What are the types of meat that you would describe as “fat” when you’re enjoying a nice dinner? Lamb, beef, pork are the usual culprits but rarely would you find yourself describing a piece of fish as “fat”. But that was really the case as I bit into the piece of fish that was presented to me by the Brasserie at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur.
Over the top and deliciously grilled is the tone of tonight’s menu, as that is really what Basque Cuisine is unique for. Search up the term and you will be regaled with the unique stone technique that chefs use to grill various kinds of meats to suit the warm Mediterranean weather in that region. If you’re still curious where exactly did Basque cuisine originated from then let us explain.
The Basque Country is an autonomous community located in the north of Spain. The region is famous for its beautiful luscious beaches and their delectable cuisines. While the beaches require one to travel to the region to enjoy, the unique cuisine can now be enjoyed at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur with Chef Pedro Samper at the helm.
Originating from San Sebastian, Spain, Chef Pedro Samper has over 20 years of experience under his belt with experiences in multiple Michelin star restaurants like Martin Berasategui and Quique Dacosta. With his vast experience in the art of Basque Cuisine, he has decided to share the rare cuisine to the folks of Malaysia.
Chef Pedro is currently the guest chef at The Brasserie at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. The menu he fashioned for the local crowd is his take on traditional Basque cuisine that can only be found at The Brasserie. The first dish that Chef presented to us was a set of four appetisers. He placed the dishes in front of us with exclusive advice to taste them in order so we wouldn’t miss out on the taste. The two dishes that stood out the most in the set of appetiser was the Txangurro & Sea Urchin, which is a San Sebastian Style Crab Stew and the Antxoa & Boqueron de Getaria, a sourdough bread stuffed with Ensaladilla and red peppers.
While it was a novelty to crab stew from a sea urchin bowl, the taste of the crab is exquisite. You get bits of crab blended not too finely that you wouldn’t taste the texture of it. The stew had just the right amount of taste and nothing was overpowering. The Antxoa and Boqueron de Getaria on the other hand are more suitable for people who enjoy stronger tasting food. The delicious sourdough stuffing was a little too heavy to taste on its own but the sourdough wrap around the stuffing nicely evens out the salty tang.
From there we progressed on to a Basque style red tuna stew known as Marmitako. This is one dish that I have never encountered before this. The Marmitako is a nice tomato based stew with large cubes of potatoes and red tuna cooked to perfection. Considering how tuna can be easily a chewy number, the chef has perfectly balanced the softness of the potato and red tuna. The Marmitako was followed by the juicy fat Snapper in “Salsa Verde” dish, Chef Pedro explains that this is something commonly served in Basque households, with a large piece of well cooked snapper fish. After the heavy tasting dishes from the appetiser to the Marmitako, the salsa verde will give you a fresh cleanse to your palate as the mixture of herbs and nuts nicely compliments each other.
Before you order the entire menu, I highly recommend saving some room for desserts. Chef Pedro has even fashioned 3 choices of desserts unique to The Brasserie. The Mamia is my favourite dessert on offer here, you get slices of green apple paired with honey comb and smoked sheep’s milk. The Mamia is the perfect blend of sweetness that would even out the heavy and very juicily fat main course earlier. Other than the Mamia, there is also a huge dollop of lavender ice cream sprinkled with black sesame. While this is not the night’s most outstanding, it was saved by the Caramelized “Torrija” which is a Basque style French toast. The texture on the outside is perfectly crusty while the bread inside is soft to chew. Even though Chef Pedro had deep the bread into milk and other condiments, the deep fried toast is nicely flavoured and not too sweet. It’s the perfect balance over the Mamia that I have consumed earlier.
All in all, the Basque at The Brasserie is a must try if you’re an adventurous foodie. The Basque Countries are where fine dining is at its finest but it’s not all the time you get to travel all the way to Spain for the delicious cuisine. The Brasserie is the perfect place to enjoy the well made Basque cuisine once again.