Oh My Millesime!

26 Dec

So a few days ago, a group of friends and I decided to try out Max Chin’s new restaurant, Millesime. Two of the group had been to Max Chin’s previous restaurant, and had loved his cooking, and the ambiance. Another friend found a review of Millesime online, and forwarded it to us. In true techno-age fashion, we made the arrangements to go on Facebook, and all met at around the pre-arranged time in Solaris Dutamas. We were thrumming with anticipation as Millesime had a white truffle promotion going on, and several of us were eager to try this decadent delicacy.

Millesime is very slick – a high class joint, so to speak. Open kitchen, where you can walk up and watch Chef Max do his stuff. Elegant seating area, with room for may be 30 people or so. Beautifully and dramatically decorated, it certainly set the scene well. The menu changes daily, and reflects what the Chef finds freshest and most inspiring. Its a 5 course tasting menu, with the possibility of changing the main, or adding or substituting a white truffle course. As a vegetarian, I called and told them that I was coming, and that I required a vegetarian tasting menu as well.

Before I get to the food, let me just take a moment to make a few small comments on the service. When you pay as much as we did (about RM300 per person on average – some drinking wine, some having the truffle course), you expect service of the highest distinction. Whilst Millesime was aiming for that, it really didnt deliver. Of the two major-domo’s, one was quite good. He knew what he was doing. He was polite and friendly and very professional – welcoming without being too intrusive. He noted people’s requests, and he did his best to fulfill them. Unfortunately, the other main service person was a little … clueless. She seemed to be both overwhelmed and a little bit too personal. She made comments about people’s physical attributes that were not really appropriate. She tried, but she did not make us feel as if she had it together and knew what she was doing. Some of our party found her frankly annoying. Hopefully, this is part of the working-in phase (they opened in October 2010), and as it goes on, Millesime will find its groove in terms of service, and will meet our expectations a little better.

Given that, the staff managed to deal with several waves of our table arriving at disparate times, and figure out who was having what, when. Some people took the full 5 courses. Some people took 5 courses and substituted one course with a truffle course. Some people opted for 3 courses of the 5. It must have been a logistical nightmare to deal with a table of 8 people who were all ordering differently. But they managed, and managed well. Unfortunately, when the bill came, we noted that we had been over-billed. The truffle course came with champagne, but none of us were given it (may be we had to request it?) … but they billed us for it. They were extremely gracious about taking it off the bill when we realised and pointed this out… but again, at those prices, we expected a little more focus and professionalism.

We also had problems in understanding the actual menu. How much was the 5 course tasting? It didnt actually state it on the menu. Did we have the option to take only a few courses? Again, we werent informed. How did the truffle course fit in? Was it an add on? A substitution? Information was sadly lacking, until we spoke with a waitperson, but luckily, we figured it all out in the end!

And now on to the food! Which in the end, was what we were there for … well, that and the joy of being with each other just before the big Christmas and New Year’s holidays!

And by the way, as I noted, I asked for the vegetarian menu when I called to reserve. I mentioned this when I arrived, and was told several times by the female service person that she would check to make sure it was all right… as if may be it would not be. This is not comforting to a vegetarian. Especially when we call ahead, especially in a very meat oriented single option tasting menu, we like to be assured that we can be catered for. Of course, I was. And Chef Max was creative about how he re-jigged my meal – taking elements of the main tasting menu and adding vegetarian proteins or substitutions for the meat.

My amuse bouche was very simple. Grilled mushrooms on a skewer. Tasty enough, but not so fantastic or earth shattering that I thought I should take a photograph!

The first course was a composed salad, highlighting some beautifully disparate tastes and textures.

Fennel, sauteed mozzarella, tomatoes, a creamy herb reduction, balsamico and bright arugula. It was lovely. Hot, crispy, astringent, creamy. A nice balance and very tasty.

The second course was a broccoli soup.

This was a showstopper – the soup was stunningly good. An soup bowl, with a mound of sauteed mushrooms, was placed in front of me (carnivores had smoked chicken). Soup was then poured around the mushrooms from a small porcelain jug at the table. The soup was beautiful – simple, lush, elegant. The mushrooms were good, but they tasted like they had been cooked a little too close to the gas grill – they had the perfume of gas rather than of mushrooms. The carnivores loved their smoked chicken though. We were all in agreement that there was not enough of that soup – we could have bathed in it, happily!

The third course was a composed arrangement of vegetables.

It was lovely, if a bit similar in presentation and taste to my first course. Im not sure why cooks cannot vary the menu for vegetarians as they can for meat eaters. The plate was composed of grilled yellow courgettes, white asparagus, french beans, a bit of spinach and a red pepper coulis. There was a creamy hint of black truffle in there somewhere I think. It was nice, and I enjoyed it, but it was not fantastic.

The fourth course was the course I was there for – my truffle course.

A plate of white truffles, under a glass dome, was kept near the main service area. Each person was asked to choose the truffle they wanted (and yes, we got one each!). A friend had his truffle course before mine, and I spied a truffle I particularly liked. I asked that it be kept for me, and it was, wrapped in its own little paper, and stored away carefully in the wine room. I liked and appreciated that. It was suggested that I choose the duck egg and white asparagus combination for my truffle, but I decided against it. I wanted the full frontal truffle experience, so I chose a simple pasta, lightly gratineed as the base for my truffle. Talk about mindblowing musky gorgeous completely enveloping truffle nirvana. I groaned aloud. My eyes rolled back in my head. It was a sublime experience. The simplicity of the pasta was the perfect foil for the complex earthy soul deep sensual experience of that truffle. Ive never had so much truffle in one bite before. It completely takes over the sense experience. Your nose is filled with its scent, your mouth wraps itself around such complex flavour layers, it takes your brain a little while to catch up. Its a very sexy and intimate experience. I cant wait until I can do that again.

I do have to note though that the joy and the pleasure was derived from the truffle. The actual pasta was just there to add a contrast to the overwhelming-ness of the truffle. My carnivore companions though were in absolute delight over lobster tail poached in duck fat, over which their truffles were grated. While it sounded and looked fantastic, I was happy that my truffle base was so simple. There was nothing to distract me from the siren call of the truffle.

And finally, we came to dessert.

Hazelnut ice cream which was phenomenally good, beautifully executed – light yet creamy, and intensely hazelnutty. I could have just had the ice cream and been happy. It was accompanied by berries and fresh figs, covered in a delicate vanilla sabayon. It was lovely but didnt quite reach the heights of that ice cream. And a friend had the cheese plate, and was in paroxysms of joy about it. And some of us had coffee which was absolutely perfect. A good coffee ends a meal such as this with grace and happiness.

So… that was our meal. Each element was enjoyable and interesting, but I have to admit, it did not, for me, reach the heights of say Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio. It was slick and beautiful and tasty – but in a kind of 5 star hotel way. Nathalie’s, though less expensive and less  dramatic, has more soul (and the service is seamless!). I enjoyed Millesime, but I would probably only go back once or twice a year. Its a huge meal, at a huge price and it wasnt over the top fantastic, which is what I was hoping for. I didnt get a true sense of Chef Max as a cook – I couldnt feel him in the food. May be thats because it was a vegetarian version of his carefully thought out tasting … The regular tasting menu seemed to be very complex, and a fascinating combination of tastes and ingredients (scallops and fois gras, for example).

I am glad we went to Millesime, and glad that Max Chin is cooking his elegant, well plated, interesting food. I will be back to support him, but may be I will wait a while until some of the teething issues in starting a new restaurant get smoothed out. I would recommend Millesime for the decadent and lovely truffles and for the sparks of inspired cooking … and for the joy of discovering a new way of putting together disparate elements and ingredients.

The 5 course tasting menu is RM150++

The addition of a truffle course is RM120++ inclusive of a glass of champagne

Millesime

G1-01-3, Level G1Menara Kencana Petroleum, Solaris Dutamas, No. 1, Jalan Dutamas, 150480 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03.6211.0648

 

2 Responses to “Oh My Millesime!”

  1. Lionel December 28, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    Dear Pia,

    Thanks for visiting Millesime and writing about your experience. Whilst we are very happy that you and your friend enjoyed the experience overall, we noted some of your comments and criticisms and will definitely address them.

    Last but not least, we do sincerely hope that you would visit us again soon and not only one or twice a year 😉 As we will continue on our journey to create the “perfect meal” or at the very least bring joy and pleasure to all our guest.

    Best Wishes
    The Team@Millesime

    • delectableblog December 28, 2010 at 5:29 am #

      Thank you for this very thoughtful and kind letter. I appreciate that you have read the review and are taking on board some of our commentary. We did enjoy the meal there and we are so glad Chef Max is cooking in KL 🙂 Pia

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