This post was written By Frances Wilks
The new Chef, Mattias Tretbar, at the Rasa Sayang is passionate about fl avour. “Presentation is vital,” he concedes, “but without taste, a meal is a beautiful castle in the air without foundations. It will fall over.” I am happy to report that, even after all eight courses of Mattias’s Dégustation Menu (RM185++ per person) at the Feringgi Grill, the dinner showed no signs of collapse. And, more importantly, neither did my companion nor I.
We started with a morsel, no bigger that a quail’s egg, of Beef Carpaccio in Peri Peri Sauce, before the meal began properly with a platter of seafood delights – teriyaki prawn, scallop, squid, and tuna with chilli and wasabi.The salmon roe which decorated the platter provided a salty sea tang that burst with flavour in the mouth. The soup which followed was a Curry Butternut Cappuccino, an extraordinary blend of savoury and sweet with an amazing frothy top that used hints of vanilla and cinnamon to balance the earthy tones of the butternut, which had a background of cumin and coriander. Mattias smiled when I complimented him on the soup: “I love to make a soup which gently says ‘hello’ in the back of your throat,” he explained happily.
The Oxtail Ravioli, perfect with the semi-dried tomato, arugula, and Shiraz gravy that accompanied it, was succeeded by a spoonful of deeply intense Raspberry Sorbet that served to cleanse the palate after the rich and varied taste experiences. Then the main course arrived: Halibut poached in butter and garlic with wilted greens, capsicum mash, and mushroom dust. It’s a delicate fish and took most of its texture and flavour from its perfectly prepared accompaniments.
The pudding was layers of sheer delight – Mango Mousse, Chocolate Sponge, Sesame Crocante, Mango Jelly, and Mango Sorbet.This wasn’t a dessert that blended its components into an amiable mush; the crispness and variety demanded that each layer be eaten and savoured separately. While we munched on the delicious chocolates that ended the feast, Matthias talked about his philosophy of food. He cooks with passion, and doesn’t believe in shortcuts such as stock cubes or MSG: creating pure flavours from real ingredients is his mantra. He plans a new à la carte menu which will include such classic delights as Lobster Thermidor, Caviar, and T-Bone Steak. Foodies should also note that Rasa Sayang will be celebrating its 40th anniversary during 2013 and Mattias will be creating some signature nostalgia dishes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s to mark the occasion. A visit will be well worth it.
Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa
Jalan Batu Ferringi
Tel: 04.888 8888
Open daily 6.30pm-10.30pm
Source: Penang International February 2013 -March 2013
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