NOT a food blog
I visited Ultimo last month upon an invitation from Chef CQ, the proprietor (via Jek Tan of theQguides.com), to sample their degustation menu, and intentionally timed the publishing of the post a month later to coincide with the definition of Ultimo (so kindly explained by Fatboybakes in his post), i.e. “occurring in the month preceding the present”. As for its relevance to food, one can only imagine how it could take the slow food movement to a new level. Reeeeaaaal slowwwwww. In the Malaysian context, Ultimo brings to mind talented hip hop singer, Altimet (remember Chantek?), although Altimet is far from Australian. Or slow.
It was an evening of discovery for me. Not only was I introduced to Modern Australian cuisine, a result of the confluence of the specialties of different races, all cooked using French techniques, but I also met a cutie who turned out to be (sorta) related to me. I suppose, if I were to trace my roots back far enough, even Fatboybakes would be related to me somehow, possibly when the animals went in two by two (hurrah hurrah) and there was little to do in the ark.
As for the food, I have two words to describe it – simply amazing. A total of 9 dishes were served that evening, and each one was good in its own right.
Salmon prepared three ways. All three styles still managed to maintain the moistness of the dish despite the varied preparations. I was impressed with the tataki, coated with sesame seeds and quickly seared, which provided a nice crunch to the dish. The confit was cooked to a semi-raw state, thus retaining its flavour, while the roast was delightfully crisp on the outside, possessing a peppery taste, and still moist inside. The wine paired with this dish contained 5% alcohol, and balanced the fattiness of the dish.
I expected a bisque, as in soup, but the definition was stretched a little further here. The ravioli was the main star of the dish; the skin was of the right texture and the filling was substantial. The accompanying shellfish (lala) was pickled in lemon, white wine vinegar and orange zest, and this provided just the faintest citrusy flavour to the entire dish. The wine complemented the dish with its bouquet of lemon and grapefruit.
This white fleshed fish with low oiliness was superbly paired with a butter sauce, while the chardonnay with its hint of melon and peach extended its flavour. A long finish wine.
A sight for sore eyes. The knife sliced through the pork belly like butter and the quivering fat literally melted in the mouth. The sauce was a tomato and raisin puree, providing sweetness to the preparation. The Canadian scallop, perfectly seared, was fresh.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I imagine that quail is a difficult meat to cook, simply because of its size. Overcook it just a little bit, and it will end up dry. Not in this case, though. The quail still retained its tenderness, and the flesh was moist and succulent. The crisp skin was also very enjoyable.
The chef succeeded in getting the texture perfectly tender with none of the harsh gaminess. The mint jelly was served creatively in tiny little cubes but was an explosion of flavour with every little bite.
A cut from the rump with little marbling, I was surprised that it wasn’t tough at all. At this point, I was surprised that I was even able to eat anymore. I must have heard a button pop from Aly’s direction.
The creme brulee, which contained a hint of rosemary, passed the test, although it didn’t quite match the creme brulee at Mandarin Grill and Third Floor. I’ve always loved white chocolate (although some say it isn’t really chocolate) over other types of chocolate (does this mean I’m not a chocolate snob like the delectable Eiling?), so I ravaged the strawberry white chocolate tart as well. There was also a very good home made earl grey ice cream.
Ultimately, Ultimo impressed simply because of the care that went into the preparation of each dish, the thoughtful matching of ingredients and their belief in everything homemade, from breads to ice cream. Bravo, Ultimo!
13A Jln Solaris 4
Solaris Mont Kiara.
Tel: 03-6204 0887
You may also make reservations via theQguides.com.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.