Sunday, May 13, 2018

Entier @ Alila Bangsar

Tongue-to-tail dining finds a fresh advocate at the flagship restaurant of KL's new Alila Bangsar. Perched on the hotel's 41st floor, Entier (French for 'complete') is an eyrie for offal enthusiasts, with Japanese chef Masashi Horiuchi leading the charge for liver-loving recipes that seek to win hearts and embody the marrow of contemporary French-inflected cooking.

First impressions of Entier prove entirely positive: The space balances starkness with sleekness for a spacious sense of sophistication, setting the tone for a comfortable evening of lingering (take a table by the window for extra privacy and a soaring view). Service is earnest, with the young team seeming very eager to satisfy. Strains of Un Beau Roman strike a soothing musical note.

The menu is in a soft-launch stage, but there's still plenty to pick. After settling in with house-baked bread (warm and soft) with kombu butter (smooth and briny), plus an amuse-bouche set that might include a gazpacho raindrop cake and lamb pave fritter laced with mushrooms and cheese, start with two top temptations that encapsulate Entier's ethos: ox tongue and ox tail.

The ox tongue is prepared confit-style, spiked with coffee beans, served in a fashion that recalls steak tartare, crowned with a shimmering yolk, complete with capers, gherkins and a calamansi vinaigrette (RM31). Flavours prove predominantly punchy here, often more robust than subtle.

Our favourite Entier creation is the slow-cooked ox tail consomme (RM37), easily one of the most satisfying soups we've had this year - the succulent meat is wrapped with a well-executed balance of spinach, chives and ulam raja, made perfect with consomme that yields beautifully deep and rich beefy nuances, the liquid rounded out with a slightly gelatinous texture. We lapped up every spoonful of the soup and would happily have it again; it's partnered with an oxtail mantou that delivers a big wallop of flavour in a small package.

A couple of minor mix-ups caused us some confusion: We ordered a chicken-feet concoction, but what was served was instead the Josper-baked chicken leg (RM91) - complete with claws that were hardened and inedible, leading us to wonder why the feet would be considered the centrepiece of this recipe, since we hadn't realised we'd received the wrong dish until we read our receipt. Nevertheless, we enjoyed this - the meat was pleasing in both its taste and tender texture, complemented by daun kesum and a morel sauce.

Entier's chicken salad is also a solid representation of its mission statement, bringing together sauteed hearts with liver pate and crispy skin in a crowd-pleasing manner, tossed with spinach and mango chutney (RM34). It's a safe bet even for folks who typically shun organ meat; we'll be keen to see whether the kitchen makes riskier choices for its imminent long-term menu.

Back to red meat: Baked beef marrow is served with an Australian flank steak tartare, quinoa and egg yolk confit for a dose of decadence that's ideally shared (RM37), while honeycomb tripe surfaces as a double threat with a yin-yang perspective, crunchy-fried on top and braised at the base, with betel leaves and tripe jus (RM28). Lamb emerges in the form of belly meat, weighed down somewhat by a heavy miso sauce, with charred garlic and herb salad on the side (RM89; we ordered a 'small,' but were presented with a 'medium,' which was too much for two persons).

For lighter flavours, try the seafood or vegetables, also served whole whenever possible. Chef Masashi has more than two decades of professional experience, most recently at London's L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Singapore's Shelter In The Woods, so he's no stranger to crafting refined compositions like the spicy-marinated baby cuttlefish with house-made stracciatella cheese and heirloom tomatoes (RM61) and Josper-grilled Aussie leek with umami-loaded anchovy butter and hazelnuts (RM30).

Save space for a sweet conclusion: The lemon creme brulee packs a clear tang, with basil ice cream and basil oil providing an uplifting counterpoint to an interesting reinterpretation of a classic dessert (RM30). We also appreciated the effort poured into the ensemble of house-made bean curd with goat's milk sorbet, strawberries, Chantilly cream and rhubarb compote (RM34).

The knockout however is the chocolate ganache and chocolate cardamom ice cream (RM38), conceived with 70 percent single-origin chocolate from Pahang, surprising us with resonant complexities that reveal different dynamics of cacao - it might not be part of Entier's flagship repertoire, but it's worth heading here even for this dessert on its own. Nama chocolate with macarons make for a fitting, fulfilling finish.

Cocktails and wine are available; the Pamplemousse (RM50; gin, fresh grapefruit juice, floral cordial, yuzu tonic) and Agave Bijou (RM35; mezcal, green chartreuse, Mancino Rosso) reflect very well on this establishment's potions-producing capabilities.

Entier
Level 41, Alila Bangsar, 58, Jalan Ang Seng, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Dinner menu currently available Tuesday-Sunday, 6pm-11pm. Will open for lunch sometime in June. Tel: 016-263-0596


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10 comments:

  1. Sure looks like a posh place! Eeeekkkk!!! I would have chopped off those claws and thrown them away.

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    1. Suituapui: heheh, but they're perfect for, ermm, head-to-feet dining :D

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  2. Tongue-to-tail dining...looks like there were more tongue and tail and less in-between...heheh! ;) Did you say the two of you ate (and drank) all that? Kudos to you both! By the way, they shouldn't have gotten any orders wrong seeing the prices you pay for a meal like that! >_<

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    1. Contact.ewew: yeah, here's hoping that kidneys and sweetbread make an appearance in the next incarnation of the menu! :D and yep, we were quite stuffed by the end of dinner ;)

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  3. Oh dear, the chicken leg was served with the claws intact! It does look rather dramatic hee..hee...

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    1. Phong Hong: heheh, i definitely like the presentation - i like everything from fish eyes to chicken feet ;)

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  4. I'm looking forward to checking out this menu.

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    1. The Yum List: i think you'll appreciate the efforts here! :)

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  5. I really like the interior, neat, minimalist but doesn't lack of details~

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    1. Choi Yen: yep, kudos to their designer!

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