Samplings on the Fourteenth

Located at the East Tower on the 14th floor of Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Samplings on the Fourteen tries its utmost best to elevate its guests’ dining experience with gracious service, inventive cuisine, a fine collection of vintage wines and stylish design that is only surpassed by the stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. They seem to pull off to a fair extent, an interesting Western Classic Fine Dining menu featuring dishes made with fresh, local ingredients as well as the more exotic imported ones, that are brought together in fine balance and harmony.

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Chef, Val Murugan

The master craftsmen behind these classic fine-dining cuisines are, Consultant Chef, WACS (World Association of Chefs) Global Master Chef Jochen Kern and Restaurant Chef, Val Murugan (photo above). Chef Val Murugan, a Malaysian born, has wide experience in the food and beverage industry. He has had 20 years of experience in fine dining, having worked in several countries like Switzerland, Vietnam and Malaysia. In 1995, Chef Murugan won first place in a culinary arts competition organized by Food & Hotel Malaysia (FHM). No wonder Chef Val looked familiar to me.. he used to be with Chalet, Equatorial hotel. I already had a hunch that the food would be good that night.

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live entertainment

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the spectacular view from your table


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The open concept kitchen

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amuse bouche

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Salud!

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Duck Confit with organic lentils and frisee’ lettuce

Duck has always been my favourite meat, almost impossible to reject if it’s on a restaurant menu. When I studied and lived in the UK, I alternated between pigging out on duck confit at the restaurant down the road from my little pharmacy on Holborn, and opening up a tin of confit du canard for lunch at the park. Well, duck confit was on the menu at Samplings on the Fourteen and I happily annihilated the dish. Too damn delicious.

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Pan Seared Goose Liver served on candied apple, mixed cress and aged balsamic vinegar dressing

Not long ago, a sumptuous slice of fresh foie gras, cut from the fat-rich liver of a goose, was a rarity on menus. Even as French restaurants flourished in the 1980’s, desperate chefs usually had to settle for canned pates. Nowadays, though, top restaurants across the world are awash in fresh foie gras. The delicacy is so abundant that chefs have indulged in different preparations just to keep things interesting – Parfait de foie gras, Foie gras truffle, foie gras consomme, foie gras burgers, etc etc. Here at this restaurant, I am almost ridiculously glad that they kept it simple. Pan seared with just the right amount of char. Love.

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Marron Crayfish served with asparagus, artichoke and cepes mushroom salad, white truffle oil vinaigrette

In southern Western Australia there is a highly regulated amateur fishery for the Marron (Cherax tenuimanus), which has been rated by gourmets as one of the finest-flavoured crustaceans, and I can see why. Topped only by the crawfish I had in New Orleans perhaps, these ones we were served were fabulously taut and sweet. The white truffle flavour lent a heady, musky aroma to the dish. No complains and I can now add “Marron” to my list of “likes”.

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Soups – L – R: Procini Liason with chicken farce stuffed morel mushrooms, Clear Venison Essence with mushroom parisienne , Cioppino fresh seafood and shellfish tomato soup flavoured with cilantro

I loved all the soups we were served that night but by far, the porcini liason that was a frothy and most indulgent affair, was my favourite. The difference between good and great cooking of this kind is often knowing where the creamy, buttery, unctuous tipping point is — and stopping just shy of it. The chef does that expertly. Yes, frothy mushroom soup that looks like a great bowl of cappuccino, delicious as it is weightless, except for chunks of meaty porcini bits and green flecks of chives that barely rest on the tongue for more than two beats. Lovely.

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Flambé baby!

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Chef, Val Murugan prepares our pasta dish

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Pappardelle served with slipper lobster, green zucchini and light pesto sauce

This lobster pasta, is effective in its crustacean-carbo simplicity: tender hunks of meat with just enough sauce to hold everything together. Amongst the old-world pastas of choice, a lobster pappardelle is as toothsome and rich as any, and the one served up to us was unctiously tasty.

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Belgium Sole & Scallops – pan seared rolls served with champagne trout caviar sauce, green asparagus and saffron potato

This fish dish whilst pretty to look at, was served slightly overcooked. We didn’t care too much for the rubbery texture of the fish, but the scallops were good though.

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Australian Venison served with potato mille-feuille, chanterelle mushrooms, fava beans and venison juice

Some chefs and restaurants do better with meat than with fish, or vice versa, and this was the case here. I wasn’t crazy for the previous dish, but I was definitely a little loony for the restaurant’s terrific Wagyu and Australian Venison. Hardcore carnivores delight in the tender venison, fragrant with fava beans/chanterelle mushrooms, and enriched by a sweet, meaty venison juice. There’s also a savory Braised Wagyu Beef Fillet that you should order. Done medium rare, this hunk of meat is just off the chart tender! Excellent red meats – we highly recommend these items over the fish.

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Braised Wagyu Beef Fillet served with polenta and greens

Supple, fork tender Wagyu beef fillets that are to die for. A must order!

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Desserts L – R : Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse, Pannacotta, Tiramisu

Of the three desserts served, the Pannacotta kaffir lime cream pudding with orange and chili caramel was the most outstanding. Don’t forget to have it with the chili garnishing that gives an interesting fusion twist on the traditional pannacotta. Texture wise, it was creamy and bouncy. Very nice indeed. All in all a great dinner. We will definitely be back to try the MIGF menu.

If you ever find yourself in the Berjaya Time square area, and hankering for a delectable western meal, you know where to go now!

 

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Add:
Samplings on the Fourteenth,
14th Floor Berjaya Times Square,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
Tel: +60 326877112; +60 321178131

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