Lafite is luxurious. A French restaurant inside Kuala Lumpur’s Shangri-La hotel, it is headed up by award-winning Chef de Cuisine Jean-Phillippe Guiard. A newcomer to the hotel, he brings with him the delights of haute cuisine – the signature of French fine dining.
The restaurant is pure opulence. Sinky soft carpet, dim lights and cushioned comfortable chairs. There’s red roses everywhere and while it’s empty bar a couple tables when we arrive, by the time we leave the place is packing out.
Our waiter is phenomenally attentive throughout the night, sitting us down and quick to fill up our water glasses before they ever near the bottom of the glass.
After perusing the menu and making our choices for the evening, we’re soon presented with a complimentary bread basket and amuse bouche for the meal. The bread basket is made up of sourdough, rye and ciabatta. There’s also some delicious butter on the side to slather over the warm buns.
The amuse bouche for the evening is a White Asparagus Soup with Grated Truffle. Jeremy and I can’t help but give a small laugh as it’s presented – we’ve both ordered soups for our starters! But never mind, because this looks really amazing.
The white asparagus soup is sweet and light; the asparagus flavour evident and showcases the freshness of the vegetable. I love asparagus – as long as it’s not canned. That should be a crime! And this soup is wonderful, great depth of flavour and a nice offset of the truffle. Mmm!!
For his entree, Jeremy chooses the Cauliflower Cream Soup with Maine Lobster and Egg Surprise (RM35 = approx $12). It’s a beautifully silky smooth soup that has a lovely thick consistency and is riddled with cauliflower flavour.
There’s chunks of lobster throughout which is just cooked through so it’s still soft and tender; the meat extremely juicy. The part I love is the egg surprise which is foamed egg whites built around the just lightly cooked egg yolk. As Jeremy pierces through the yolk it mixes into the soup and adds even more thickness and flavour. It is visually gorgeous and the taste matches accordingly.
I pick the Porcini Soup with Pan-Fried Duck Liver, Garlic Cream and Parsley Coulis (RM40 = approx $14). I adore mushroom soup, though when I make it home I tend to eat too much of it and get put off for awhile!
Porcini mushrooms are difficult to cultivate but sought after worldwide. They’re low in fat, high in flavour. And in soup, they really pack a punch! The soup is creamy, smooth and intensely mushroomy. I love the garlic cream and parsley coulis, they offer some difference to the flavour and spark some excitement in my mouth. The duck liver is a little lump of decadence, pan fried and velvety.
It’s not very often I order soup as an entree, same for my boy, but both of us were really rapt in our choices for this meal!
For his main, Jeremy orders the Wagyu Beef Tournedos Rossini with Truffle Reduction, Pommes Dauphine and Sauteed Cepes Mushrroms (RM165 = approx $55). Talk about ooh la la! The wagyu is cooked medium rare which is just long enough to let the marbled fat throughout melt. It is the very definition of tender, the meat melting in your mouth.
There’s some sweet carrots surrounding the meat, and on top is a big slab of foie gras. Wow, this dish has it all in terms of richness. I love the pommes which are crunchy on the outside and soft fluffy potato on the inside. And when dunked in that truffle sauce (and eaten with the shaved truffles on top), it’s pure deliciousness.
For my main, I decide to go down the seafood route, choosing the Monkfish with Armoricaine Sauce, Risotto, Grilled Squid and Deep Fried Onions (RM130 = approx $43). This thing was huge!
Monkfish is a species of anglerfish, which is known for its unique, firm texture and meatiness. The piece on my plate is a nice wedge of meat that is the perfect vessel for soaking up the Amoricaine sauce. This type of sauce is from classic French cookery and used to accompany seafood. It’s made up on chopped onions, tomatoes, white wine, brandy, salt, cayenne pepper and butter. The result is a beautiful rich sauce that tangs in your mouth.
I really enjoy the different textures and flavours in the dish, and the warm comfort it provides as I munch away. It’s a bigger dish than I’m able to finish, but nonetheless I enjoy what I can of it.
Though our stomachs are feeling pretty stretched, we decide to order dessert. Jeremy chooses the Warm Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice-cream and Caramel Sauce (RM35 = approx $12). It’s a cute little chocolate fondant cake that spills out hot chocolate liquid as his spoon pierces the outside. The caramel sauce it sits in is sweet but not sickly; the peanuts under the ice-cream offering a delicious textural element. The strawberries offer some acidity to cut through the sweetness, as well as some freshness.
Though I would normally order the chocolate fondant, this time round I opt for the Nougat Glace with Meringue Sticks, Berries and Orange Coulis (RM30 = approx $10). It’s a creamy tower with nuts, and small pieces of fruit throughout.
It’s a little on the hard side to cut through with a spoon, but once it softens I’m able to dig in and enjoy each bite with the tart orange coulis that sits underneath. I really like the fresh strawberries and the slices of grape on top, as well as though sugary little meringue sticks. Crunch crunch!
After our dining experience at Lafite is finished, our waiter brings us out some beautiful handmade truffles to enjoy, as well as a rose for Jeremy to give to me. They’re both such lovely complimentary touches and I have to say, I’m really wowed by the whole evening.
And those truffles – they were epic in how great they tasted! Especially the one on the left which was filled with a raspberry jelly like substance that created music in my mouth. French fine dining really does win my heart every time.