to the spiciness. Texture-wise, this is something a bit off for those who prefer whole cuts of meats, but the consistency of the foie gras, beef terrine and sausage gives a different bite and flavours when eaten together.
And then for some dessert:
Dolci (dessert): Cherry soup with yogurt ice cream and chocolate wafer
The cherry soup is full of flavour yet not too sweet, and the ice cream is mostly neutral with a bit of the yogurt tanginess. Combined, it gives a balanced taste which works well together. The chocolate wafer lends some nutty bitterness when broken up and eaten together. On the overall, this dish itself did not weigh much on the stomach as one would expect.
The wine for the evening: Col di Sasso Banfi 2010. This wine is medium bodied with some slight tannins and a hint of spice at the end, somewhat suitable for both the mains and general drinking by itself.
Disclaimer: This wine might not make it to the table on Valentine’s day, but a similar wine will be there in case this wine is not served.
As a surprise, Chef Antoine unveiled the cake of the month for February and announced that it will be served as an extra for the guests that evening, and proceeded to explain what is in the cake and that there is no name for it yet. After a few suggestions, it was coined the White Knight.
The White Knight: Generally it’s a chocolate cake with white choc cream and white choc hemispheres; finished with red-coloured cocoa butter.
Thus “knighted”, it was sliced up and served with caramel cream. The richness of the chocolate is balanced in which the palate is not overwhelmed by the chocolate and the caramel sauce got a nice burnt nuttiness which is something rare as getting caramel this dark is a risky process in itself.
Favola’s Valentine’s set dinner is priced at RM300++ per couple and at RM380++ per couple (inclusive of a bottle of red wine).
For couples with a penchant for variety, the luscious spread at Latest Recipe is sure to delight. The restaurant presents an array of Indian, Malay, Chinese, Japanese and Western favourites. The buffet dinner is available at RM250++ per couple and at RM330++ per couple (inclusive of a bottle of red wine).
A meat lover like Becky? Prime would be the prime choice. The set is RM208++ per pax, featuring lobster, kobe, wagyu and oysters.
For further discoveries please visit www.discoverlemeridien.com, e-mail: [email protected] or call Dining Reservations at +603 2263 7434. Prices mentioned are subject to 10% service charge and 6% government tax.