A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
We last met up in May for an enjoyable lunch at Frangipani, and Aja decided to initiate another get-together for this unlikely trio of friends – a restaurateur, a femme fatale and a dumpy accountant. Thankfully, there is no prerequisite for friendships formed for the love of good food other than, yes, a love of good food, so even if we appeared to be a motley group of people assembling that day at High Tide, it made complete sense for us to get together. I arrived first and was greeted by the manager, Carole Pinel, with a combination of friendliness and restrained enthusiasm. As it turned out, we were the only guests there that Saturday afternoon, and it felt like it was our private space to act silly and make faces at the fish. The restaurant is wonderful in the day with lots of sunlight filtering in through the lush green plants fringing the sides. I know those living in colder climates have a love affair with the sun, and I really have no reason to have that much affection for it when all I do is sweat in the tropical heat, but the best feeling in the world is to sit in an airconditioned environment with wide glass windows that allow the sun to warm the body and the spirit. It feels even better when there is a glass of prosecco within reach.
An eight metre tropical fish tank sits in the centre of the restaurant, separating the smoking from the non-smoking section. Walls are painted in nude and neutral shades with murals inspired by the French Riviera.
I had heard so much about High Tide from my friends. It’s expensive, one had exclaimed. It isn’t as good as when it first started operations, another had said. Armed with a heavy purse and mixed feelings, as I stepped into High Tide, I made the wise decision of ridding my mind of all the comments because at the end of the day, no one can, or should, tell you whether or not your experience ought to be a good one.
Our bill came up to RM6 short of a thousand Ringgit, but I can tell you this – High Tide is like a breath of fresh air on our Malaysian dining scene and is worth every cent paid. Service is professional and wait staff are knowledgeable; noticing its exquisite sweetness, we asked what kind of tomatoes the chef had used in the salad, and the waiter was quick to let us know that the Chef had used buffalo tomatoes. Chef Evert Onderbeke used unusual ingredients like sea aster and salsify (stuff that a more seasoned world traveller will have come across), and his biggest boast is that only fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce is used. It was our first time eating fresh Dutch smoked eel, its flavour unmasked by any powerful sauces. It had a lovely silky texture, and was served with anchovy cream to bring out its flavour. The Canadian scallops were perfectly grilled and still wobbly; the cauliflower puree a surprising burst of intense flavour despite its rather plain appearance. And if only all summer salads could taste like the one at High Tide! It was a striking tower of mixed vegetables paired with generous cuts of smoked halibut and tossed in wasabi mayonnaise. The Alaskan king crab starter sported a generous amount of crab and yes, it was prepared with buffalo tomatoes.
Keeping to our theme of ordering only seafood (despite protests from a certain individual), we ordered the Turbot, Sea Bream and Lemon Sole. The turbot was the most expensive of the lot at RM118, but I loved it the most for its firm and sweet flesh. The sea aster leaves lent the dish a natural saltiness, and I particularly liked it because it didn’t have any bitterness to it. The sea bream was more tender than the turbot but highly succulent, and the chef seemed to have capitalised on its texture and flavour by baking it under a crisp vegetable crust. The lemon sole was my least favourite of the lot as I thought its preparation with mixed vegetables and mustard mousseline was on the safe side compared to the other dishes which I had tried.
Since I had gladly taken on the role of DBKL for the mains, I grazed my way slowly through desserts. I can barely remember them now, I’m afraid; the starters and the mains were overwhelming enough. I do remember the petit fours, though, one of which was a chocolate lollipop which, when bitten into, exploded into a river of warm caramel.
My day is done, and I am like a boat drawn on the beach, listening to the dance-music of the tide in the evening. *
Ground Floor, Menara Taipan
Jalan Punchak (Off Jalan P. Ramlee), KL.
Tel: 03-2072 4452
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.