The man behind the new menu is Executive Chef Keith Hooker who recently joined the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. The English Chef added a British touch to the new Vegan Plant-based menu with a twist on British comfort foods such as Baked potato and Afternoon Tea.
When a Vegan menu comes to mind, the ‘hipster,’ culture of tempe burgers, avocado on toast, almond peanut butter and chia seeds comes to mind. Most recently the Vegan and Plant-based community are spoilt for choice with plant based meats such as Beyond Meat, Phuture and Harvest Gourmet to name a few. The Plant-based meat is usually turned into the familiar meatball, lasagne, burgers and so on.
However, the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur offers a different menu altogether. Chef Hooker brings his vast experience to the new menu while staying away from Plant-based meats. Instead he goes to the root of a Plant-based menu. He curated a menu using 90% farm-fresh Malaysian produce, you can taste the freshness and detail he puts into this challenging menu.
I am not a Vegan, however I do like vegetables and what I experience at The Brasserie has open up my eyes on the flavours, textures and combinations vegetables can give you if you keep an open mind. The meatless meal was satisfying, leaving me a little puzzled that I did not crave meat at then of the meal. I often finish a 6-8 course meal feeling rather bloated, sluggish and regretting eating all that food in one sitting. But when I finished this meal, I felt full, but with a burst of energy and I felt great. Leaving The Brasserie, I reminded myself that I really need to eat more vegetables , and go on meatless days.
The 8-course menu started with “Afternoon Tea”- Mushroom Tea, Sweetcorn and cucumber fairy cakes, beetroot and celeriac tart. Chef Hooker suggested that I start with the tart which had a gold leaf, the beetroot had a natural rich sweet flavour which paired perfectly with the berries on top. The fairy cake reminds me of the comforts of cornbread, sweet and savoury with each bite. It was all washed down with a rich mushroom broth, that felt soothing to start.
The second course of Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Skin, was a beauty on the plate. The artichoke ice-cream was creamy, but surprisingly savoury as I expected ice-cream to be sweet, topped with shaved truffles table side, and a the crispy artichoke skin made of tofu. It was one of the start dishes from the 8-course menu.
Baked Potato – Hot-baked potato foam, cold potato salad and truffle pearls. This was one of my favourite dishes, another classic British dish reimagined. The potato was creamy, paired with tangy vinaigrette and the truffle pearls “Vegan Caviar,” added a rich salty taste and texture which was a stellar combination. The truffle pearls could have easily passed as caviar during a blind taste test.
Cameron Highlands Barbecued Carrots, I know that the idea of a plate of carrots doesn’t sound appealing. But as I mentioned earlier with an open mind, you begin to appreciate the crunchiness of the purple, yellow and orange carrots. Each with a different texture, complimented with charred leaks, the carrot and miso puree added a rich umami flavour to the dish. I enjoyed each bite.
Then comes a plate of Broccoli, the combination of caramelised cauliflowers, almonds, lemon and seaweeds takes over. Leaving you with one satisfying mouthful to the next, the vegetables are fresh and crunchy. I didn’t realise Cameron Highlands produces such high-quality vegetables.
The fifth course Vialone Nano Risotto, is made with cashew nut butter and oat milk. All items on the menu are dairy-free, but Chef Hooker managed to perfect the creaminess of risotto. It was a stunning dish paired with cep puree, roasted Girolles (mushrooms) and topped with truffle.
The richness is washed down with a refreshing Mandarin and Bergamot sorbet, topped with Andalucian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I really enjoyed the freshness of the ice-cream, paired with the sweetness of candied orange peel. It reminded me of Sumner in Europe, and stopping by a Gelato shop to have a sorbet to cool down from the heat.
The meal ended with a Valrhona Amatika 46% Chocolate Bar, I thought I had had enough but after having one bite, I couldn’t stop. The chocolate was rich, creamy but without dairy it was light and easy to eat, mixed with the crunch of almonds it was the perfect end to this outstanding meal.
I am looking forward to what Chef Hooker has to offer in the future, as you can taste and appreciate the thought and care he put into curating this menu. It was indeed an eye-opening culinary journey, that deserves much praise to his incorporation of local produce and sustainability. This was truly a fine dining, Vegan Plant-based experience not to be missed by the curious and adventurous seekers.
The eight-course menu is available at The Brasseries every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday for lunch or dinner. The menu is priced at MYR388.00++ per person. To make a reservation, kindly contact +60327276696 or email[email protected]