This was at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur. We picked the 8.30pm slot and found diners scattered around a small ballroom in semi-darkness, as it wasn’t a full house.
The audio was a bit muffled and the little chef’s voice had a curious tone probably...to endear himself to children as well. (I would have preferred a more grownup-sounding animated male French accent.)
The 3-D visuals were beautiful. It did look like the little French chef was amusingly moving all over our respective plates and tables, telling us about his background, his love of cooking, the food he was serving, and how we were travelling from
France/Europe to the Middle East, India and China.
We had chosen the top-tier “Marco Polo’s Expedition with Wine Pairing” (just under MYR1000/USD220/£177/€204/AUD331/SGD296 per person).
We started off with a nice welcome drink of Gin, Terredirai Prosecco & Lemon. It was delightfully refreshing! (With hindsight, it was the best drink of the entire evening!)
Our first course was French - poached seafood, bouillabaisse, dill sour cream, saffron foam topped with caviar. Our wine was Maison Saint Aix Rose, Provence, France. Delicious food, although I didn’t like the wine very much.
We then sailed off to Arabia and our second course was a mezze platter, cod fish kofta, beetroot and truffle hummus, tabbouleh, muhammara and seaweed pita. (No alcohol, of course.) Yummy food!
Then off we went to India and our third course was jhinga cafreal, king prawn, coriander, biryani rice, pickled onion and papadum. Our wine was Chablis Premier Cru, Montmains, France. Double yum!
Then we went to the Himalayas and had a kaffir lime sorbet palate cleanser. Oooh. We poured water on the dry ice and the dessert looked spectacular! This was certainly a highlight!
Our next destination was China. We had hai yang and lu di, 8-head abalone, braised Black Angus short rib, radish, mushroom, siew pak choy, and signature XO sauce. The lovely red wine was Famille Perrin ‘Les Sinards’ Chateauneuf-du-Pape Red, Rhône, France. Yummy food and great wine pairing!
Last but not least was a Malaysian-inspired French dessert: Pahang chocolate mousse, vanilla crémeux, chili, cardamom, kumquat, petit four. The wine was Vajra Moscato D’Asti, Italy. The dessert was a marvelous finish and the sweetness of the moscato was an excellent pairing, for sure.
Overall, it was a novel idea and experience. I liked that we “travelled” around the world and tried different cuisines. The food quality wasn’t the best but I felt it was the whole experience we were paying for. I also ordered a box of Grand Hyatt assorted macarons (9 pieces) and a box of assorted pralines (25 pieces) to go. They were quite an indulgence but I had no regrets whatsoever!
The only letdowns were that there were several tables celebrating a birthday and they actually got things mixed up at our table (wished the wrong person and presented the wrong birthday dessert etc!!) There was no real apology for the slip up and so they just “dropped the ball”. Another thing was that staff didn’t seem to know what they were serving and they didn’t make any effort to come back with answers. They gave the impression that they were sort of hoping we would just forget that we had asked them a question (!!). Last but not least, they were excruciatingly slow with the settlement of our bill. It took more than half an hour. So our 90-minute dinner that started at 8.30pm should have ended at 10pm. But due to delays, we left the restaurant around 11pm.
Somehow I got the impression that while the Le Petit Chef concept is fun and promising, it was not managed very professionally, and the full dining experience was marred by poor preparation, coordination and communication. It is disturbing that Grand Hyatt isn’t the only hotel in Kuala Lumpur with a shortage of competent staff. It is a pity to see something with potential go to waste.
I don’t regret having had the meal. It was afterall a rather unique experience. However, I would hesitate to recommend it to others. I would also hesitate recommending the wine pairing.More