You could never get enough of Wagyu in Chef Christopher Millar’s finely curated menu at The Library, Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur. There are three dishes with wagyu in the six-course dinner (for us it was lunch), but a light exquisite touch and a combination of the most unlikely and unique ingredients carried it through.
The award-winning Australian guest chef has a close relationship with various cattle farmers in Australia and in Singapore where he is the Executive Chef of the acclaimed Stellar at 1-Altitude, he has the highly-prized Tajima cow brought in for that excellent wagyu . From that he gets 24 different cuts which he serves at his restaurant.
While we didn’t get to savour this Tajima beef (because of import restrictions), we had the Sanchoku wagyu with a marbling score of 8 to 9. “It’s 50 per cent wagyu and 50 per cent Black Angus, a nice blending of beefiness and wagyu taste,” said the chef.
I liked it that the chef went from table to table talk about the food as each course as served. First it was his Signature Sturia Caviar on a Creme Fraiche Cracker which had a thin slice of air dried beef in between perched on some crème fraiche, then topped with gleaming black globules of caviar. “It’s sustainable caviar,” the chef explained. It was a burst of saltiness from these, tempered with crème fraiche, crashing on a barely there cracker and touching the beef beneath. It was a great beginning.
The Wagyu Tri-tip Tataki, Truffle Mascarpone, Olive Soil was hidden beneath pretty “petals” of black radish. The end tips of wagyu tenderloin sat on truffle mascarpone cream, and the whole ensemble was crowned with shavings of black truffle. The creamy wagyu, the aroma of truffle and truffle cream, and the delicate radish came together with aplomb.
Flavours from Loch Fyne — Rock Rose Gin Marinated Salmon, Oyster, Avocado and Ikura were the only seafood dish on the menu. The salmon came from a sustainable farm in Scotland. “It has clean flavours and is less fatty,” said Chef Millar. The salmon had been lightly cured and its saltiness was balanced with avocado cream, and roasted avocado. It was a textural delight together with the sesame cracker, the lovely oyster and ikura.
The chef came around to shave fresh wasabi over the Wagyu Petit Tender Over the Coals, Sea Urchin, Wasabi and Paris Mash. Japanese flavours suited the lush wagyu: I loved the distinctive heat and aroma of the wasabi, the luscious sea urchin and the excellent Paris Mash. It was so, so good.
I have always been wary of braised beef cheek reduced to a mush but the Chef’s Pickled and Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek, Roasted Cauliflower Cream and Porcini changed my mind. “The beef cheek has been brined first in pink salt and water for two days, soaked in ice water to refresh it before being braised with red wine for eight hours.” The brining keeps the fibres of the meat intact while braising turned it rich and tender. The wagyu beef cheek exuded complex flavours.
Sable of Mango with Lime Curd was a pleasing dessert with the delicate shortbread crumbling at the bite, mashing into a lovely mango ice cream, fresh mango and raspberries.
Chef Millar’s six-course dinner will be served at The Library till Saturday 4 November. It’s RM350 nett for the dinner, and RM500 nett with wine pairing. Call +60 3 2142 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chef Christopher has headed award-winning restaurants in London and Australia such as the iconic Windsor Hotel in Melbourne and the prestigious Pavilion on the Park in Sydney, achieving the coveted Chef Hat award for both establishments.