MIGF 2015 Review – Soleil Modern European Restaurant

[MIGF Special Feature]

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Michelle and I headed over to Soleil in Section 17 which is one of the 26 fine dining restaurants in KL to participate in the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2015.

Soleil [pronounced Soh-lay], means Sun in French is a modern European restaurant which opened back in August 2013, and is participating in MIGF for the first time. The restaurant is has also garnered recognition in the restaurant industry, and has been nominated second year in a row for Best Fine Dining & Best European by Time Out KL magazine.

Soleil serves mostly modern European cuisine with subtle Asian influence, and its menu consists of fresh imported and local seafood options as well as a small selection of meats and pastas on its menu.

The restaurant layout is split into two floors with the ground floor catering comfortably for up to 45 persons.

The restaurant layout is split into two floors with the ground floor catering comfortably for up to 45 persons.

The dim lighting and well designed setting creates a romantic ambience

The dim lighting and well designed setting creates a romantic ambience

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Wine cellar? No. This is the walkway to the restrooms!

Wine cellar? No. This is the walkway to the restrooms!

The second floor houses the (smoking) dining section, wine cellar, cigar lounge, and a private room. The upstairs section has a maximum seating capacity of 35 persons.

The second floor houses the (smoking) dining section, wine cellar, cigar lounge, and a private room. The upstairs section has a maximum seating capacity of 35 persons.

The temperature controlled wine cellar

The temperature controlled wine cellar

The private room

The private room

Now on to the MIGF menu

Now on to the MIGF menu

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Foie Gras Crème Brûlée with Rhubarb, Belgian Waffle with Smoked Eel, Momotaro Tomato with Mozzarella (L-R)

Canapes:

Foie Gras Crème Brûlée, Rhubarb

Belgian Waffle, Smoked Eel

Momotaro Tomato, Mozzarella

This dish was meant to be eaten from right to left – the momotaro tomato, then the waffle, then the creme brulee.

The Momotaro Tomato was a little shooter with a lovely dollop of mozzarella cheese on top – sweet, sour and rich all in one shot! It certainly awoke my palate!

Next up was the famous Belgian speciality – Belgian waffle! Crispy on the outside yet soft and fluffy on the inside and topped with one of my fav ingredients – smoked eel! Michelle and I both wished we could have a whole main consisting of only this as it was so good. Perhaps Soleil will consider putting this on their weekend breakfast/ brunch menu!

I love foie gras but this was the first time I had it in a creme brulee! It was like a familiar dessert with a huge twist! Earthy and creamy flavours matched with the sweet caramel crust to top! Wow!

Michelle with the complimentary aperitif which comes with the canapes - Blood Orange Mimosa

Michelle with the complimentary aperitif which comes with the canapes – Blood Orange Mimosa

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Dutch Herring, Cucumber, Razor Clam, Radish, Dashi Consommé

Dutch Herring, Cucumber, Razor Clam, Radish, Dashi Consommé

A marriage of East and West here with the addition of dashi cooked in consomme style. The consomme was added to the dish before our eyes and had just the right amount of savoury flavours to complement the other ingredients on the dish. The addition of edible flowers made this an almost too pretty to eat dish but finish it we did.

Dutch Herring, Cucumber, Razor Clam, Radish, Dashi Consommé

Hamachi, Apple, Smoked mackerel, Cashew nut, Calamansi

Hamachi, Apple, Smoked mackerel, Cashew nut, Calamansi

Yet again, this dish was finished before our eyes with the server pouring in the calamansi broth (yes you read it correctly – it is a calamansi broth). The combination of sweet, sour and smoky flavours from East and West (Hamachi is yellowtail and is commonly used in sushi) was quite intriguing.

Hamachi, Apple, Smoked mackerel, Cashew nut, Calamansi

Both the Dutch Herring and Hamachi courses are paired with the Le G de Chateau Guiraud 2013 (we did not have wine pairing with the dinner so I can’t tell you about the wines).

Squid, Paprika, Tierenteyn Pickles, Charcoal Burger

Squid, Paprika, Tierenteyn Pickles, Charcoal Burger

Paired with Domaine Cyrot Buthiau Pommard 2012

This dish was squid done two (2) ways – on the plate matched with paprika and pickles, and tempura style as the patty for the charcoal burger. I thought the charcoal burger was really delightful even though it only took two (2) bites to finish it but the squid tempura was nice and crispy and given an extra boost of rich flavours from the avocado cream dressing! A burger in a MIGF menu? Well why not? If it’s this tempura squid burger then bring it on!

 

The mini Charcoal Burgers - 1 for me, 1 for Michelle!

The mini Charcoal Burgers – 1 for me, 1 for Michelle!

Squid, Paprika, Tierenteyn Pickles

Squid, Paprika, Tierenteyn Pickles – smoky, earthy and with a tang from the pickles!

Oyster, Baby Spinach, Mud crab, Truffle Espuma

Oyster, Baby Spinach, Mud crab, Truffle Espuma

Paired with the Macon Lugny St-Pierre Bouchard 2011

Chef Evert really likes to cook using seafood and this was another fine example. The oyster and baby spinach were topped off with a truffle espuma (or foam) which had just enough truffle flavour as not to overpower the dish. The mud crab bisque was meant to be sipped together with the other items and was intensely flavourful. Michelle found it a bit too salty but I liked the sweet crab flavour and pretty much finished mine.

 

Palate cleanser -Hoegaarden and yuzu sorbet

Palate cleanser – Hoegaarden and yuzu sorbet. We definitely needed this as the previous dish had pretty strong flavours! First time I had Hoegaarden in a sorbet though. Nice and refreshing and had a nice sour flavours thanks to the yuzu. Yet another successful an East and West combination!

Pollack, Garlic, Mussels, Fennel, Verbena

Pollack, Garlic, Mussels, Fennel, Verbena

Wine recommendation: Meursault Clos du Domaine Henri Darnat 2011

The pollack was beautifully cooked and went well with the delicate garlic foam. This one was a truly European dish and exemplified Chef Evert’s heritage and roots.

 

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Lamb, Zucchini, Couscous, Chorizo, Miso, Eggplant

Wine recommendation: Chateauneuf du Pape, Château de St-Cosme 2010

I was very happy to see some red meat as I’m quite the meat eater! First time I had it combined with miso though but the end result was good. The lamb was tender and flavourful while the other ingredients provided some contrast in texture while complementing the overall taste. 

 

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Dessert - Banana, Caramel, Chocolate, and Bergamot

Dessert – Banana, Caramel, Chocolate, and Bergamot

Sinful! Just sinful! Michelle who was mentioning that she was already feeling full when we were eating the main courses suddenly found extra space in her stomach (I think girls have a separate stomach just for desserts…multi-stomach – just like cows!) and polished up the entire dessert! Girls and desserts…

Chocolate and bananas are always a good combination. But the addition of bergamot orange added some zest to the dish, preventing it from getting too heavy, while the caramel just adds some additional sweetness and richness to round it all up.

Dessert - Banana, Caramel, Chocolate, and Bergamot

Michelle with Chef Evert Onderbake

Michelle with Chef Evert Onderbake

We had to opportunity to chat with Chef Evert who hails from Belgium after dinner. His style of cooking is mainly mostly finely balanced European style seafood dishes that he blends with local and imported ingredients to create unique world of flavours. Judging by the wonderful and extravagant meal with a multitude of ingredients and flavours, I’d say Chef Evert certainly has a flair for mixing and matching!

Chef Evert has been living and working in Malaysia for over five (5) years and he does love his local food including nasi lemak. However he hasn’t quite acquired the taste for durian yet, and I think I must bring him to Durian King to try the Black Thorn if they have some next durian season.

Chef Evert did share with us the changing trend among modern European restaurants back home in his homeland of Belgium and in Western Europe whereby more and more chefs are incorporating ingredients from the East into their cooking, creating dishes that are more multi-dimensional and unique compared to the more normal rustic dishes.

What an incredible meal! It doesn’t come cheap though but then again you’re paying for the high quality ingredients and the incredible skills needed to put them all together into coherent dishes. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many different ingredients in a non-buffet dinner before. Throughout the meal, we found ourselves mixing and matching the different ingredients, and also trying to adhere to the server’s advice on trying to get all the flavours into one single bite.

I didn’t want to ask Chef Evert how long it took for him to come up with this special menu but looking at the sheer amount of ingredients that needed to be matched with each other, I’d think it took a while. It was truly a memorable gastronomic indulgence, and one that I will not forget any time soon. Magnifique!

The Full Festival Menu is priced at:

Without Wines: RM295.00 ++

With Wines: RM445.00 ++

The Light Festival Menu does not include two (2) dishes, namely the Dutch Herring, Cucumber, Razor Clam, Radish, Dashi Consommé AND the Pollack, Garlic, Mussels, Fennel, Verbena, and is priced at:

Without Wines: RM205.00 ++

With Wines: RM315.00 ++

Soleil Modern European Restaurant is located at:

Ground Floor, 22A, Jalan 17/54,

Seksyen 17,

46400 Petaling Jaya,

Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

Business Hours: 12.00 Noon – 2.30 pm | 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm (last order) | Off Day – Sunday

Telephone: +603 7932 5989

Website: http://www.soleil.my/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Soleil/326050024194499

Instagram: @soleil_restaurant

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