Food & Drink

Her Babies Are A Wonderland

Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille raises the bar with Malaysia's first multi-sensory fine dining experience at Nathalie Gourmet Studio.

BY GRACE LAI | May 17, 2018 | Reviews

“Even a fool knows you can’t touch the stars, but it won’t keep the wise from trying.” A very wise man once said that. It is in us to look up, to wonder and not cease to want to reach the skies. Why else would the last frontier still be space? Why else would men subject themselves to miniscule pods, for months on end, in hopes of touching heaven and beyond? Whimsy is but a hope and a word for many, but with Nathalie Gourmet Studio, the first and one of the premier French restaurants in the city, Whimsy is a reality–if only for two months (14 May 2018 - 31 July 2018).

The first-of-its-kind multi-sensory, fine dining experience, Whimsy combines award-winning creations inspired by a fusion of art and flavours with an adventure of sight and sound in a room created especially for the experience. The dream of Whimsy is to elevate lifestyles and push boundaries of dining and entertainment in Malaysia by incorporating a sense of journey throughout the exquisite courses served tableside where diners are transported through five delightful wonderlands via a state-of-the-art 360 degree projection. It’s a dining experience where every scintillating course is paired thoughtfully to fully engage the mind for an immersive experience like no other.

The chef needs no introduction in Malaysia’s fine dining scene. Known for her creative and boundaries-pushing approaches for French and Fusion cuisine, Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille began her career in Bangkok fifteen years ago organizing fine dining events and cocktail parties for renowned guests and diplomats. Upon moving to Malaysia, she opened her first restaurant in Malaysia specializing in modern French and Fusion cuisine. Nathalie has garnered accolades the likes of Outstanding Chef of the Year, winner of the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival and has trained with world-famous three Michelin-starred Chef Anne-Sophie Pic. “Taste is very important but I will always work on the beauty of the dish because I believe that you eat first with your eye,” Chef Nathalie smiled.

The journey begins by transporting you to the milky way. In a room lit only by the stars and galaxies, The Red Planet is a new age Tomato Mozzarella made up of Japan’s highly-sought after Momotaro tomatoes in three textures, served with rich basil pesto and mozzarella cream. As the stars flash and constellations wink into the back-lit room, the twelve zodiac signs come alive and swirl around, above and beyond your fingertips. Yes, the projections aren’t only up above, but around you and at your fingertips, on a table designed to enhance, reflect and synchronize with the scenes set.

Stage two takes you in to a serene woodland with the second starter, In the Woods, a virtual truffle, porcinis in two ways with a duck and truffle consommé served live with a flourish. Leaves twine and wind around the plates with wood nymphs fluttering above, almost as if they were daring you to not enjoy the meal. The plating, as is the signature of Chef Nathalie’s, is itself, an art to behold with beautiful moss-covered rocks, sprigs of evergreen, acorns and a nest of delicate hay encircling the bowl. Leading into the next scene is Under Water, the third starter. Fishes come alive and dart around the diner as iridescent corals and sea-life gently emerge (or submerge, ha ha). A dish of caramelized Hokkaido scallop, poached oyster and pearl cream (magnifique!) in dieppoise sauce and mushroom mousseline is set before you, complete with lustrous shells on a bed of seaweed. If dining underwater was your fantasy, this is your wonderland.

The Main Course at last, and trust me by this time you’re pretty full and very much overwhelmed (in the best sense), then appears in the form of everyone’s childhood fantasy–the Circus. Delicate fairy lights, neon signs and a giant carousel takes you to the ultimate circus served with a dish of Organic chicken stuffed with the heart of a lobster, paella flavoured risotto with herbs and capsicums in shapes of stars and circles. Chef Nathalie then garnishes the night with a dash of magic with her dessert of the Make A Wish Perfect Apple, a “What you see is not what you eat, guess, wish and crack” sublime recreation of a green apple that is not an apple.  The glistening globe of preserved lemon mousse, fennel, green apple and dill coolant with ivory cocoa crust and delicate crumbles bring an end to the magical night, with diners encouraged to write a wish on the iPads provided, and then …. a surprise – which, trust me, you will appreciate I not reveal just yet.

At only RM699 per guest, limited to only two sessions per day and 10 pax per session, there is also the drinks pairing options of Chateau De Lafont or Martell. For information on securing your spot for the two months it is available, head on over to whimsy.com.my


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