[MIGF Special Feature]
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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