Cantaloupe, Troika Sky Dining
A sunset arrival awards us with a bird’s eye view of the city’s magical transition from day to night. Towering glass walls afford 180 degree vistas. The famed skyline of the Petronas and KL towers sits as if a giant postcard were placed at the fore of the window. As the golden sun drops from view, a gentle illumination of the city develops. This is our first experience of Cantaloupe, Troika Sky Dining.
|Cantaloupe at night - a magical time to visit is the transition from day to night, the sun fades and the city lights up|
Modern but not cold, grand but not overwhelming, the restaurant breathes calm sophistication. Soaring ceilings have the potential for belittlement - chandeliers and a bar with a dropped ceiling however enclose the space, and this, alongside pockets of warmth and colour add comfort to style. Hand woven carpets break the polished floor and unclothed tables allow the natural beauty of octopus legged tables to contrast the clean lined interior. Spots of colour interrupt neutral tones and warm lighting softens long contemporary lines. We choose a table by the window and ask for the beverage options.
|Tall ceilings allow natural light and beautiful city vistas - watch out for the water feature in the middle - the shiny surface looks like glass and walkable. Luckily there's only been one man who's fallen in to date.|
A comprehensive wine list prizes personally picked and imported French wines. Filled in with a flurry of other old world and some new world wines, the menu even offers a range of organic and biodynamic varieties. Staff are well trained and can be relied on to make suitable food and wine pairing suggestions. We sip on a wonderfully aromatic French sauvignon blanc, Menetou-Salon Morogues Blanc, Domaine Henry Pelle, 2010 as we browse the food menu.
Loosely termed as ‘modern fine dining’, professional but unstuffy service and quality ingredients are at the core. Opting for organic, sustainable and grass fed where possible, excellent products form a solid foundation. The menu is an interesting format. Instead of the traditional divisions of Starter and Main Course, the dishes become heavier as the list progresses. The suggestion is to order one from each page if you're hungry. However if you're ravenous two from each page is the recommendation. Be wise in your selections though, as dessert is worth a visit all on its own, so do save a belt notch or two.
Delicate and precise from the very start, our taste buds are first enticed with a short cylinder of butter and a slice of home made baguette. Three types of salt – basil, paprika and truffle are for the dipping.
The Amuse Bouche further delights with a paper-thin round of pastry covered with caramelized onion, perfectly circular shavings of beetroot and crowned with a dab of salmon belly tartare.
A phallic sprig of White Asparagus stands proudly in the centre of the next dish. A crescent of grilled rock melon crosses the plate and a wafer of crispy duck bacon drapes over a fallen sprig of vegetable. An avocado hollandaise pond moistens the base and sticks of herbs dot the cream. A white balsamic vinaigrette adds zing while our next white wine, Vacqueryras Un Sang Blanc, Domaine le Sang des Cailloux 2010 adds a mouthful of fruit. We look at each other’s plates hoping someone would leave a scrap, but all are wiped clean.
|White Asparagus - Poached white asparagus, grilled rock melon, avocado hollandaise, shallot and white balsamic vinaigrette|
Next an upgraded version of a local favourite arrives. Foie Gras Satay! Incredible. Succulent juice-spewing foie gras is skewered on an edible slither of pasta. A sprinkling of rice crispies vary the texture of the creamy almost peanut buttery sauce. Candied cucumber surprises and cinnamon incense lingers on the tongue. Each disparate part is worthy of a nibble on its own to appreciate the uniqueness of each part. But do spare enough to experiment with combinations in order to experience the complete range of flavours and textures provided in this one tiny dish.
|Foie Gras Satay|
A three stage drama provides an interval from the meal and a cleansing of the palate. First a shot glass is presented with a frozen cube of tea. Next, a lemon-thyme syrup drenches the contents. Finally a kaffir lime espuma is frothed on top. Effective and individual, we appreciate the diversion and are ready for the heavier dishes.
Moving to a red wine, I mull over a glass of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir. A gentle floral bouquet with whiffs of wildflower sends my imagination to thyme-covered fields in spring. Berries, herbs and spices on the palate with hints of forest mushroom make it an ideal pairing for Duck. Mine comes as moist breast, marinated with orange and juniper and, is sliced to form a fan of pink flesh. Smoked duck quinoa, stewed Brussels sprouts and a spiced cranberry sauce add texture, colour and complementary flavours to the plate.
|Duck - Orange and Juniper marinated Duck Breast, Smoked Duck Quinoa, Stewed Brussels Sprouts, Spiced Cranberry Sauce|
My companion tries Confit de Canard. A homemade confit duck leg is sided with the breast as rillettes, breaded and fried, mustard cream sauce, mashed potato, duck glaze and, potato crisps. Not afraid of salt, the meat is savoury with a crisp exterior and a juicy nucleus. This soon becomes the tables’ favourite of the more substantial options. The accompanying red wine, Chinon, Beaumont, Catherine and Pierre Breton 2010, pairs well with the duck. Fresh with berries and a hint of mineral on the palate make this light to medium bodied wine not quite strong enough for hubby’s beef selection (next), but a perfect match for this poultry dish.
|Confit de Canard - Homemade Confit Duck Leg, the Breast as Rillettes, Breaded and Fried, Mustard Cream Sauce, Mashed Potato, Duck Glaze and Potato Crisps.|
Hubby has a fond affection towards red meat so it was no surprise his top order was the Wagyu Beef. The thoughtful chef recognizes that this fatty meat can be overwhelmingly rich in large portions so has divided the plate into two, cooking each piece differently. Both are flawless, causing hubby to go back and forth between the pair, comparing and trying to decide which he likes best.
Stuffed as we are, we can’t resist dessert!
The Piña Colada resembles a blanket of foam washed up on shore after a rough storm at sea. Thin slices of pineapple are poached sous-vide with Madagascar vanilla and befriended with a coconut sorbet, macadamia nut brittle, hot buttered rum sphere and spumed with Sichuan pepper foam. This might possibly be even better than the drink.
|Piña Colada - Pineapple, Poached Sous-Vide with Madagascar Vanilla, Coconut Sorbet, Macadamia Nut Brittle, Hot Buttered Rum Sphere and Sichuan Pepper Foam.|
The Apple Crumble is a deconstructed version with each part holding its own, but also playing well with the other ingredients. An apple juice sphere must be eaten first and fills my mouth with the wholesomeness of autumn. Poached and dried green apple, cinnamon and aniseed milk foam and, burnt butter ice cream complete the experience.
|Apple Crumble - Apple Juice Sphere, Poached & Dried Green Apple, Cinnamon and Aniseed Milk Foam and Burnt Butter Ice Cream. Eat the sphere first and you are set on your way to exploring a different way of eating crumble.|
Dessert must include Chocolate and at Cantaloupe it comes as two distinct textures. A Guanaja chocolate ganache topped with crisp meringue and, a Manjari chocolate aerobar demonstrate just how versatile cocoa can be. A salted caramel foam, vanilla sauce and candied nuts are unnecessary but delightful escorts, supporting a memorable finish.
|Chocolate - Guanaja Chocolate Ganache and Crisp Meringue, Manjari Chocolate Aerobar, Salted Caramel Foam, Vanilla Sauce and Candied Nuts|
Reason to visit: contemporary but personable atmosphere, bird’s eye view of the cityscape, Foie Gras Satay, Duck Confit, all of the desserts, excellent wine selection at reasonable prices
|Map to Cantaloupe, Troika|
Troika Sky Dining
Level 23A, Tower B, The Troika
19 Persiaran KLCC
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2162 0886