Sometimes, writing about food that is so devastatingly exquisite and beautifully thought out and breathtakingly innovative demands superlatives. When words fail, it is exasperating because I could never convey the exquisite pleasure of the stimulation of senses the food offers.
Take for instance, the humble calamari. Not any Calamari, the mutant foot long ones perfectly Oven Baked until it is crunchy and slightly charred outside yet as tender as fish on the inside. Stuffed with sinful roe and intriguingly rich, slightly bitter yet delicately uni, the combination was so ethereal that it has dampened my appreciation of the normal grilled Calamari forever. Such is the price of perfection, especially when the richness was tempered down with the tanginess from a wedge of lemon and the sour and tart chili based dip. Breathtaking.
Stepping into Gu Yue Tien from the busy and traffic clogged streets itself is therapeutic. An oasis of calm an sanity greets you as you climb up the stairs into the main dining area which is decorated in Neo-Chinese style. It is not overtly fancy or ostentatious, but functional and clean, with 6 private dining rooms on both sides of the restaurant.
We had ordered lunch "Omakasen" style, and left the tedium of deciding what to order to the chef. The first dish did not impress me at all. It was Bacon salad, served with red and green corals with Thousand Island dressing. Although the Salad was faultless and their beautiful bacon smoked in-house was beautifully balanced in flavour and texture, it did not dazzle my palate.
By the time the second course arrived, I was ready to eat my words. The Giant Clam and Apple Salad was a creation of pure genius. It was a melange of flavours, sweet, sour and salty with some spiciness from chili. Not only that, the flavour of the chewy clams were brought alive by apples which were crunchy in contrast.
Even the plain old fish cake was given a new lease of life. It was playfully filled with some melted Cheddar Cheese. I would never have thought that Cheese and Chinese food could have such a happy union.
The Pan Fried Beef served with Mushroom Reduction, served with Wasabi Sauce and Tempura Spinach was a revelation of the Chef's ability to fuse Western, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The beef was delightfully tender and the perfectly fried Spinach complemented the dish very well.
I have often thought of Chinese Food as being rather stodgy and conventional, but Chef Frankie has given Chinese Cuisine a different revelation, bringing with it some really new and exciting flavours and and Western inspired plating.
I am not a fan of Pork, and will refrain from commenting on the next dish, which was Braised Pork Knuckle with Preserved Vegetables (Mooi Choi) and Pumpkin Puree.
That was one of the most interesting Chinese Meals I have had this year. In fact, I am anticipating a return to try out the rest of their menu after my break, and will keep you posted.
Gu Yue Tien
Lot 5A Chulan Square
Jalan Raja Chulan
50200 Kuala Lumpur
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