In a quiet corner of Publika sits Zender’s Restaurant and Bar with an unrivaled view of the distant KL skyline, making for some of the finest al fresco dining in the area. The restaurant, which serves classic French fare in a country luxury setting, recently held its MIGF Publicity Dinner, showcasing its Festival Menu to select group of diners. A single long table was laid diagonally across the floor, making for an intimate dinner of twenty. Orange napkins and flowers gave just the right amount of pop to the otherwise classy set up. Hosted by MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day, the select guest list included Festival Royal Patron YAM Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Ja’afar; HE Hans Ola Urstand, Ambassador of Norway, and wife Dr Tone Sundt; HE Manuel Antonio Guzman Hernandez, Ambassador of Venezuela; Dato’ Nik Gee, Dsiegfried Block (M) Sdn Bhd, Managing Director and Festival Advisory Committee Member Dr Beh Chor Khim. Chef Bernard Ripamonti, HE Manuel Antonino Guzman Hernandez and Ehsan Chabok Datin Su Wai Fun and Ehsan Chabok welcoming HE Ola Urstad and wife Dr Tone Sundt Dato’ Nik Gee and Dr Kimberley Shumin Chan, Ehsan Chabok, Tunku Naquiyuddin and Dato’ Steve DayDr Vincent Tee, Dr Beh Chor Khim, Dr Kimberley Shumin Chan, Dato’ Kee Hua Chee and Ehsan Chabok Yong Sow Wai, Kimberly Yang and Dato’ Steve DayMohsen Chabook and Sabrina Won K.K. Rajah, Kishin Chugani and Dato’ Steve Day Before taking their places, guests mingled and were treated to roving platters of escargot, chicken liver pâté on grain bread and fried calamari rings. To wash it all down, house sangria was served, along with two cocktails: the Evil Devil Martini, a strawberry-laced whisky concoction, and the gin-based Blue, so named for its colour. “The Blue we made especially for tonight,” said restaurant owner Ehsan Chabok. “Last year, we had a live band play during the dinner but we found it ended up being too noisy. People like to talk while they’re having dinner and we don’t want music to get in their way,” he continued. Ehsan Chabok addressing the diners before the feast So this time around, French music played softly in the background, acting as a sort of faint soundtrack to Chef Bernard Ripamonti’s food, who Dato’ Steve introduced to the guests before dinner began. Up first was his appetizer of scallops tartar with mashed peas and parmesan cookie florenbelle. Next came the mille feuille of foie gras with grilled apple and goat cheese, the refreshing fruit being the perfect palate complement to the rich foie gras. Chef Ripamonti flashes a smile while plating up the first course Mille Feuille of Foie Gras with Grilled Apple and Goat Cheese As guests enjoyed their palate cleanser, a cool and fruity sorbet, Dato’ Steve did his customary introductions, going around the table and announcing each guest. Each revealing – but not necessarily embarrassing – anecdote was met with laughs, making way for a more relaxed and chatty atmosphere among the guests. Each guest received a brief introduction courtesy of Dato’ Steve Meanwhile in the kitchen, Chef Bernard was busy whipping up his main courses. First, whole seabass with asparagus risotto and second, whole quail in potato nest stuffed with chicken liver and grilled grapes. The kitchen firing on all ends. Chef Ripamonti saucing one of his main courses: Whole Quail in Potato Nest Stuffed with Chicken Liver and Grilled GrapesWhole Seabass with Asparagus Risotto Chef Bernard’s creative presentation was key here, with the risotto stuffed inside the fish that stood upright on the plate and with the quail tucked neatly into the nest. Finally, his coup d’état arrived in the form of his tarte citron revisitée dessert, or lemon tart revisited, where a luscious cream was served not on pastry but in a whole sugared lemon. Tarte Citron Revisiteé or Revisit of Lemon Tart In his closing remarks, Dato’ Steve commended Chef Bernard on the care and attention he had taken with each dish. Many of the guests, who were discovering Zender’s for the first time, were equally enamoured with the restaurant’s panoramic view. “It’s very well situated and there’s such a great view from the verandah. You get to see the Federal Territory Mosque, the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower. It’s not often you can capture all three in one shot,” said Tunku Naquiyuddin. Tunku Naquiyuddin’s eloquent closing speech rounded out a delightful evening All in all, he summed up the evening perfectly in two words. “C’était formidable.” The full Festival Menu at Zender’s costs RM299 nett per person (without wine). A light Festival Menu is also available at RM99 nett per person (without wine). To view the menus, click here and to read more about Chef Bernard, click here.