Chef Stefano Merlo hail from the kitchen of the acclaimed Rossini’s at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok, and brought with him a unique take on contemporary Italian cuisine at Favola from 15 – 21 April, 2012. There are over 20 menu items to choose from, and available only for dinner. Ala carte dishes are priced from RM 30++ to RM 250++, while a 4-course set menu is available at RM 300 nett per person or 4-course set menu with wine pairing at RM 450 nett.
We were among the lucky few to be invited to the cooking and tasting session with Chef Stefano last weekend.
Chef Stefano Merlo at Favola, Le Meridien KL
Chef Stefano is a native of Padua in northern Italy and has worked alongside with many highly regarded chefs in prestigious restaurants around the world. This includes Michelin starred Chef Alfredo Russo from “Il Dolce Stil Novo”, and respected Head Chef Toshikazu Tsuji from Enoteca Pinchiorri in Tokyo.
artichokes fritata in preperation
The good chef prepared three dishes for us to sample during the cooking demonstration – Artichokes Fritata, Seafood Risotto, and Milk Risotto with Cherry Parfait.
First, the artichokes fritata, a very interesting preparation of perhaps the most mundane of all ingredients – egg.
- 12 eggs
- 100 gram cream
- 4 stalks of artichokes
- bread croutons
- shiso cress
First, fry eggs with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper but keeping the yolks slightly runny. Transfer the fritata in a blender and blend it with cream till smooth. Peel and clean artichokes and steam in oven for 30 minutes at 90c. To serve, pour 3 spoon of fritata and top with artichoke, crutons, shiso cress and extra virgin olive oil.
The only tricky part is that you need a culinary foam maker to make this fritata, but the result was a breakfast with very unique texture and a familiar taste, it was very nice.
seafood risotto, plenty of bisque is the key
Next was seafood risotto.
- 140 gram risotto
- prawns, scallops, seabass, baby squid, mussels, clams
- 200 gram clam and mussel stock
- 50 gram butter
- 50 gram parmesan cheese
- 10 gram chopped Italian parsley
- 1 gram lecithin
lecithin is used to make foam, and seafood prepared separately
Toast rice with butter and a pinch of salt, then cook with clam and mussel stock till rice is ‘al dente’ (slightly hard in the center). Remove from heat and add two tablespoon of butter, then mix rice with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Pan fry or grill the seafood (one by one as they have different cooking time). Make foam by using the remaining clam and mussel stock mix with lecithin (this can be omitted at home). Pour risotto in serving plate, mix seafood and foam to serve.
seafood risotto, almost too pretty to eat
The risotto took some 20 minutes or so to make, and the resulting dish was excellent. It was undoubtedly the best risotto I’ve tried. The generous amount of seafood stock used in the preparation of this risotto made it very rich and flavorful, but at the same time Chef Stefano kept it in check and not overpowering. Exquisite.
milk risotto with cherry parfait
milk risotto with cherry parfait is a dish that takes quite a bit of preparation and a pacojet to prepare, so I guess it is not very useful to share the recipe here, but if you have a penchant for unfamiliar taste, this dessert is a must order. I love it, but Haze find it unsuitable for her taste. It is milky, and has a texture not unlike porridge, but yet undoubtedly a dessert. Try it!
Saturday lunch buffet at Favola
After the cooking demonstration and a taste of all the three creations by Chef Stefano, we were treated with the Saturday Hi-Tea at Favola (RM 88++ from 12pm – 3pm).
The generous spread includes antipasti, salad, dessert, meat, seafood, risotto, pasta, bread, and fresh baked pizzas, and more.
i love the squid ink pasta
It was definitely a very fulfilling session with some familiar faces. Read what the others say.
KY, Haze, Evelyn, Suan, Horng, Mei, Josen
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470
Tel: 03-2263 7753
Last weekend Le Meridien threw a small party for a few lucky bloggers. The email invitation I got a few weeks prior to the event called it “A Night of Discovery” with no other details. As it turned out, it was a grand tour/food crawl at the various fine restaurants within the hotel, with surprises along the way.
canopes at Conservatory Bar, Le Meridien KL
The evening started out at Conservatory Bar, the lounge at the main entrance of the hotel. A glass of wine in hand and ample of canopes for us to get the stomach ready for what’s next.
We had pan seared cremolate tuna sashimi with sesame wakame salad, diced feta cheese, ratatouille and pine nuts in mini pita bread (pic), martini of tomato salsa, mozzarella mousse and pesto (pic), and even chicken tandoori and minted raita on chili focaccia bread. I had to start pacing myself to not over eat.
Favola at Le Meridien
We then took the elevator and moved up to Favola, Le Meridien’s Italian dining outfit. More food awaits us as chef Antoine started to explain the seafood centric food laid before our eyes, for examp;e, the fabulous spicy calamari with olive oil & citrus (pic.)
chef Antoine at Favola, showing us the various tomatos
The good chef then shows us the various ingredients important to Italian cuisine that are used here at Favola, including almost half a dozen types of fresh tomato, and the imported as well as one local mozzarella from Langkawi (Malaysia boleh!) that passed his personal quality tests. I can have those cheese as snack all day if you ask me.
Antipasti Duo at Favola
Our main dishes (or what we thought as main dishes for the night) at Favola were two antipasti.
Smoked salmon with cold cucumber and macadamia puree, grilled peaches, buffalo mozzarella, Pecorino rocket and Radicchio salad. I love the contrast between the salad and the salmon, and I can really use more of that buffalo mozzarella at home, It was so good!
foie gras on wild mushroom risotto, haze
Then there’s the pan seared foie gras on wild mushroom risotto in clear beef broth that was so delightful. This was highly anticipated when chef Antoine told us about it, and the dish did not disappoint at all.
The other part of this antipasta was the chicken meatball in green olive tapenade, onion and roasted bell pepper, that was very good too.
after Favola, we make our way to Prime
At this point in time, with some really good determination to not over eat, my stomach stood at maybe 70% full. Then we collectively moved to Prime, my favorite steak house in town.
the beef served at Prime, that’s a grade 12 wagyu on my hands
A surprise awaits us at Prime as we stepped into the private room. Slabs of Blackmore Wagyu beef from grade 6 to 12 as well as grain fed Austraian Angus beef were on display as chef Antoine again explained the ingredients used at Prime to us.
The number of days a vacuum packed beef could be kept refrigerated is tightly regulated here to ensure maximum quality that goes into every serving.
it’s like choosing between fish & bear palm (chinese proverbs, learn!)
Look at the two slabs of Blackmore Wagyu marble grade 6 and 12. These are some of the best beef you can get, the grade 12 Wagyu on the right consists of some 60% fat, not for the faint hearted, but that was exactly what we’re going to have at Prime! Yes, I’m a very lucky man.
Blackmore Wagyu marble 9, with truffle sauce
Undoubtedly, the high light for the night were the steak. The charcoal grilled Blackmore Wagyu chuck flap tail marble 9, with roma tomato confit, brocolini and braised intercoastal on mascarpone polenta. It was absolute heaven, especially with some truffle sauce to go with the red meat.
teppanyaki ice cream, ciki
Dinner wouldn’t be complete without desserts, and for that we were guided to the final destination of the evening – Latest Recipe.
Teppanyaki ice cream is a must have here, and the Belgium waffle personally prepared by chef Antoine was fantastic.
desserts at latest recipe, and
We were also served a dessert platter with honey dew sago shot, carrot cake, lychee tart, vanilla creme brulee, agar agar, and my personal favorite – chocolate mousse with citrus jelly. It sounded like an unlikely combination, chocolate & citrus jelly, but the contrast was perfect, I finished it despite the stomach complaining at 150% capacity filled.
fatboybakes, ciki, a lil fat monkey, Damian of Le Meridien
This was easily one of the best events I’ve attended, the people at Le Meridien were fantastic hosts and have everything prepared meticulously. A big thank you to Damian, Sashi, Harvey, Fauzy, and of course, chef Antoine for the great evening.
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470
Tel: 03-2263 7888