We recently headed over to Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar in Kuala Lumpur to try out the Christmas Eve menu by their new chef Atanu Nath who is an European cuisine chef with more than 18 years of culinary experience with leading luxury hotel chains and restaurants. The Christmas Eve menu is priced at RM239++ and is only available from 21 to 25 December 2018.
Now Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar has been around for four (4) years now and remains a popular venue for celebrations such as birthday, anniversaries, etc. etc. It’s also a favourite among girls enjoying a girls’ night out, as well as couples on their romantic dates. This is definitely due to the very panoramic view of the Kuala Lumpur city skyline from the restaurant. However, I’ve never actually heard anyone recommend the food there previous so I was curious to see what Chef Atanu had in store for us!
Chef Atanu has a strong background in Italian, French, British and Japanese Cuisine and started his culinary career at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, in Abu Dhabi, which houses the best fine dining steakhouse of the city – “Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse and Grill” by celebrity Chef “Marco Pierre White”, as well as fine dining Italian restaurant “Frankies” by Chef Marco Pierre white and celebrity jockey, Frankie Dettori.
He then moved on to work at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and was trained by Michelin star chef Mansour Memarian, in one of the best seafood restaurants in the UAE – “The AL-Mahara” seafood restaurant which serves contemporary seafood with the most beautiful aquarium inside the restaurant.
Chef Atanu then took on the responsibilities as Senior Sous Chef at Wheeler’s of St. James by (3 Michelin Star) Marco Pierre White before becoming the Executive Chef of the Asia-Asia restaurant at Pier-7, Dubai. Asia-Asia is a restaurant based on the original concept of “Spice –market” by Michelin Star Chef Jean Georges, where the cooking techniques were influenced by classical French cooking utilising Asian ingredients.
A stint as Executive Chef at “Cavalli Club Restaurant and Lounge” and “Blasé”, Dubai followed before he returned to India for a two (2) year attachment as corporate chef, before finally making his was over to helm the kitchen as Executive Chef of Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Christmas Eve Menu at Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar
1st Course – Oscietra caviar
Truffle potato foam, Confit Duck Leg, Potato Crisp.
A really elegant little starter with very premium Oscietra caviar which imparted loads of umami flavours! The delicate truffle potato foam was very complementing and did not overpower the rest of the ingredients.
2nd Course – Octopus Carpaccio
Yuzu & Kizami Wasabi, Pistachio, Champagne Foam
Chef Atanu’s prowess in making a foam sauce appears again in this dish – this time in the form of a champagne foam, while the yuzu and Kizami (yes real wasabi made from the actual wasabi root!) wasabi rounded up this appetiser. I was very impressed by the plate it was presented in which was beautiful and gorgeous for photos!
3rd Course – Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallop in Shell
Cauliflower Puree, Beurre Noisette, Salmon Roe, Almonds & Capers.
A perfectly cooked Hokkaido scallop on a bed of creamy cauliflower puree, with salmon roe providing even more umami goodness, with almonds for a nutty dimension to give provides some contrast, capers to provide that extra savoury touch, and a Beurre Noisette sauce (a warm French sauce with nutty flavours) to round it all off. The premium ingredients just keep coming in course after course which really showcases the chef’s experience in Michelin starred kitchens!
4th Course – 24 Hour’s Sous Vide Turkey Breast
Terrine of confit Legs with Trumpet Mushroom & Foie Gras. Buttemut Squash Puree, Chanterelle puree, Caramelized Chestnuts, Turkey & Blackberry Jus.
Pretty much the juiciest turkey breast I’ve ever eaten in my life! Turkey breast (especially if it’s roasted) has a horrible reputation of being tough and dry. Not here as Chef Atanu slow-cooked the turkey breast in a sous vide style – which served to lock in all the juice and flavours! The Chanterelle puree and caramelised chestnuts added some creamy, earthy and nutty flavours, while the blackberry jus provided some piquancy and sweetness adding to the harmony of the dish. The creamy butternut squash puree will fill you up so you won’t have to stop by a fast food restaurant (or mamak!) on the way home as many fine or semi-fine dining dinners tend to have very small portions.
5th Course – Main (Choice of)
Australian Wagyu Striploin
Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Pan Seared Foie Gras, Creamed Morel Stuffed with Truffle Chicken Mouse
I really could not believe that two (2) of my all-time favourite ingredients (which is wagyu beef and foie gras) were actually presented together in this dish! Honestly, I’d be happy with just those two ingredients which were cooked to perfection and so perfectly seasoned that it really didn’t need the other elements on the dish (although they were there to provide some balance). If you eat beef, I highly suggest that you select this as your main! (BTW please don’t order this cooked anything above medium.)
Pan Seared Lobster
Black Eyed Bean Puree, Sauteed Chanterelle & Petite Poi’s, White Wine & Green Apple Foam, Garlic Butter Razor Clam
Lobster in a RM239 menu? Wow… I mean wow! This is real value for money! Needless to say, this was another sophisticated dish, with the lobster topped with a white wine and green apple foam (yes foam again and not some super heavy and creamy sauce that would overwhelm the dish). Delicious and sweet lobster, and presentation wise was another very Instagrammable dish!
6th Course – Passion Fruit Mousse
Strawberry Compote, Raspberry Cremeux, 72% Dark Chocolate Genoise, Almond Financier, French Macaroon
The dessert was served under a glass cloche for the added mystery and dramatic effect! Needless to say – girls will really appreciate this dainty and sweet ending to a really decadent meal. BTW do have your phones ready to make an Instagram boomerang post for this dish.
It was a really amazing lunch! What a pleasant surprise to have such a sophisticated and elevated meal by a truly skillful and talented chef! Chef Atanu brought his experience and skills from Michelin Star kitchens all the way to Kuala Lumpur, serving up some well-thought through dishes that are complex in technique, and have a lovely harmony of flavours and textures.
The Christmas Eve dinner at Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar is only available from 21 to 25 December 2018, and comes at a very reasonable price of just RM239++ which is incredible value for money indeed considering the number of courses and very premium ingredients! Do make a booking with the restaurant in advance to avoid disappointment.
To be entirely honest, I was really very surprised by the quality and presentation of the food at Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar! I’m guessing that I will be hearing more about them in the near future!
Hemisphere Restaurant & Bar is located at:
2, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50480 Kuala Lumpur,
Telephone: +603-2742 1098
Photos by Andy Kho Photography (www.andykho.com) for MHB Digital/ timchew.net