Thursday, September 15, 2011

Degustation @ Bistro a Table

The title of Bistro a Table's degustation menu for September: 'Oldie But Goody,' celebrating the beauty of aging with culinary components that have stood the test of time.

A taste of brandy that's double my age: the playfully presented foie gras "liverpop," steeped in 1945 Armagnac. This brandy's intoxicating perfume thoroughly permeated the ultra-luscious chunk of goose liver terrine, held aloft like a lollipop & blanketed with petal-thin apple slices & a brittle swirl of caramel threads.

Moving further back in time, with tomato strains from a pre-World War II origin: a zingy heirloom tomato tart, tinged with white balsamic vinegar. The mascarpone ice cream topping was made using Chef Isadora's new toy, an RM18,000 Swiss PacoJet machine that can whip up a liter of ice cream in 15 minutes. We'll hear more about it soon (lobster roe ice cream, anyone?).

No ordinary mushroom risotto, this one was flooded with fragrant wild chanterelles, morels & "trompette de la mort," translated as "trumpets of death." Irreproachably al dente & topped with 30-month aged Parmagiano-Regiano cheese for a gritty texture & nutty taste. This recipe made us wish that Chef Isadora would start a full-fledged Italian restaurant.

"Chianina" is a word we rarely hear; it refers to an Italian cattle breed that is one of the world's oldest, cultivated for more than 2,200 years. This pink-fleshed sirloin was lean but featured sufficient flavor to hold its own against other beef. Served with duck fat-roasted chats, charred baby savoy & an emulsion of foie gras & marrow.

A century in the making: guava tart tartin with vanilla bean ice cream & 100-year-old balsamic vinegar, to finish with a flamboyantly syrupy flourish.

Besides all that, here are some highlights from Bistro a Table's current a la carte menu. Check out the charcuterie board: horse salami (yucky? neigggh! this pleasurably chewy, intensely savory sausage is a triumph), house-cured duck prosciutto (fabulously fatty, reminiscent of siew yuk) & 30-month Asiago & Robiola (delicately nuanced Italian cheeses).

Sea robin, also known as gurnard, a fish known for its majestic pectoral fin, which flaps like a bird in flight when it swims close to the ocean floor.

This sashimi-grade gurnard is cooked en papillote (in a parchment) to seal its moisture & flavor. Topped with a salty puree of anchovies, garlic & parsley.

Burratina Pugliese, a southern Italian cheese comprising a creamy center of shredded mozzarella & fresh cream, bound together in a pouch with an outer layer of stretched mozzarella. Partnered here with Roma tomatoes & charred capsicum puree.

Bistro a Table,
Jalan 17/54, Petaling Jaya.


  1. Ahh so those were the extras that was promised by Isadora.. horse... hmmmm!

  2. Rebecca: oh, the horse salami is actually from the current a la carte menu, not the degustation menu! Still available this week, I believe =)

  3. i love to cook fish in parchment too. it prevents the fish from being overcooked and seal in the flavors well. :)

  4. This type of cuisine escapes me...probably bcose I haven't tried them yet :)

  5. So many expats there. The traffic to PJ keeps putting me off from going here. :(

  6. Michelle: I also enjoy seafood pasta that's cooked in parchment! I wonder what's the difference in the effect of cooking in parchment and cooking in foil though...
    Ulric: bistro a table is a good place to get acquainted with this food. It's more creative and reasonably priced and less intimidating than most of the hotel outlets in KL...
    Baby sumo: ya, the degustation nite attracted lots of possibly diplomatic/embassy folks. I guess the traffic-free opportunities to eat here are on weekends, but I suspect the restaurant would be busiest on those nights =)

  7. I see she's finally gotten that magical machine that could even churn snort into ice cream! Can't wait to see what she uses it for! :)

  8. qwazymonkey: yikes, but having "snot ice cream" on the menu might scare some conservative customers away! i wonder if salmon ice cream is doable, heheh :D

  9. the food does look impressive especially that beautiful sea robin. Looks like the restaurant is a full house that night.

  10. eiling: yeah, it's a magnificent-looking fish :D and yep, degustation night was fully booked =)

  11. Sea Robin, hows the taste like?

  12. horlic: it actually tastes like a regular flat fish. fleshy and tender =)