Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant
One of the few elegant dining restaurants to stand the test of time, Le Midi French Italian Restaurant, in Bangsar Shopping Centre has undergone some changes since our last visit.
A new chef, Andrea Alimenti now heads up the team. On our first visit we fell in love with both the chef and the operations manager (who doubled up as the wine steward and pairer of all things liquid, who has also since moved on), so we’re entering the review a little wary. Old love dies hard.
Owner, Melissa Groot, though has a reputation for only hiring the best. Energetically sourcing the most sought after human resources is a skill she gained from her many years in business in Hong Kong. This is a lady who gets what she wants. And… after viewing the resume of the new chef (which easily has enough content to be published as a book, including numerous Michelin stars behind his name), we see she has settled for no one but the best.
|Private Dining Room|
Chef Andrea Alimenti presents himself with a sparkle in his eye and an upbeat tempo in his step. His voice has the musical cadence of an Italian accent and, there’s an energy to his character that infuses the atmosphere with cheer and good spirit.
Chef shares with us that he’s keen on sourcing local ingredients (three cheers for his social responsibility philosophy) and insists on making everything from scratch. Pasta, bread, dressings, desserts… all are made in house. While respecting traditional recipes, he is not restrained by the classics. He takes pleasure in experimentation and making modern improvements. We’re excited to try his recent introductions to Le Midi’s menu and start to wonder if we’re already finding another affection.
A white wine, Secret de Berticot, Cotes de Duras, Sauvignon 2013 (RM20++), stirs our interests. It’s their house pouring wine and exclusive to Le Midi. Importing wines yourself has its advantages. Melissa, a fan of all things French, brings in her favourties. This one is pale straw in colour, with light minerals on the nose, crisp and refreshing on the palate with a slightly floral finish. Seafood and salad form a positive partnership.
|House Pouring White Wine - Secret de Berticot, Cotes de Duras, Sauvignon 2013|
Wild Rocket Salad with Cured Duck, Apple, Fig and Aioli Mustard Dressing (RM35++) is an impressive introduction. The poultry has been cured in house by the chef. The flesh is tender and the dried fig juxtaposes the saltiness with an intense fruit savor. Glazed balsamic drops are wonderful and I’d like to know if I could take a bottle home. This too is made in Le Midi’s kitchen.
|Wild Rocket Salad with Cured Duck, Apple, Fig and Aioli Mustard Dressing|
A tower of prawns, scallops, calamari and octopus jumble with celery, asparagus, red capsicum and tomato, connecting the sea to the earth. A light olive thyme oil dresses the Seafood Salad (RM60++). Celery lifts the dish and we’re amazed at how tender the seafood is, especially the calamari.
We moan in delight over the Potato Gnocchi with Cheese Fondue (RM48++). “This is divine!” says our dining partner. Hubby declares, “This is the best in the country!” It’s so soft. We’ve had some good ones in KL, but I might actually agree with hubby this round. The potato dumplings are feathery and the sauce, creamy and dreamy. I’m sopping up the sauce, (I know I shouldn’t) and calculating how many kilometres I’ll have to run tomorrow. The distance is rocketing, but I don’t care. I show no self-restraint.
|Gnocchi with Cheese Fondue|
We’re three dishes in, thrilled with the first courses, and the conversation has taken an electrifying air to it. We learn the chef started as a baker in his teenage years, bakes his own bread and makes supreme desserts. Since his youth he has traveled the world and chef-ed in incredible locations under extraordinary circumstances. Enthusiasm is high for the meal to go on.
The naturally sweet soft flesh of Lobster tops Ravioli (RM90++), which is stuffed with mozzarella and melts in the mouth! Cherry tomatoes add colour to the plate and a coating of olive oil leaves a fine film in the mouth.
|Lobster with Mozzarella Ravioli|
Pistachio butter and sautéed vegetables accompany the Roasted Salmon (RM80++). Like a low ridge the pink fish spans across the plate. Snow peas, asparagus and carrot form a railway track below the mound. The thick nut topping marries well with the flaky moist flesh proving the perfect complement. Hubby proclaims the chef a magician! Our taste buds are dazzled. You must order this dish if you have the good fortune to dine at Le Midi.
|Roasted Salmon with Pistachio Butter|
Switching to red wine for the duck, hubby orders the Chateau Benage Fontaine, Cuvee Prestige, 2010 (RM25++), the house wine. The wine was decanted when we first arrived and now has a delicious smell of black forest cake – chocolate and cherry. It’s deep sanguine in colour, almost opaque. Easy drinking, and versatile, it’s an excellent choice for a house pour.
|House Pouring Red Wine - Chateau Benage Fontaine, Cuvee Prestige, 2010|
Chateau Pouroutou, Bordeaux 2011 (RM288++ bottle) is my choice and equally suits the duck. Dark crimson in the glass, with aromas of toast and spice, this red is full bodied with a rich finish.
|Chateau, Pouroutou, Bordeaux 2011|
Duck Breast in Orange Sauce (RM100++) is lined up beside Parmesan custard on truffle sauce and, asparagus mousse. We’re wowed again. An intense citrus sauce covers tender, succulent meat. Orange zest adds zing and I’d love to mop up the remaining liquid with a piece of bread.
|Duck Breast in Orange Sauce|
While some menus seem to add in dessert as an after thought, Le Midi’s new chef delights in his sweets and they turn out to be just as noteworthy as the mains. A white plate serves as a blank palette for Apricot Custard (RM35++), which is dotted with fruit sauces and a zig-zag of caramel. It flaunts the texture of a baked cheesecake and we’re fond of the concentrated apricot pulp in the middle.
Hot Chocolate Tender Heart (RM35++) is chef’s version of a lava cake. Chocolate sauce trickles from the centre and a vivid raspberry sorbet brightens the dark brown knoll. Light Chantilly Cream shapes a puffy-cloud crown and all three mixed together fill the mouth with a blend of warm, cold and gooey.
|Hot Chocolate Tender Heart|
Finally our acceptance and endearment of the new chef is clenched with his Amarena Cherry Parfait. Hand whipped, it’s wickedly airy and creamy. Both hubby and I discover new tenderness for Le Midi and vow to revisit.
*** Note: The pictures shown above are tasting portions. The prices however show the price for a regular serving size.
Reason to visit: hand made gelato; gnocchi with cheese fondue; excellent value house wine; exceptional city views; roasted salmon with pistachio butter; lobster ravioli.
French Italian Restaurant
Level 3 Bangsar Shopping Centre
285 Jalan Maarof
Bangsar, Bukit Bandaraya
59000 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2094 1318
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