Sunday, June 11, 2017

Flint x Guest Chef T.C.: Noma-Inspired Dishes

Some collaborations seem made in culinary heaven: When a skilled 26-year-old Malaysian chef who spent 14 months in the kitchen of Copenhagen's Noma teams up with an establishment in KL whose founders have specialised in observantly executed food & first-rate wines for more than a decade, the alchemy of youthful panache & seasoned perceptiveness is a prescription for flavours that linger in the mouth & on the mind. Potential local wunderkind T.C. (Toraik Chua) cooked for four briskly attended evenings this month at Persiaran Ampang's Flint Restaurant & Bar, in a pop-up that stirred a meaningful sense of excitement for how both sides might continue to work together to make a long-lasting mark via an ambitious canvas.

For this wine pairing event, T.C. shouldered the twin challenges of placating a crowd that craved brilliant Noma-inspired creations & introducing himself as a talent to watch on his own merit - a complex task considering many of us had neither been to Noma nor experienced T.C.'s cooking before. The meal took flight with a series of starters that carried clear stamps of our homeland's harvest - lacto-fermented plums & flowers that breathed out fresh, natural nuances; wisps of flatbread crackers adorned with dill, wood sorrels, marigolds & creme fraiche; baby corn with horseradish whipped cream & turmeric leaf oil; & sweet, succulent frog legs, kataifi-cloaked & rounded out with garlic cream & kelp powder. Astutely partnered with both a delicately dry Trimbach Riesling & floral-fruity Alois Lageder Gewurztraminer, these were a scintillating launch, transporting the palate through an unforced, unhurried progression of pleasures, from carefully calibrated subtleties to full-bodied robustness.

The next slate delved into even deeper discoveries - cucumber with tomatoes & galangal evoked what a Malaysian gazpacho might be, while Canadian scallops travelled from the North Atlantic to meet their match in Cameron Highlands kale & flowers. Again, the choice of wine elevated the enjoyment, with a Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir as an unexpectedly graceful enhancement.

Our favourite course was the sparingly cooked king prawn with carrots, its foamy bisque channeling the sort of full-fleshed, crunchy-shelled crustacean resonance that's so richly fulfilling. The final savoury temptation, wagyu beef with barley & truffles, not only ensured that red-meat carnivores had no cause for complaints but was yet another intricately thoughtful coupling of protein & produce. A velvety Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino capably stood tall with these lusty powerhouses of flavour.

Dual desserts lifted the number of formal courses to a perfect ten, with lively tasting notes & light textures delivering the dinner to its ideal end. Kaffir lime sorbet sang a vibrant score with green apples & lemongrass, while sweet potato, gula melaka & santan produced their own lovely three-part harmony, with nutmeg-topped biscotti for an epilogue. Taken as a manifesto for what T.C. & Flint aim to accomplish, this was a menu that succeeded in sustaining surprises & satisfaction in equal measure, confirming T.C. as a chef to track as he continues to evolve & mature into his thirties. Many thanks to Flint for having us here.

Flint Restaurant & Bar
24 Persiaran Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-4252-8262

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7 comments:

  1. Interesting fare. Was the dill supposed to be eaten? I tried planting but it died. Great for fish, they say.

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    1. Suituapui: yep, the dill was part of the edibles. if i planted herbs on my balcony, they'd die faster than yours, i bet! ;)

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  2. The food sure is artsy! Takes a lot of skill, patience and artistry to plate up like that.

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    1. Phong Hong: yep, there's a lot of thought and effort that goes into the creation of a dish from start to finish :)

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  3. I have bookmarked this place as I am attracted to the delicious and artistic food presentation by such a talented young chef! Truly impressive with the myriad of colours.

    Being an advertising guy, I don't just look at your foodie photos but often paid much attention to compliment on your fabulous photography skills to zoom up with good contrasts of creative background. I studied photography but I am hell of lazy when I take my own foodie photos that looked sucks. HaHaHa

    I pat your back Sean.

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    1. Twilight Man: thanks for the pat and the very kind words :) i'm actually a lazy photographer too, but for dishes like these, it definitely was worth making the effort :)

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