Saturday, February 15, 2014

Asiatique Kitchen & Lounge @ Vantage Desiran Tanjung, Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

Be thrilled with an exciting journey of flavors and senses at Asiatique Kitchen & Lounge as you will be greeted with some meticulously designed and thoughtfully chosen combinations here. Call it quirky, frisky or creative, one may expect the unexpected here at Asiatique, dishes like Chendul Panna Cotta, Sarsi Poached Pear or Coconut Cream Carbonara are definitely some of the worth-mentioning dishes. The very talented culinary team of Asiatique is constantly coming up with new creations, for a more updated version of menu, do hop over at their Facebook Page for more information. 

Genuine service from the eloquent staff, minimalist and simple interior decor, the fully air-conditioned restaurant is a perfect dining place for both family or any other occasions. This Australian-Fusion restaurant is located at Vantage Desiran, a newly built commercial shop houses right beside Tesco Tanjung Pinang.

Many Thanks to Asiatique for extending the invitation. 

Their well-executed dish Crab & Corn Cakes (3 for Rm 16) served with Singapore Spicy Chili Sauce and Arugula Salad is definitely a safe bet. Sink your teeth into the Crab Cakes and you will experience two different textures- crisp exterior with soft inside, while the addition of Corns added a bit of crunch; beautifully complemented with the sweet and spicy Chili Sauce. A great starter to the ensuing feast! 

For the soup, we had Green Pea Cappuccino (Rm 11) served with Parmesan Nutmeg Foam and Cinnamon Lavosh. Served at the right temperature, the thick Green Pea soup is perfect for the health-conscious in you, it has a discernible Green Pea flavor with a hint of Cinnamon but not too much on the Nutmeg, probably too mild to be tasted. Decent but not mind-blowing. 

Potato & Leek Miso Soup (Rm 11) was another soup we had. It was topped with some Nori Crackers and Crispy Tofu Puffs. It was an interesting dish, you will be amazed by the flavors blended well together, unique flavor of Miso with refreshing Leek and Potatoes as the thickener of the soup; not a shabby combination but the Tofu was slightly too hard to the bite- it could be due to the time taken for photography nevertheless. 

It may appear to be deceptively simple but Chef Aldrien's Chilled Silken Tofu (Rm 12) topped with Ebiko/ Japanese Prawn Roes, Dried Shrimp, Spring Onions and drizzled with Hoisin Sauce is an ingenious creation. Served cold, the dish was refreshingly delectable with a burst of seafood sweetness from the Ebiko and a bit of bite from the Dried Shrimp, while the Hoisin Sauce gave the dish a boost in terms of flavor and a different layer of dimension. 

Laksa Fried Chicken Wings (4 for Rm 13) served with Chili and Lime Sauce was not my favorite of the night. The Wings were deep fried till perfection with a crunchy and crispy bite but it felt as though I was having ordinary Deep Fried Chicken Wings, the distinctive flavor of Laksa did not blend in well with the Chicken in which I was expecting a hint of Bunga Kantan/ Torch Ginger to tickle my taste bud but I was left underwhelmed. The dish has great potential but it will definitely need some fine-tuning. 

First main we had was Five Spice Duck Breast (Rm 34) with Yam Puree, Sauteed Chili Spinach and Orange-Plum Reduction. The Duck Breast was slightly hard to the bite for some but it was perfectly fine for me, I thought it had the perfect texture but I was not quite convinced with the name of this dish, the Five-Spice-flavor was slightly mild to my liking. You can never go wrong with the combination of Yam and Duck, Chef did a twist with adding a crispy shredded Yam slices and the buttery tender Yam Puree; quite an aesthetic way of presenting the dish. 

If you are ready to game for something new, go for their Confit of Miso Sake Beef Brisket (Rm 32), served with a piece of Shrimp and Radish Cake and presented on a lake of Raisins Couscous, finished with Miso Glaze. The Beef Brisket was tender, little effort was necessary to pierce and cut through the meat; the texture appeared to be slightly dry and more to the salty side on its own. The dish, however, will be perfect to enjoy as a whole, in which the Couscous will cut down the saltiness of the Beef Brisket. While everything seemed to be quite reasonable, I was not sure about the presence of the Radish Cake, it was good on its own, crispy with a discernible Dried Shrimp aroma but the combo with the Beef Brisket and Couscous did not really work for me. 

This enticing dish- Pan Seared Salmon (Rm 30) was one of my favorites for that night. The appetizing concoction of Laksa Cream, Pickled Cucumber and Mint Salad, Fermented Prawn Foam complemented the perfectly-cooked fish well enough, with a nice spicy-acidic tilt. The refreshingly crunchy Salad reduces the greasiness of the fish, making this dish light and easy on the palate. 

We often find Seafood Aglio Olio on many menus but Chef Aldrien has taken a step further by replacing Seafood with Roasted Pork. Came in a rather generous portion, Five Spice Roasted Pork Aglio Olio (Rm 22) was well-executed, adequately sauteed al-dente Pasta with bits of Crispy Roasted Pork and agreeable amount of Chili Flakes and topped with Deep Fried Thai Basil. As much as I agreed with the texture but I thought the Pepper was slightly overpowering that it masked the smokiness and unique savory flavor of the Pork bits. 

If you are adventurous, go for this playful Coconut and Ginger Carbonara Fettuccini (Rm 24) with Poached Hainanese Chicken and Crispy Chicken Skin, served with Garlic Sambal. The creamy Coconut Cream replaces the ordinary Carbonara Sauce, with a very strong Coconut-flavor, quite flat in terms of flavor and can be monotonous but not when their home-made Garlic Sambal is added to the dish. It hits the palate with a chili kick and gives a more layered dimension to the dish, a medley of sour, savory and spicy notes. Quite a fascinating combination. 

End your meal sweet with the wobbly Chendul and Red Beans Panna Cotta with Gula Melaka (Rm 12). A very creative way of "restructuring" the famous local delicacy in the form of Panna Cotta but I thought the texture was slightly too tough for Panna Cotta and it was too sweet for my palate. I would also prefer a stronger flavor of Coconut Milk.

Another option for sweet ending could be their Sarsi Poached Pear (Rm 12) with Rambutan Salsa and Nutmeg Granita. Brilliantly replaced Red Wine with Sarsi, you will be amazed how the flavors actually amalgamated together; even more refreshing with the Rambutan Salsa. Quite a solid attempt I'd say.   

Kopi' O Bread Butter Pudding with Milk Tea "Teh Tarik" Ice Cream and Kaya Mousse (Rm 14) was a little less successful. Not being a huge fan of Black Coffee, I thought the Bread Pudding was too overpowering for me and it does carry a sourish tinge as a result of using Sourdough for the dessert. The Ice Cream on the other hand, was okay but not mind-blowing. 

Always save the best for last, hitting the top notch was Tropical Fruit Strudel (Rm 14) served with Almond Cream, Candied Nuts and Spiced Ice Cream. The gloriously good Strudel consists of Jack-Fruit and it was served to us piping hot with a crispy and flaky pastry skin. It paired well with the Ice Cream, with a hot and cold sensation vying for the taste buds' attention. This dessert is definitely worth the 15-minute wait. 

Amohlicious (Rm 15)- Ribena, Lychee Fruit, Lychee Syrup and Soda Water

Additional Information:
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: No
Wifi-Available and Non-Halal
Address: C-G-3, Vantage Desiran, Jalan Desiran Tanjung, 10470, Tanjung Tokong, Penang. 
Business Hours: 12pm to 11pm. Closed on every Tuesday. 
Contact Number: 604- 890 3995
GPS Coordination: 5.457507,100.307622