Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Oasis to Rejuvenate Tired Palates. Nathalie's Gourmet Studio. Solaris Dutamas, KL.

(Pork Free)

What could be more magical than starting your day with the smell of freshly baked bread?

It finally happened, that dreaded moment for every foodie. I was dining with @agentcikay at a fancy joint one day when she passed me her unfinished piece of Foie. She just could not eat it. There was nothing wrong with the Foie. It was perfectly fried, unctuous and creamy, slightly charred on the outside, with a few crystal of squarish sea salt on top. A beautiful piece of Foie, I could not finish it for either. Somewhere in the Holy Texts of Gastronomy, it has been written that Man should not live on Foie and Wagyu alone.

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio is nestled in Solaris Dutamas, a convergence point of the Middle Income Diaspora in the city. Where it's denizens are more than willing to flaunt their new found wealth. Nathalie's is not only a restaurant, it also houses a culinary school as well. It houses 2 kitchens. The kitchen where cooking classes are held is a real beauty. Sexy, with lots of natural light streaming in through the large windows. The other kitchen is for the restaurant. A small slit separates the dining area from the kitchen, you can see Nathalie and her little elves working their magic intently and diligently, with coordinated movements like clockwork.

Clockwise, from top left: 1. Salted Butter 2. The Breakfast Platter 3. Feathery light Brioche à tête 4. A Boo-esque impression of canelé.

Nathalie's is open at 9 am. If you happen to drop by there for breakfast, do not let their fairly limited breakfast menu disappoint you. Be prepared for a Carbo Feast. The French are very particular about their bread. Baguette Dough is actually defined under French Law. If you opt for their typical French Breakfast, you will be served a variety of freshly baked bread on a board. The Brioche à tête was a beautiful golden brown on the outside, with a flaky and feather light interior. The dough was amazing, eggy and buttery and the smell, the smell, the smell. Lovely.

The canelé is a French Pastry which is a specialty of the Bordeaux region. It is brown in colour, with a caramelized, crunchy crust, but a soft and light centre that is vanilla-custard-like. It is made using specialized, beautiful copper canelé moulds. There are many variations in the sizes of canelé. The ones at Nathalie's are petite and packs a very strong flavour at the soft centre.

Tuna Mille-Feullie with Black Olive Dressing

Nathalie's reminded why I started to blog about food. Discovering small little gems in far out places that serve outstanding food. Mouthwatering food. Food that makes you smile and shake your head at the first bite. Beautiful food that makes you gasp in surprise. Take for example the Norwegian Poached Eggs with Chive Emulsion which comes in an oval, egg like shape. A Faberge Egg, wrapped in Smoked Salmon, unraveling the succulent pieces of fish reveals a perfectly poached eggs with runny yolks sitting on a small bowl artichokes, prompting squeals of delight from my fellow diners.

Or the suprisingly light Tuna Mille-Feullie with Black Olive Dressing, with a thin layer of Puff Pastry for that added textural and taste contrast to otherwise a classic tuna salad. These little tweaks and twists serve to affirm that you do not need posh and expensive ingredients to make a great meal. And the Revised Momotaro Tomato Mozarella, which turned out beautifully refreshing with a gelatin like layer of tomato reduction at the bottom. Perfect for the hot sweltering weather we are experiencing.

The Ricotta and Herb Ravioli in Carrot and Ginger Broth

The culinary adventure at this quaint little French Restaurant continues into the main courses. The Ricotta and Herb Ravioli in Carrot and Ginger Broth was as beautiful as it was delicious. Filled with Ricotta chopped chives and and Basil in some beautifully sweet and aromatic broth came an orange coloured pureed carrot and ginger at the bottom that was as sweet as nectar. The Ginger obliterated any satiety caused by the cheese. I could only grin like a fool while savouring it.

The Oven Baked Cod Fish, with Creamy Asparagus with Old Parmesan, Balsamic Reduction was also tasted. The fish was perfectly baked, with all the sweetness and moisture retained, but the sauce was a little bit too creamy. Some Asian influences can be detected in the Chicken and King Prawns with Fennel Ragout and Bisque Sauce. A roulade like dish, with chicken meat wrapped around the prawn and a delicately aromatic spice infused bisque that reminded me of marjoram. My breath smelled beautifully fresh for hours after that meal.

Revised Apple Tartin with Caramel Ice cream

Desserts are a high point here. This must be THE place for the best desserts in KL. The Strawberry and Raspberry Surprise bowled me over. Again, a beautiful egg shaped sorbet came shaped like an egg in a meringue egg cup, hiding a heart of strawberry and raspberry compote. Cold, sourish, sweet and tart. Genius. The Revised Apple Tartin with Caramel Ice cream was also a source of amazement. The apple was not over cooked in a soggy mess, but still retained a bit of crunchiness, with balanced spices and a smoky caramel ice cream on top.

The Pineapple and Lime Crumble with virgin Pina Colada Ice cream was good, but lacked the wow factor.

Clockwise, from top left: 1. Pineapple and Lime Crumble with virgin Pina Colada Ice cream 2. Chicken and King Prawns, Fennel Ragout with Cream Bisque 3. Norwegian Poached Egg with Chive Emulsion. 4. Strawberry and Raspberry Surprise

Dining at Nathalie's was a very unique experience. It was contemporary French Cuisine, minus the fuss, rituals, ceremony and pomposity commonly associated with French Haute Cuisine. The emphasis here is on fresh ingredients, with a careful balancing of spices or condiments to enhance the flavours. The ambiance is excellent, I felt I have been invited to the home of a very good cook and given a showcase of her skills.

Clockwise from top left: 1. Details of the Bread Basket 2. Napkin 3. Revised Momotaro Tomato Mozarella 4. Cod with Creamy Asparagus

Nathalie's is especially known for her Macarons. They have a dizzying selection of flavours and colours. I found them not as chewy and a little too crumbly compared to the ones I have had. And the ganache, although intensely flavoured, was a little too sweet for me.

Service is still excellent, although they do admit they lack waiting staff for the moment. Benoit, the Manager is very friendly and is able to answer any queries about the food. Prices are very reasonable, be prepared to spend only about RM100 for 3 courses of excellent food plus drinks and coffee.

Interior shots and Macarons.

We live in a world that wallows on decadence and excess. If there is proof that less is more, this is it. The deconstruction of French Cuisine and reconstructing it back to a very modern, accesible cuisine. I found the food too be exciting, with a sense of humour, beautifully cooked with exacting technique and left the restaurant with a smile on my face. And something that is probably more rare and warmed up my heart, I have partaken in a meal cooked with love by somebody who obviously loves food, who has thought a lot about food and is obviously very pleased to share her passion for food.

More Info at :

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio
Unit 4-1-5
Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Tel : +603 62 07 95 72

They are open from 9am to 6pm, but try to make it for lunch by 3.30pm. Closed on Sundays. Reservations recommended.

PS: Do forgive this hurried post, done in between naps. I was just too excited about the food and just had to share it with you guys.


J said...

Aiyo. Your photos+post so luvverly. Now I regret not putting mine up faster! :P

(BTW, thanks for the bite of poached egg that day! :) haha. As you can tell I have no qualms stealing bites of ppl's food, especially when so generously offered)

CUMI & CIKI said...

1. therz only so many times you can go FWAH.. after dat , u not surprised no more.
2. Why the hell u go and take such nice pickchers foie.
3. I was not present at ALL the self indulgent carbo meals. only ONE:P

ciki had spoken.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

if u write like dis in between naps, i might try that, bcos twas awesome!

thule a.k.a leo said...

My My.. with a writing skill like yours coupled with great pictures (obviously u r using a better camera compared to me)... I feel pai seh to post up my blog which I happened to be writing at the moment!

minchow said...

I remain unsold on macaroons but dayum... everything else invokes six, seven degrees of lust. Delayed gratification can't possibly do any better.

ClumSy Chic said...

Your photos are marvelous!! I'm very hungry now~~

in the sea said...

The photos on breads are very nice. Very tempting too. I love breads a lot from Chinese, French, Italian, German to Japan... This place looks very interesting.

Thailand Club said...

Sea must love to c those bread pics, maybe Nathlie's a must for him to eat if visit KL again

the Tuna Mille-Feullie is tempting, and the way those Macaroons photo was taken is like dropping them into my mouth

Paranoid Android said...

@J: You are most welcome... And again, first to comment. You deserve an award. Really.

@Ciki: Thanks FOIE being such a great dining companion. :D

Paranoid Android said...

@Joe: At least I didn't sleepwalk and write. :p

@Leo: He he.. What la U, now I pai seh already. Nice meeting you (I repeated it like 10 times already)... Hahaha. Now you know I don't bite, call me up next time.

Paranoid Android said...

@Min: I am waiting for the next change in menu. They cycle bi-monthly. Next next week?

@Clumsy Chic: Thanks. They make me hungry too. Thanks for dropping by.

Paranoid Android said...

@Sea: Thanks. Next time you are in KL, let me know in advance.

@TC: I know Sky loves bread. That's why I took a big bread picture. To make him lau hau sooi. :p

Paprika said...

You had me at macaron... Been wanting to visit Nathalie's for awhile now. Your lovely post has given me the kick in the butt I need!

J said...

Haha... I won't complain if you give me an award. If it's something I can eat, all the better. :D
(Trophy made of chocolate mebbe? Yay!)

in the sea said...

Thanks Android. I'll need to finish my 3 trips first by Sept. Will keep this in mind for sure.

Have a nice weekend!

Paranoid Android said...

@Paprika: Hi! Let me know when you are going, ok?

@J: That can be easily arranged. :p

@Sky: Okies!

May said...

loving ur blog

Paranoid Android said...

@May: Thanks. Luv yours too!

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Unless stated otherwise, all the posts and food here is paid for by the Paranoid Android. He dose not receive any financial compensation for posting in this blog. The views expressed here are an opinion and as usual, taste is subjective and varies among people, time and mood as well! Please feel free to contact me at humanist dot philo at gmail dot com. Unless otherwise stated, the photos here belong to the owner of this blog. You are free to use it for any non commercial purpose. As courtesy, just drop me an email and credit the photo to the blog. Thanks for dropping by!

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