Le Midi Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - The Yum List
Food and luxury travel – Malaysia and the world
Le Midi Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Stylish, classy, but nothing quite as expected such as this unusual twist with jellyfish swimming in the dividers
The elegant interior in part is decorated by a beautiful selection of spirits, wines and liqueurs
A straight forward dry Prosecco cleanses the palate and whets the appetite for an exciting meal ahead
A seemingly ordinary strawberry is everything but at Le Midi – this amuse bouche hollowed and piped with caviar – fruity, fresh and salty all in one bite
Superb restaurants must have superior bread – this warm olive roll with herb butter cast adeptly into the role
An aromatic German white blend partnered the lobster starter – floral and tropical, yet with some hints of citrus and minerals and a long finish.
Lobster, melon sorbet, mozzarella, caviar, thinly sliced and marinated fennel – must all be eaten with a morsel of each ingredient in every bite to maximise the depth of textures and flavours
Austrian wines are making their mark around the world and the talented sommelier/ operations manager knows his grapes. This Groner Veltliner was a contrasting match for the chocolate and thyme risotto. The acidity of this wine sliced through the creamy cheesiness of the risotto adding depth and character to the experience.
Chocolate and Thyme Risotto – the bitterness of the chocolate balanced the richness of the dairy and the aromatic herb complemented both
Tender flavoursome cubes of prime rib accompanied by roasted mushrooms, a fava bean puree and crispy potato sticks
A traditional pairing – red wine, red meat. This bold, well rounded, smooth long finishing Italian red did both itself and the beef justice
Traveling back to Germany this dessert wine accompanied the sweets. With expert advise we tasted in three layers to appreciate the complexity of flavours. First the basil sauce followed by a sip, then the port wine reduction, another sip, the melon mousse another sip and finally all three layers together and a gulp (the gulping part was not in the original instructions I just thought I’d add my own adaptation).
Reminding us of melon sorbet beginnings this creamy mousse is more complicated in taste and texture than it might first appear – basil sauce, port wine reduction and fluffy textured cream. The star anise skillfully led us on to the grand finale… a herby liquoricey absinthe.
Urban legend has it that absinthe contains the psychoactive chemical compound thujone, found in hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. Exaggerated claims of its effects have made it the source of much intrigue and mystery. This modern day Swiss version is distributed legally without the “seeing pink elephants” side effect.
The traditional way to prepare the drink is to drip ice cold water over a sugar cube allowing it to slowly dissolve in the glass – after a wine paired meal the ceremony was nearly as much of a trance inducer as the drink itself.
Our waiter cheekily whispered as we took our first sip, “Drink it up and see the fairies.” Well fairies we did not, but with an alcohol content of 68%, jellyfish we did.
The final bite, a cross between a cream cheese and custard tart, a sweet ending indeed.
Sauntering in to the sound of smooth Brazilian samba notes, gentle multi-accented words floating from tables, drifting jellyfish, soft lighting, low sofas, immaculately laid tables, sleek bar and 180 degree unobstructed city views, I knew Le Midi was in the running to be on my list of favourites. First point of the square covered – ambience – tick! I know my keen fondness for another restaurant seems to change every couple of months but, it’s rare to find all four corners of the square – ambience, food, wine, and service – melded in one spot. Melissa Groot, owner, has done an extraordinary job of creating this symmetry and of hiring skillful staff to help achieve her goals. With 16 years in the hospitality industry in Hong Kong, Melissa knows that the key to maintaining standards is in the hands of excellent staff. In turn, the sign of an excellent boss is a low staff turnover, and the team at Le Midi tend to stay.
The stars in the kitchen, Sicilian Chef Armando Bonnadonna, and local Sous Chef Cheong, create pork free elegant French and Italian cuisine. Chef Armando was born into a family of chefs and at the age of 15 was already working in the family restaurant. Later formalizing his training and building a career around the world, he now brings to Le Midi high standards and inventiveness ranking him in a rare caliber of his own. Chef Cheong, coming from one of KL’s well established fine dining restaurants, Lafite, where he was handling high profile clients alongside talented chef de cuisines such as George Jardine, Kevin Cherkas and Damon Campbell, completes the team. The menu changes every two months and they take advantage of temporal supreme produce to invent specials based on those ingredients. A sign of the trust repeat customers bestow upon the chef is the routine of asking him to just whip something up, without even a glance at the menu. They know that every dish originating from his kitchen is marked ‘guaranteed’ by the chef.
A newbie to the team is Operations Manager/ Sommelier, Dinesh Kumar, formerly of Raffles Singapore and prior to that building an impressive resume including stints at the Relais & Chateux properties, Gordon Ramsay Holdings (Michelin star restaurants) and Les Amis Group of restaurants (world renowned). Dinesh is taking that experience and coming into his own at Le Midi where his knowledge and inventiveness are appreciated and he is allowed to go wild with wine pairings. Jumping out from the traditional and experimenting with flavour, aroma and texture he recommends both established and innovative matches that he coins, “wine constructivism”. The night we dined, Dinesh had only been at Le Midi for three weeks but was already warmly greeting guests by name and accepting requests for his imbibement suggestions. With such a talented team, I advocate canvassing the staff to synthesize your menu. We did, and four courses later we left decadently satisfied.
While Le Midi’s a la carte menu may not be in the price range of every reader, their set lunch offers an extraordinary chance to sample a taste of what restaurants can aspire to. Two and three course menus for RM48 and RM68 constitute an unterrifying way for the money conscious to try before committing to a more expansive dinner. Visiting their website you’ll find other promotions too such as Monday Expat Happy Hour, Wine Dinners and Special Events.
Le Midi is nothing boring, nothing repetitive, but is pure style and undoubtedly the most incredible dining experience I’ve had in Malaysia this year.
Reason to visit: An exceptional chance to experience all four points of the square at their very best – food, wine, service and ambience.