Mandarin Grill Teamed-up With Gēn In An Unmissable Four-Hands Dining Experience

The Mandarin Grill at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur showcased its latest four-hands collaboration, bringing together the talents of chef Johnson Wong from Gēn 根 and the new chef de cuisine Rafael Martinez Millan from Mandarin Grill. Gēn, a critically acclaimed gastronomic gem nestled in Penang, signifies ‘ground roots’ in Chinese. The establishment reflects Wong’s philosophy and ethos on harnessing the diverse, natural components found across Malaysia. On the flip side, Millan brings an extensive background in notable venues, including various five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants. His arrival at Mandarin Grill introduces a new outlook, marked by his distinctive fusion of flavour profiles and novel presentation.

Chef Rafael Martinez Millan.

The evening started off with a ginger flower-infused sea prawn, paired with oyster sauce and tomato berries, delivering a burst of umami that lingered. A surprising twist came in the form of the cannolo––a fillo pastry filled with an unexpected yet congruous combination of strawberry and anchovies. The skipjack tuna, swathed in sesame oil, leek and brassica showcased the artistry of transforming simple ingredients into a medley of textures and undertones. This amuse bouche trio provided an enticing preview of the culinary excursion that awaited us. We then progressed to the Belcheri oyster, which was shrouded on a bed of mountain yam, bathed in mussel broth, along with the subtle aroma of fennel seeds. Each bite embodied a subdued balance, reminiscent of a jaunt through the ocean’s bounty.

Belcheri Oyster.

The spotlight then shifted to the mains, starting with a rich hearty beef paella burrowed in a red wine sauce. Next, the coral grouper, decked with buah kulim, lotus, and nasturtium, illustrated an optimal union of freshly caught seafood and native flavours that authentically captured the nub of Malaysia. The aged duck breast followed suit, accenting chestnut cream, morels, and green papaya.

Beef Paela.

Things took a turn when we were presented with a pre-dessert course, the Josephine pineapple––infused with a delicate drizzle of soy sauce, a hint of chili, and the refreshing crush of ice plant. This surprising combination provided a counterbalance of sweet, savoury, and spiced notes. The sweet finale arrived in a simple yet satisfying array of desserts. The mango, accompanied by sweet curry sauce and seeds, delivered a refreshing and tangy touch to the palate. Then, the petit four selection featured guava, sea grapes, nutmeg, and a subtly sugared doughnut. Completing this sweet ensemble were the chocolate Meliga cookie and ginger marshmallow.

Chef Johnson Wong.

Mandarin Oriental


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