Tangerine, THE FACE Suites
July 20, 2018
Could it be true that food tastes better at higher altitudes? While scientists insist otherwise, one of our favourite meals this month was savoured hundreds of feet up in the air, courtesy of Tangerine, the rooftop fine-dining restaurant of THE FACE Suites.
Sunsets and scallops, skyline views and short ribs, a soaring sense of serenity and seared foie gras come together at this beautiful space on the 51st floor of this centrally located luxury all-suites hotel. Take a table within amid a polished marble interior with floor-to-ceiling windows or sit outside on the casual deck, indulging perhaps in a candlelit dinner with a bird's-eye perspective of the horizon.
Thankfully, Tangerine's food offerings prove triumphantly towering too; chef Siti Arini Darsom has drawn inspiration from ideas originating from respected establishments across the globe to craft a selection that changes every three months, comprising a la carte specialities as well as tasting menus.
We visited to sample the latest five-course set dinner, available from July through September at RM318 nett per person. The experience is previewed by an amuse bouche of Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Sphere, a small bite of reinvigorating lusciousness, and a much-welcome bread basket, fresh and fragrant with truffle butter.
First Course: Heirloom Tomatoes
Showcasing how much can be accomplished with tomatoes, the fruit is strikingly served in seven distinctively different styles, commencing with a bowl of both granita and gazpacho, moving next to a teaspoon of tomato caviar, then tomato compote, followed by semi-dried tomatoes, tomato salsa, and tomato dust. It's a compellingly orchestrated symphony of naturally melodious sweetness, with the tomatoes hitting tuneful notes on their own or in harmonious concert with other components - our favourite was the compote, which accentuated the ripe, juicy dimensions of the tomato.
Second Course: Choice of King Crab or Cheese Agnolotti
If the first course tells a tale of how a single ingredient can shine, the second conveys a saga of culinary synergy - guests have a choice of king crab presented in an oyster shell-shaped vessel, made delicately nuanced with uplifting elements of kyuri, kiwi fruit, melon and green yogurt dressing, or cheese agnolotti, comparatively punchier in its flavours, complemented with shaved truffles, fennel puree and hazelnut foam for earthiness, combining both crunch and a pleasant chewiness on one plate.
An intermezzo of 'espresso bisque' turns out to be a most memorable interlude, an imaginative blend of coffee and prawn bisque that works spectacularly together, where the sum is even more delightful than the individual parts, rounding out the unmistakable acidity of coffee with the umami-rich brininess of bisque in a way that works so well.
Third Course: Choice of Hokkaido Scallop or Seared Foie Gras
Round three brings equally elaborate, protein-packed concoctions to the ring. The Hokkaido Scallop is sculpted with a smooth mushroom souffle and crusty kale for a confidently executed contrast of textures, while the Seared Foie Gras' robustness is further emboldened by a helping of smoked duck, candied kumquat, puy lentils and vanilla glaze. They're both so enjoyable in their own right, it boils down to whether you prefer something from sea or land.
A palate cleanser of house-made passion fruit sorbet sorbet with a crystal-clear cleanness of flavour ensures we're primed for what's next.
Fourth Course: Choice of Kyushu Wagyu MB10, Free Range Beef Short Rib, Hill Side Lamb Rack, or Wild Turbot Fillet
Four potential choices are offered for the main course, each substantial enough to score a knockout win. For steak devotees, the best bet is the Kyushu Wagyu MB10, a fine specimen of sheer succulence, luxurious in both flavour and texture, enriched with a wine-infused sauce, lightly seasoned with pink salt flakes, completed with baby carrots and parsnip cream. Note that this course incurs a surcharge of RM100.
Also for your bovine pleasure, the Free Range Beef Short Rib has been braised for four hours, emerging thoroughly tender, made even more engaging with a grain mustard crust, plus roasted sunchokes as a savvy accompaniment, eschewing cliches like mashed potatoes.
The Hill Side Lamb Rack is a visual treat, with its bone jutting out beneath a pickled onion petal parasol; the sauce for this has been infused with Pinot Noir to lighten instead of strengthen it, buoying the spice-rubbed meat nicely. Broad bean hummus and herb tuile demonstrate the kitchen's meticulous attention to detail.
Last but by no means least, the Wild Turbot Fillet surfaces with a seafood reduction sauce to bolster the oceanic sensibilities of this pan-roasted recipe, balanced nonetheless with herb butter, a tapioca puff, concasse and kale salad, displaying a staunch commitment to sterling produce.
Fifth Course: Choice of Apple Caramel Sorbet or Marquise
The two possibilities for dessert are thoughtfully varied. The Apple Caramel Sorbet takes centre stage, its smooth, mellow softness bolstered by chantilly jivara, velvet meringue and lavender streusel for more complexities than typically crammed into a dessert, while the Marquise is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, made from Cuvee Bali 68 percent chocolate, coupled with hazelnut dacquoise for a delectable dose of decadence. Plenty of petit fours help the night conclude on a satisfying high.
Service is stellar, with the team explaining each course with enthusiasm and ensuring that every need is met, including topping up our glasses with selections from their wine shelves - you won't go wrong with the elegantly bright Tyrrell's Lost Block Semillon (Hunter Valley, 2015) and highly rated Tyrrell's Lost Block Shiraz (Heathcote, 2013).
Many thanks to Tangerine for a meal that tasted heaven-sent.
Sky Deck, Level 51, THE FACE Suites, 1020, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 6pm-1030pm. Tel: 03-2168-1670