Malaysia's longest running and best known gastronomy event, The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) is in full swing again for the 11th year. In good MIGF tradition, this year's offerings showcase the fine dining restaurants, much to the delight of Kuala Lumpur foodies.
In conjunction with MIGF, Chef Michel Karam and the team at the award-winning Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine have created a special festival menu, available throughout the month of October.
"MIGF is a great opportunity to showcase authentic Lebanese cuisine to Malaysian diners," notes Karam.
The food: “It’s raining chefs!” is the theme for this year’s festival and Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine have specially created a menu adapted to the flavours of the four seasons in Lebanon, all dictated by the country's moderate Mediterranean climate.
The five-course menu, priced at RM98++ per person without wine or RM138++ per person with wine, is one the best value for money festival menus in the city. The offerings showcases Chef Michel’s creative flair and is a feast for both eyes and mouth.
"Sometimes we have to 'feed' the eyes before the mouth," says Karam, who frequently uses French-style presentation, even with his Lebanese dishes.
Wines from renowned wineries from Lebanon, Chateau Musar and Chateau Kefraya complete the dining experience here.
Want to see what else the Kuala Lumpur dining scene has to offer? Find out which restaurants make the cut in our round of up of the "KL's Top 5 Cantonese Restaurants".
Festival menu highlights: The apricot glazed beetroot tartar on mango leather and rocket coulis is a work of art, and has a great summery feel to it. The sweet beetroot tartar is nicely balanced by the slightly bitter rocket coulis -- a light and refreshing start.
Diners get to choose between two mains. A crowd favourite is the braised rack of lamb with stuffed baby marrow and vine leaves accompanied by a garlic mint sauce. The rack of lamb is cooked to perfection, a beautiful pink in the middle with a wonderfully moist and tender texture.
The pan-seared red mullet fillets with sayadieh rice and drops of fish jus is an equally impressive main. The star of this dish was surprisingly not the fish, but the sayadieh rice. Flavourful and fluffy, sayadieh rice literally means “fisherman rice” and is cooked in fish stock, and topped with caramelised onions, tahini sauce and even a deep fried fish tail for the "wow" effect.
The nougat glacé laid on a bed of vanilla pineapple confit with pineapple sauce and spiced chocolate shell is another beautiful creation by Karam and his team. The nougat glacé is light and smooth, but the highlight is the aromatic cardamom ice-cream encased within the spiced chocolate shell.
Verdict: A well-executed MIGF menu by Chef Karam, a newcomer to the The MIFG 2011 line-up. The French-style presentation is impressive and brings the enjoyment of Lebanese cuisine to the next level.
MIGF 2011 menu, Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine, Lot 6.10, Level 6, Pavilion KL, 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, +60 392 815 855, www.al-amar.com
For more Kuala Lumpur restaurants that are serving up gourmet far with a twist, read on at "Frangipani: Fine Dining in Kuala Lumpur".