After a year of soaking up accolades at Solaris Dutamas, chef Nathalie Arbefeuille has stretched her frontiers, curating new concoctions at a sparkling venue that replaces High Tide in the city.
Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie is off to somewhat slow start. At High Tide's opening night in October 2009, only two tables were taken; in an eerie parallel, Cuisine Gourmet's first official dinner also attracted only two sets of paying customers, who began with the ritual of breaking fresh bread. Our reservations made one week in advance proved unnecessary.
A crucial note: head here for dinner instead of lunch. The difference: in future, Nathalie will only cook at this new outlet during dinner, since she'll remain faithful to her Solaris Dutamas restaurant at lunch. So if you want her to oversee the preparation of this crab cremeux in cucumber gazpacho with lobster bisque espuma, then come here only when the sun sets.
Everything on the menu bears Nathalie's inimitable creative imprint, though the kitchen retains the invaluable services of High Tide's maestro Evert Onderbeke. The Nathalie-Evert/French-Belgian partnership is a paean to cuisine par excellence, embodied by this idiosyncratic but indelible lasagne stuffed with snails, garlic mousseline & herb emulsion.
John Keats famously wrote that "a thing of beauty is a joy forever." This superb soup, comprising crispy Jerusalem artichokes with emulsified porcini mushrooms, was beautiful indeed, but alas, it supplied us with merely a minute of merriment. Still, we loved it truly. Suffused with both sweetness and earthiness that seemed otherworldly.
Scallops mashed three ways; one with oysters, the next with chives, the last with apples. Served with arugula sorbet (!!!!!). A masterclass on how to combine culinary components that create captivating chemistry.
Let's lift the veil on the desserts here, which are hypnotic in every sense of the word. Exhibit A: Rose meringue, with a heart of lychee & raspberry coulis.
Exhibit B: Gingerbread ice cream & grapefruit sorbet, paired with two types of macarons: lavender & apricot, alongside lemon & thyme.
Complimentary macarons to take home. Wheeeee!
Make no mistake: from Favola to Fisherman's Cove, Il Lido to Il Primo, Mandarin Grill to Millesime and Sage to Senses, we've repeatedly confirmed that KL's best restaurants can ensure an enthralling experience even in their earliest hours of business. By this criterion, Cuisine Gourmet seems a shoo-in to inhabit that illustrious shortlist.