Flint x Guest Chef T.C.: Noma-Inspired Dishes

June 11, 2017

Some collaborations seem made in culinary heaven: When a skilled 26-year-old Malaysian chef who spent 14 months in the kitchen of Copenhagens Noma teams up with an establishment in KL whose founders have specialised in observantly executed food & first-rate wines for more than a decade, the alchemy of youthful panache & seasoned perceptiveness is a prescription for flavours that linger in the mouth & on the mind. Potential local wunderkind T.C. (Toraik Chua) cooked for four briskly attended evenings this month at Persiaran Ampangs Flint Restaurant & Bar, in a pop-up that stirred a meaningful sense of excitement for how both sides might continue to work together to make a long-lasting mark via an ambitious canvas.

For this wine pairing event, T.C. shouldered the twin challenges of placating a crowd that craved brilliant Noma-inspired creations & introducing himself as a talent to watch on his own merit - a complex task considering many of us had neither been to Noma nor experienced T.C.s cooking before. The meal took flight with a series of starters that carried clear stamps of our homelands harvest - lacto-fermented plums & flowers that breathed out fresh, natural nuances; wisps of flatbread crackers adorned with dill, wood sorrels, marigolds & creme fraiche; baby corn with horseradish whipped cream & turmeric leaf oil; & sweet, succulent frog legs, kataifi-cloaked & rounded out with garlic cream & kelp powder. Astutely partnered with both a delicately dry Trimbach Riesling & floral-fruity Alois Lageder Gewurztraminer, these were a scintillating launch, transporting the palate through an unforced, unhurried progression of pleasures, from carefully calibrated subtleties to full-bodied robustness.

The next slate delved into even deeper discoveries - cucumber with tomatoes & galangal evoked what a Malaysian gazpacho might be, while Canadian scallops travelled from the North Atlantic to meet their match in Cameron Highlands kale & flowers. Again, the choice of wine elevated the enjoyment, with a Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir as an unexpectedly graceful enhancement.

Our favourite course was the sparingly cooked king prawn with carrots, its foamy bisque channeling the sort of full-fleshed, crunchy-shelled crustacean resonance thats so richly fulfilling. The final savoury temptation, wagyu beef with barley & truffles, not only ensured that red-meat carnivores had no cause for complaints but was yet another intricately thoughtful coupling of protein & produce. A velvety Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino capably stood tall with these lusty powerhouses of flavour.

Dual desserts lifted the number of formal courses to a perfect ten, with lively tasting notes & light textures delivering the dinner to its ideal end. Kaffir lime sorbet sang a vibrant score with green apples & lemongrass, while sweet potato, gula melaka & santan produced their own lovely three-part harmony, with nutmeg-topped biscotti for an epilogue. Taken as a manifesto for what T.C. & Flint aim to accomplish, this was a menu that succeeded in sustaining surprises & satisfaction in equal measure, confirming T.C. as a chef to track as he continues to evolve & mature into his thirties. Many thanks to Flint for having us here.

Flint Restaurant & Bar
24 Persiaran Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-4252-8262

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