As one of the top five star luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur, the HiltonKL has been a leader in the hospitality industry since opening in 2003. It boasts no less than ten premium food and beverage outlets, from the popular late night hangout and über stylish Zeta Bar, to the robatayaki-equipped lobby-level restaurant, Chambers Bar & Grill. It is in this outlet that a select group of diners recently met to taste menus from two of the hotel’s flagship restaurants – Iketeru and Graze.
Being conspicuously absent from MIGF for a number of a years, the HiltonKL made a welcome return to the Festival last year, winning multiple awards across its three participating restaurants. This year once again sees modern European restaurant Graze, helmed by half-French half-German Chef Marc Fery, back in the mix as well as iconic Japanese eatery Iketeru, with seven times MIGF veteran Chef Ricky Kamiishi back on board. Guests were whisked away from Far East Asia to Central Europe via the culinary expertise of the two chefs.
Gathering in the outside area of Chambers Bar & Grill, in the plush, high-ceilinged lobby of the Hilton KL, the group began their gastronomic voyage with pre-dinner drinks and canapes that offered a taste of what they would enjoy in Iketeru – the first restaurant of the night. Roving platters of homemade sashimi toufou with wasabi and soy sauce made their way around the group, complemented by umeshu cocktails, made from tart but sweet Japanese plum wine.
Umeshu cocktails and Homemade Sashimi Toufou with Wasabi and Soy Sauce
There to greet arriving guests was HiltonKL GM Jamie Mead and Director of Business Development Alex Cotteril. Among the group was BHL Management Advisory Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Lim Huah Leong, Hap Seng Consolidated Chairman Dato’ Jorgen Bornhoft, Glenfiddich, The Balvenie Regional Brand Manager Leaw Sijie and Festival Advisory Committee Members Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir, Key Soon Yue, David Teh and Johari Abas.
Dato’ Kee Hua chee, Alex Cotteril, Jamie Mead and Hayati Yahya
Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir, Datin Tina Saw binti Abdullah, Alex Cotteril, Datin Ingelise Bornhoft and Dato’ Jorgen Bornhoft
Jeremy Khaw, Leaw Sijie and Dato’ Kee Hua Chee
Key Soon Yue and Hayati YahyaDavid Teh, Pitt Lee, Shirley TayChef Marc Fery, Hayati Yahya and Dato’ Steve Day
Evidence of the recent Food is GREAT festival decked out the lobby, a culinary campaign which highlighted the best of British food over the course of the month. Michelin star Chef Gary Rhodes stepped in to prepare a sumptuous five-course dinner, and most recently, a ‘SuperBrunch’ that featured a buffet of home-grown British grub that spanned 1,000 square metres across the lobby.
With the last of the group present, MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day gathered guests to one side of the bar to welcome them while introducing the HiltonKL’s top brass.
“We’re very much behind supporting the industry and giving our team members a chance to get involved in something beyond our hotel and the Festival provides that sort of ground,” said Mr Mead in his welcome address, before inviting guests up to Iketeru for the first leg of their culinary safari.
Jamie Mead welcoming the guests to the culinary safari
Puan Sri Datin Sri Wendy Lim, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Lim Huah Leong, Christine Leville and Johari Abas
Regularly packed on weeknights, this night was no different as guests walked into a full restaurant. Furnished with teppanyaki counters and traditional tatami rooms, Iketeru has become a cornerstone of Japanese dining in the city, with a menu that boasts only the most authentic dishes. Ocean fresh sashimi, sublime hotpots and prime beef are some of its hallmarks.
As guests took their place, Chef Ricky’s first course rolled out of the kitchen with smooth precision – a mixed starter with fresh sea bream, sea urchin, tuna, sea trout, deep fried crab and cheese spring roll.
Fresh Sea Bream with Sea Urchin, Tuna with Nagaimo Yam and Sea Trout with Ikura Roe served with Pink Soy Sauce Deep Fried Crab and Cheese Spring Roll, Basil Tomato and Gingko Nut served with Brown Meat Mayonnaise
This led straight into a savoury simmered dish of seafood and vegetables ‘fukiyose’ style that was paired with a crispy and clean Daiginjyo sake. The hearty broth contained a melange of yellow tail fish, shimeji mushroom, eggplant and onion and a piquant hit of yuzu pepper.
Simmered Seafood and Vegetables “Fukiyose” style Yellow Tail, Prawn, Shimeji Mushroom, Eggplant and Onion Served with Wakame Seaweed Sauce with Yuzu Pepper
Finally, Chef Ricky’s crowning glory of grilled wagyu beef, foie gras and halibut preserved with miso appeared, utilising the best of land and sea with flavours steeped in traditional Japanese cookery. A unique miso mustard sauce added a splash of colour to the plate while providing a spicy and salty hit.
Miso Flavour Plate: Grilled Wagyu Beef, Foie Gras and Halibut Preserved with Miso, Mushroom Risot Croquet with Miso Cream Sauce, served with Paprika and Asparagus with Miso Mustard Sauce
Finally, a green tea and shiratama parfait put a sweet ending to the Far East portion of evening. Chef Ricky emerged from his kitchen thank guests and wish them well on the next phase of their dinner.
Chef Ricky plating up the dessert: Green Tea and Shiratama ParfaitChef Ricky explaining the concept behind his menu to David Teh
Guests rose from their seats to make the trip down to Graze, where the towering Chef Marc Fery was ready to take them on a journey through Europe. Two tables waited for the group at the far end of the cosy restaurant located right below the award-winning Chynna. The trademark curved glass walls and ceiling mirror add spaciousness to the intimate setting, which carries a refined yet unpretentious atmosphere.
“I hope you’ve got space left after your Iketeru experience because I have an exquisite menu ready for you,” announced Chef Marc before disappearing into the kitchen to prepare the first of his dishes – a confit of Scottish scallops and grilled prawn, granny smith apple chutney, frisee and radicchio leafs with orange blush.
Chef Marc welcoming the group to his restaurant while Jamie Mead looks on
Chef Marc in his element, plating up the starter: Confit of Scottish Scallops and Grilled Prawn, Granny Smith Apple Chutney Frisee and Radicchio Leafs, Orange Brush
The delights from the ocean were quickly polished up by appreciative guests, who were then served a unique combination of tomato and leek soup – perfectly plated up in a bowl that showed a clear contrast between both soups.
Tomato and Leek, Candied Roma Tomato and Leek Straw
Next up, another wagyu cut served as the main course, only this time a slow braised beef cheek and charcoal grilled eye of rump, served with honey roast celeriac, green pea and carrot puree. Seared on the outside and pink in the middle, the tender lumps of beef were a perfect counterpoint to the mixed puree.
Grain Fed Beef: Slow Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek and Charcoal Grilled Eye of Rump Honey Roast Celeriac, Green Pea and Carrot Puree, Fried Anchovy-tarragon Butte
Chef Marc closed his menu with a delamere goat cheese cake with digestive biscuits – a distinctive take on the traditional cheese cake that capped of a gorgeous European menu.
When asked about his experience, Dato’ Jorgen Bornhoft commented: “The evening has been spectacular in every sense of the word, from the company to the food. Presentation and service was, as usual, top class here at the Hilton. From fantastic Japanese at Iketeru to exquisite European at Graze…everyone around me is praising the efforts of the teams. I always look forward to dining here!”
As the evening drew to a close, Jamie Mead rose from his place and thanked everyone for what was truly an enjoyable evening: “It’s been a pleasure to have you here this evening, moving between the two restaurants to sample two vastly different menus on the same night. Both Chef Ricky and Chef Marc were equally as delighted to serve you mini-versions of their Festival menus and we hope to see you return soon to try more of our culinary offerings.”
Jamie Mead thanking the guests along with Chef Marc and Dato’ Steve
The Full Festival Menu at Graze costs RM328 nett per person with wines and RM228 nett per peson without wines. Iketeru’s Full Festival Menu costs RM320 nett per person with wines and RM150 nett per person without wines. To view the Graze menu, click here and to view the Iketeru menu click here.