Mei Ying's birthday celebration and the week before we were messaging each other, brainstorming dinner rendezvous. From Bangsar, all the way to Damansara before Mei Ying suggested a private dinner party; she said that she has a friend who does in-house cooking; he cooks, and you can choose to have it at your own place or his. 'Your Place or Mine'. I was game even when Mei Ying said it's going to be costlier (RM120 or so per pax).
A minimun of 2 pax, up to 14 pax for a dinner party. I guess one person is also alright but a bit weird lah if you have two people serving you alone. Not to mention sad. Anyway, the private dinner thingie is called 'Your Place or Mine', so you can get the chef to come over to your place to prepare the dinner for you; or you can crash his place. 'Him' being Sam, our cook extraordinaire, with his partner Paul who becomes the maitre'd lol.
All of us super excited about the prospect of the meal. And me seeing them! It's been a while since I've met these old friends. A night of swapping gossip and shameless photos taking... It's all good fun.
When Mei Ying first whatsapp-ed us with the menu, everyone went "ok, sounds great" and I was the only odd one to say "I can't even understand half of it!". You'll see why soon enough.
Started off with the amuse bouche trio of seafood- ceviche; squid with paprika & shrimp with old bay. My, my. Where should I start. The ceviche was a burst of flavours, the raw fish, cilantro, all marinated in lime juice. Sam's strongest point was using only the freshest ingredients. The squid with paprika was perfectly cooked; soft to the bite and not chewy. The shrimps! Oh the shrimps..... Wonderful flavours, you can reallyt smell the grill. Wonderful start to our highly anticipated dinner!
Sam is a great entertainer, whenever each plate is brought out by Paul, his partner, he patiently explained the ngredients, where he sources for them, and the trials and experimentation he's made before coming to the peak of perfection.
Yeeker, whom we've nicknamed IE. Which stands for Internet Explorer. Because she's pretty slow on the uptake! Bless her and thank you for giving me a lovely place to bunk in!
Appetiser: Vichyssoise (say what?) with Poached Egg.
A vichyssoise is essentially a fancy schmancy name for potato and leek soup. Here, Sam served it cold with a dash of pepper (imported from some place exotic, even the sea salt); olive oil and croutons. Oh, I love, love, love it! I love that it's served cold, and thus maintaining the crunchy texture of the croutons. I absolutely loathe it when croutons get all soggy when dipped into warm soup. The poached eggs - don't even get me started on these beauties. Sam elaborated that he poached the egg for precisely 45 minutes at 60 degrees. The precision and detail he puts in is very impressive, what's more, it all shows!
Ever radiant Grace.
We brought in our own wine as well but you can opt for Sam to pick your wine at an added cost, of course.
The first of two mains - Sous Vide Salmon Sampler. Beautifully presented. Salmon is cooked medium, which is really nice, don't think I've tried anything salmon cooked like this. It gives the fish only a slightly flaky feel to it but still maintaining the bounciness of raw salmon.
It seemed like the dress code is black :)
And the second main - Grilled Iberican pork jowl. Wowzers. Sam launched into a detailed explanation about the black Iberico pork. They are only bred in Spain and are fed with acorns. Due to the acorns and the freedom to roam (unlike industrial pigs), the Iberico pork meat is well marbled, like the Wagyu version of beef, giving the pork a sinfully tasty melt-in-your-mouth fat and tender meat.
After all that description, it is no fault of us that we hastened to wipe of the pool of saliva forming. We were not disappointed.
Even the mashed potatoes were heavenly!
Even the mashed potatoes were heavenly!
Picture with the birthday gal. Friends for over 20 years, if you can believe it.
Finally to wrap up the scrumptious dinner, a chocolate fondant with homemade vanilla ice-cream.
I don't even know which one to launch into first. They were both delicious! It's hardly the case with the ice-cream usually a mere sideshow to the molten cake. But it'd be a crime to dismiss the ice-cream. Homemade with vanilla pods, every spoonful is heaven to the lips. I even had two scoops! (after shamelessly asking for it).
Chocolate molten lava cake- need I say more?
Happy 28th, Mei Ying!