Wednesday, November 6, 2013



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Simply Unforgettable

The grand entrance of Putrajaya Marriott Hotel
The long, heavy rain and massive traffic congestions throughout KL could easily dampen the spirits of many leaving work, heading home for dinner. For some, such as our gourmands for the evening’s final MIGF Gourmet Safari at Midori Japanese Restaurant and Tuscany Italian-American Grill, braving the traffic jams and long travel time in order to reach the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, where both restaurants are located, it was no different. 
Fortunately, the restaurant teams of Midori and Tuscany had meticulously planned what was to be an unforgettable dinner safari that lifted up every guest’s spirit and appetite.
Mr Key Soon Yue, Datin Su Wai Fun, Tan Sri Dato' Lee Shin Cheng and Dato' Steve Day

Mr Lee Yeow Seng, Dato' Nelson Kwok, Datin Carol Kwok, Mr Kee Hua Chee, Datin Su Wai Fan, Ms Ming Ho & Mr David Morris
The guest list was headed by the Group Executive Chairman of IOI Group of Companies and owner of Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, Tan Sri Dato' Lee Shin Cheng and his son, Executive Director of IOI Corp. Bhd., Mr Lee Yeow Seng. Tan Sri Dato' Lee is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Malaysia and a living legend in the corporate world. His charm, warmth and engaging personality, with both guests and the Putrajaya Marriott team, were a delight to see. 

From L-R: Henry Kok, Yvonne Yip, Rayce Tan, Mary Chan & Chan Kien Sing
At the pre-dinner session, guests were ushered to the front foyer of The Garden ballroom where three stations were serving out-of-this-world canapés including Kamikaze oyster shooter, smoked duck with fruit glaze, stone grilled marinated venison Tsumiyaki and whitebait fritters in spicy drizzle. The delicious canapés were paired with Laurent Perrier champagne. 

Whitebait Fritters In Spicy Drizzle
Kamikaze Oyster ShooterStone Grilled Marinated Venison Tsumiyaki

And while the diners were enjoying the canapés and each other’s company, a 3-piece band playing cool jazz in the background - a great way to relax and work up an appetite. Tengku Nasariah was particularly impressed with the Kamikaze oyster shooter; she enthused that it gave her a boost of energy as she was feeling a tad exhausted when she arrived. 
The evening commenced in grand style with The Marriott team out in full force. General Manager of Putrajaya Marriott, Mr Simon Wong, made an enthusiastic welcome speech to the guests before handing the microphone over to F&B Director, Mr Gary Green, to introduce the cool chefs: Chef Mohamad Fauzi of Midori and Chef Aris of Tuscany. Gary then went on to brief the group on how the evening would proceed; it would comprise of four stops, and a saxophonist would play a catchy tune, which signalled the time to move on to the next stop.

From L-R: The team of Putrajaya Marriot Hotel: General Manager, Mr Simon Yong; F&B Director, Mr Gary Green; Tuscany's Chef Aris; Midori's Chef Fauzi & Culinary Director, Mr Ken Yeong

From L-R: Mr Henry Kok, Tan Sri Dato' Lee Shin Cheng, Mr Key Soon Yue, Ms Rayce Tan, Ms Mary Chan, Datin Michelle Shu & Dato' Simon Wong
The first stop was completely unexpected and generated “oohs” and “aahs” from the diners; it was the Chefs’ Kitchen, a private kitchen where the hotel’s chefs cook and eat, and is normally closed to the public. Here, a dish of crystal tiger prawn and asparagus in malt whisky flambé was paired with Le Rime, Toscana by Banfi. Nick Lough lauded the Chefs’ Kitchen as a spectacular experience. 

Believe it or not, this is the Chefs' Kitchen

The teams of Midori and Tuscany preparing the Crystal Tyger Prawn dish at the Chefs' Kitchen

Crystal Tyger Prawn asparagus in malt whisky flambe
Then, to the saxophonist’s “Tequila”, it was time to move on to the Selangor Ballroom. This was decorated with a black and white theme and a pianist softly serenaded the guests. Contemporary classic dishes were served – Pan-fried foie gras on red cabbage and champagne jelly; Teriyaki of wagyu beef roulade with enoki, and Seared pacific scallop and avocado mushi. These were paired with Sauvignon Blanc by Sacred Hill.  An unexpected dance performance added to what was turning out to be a very surprising evening.

A dance performance at the 2nd stop of the Safari Dinner
The saxophonist again and the gourmands proceeded to Midori. Here they were greeted by a ninja warrior at the entrance, itself sealed by a sheet of paper with the Japanese word “Midori” written large: The ninja saluted the diners, took out his katana, slashed the paper-sealed entrance and ushered the diners into the restaurant. More great showmanship! 

A Ninja warrior prepares to strike!

The ninja standing guard as the guests enter Midori
The diners were treated to Consommé of bonito with Inari pouch and lime highlights paired with Hakutsuru Matsu Sake; and Poached barramundi in sweet ginger sauce and San Sai vegetables paired with Chardonnay by Hunter Valley Tyrrells. 
Consomme of Bonito with Inari Pouch & Lime HighlightsPouched Barramundi in Sweet Ginger Sauce & San Sai Vegetables

The entertainment continued with traditional Japanese Geisha dance performances, prompting diners to take out their smartphones and enthusiastically snap away. 

A graceful Geisha performing a traditional Japanese dance
The saxophonist duly returned and led the group to the final stop of the evening: at Tuscany. Here, our gourmands were first served with a Sorbet of smoked vine tomatoes and fresh basil; followed by a Loin of lamb under herb crust and red currant jus, paired with Cabernet Merlot by Old Winery Tyrrells.
Sorbet of Smoked Vine Tomatoes & Fresh BasilLoin of Lamb Under Herb Crust & Red Currant Jus

A smooth and sophisticated two-piece band took over the entertainment. 

The evening was filled with non-stop entertainment
Two interesting dessert courses closed the dining extravaganza: zabaglione and poached pear with cappuccino mascarpone paired with muscat, beaumes de venise, and espresso, chocolate pralines and caramel macadamias paired with Hennessey Cognac. 

Fruit extravaganza - the spectacular banquet table at Tuscany

Zabaglione' & Poached Pear with Cappuccino Mascarpone
The overall dining experience was so outstanding that diners were unanimous in their enthusiastic praise - so much so that Nick Lough pleaded to Putrajaya Marriott to participate in MIGF again in 2014. This was met with loud applause of support. Dato' Steve Day, Organising Chairman of The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, invited Tan Sri Dato' Lee Shin Cheng to say some words, both on behalf of the guests and as the illustrious owner of the Putrajaya Marriott. Tan Sri modestly stated that he was very grateful to be part of such a distinguished list of guests and very pleased with the efforts of the Midori and Tuscany teams. He then delighted everyone by singing the song "The Moon Represents My Heart”, made famous by the legendary Teresa Teng. His singing prowess garnered appreciative rounds of applause and request for encores, and with that the evening ended.

Nick Lough (right with microphone) giving his closing remarks 

Tan Sri Dato' Lee Shin Cheng singing a song for the guests, what a great honour!
Bringing to a close a magnificent and unforgettable evening!

Let's take one for the camera, everyone smile!

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