The Olive: 2015 MIGF Review

At an elevation of 6,000 feet and seated high up on a culinary Cloud Nine, Genting Highlands has long forged a reputation as the definitive example of sky-high dining at its finest. The Olive sits right at the entrance of the resort’s hallmark destination Genting Grand Hotel and is regularly in the conversation for the best restaurant anywhere in the country with a host of awards to its name.

Festival Royal Patron Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Tuanku Ja’afar, who once officiated the opening of the restaurant and has been a regular visitor there ever since, recently led a guest list of 20 elite diners to sample Chef Mohd Radzuan Hamzah’s exquisite Festival Menu. Some of the other guests for the evening included Datin Maylene Yong, Founder and President of Glitterama Charity Group; Festival Advisory Committee members Dr Beh Chor Khim and Key Soon Yue; and Bakhache Luxuries Managing Director Antoine Bakhache.

Antoine Bakhache, Sabah Bakhache, Tunku Naquiyuddin, and Edward Holloway

Tho Yow Yin, Mrs Lee, HS Lee, Key Soon Yue, Andy Kuan, Lee Chen Din, Dato’ Kee Hua Chee

Tong Shew Long, Agnes Ang, Stella Lim, and Datin Maylene Yong

Tho Yow Yin, Key Soon Yue, Dato’ Kee Hua Chee, Katherine Chew, and Khew Choon Teck

Dr Beh Chor Khim, Tho Yow Yin, and Datin Su Wai Fun

With restaurant staff dressed as Stormtroopers, out-of-this-world place settings and a dessert spread straight out of the most delicious science-fiction movie ever, The Olive’s publicity dinner certainly embraced the galactic spirit of MIGF 2015.

The Olive’s staff dressed as Stormtroopers to embrace the Galactic Festival theme

As guests poured into the internationally-renowned venue, much chatter was to be heard among guests, some meeting for the first time and others catching up among old friends. The animated conversation was complimented by some delicious amuses bouche. A truffle finger served with The animated conversation was complimented by some delicious amuses bouche – truffle finger with truffle honey; oyster shooter with passion fruit caviar; and cone tomato, mascarpone cheese and caviar.

Cone Tomato, Mascarpone Cheese and Caviar

Truffle Finger with Truffle Honey

A flaming shooter of fresh Oyster and Passion Fruit Caviar

Pre-dinner cocktails were enjoyed amid animated conversation

MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day welcomed the assembled guests as he reminded them of The Olive’s pedigree as a former winner of the MIGF Golden Cauldron for the Best All-Round Restaurant of the annual Festival. Genting’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Edward Holloway took his turn to greet the diners, reminding them of the importance of this year as the 50th anniversary of the world-famous resort.

Dato’ Steve welcoming the guests

Edward Holloway reminding the guests of the importance of this anniversary year for all at Genting

All of a sudden, lights dimmed and in marched a squadron of four Stormtroopers beckoning the guests to the next stage of the evening’s festivities – the spectacular main dining room of The Olive. Guests took their places among a sea of blue lights and edible centrepieces while Chef Radzuan stood proudly in his inviting and bustling show kitchen.

The Stormtroopers escorting diners to the next phase of their culinary odyssey

The Olive’s main dining room fully represented the Festival theme with blue lighting throughout

No sooner were the assembled food lovers sat in their seats than the first course arrived – a poached langoustine with oyster mousseline, radish, onion and sago essence. Beautifully presented in molecular form, the seafood duo of the langoustine and the oyster formed a dish perfect for preparing diners for the feast that was to come.

Poached Langoustine with Oyster Mousseline, Radish, Onion and Sago Essence

Onto the second of the six dishes for the evening and Chef Radzuan brought forth a dish of duck liver, chicken breast, lemon glazed, pickle rhubarb, poached baby beetroot and whisky cream sauce. The whisky cream sauce was a huge hit with the diners, many of whom praised the unique bitter ‘kick’ it gave the meat, while contrasting with the sour elements offered up by the lemon glazed.

Duck Liver, Chicken Breast, Lemon glazed, Pickled Rhubarb, Poached Baby Beetroot and Whisky Cream Sauce

Next up was the soup course – a dish whose aroma preceded it as a beautiful scent hit the nostrils of diners – of bouillabaisse essence enveloping Brunoise vegetables, a manila clam and a lobster tortellini. Simplistic yet delicate, the broth featured a perfect blend of flavours, while seafood returned to palates thanks to the clam and the tortellini.

Bouillabaisse essence with Brunoise Vegetables, Manila Clam and Lobster Tortellini

Dato’ Steve took the time in between courses to introduce the guests one-by-one complete with specially-prepared fact sheets with hilarious trivia about the diners. True to the Festival’s philosophy that it is not just what is on the plates but who is on the seats that matters, Dato’ Steve’s traditional introductions are always a highlight of the MIGF Publicity Dinners.

Fourth up on the agenda was Chef Radzuan’s entrée – Chilean seabass with rocket puree, Maldon sea salt, Shimeiji mushroom and citrus olive oil – continuing the form of deliciously fresh seafood for the evening. This course was a particular favourite of Sabah Bakhache, who called the fish ‘perfect’ and claimed ‘the surrounding elements all complemented the seabass and took the dish to another level’.

Chilean Seabass with Rocket Puree, Maldon Sea Salt, Shimeiji Mushroom and Citrus Olive Oil

The last of the menu’s savoury courses finally made its appearance – a main course of M9 tenderloin fillet served with Jerusalem artichoke puree, legumes, potato au gratin and a shallot jus. The succulent beef earned its M9 grading for containing among the highest quality marbling and therefore almost as tender as can be – a fact was certainly not lost on the eager diners as not a plate was left unfinished.

M9 Tenderloin Fillet, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Legumes, Potato au gratin and a Shallot Jus

Finally the Stormtroopers returned, armed with light sabres, to safely escort guests to their ultimate destination – where galactic lighting and décor presented a dessert spread filled with delicious sweet offerings. Diners feasting on the menu’s finale stood around a glass table adorned with a raft of chocolates, ice cream, candies, and fruity delights.

Chef Radzuan putting the finishing touches on his decadent dessert spread

The huge table featured an array of delicious dessert offerings

Chocolate blocks built to resemble asteroids covered the table

Even the Stormtroopers couldn’t resist trying the dessert!

Dato’ Steve and Festival Advisory Committee member Key Soon Yue spoke on behalf of diners to congratulate the whole team on their fantastic menu – a sentiment met by rapturous applause from all guests.

Key Soon Yue thanking all the staff for an excellent evening full of surprises

It fell to Tunku Naquiyuddin to have the final say of the evening as he thanked everyone at The Olive for a truly memorable evening. He said: “A lot of people here know that I am a huge fan of desserts and tonight’s unique offering was among the best I have ever tasted. That said, every dish on this wonderful menu has been a delight and has reminded me why this is a restaurant so close to my heart.”

Tunku Naquiyuddin having the final say at a restaurant he describes as ‘very close to his heart’

The 19 diners all left with extremely fond memories of The Olive

The full Festival Menu is available at The Olive for just RM298 without wines or RM438 with wine pairings included. To view the full menu, click here and to read more about Chef Radzuan Hamzah, click here.

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