Archives: Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2015 (01-31 October 2015)

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Hailed as one of Kuala Lumpur’s best Japanese restaurants, Minori, which translates to ‘harvest’, is known for offering home-grown, traditional dishes from the land of the rising sun, along with impeccable service.

Located in the Royale Bintang Damansara Hotel, Minori’s clean and tasteful décor incorporates dark wood and bamboo screens, and a grey stone sushi counter as the centre piece, all providing a sense of authenticity while exuding an air of tranquillity.

Presenting their third Festival menu since 2013, Minori strives to offer customers the most authentic classic Japanese fare, using fresh ingredients which speak for themselves, and showcasing sublime combinations for an explosion of flavours.

An intimate table setting for MIGF's very last Publicity Dinner

Minori never fails to please!

As the dinner hour approached, guests gathered in a private function room to enjoy Moet champagne and canapés of edamame, salmon skin and grilled skate fin before sitting down at the intimate candlelit dining table.

Minori's canapés of edamame and grilled skate fin

Among those to try Chef Takahiro Ishida’s harvest feast were Tan Sri Datuk Ridzwan Bin Abu Baker, Puan Sri Datin Siti Mohd Zin, Festival Advisory Committee Member Dato’ Jeremy Diamond and his wife Datin Kalsom Diamond, musician extraordinaire Platters Donne Ray Radford and his wife Christine Chin of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, actress Kimberly Yang, and Porsche Club Malaysia President Key Soon Yue.

Donne Ray Radford, Christine Chin, Tan Sri Datuk Ridzwan Bin Abu Baker and Puan Sri Datin Siti Mohd Zin

Seraphina Key, Key Soon Yue, Dato' Kee Hua Chee, Michael Ong and Shirley Ong

Dato’ Jeremy Diamond and Datin Kalsom Diamond

Yong Sow Wai, Kimberly Yang, Seraphina Key and Key Soon Yue

Guests knew they were in for a tasty treat as soon as the first platter of appetisers consisting of three Far East styled ‘Macaroons’ arrived. Dressed with fresh maple and ginkgo leaves, the combo came in a stunning forest style presentation which set the tone for the natural and healthy meal to come.

Vincent Teng introduces Minori alongside MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day

3 Kinds of Macaroons: Macaroon with Mango Dressed Organic Tofu Paste, Macaroon with Small Prawn dressed Avocado Paste, Macaroon with Tender Simmered White Radish with Spicy Chicken Miso Sauce

Putting a luxurious twist on the conventional Japanese egg custard, the next dish was steamed egg with stir fried foie gras which the diners eagerly consumed, before being served a refreshing palate cleanser in the form of vegetable and seaweed in a soba style.

Foie Gras Steamed Egg

Refreshment: Vegetable and Seaweed Fake Soba Style

Trays of sake, specially flown in from Tokyo, were then presented to the guests to enjoy with the next course - sashimi Festival style, which featured blue fin tuna with tofu skin sauce, snapper sandwich between sheets of kelp, and salmon and ikura dressed orange. This was a favourite of Dato’ Jeremy Diamond who thought the sake blended very well with the food.

Chef Takahiro presents Sashimi Festival Style; Blue Fin Tuna with Tofu Skin Sauce, Snapper Sandwich between sheets of Kelp, and Salmon and Ikura dressed Orange

Soon, the first main course was presented. While guests were finishing up the simple grilled sesame tofu with sesame soy sauce, MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day asked Donne Ray Radford – who was once lead singer of American blues legend The Platters – to sing a couple of songs for the guests. He thrilled everyone with his acapella rendition of ‘Heaven on Earth,’ before delighting the crowd once more with an encore performance of the ever-popular hit ‘Only You.’

Chef Takahiro in the kitchen preparing the Grilled Sesame Tofu with Sesame Soy Sauce

Donne Ray Radford sings The Platter's hit 'Heaven on Earth' and 'Only You'

But Donne wasn’t the only star that evening. When Chef Takahiro’s main course of saikyo-miso marinated grilled tuna, and eel sushi "chimaki" style with fried corn scallop fish cake arrived, attention turned back to the food. The Chef himself comes from a fisherman’s family, and he appeared in the dining hall at this point to oversee his favourite course of the evening which featured prime cuts of fish.

Saikyo-Miso Marinated Grilled Tuna, Eel Sushi "Chimaki" Style with Fried Corn Scallop Fish Cake

His softly spoken amiability soon won guests over and several exchanged cards, promising to return to Minori again. When the restaurant specialty of collagen mochi arrived, Chef Takahiro returned once more to instruct guests on how to enjoy this delicacy properly, firstly by cutting up the mochi into bite-sized pieces, mixing it with soybean powder and lastly pouring warm Japanese palm sugar over it. Known to improve skin smoothness and moisture level, as well as aiding in sleep and the digestive system, the collagen dessert won over Donne Ray Radford who professed he had never had anything like it.

Minori's specialty Collagen Mochi

Soon it was time for the final MIGF dinner to come to an end and with that, past President of the KL Food and Wine Society Dato’ Jeremy Diamond told the chef how beautiful he thought the presentation of the food was; so good in fact, that he wanted to dig in immediately upon seeing it! “It’s nice to find Japan here in Kuala Lumpur, and I shall return!” he added, rounding things up.

Dato' Jeremy Diamond thanks the team of Minori

Tan Sri Datuk Ridzwan Bin Abu Baker concurred with Dato’ Jeremy’s comments on the brilliance of the food, adding how successful MIGF had been this year. He thanked the team of MIGF and said he couldn’t wait to see what next year would bring.

Tan Sri Datuk Ridzwan Bin Abu Baker already can't wait for next year's Festival!

Try the full Festival Menu at Minori for RM250++ per person without alcohol, and RM350++ per person for sake and a glass of red wine. A Light Festival Menu is also available for RM200+ per person without alcohol and RM300+ per person for sake and a glass of red wine. To view the menu, click here and to read more about Chef Takahiro, click here.