KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – This week, we’re all about the latest addition to the ranks of The Ritz-Carlton‘s Guest Chef Series. Pitting his wits against the challenge of acquiring quality produce, we are treated to Chef Christopher Millar‘s take on modern Australian cuisine.
“For this promotion we wanted to showcase the wagyu beef, so there is a particular emphasis on the wagyu beef as being something that is quite special,” the Executive Chef of Stellar at 1-Altitude in Singapore tells us.
And it definitely comes through when you take a bite of the spectacular F1 beef. What makes it so special is that they’re a curated breed from Stanbroke that’s 50% Sanchoku wagyu (male cattle), and 50% Angus (female cattle). It’s truly the best thing to come out of crossbreeding.
The general marbling score on the beef is eight or nine, but as Chef Millar reiterates, “The marbling varies throughout the whole animal. So what we used today, the tri-tip, had a higher marbling than the petit tender. Different parts actually have different marbling scores.”
Chef Chris’ Signature Sturia Caviar on a Crème Fraîche Cracker
Pairing: Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Léonie Brut
Out of all the dishes, this is the best representation of what Chef Millar does at 1-Altitude. The light, airy crackers are topped with sustainable Sturia caviar, with a wonderful sliver of air-dried beef between the layers.
At 1-Altitude, you’ll find Jamón Ibérico instead of beef, which we imagine is the only thing that could make this better.
Wagyu Tri-Tip Tataki with Truffle Mascarpone, Olive Sol
Pairing: Roustabout Pemberton Pinot Noir
This is tied with the petit tender for our favourite.
The tri-tip is marinated in togarashi (Japanese blend of seven spices), and topped with French black and white radish. The pickled white radish adds a much-needed acidic element to this dish to balance the truffle mascarpone.
We truly appreciate how well-balanced this dish is because the truffle was not overwhelming as it tends to be at the hands of so many.
Flavours from Loch Fyne: Rock Rose Gin Marinated Salmon, Oyster, Avocado, Ikura
Pairing: Alkoomi Black Label Chardonnay
This is Chef Millar’s favourite dish from the menu, and it’s truly stunning.
The salmon is cured for four hours similarly to gravlax, using gin, dill, sugar, and salt. Chef Millar sources his salmon and Rockline oysters from Loch Fyne where the salmon aren’t confined leading to a very lean cut, unlike the fattiness found in farmed salmon.
On its own, it’s somewhat salty due to the curing process, but the avocado balances it out beautifully.
Wagyu Petit Tender Over the Coals with Sea Urchin, Wasabi, Paris Mash
Pairing: Dandelion Mangerie of the Barossa GSM
First of all, let’s address what Paris Mash is, other than the best thing you will ever eat that involves potatoes.
According to Chef Millar potato is a secondary ingredient, “[It’s] very creamy. Not much potato, actually. Mainly it’s 50% cream and butter.” To lighten the mash, Chef Millar uses an espuma bottle, which gives it a more airy, whipped consistency.
But this dish really is all about the beef. Chef Millar tells us that this cut would be too tough in Angus, so his preference is for wagyu. The beef is almost as creamy as the Paris mash, and the fresh horseradish that is shaved over it by the man himself helps to add a dimension that counteracts the richness of the dish slightly.
Pickled and Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with Roasted Cauliflower Cream, Porcini Dust
Pairing: Alkoomi Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
Beef cheeks are everywhere now, but you haven’t had them this way. Brined in pink salt for two days, then refreshed with cold water, and braised in red wine for 12 hours.
“I think the brining probably [sets it apart]. The brining just creates a bit more of an umami taste. And you can see the texture of the meat is a bit different compared to traditional braising.”
“The brining changes the consistency of the density of the meat. It brings out the excess liquid, so that also helps to stabilise the meat,” he continues.
They’ll give you a knife, but you could just as easily eat this with a spoon. It’s soft, tender, beautiful; yet it doesn’t fall apart. There’s a sort of melting bite to it that only slow cooking can achieve.
And that cauliflower purée? Almost as good as our newfound love – Paris mash!
Sable of Mango with Lime Curd
Pairing: Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese
The dessert perfectly complements the entire meal.
The fresh mango and raspberries coupled with the creaminess of the mango ice-cream and buttery sable are the perfect counterpoint to the rich flavours that come before it.
This is one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time, and you don’t want to miss out. It’s truly an adventure in bold, robust flavours that don’t shy away from novel techniques.
Chef Christopher Millar will be cooking up a storm at The Library in The Ritz-Carlton KL from October 31 – November 4, 2017, 7-11 pm. The degustation menu is priced at RM350 (USD82.80) per person, or RM500 (USD118.30) with wine pairing. – The Binge
We were guests at The Ritz-Carlton for this review, but that in no way influences the opinions expressed here.