Frangipani & Chef Manuel Lopez Quinones

One of the most exciting things about entering a new month, is the anticipation of new restaurants, and their openings.

Well Frangipani is not new, but it definitely is sporting a different outlook this October, with its spanking new and reworked menu. French is a thing of the past .. say hello to the era Modern European Cuisine at this iconic restaurant on Changkat Bukit Bintang.


Hailing from Malaga, Spain, Chef Manuel Lopez Quinones now helms the kitchen at Frangipani (since early this year). Talking to him, you cannot help but warm up to his big, unreserved smile and kind eyes that twinkle, when he tells you an amusing culinary story from his past. Manuel has worked in Venezuela, the Caribbean and Morocco as well as in his homeland, where he was fortunate enough to have had two stints working under the famed Sergio Arola at the two star Michelin “La Broche” in Madrid and the two star Michelin “Arola” at Hotel d Arts in Barcelona.


Now, with Manuel in charge of the kitchen, the restaurant has definitely taken a new turn, from what had been its French direction for a number of years. Clearly in Frangipani’s first decade, that culinary innovation mainly worked around French inspired cooking. Now, a Spanish Chef will lead the restaurant into its next chapter with innovative food, and creative degustation menus.


Black Anchovies from the Cantábrico, Sea Tomatoes Three Ways and Extra Virgin Olive oil

Frangipani’s food style has also become a lot less fussy and more concerned with flavours. It has a casual air about it, without compromising on the quality of ingredients. There is now an increase in fresh seafood and new beef and lamb items on the menu. Manuel’s cuisine embraces the Mediterranean and his take on the region makes for not just better eating, it makes for a very healthy indulgence too.


chatting with chef and Manuel and Azmi

It was also great catching up with Azmi, who is the director of operations. We have known him for many years now, so it was good to hangout again and have a chat. He quickly introduced us to some starters he wanted us to try, and also some items on the Chef’s Signature Menu. The Signature Menu consists of 3 courses, and a dessert and is priced at RM195++ per person. Frangipani does not open for lunch, so this Signature menu is available everyday for dinner.

We had a bit of something each, from the Signature Menu, as well as some starters off the Ala Carte Menu. But first, we began the night with some Cava Castillo Perelada, Brut Reserva, NV to whet the appetite…


Cheers! Happy to have completed the KL Half Marathon! Salud, says Cumi & Ciki!


Our First Course was either a soup or a squid dish. 

We paired the Warm Pumpkin And Ginger Soup, Shaved Black Truffles, Truffle oil, Crispy Croutons and Edible Flowers with the Muga, Blanco, Rioja 2011. An excellent choice with strong aromas of ginger and the sweetness of pumpkin shining through. The truffles could have been stronger tasting – we obviously could have done with a couple more shaves of it.


Cumi had the Quick Sautéed Baby Squids – we paired this with the Celler Pinol, Nuestra Sra del Portal, D.O. Terra Alta 2010

If there was one dish that reminded us completely of the Mediteranean and its cuisine, this was it. Super fresh, bite sizes of garlicky baby squid, with strong mineral flavours, coupled with Chopped Parsley, Chive, Garlic, Quenelle of Mashed Potatoes, Aïoli and Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil, were explosive little pockets of intense flavours, we found irresistible.


Celler Pinol, Nuestra Sra del Portal, D.O. Terra Alta 2010


Then came the Second Course – I had the Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallop we paired this with the Saint-Véran, Joseph Drouhin 2010.

This second course reminded me of a Thai dessert, probably due to the Mango Julienne, Cilantro, Sesame Oil and Chillies, but it worked harmoniously with the scallop as well as the wine pair. Loved the heat from the chillies.


Cumi had the Mediterranean Grilled Octopus and it was good. I stole a bite when he was not looking and I marveled at the Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Spanish Paprika Oil that packed a punch. Again the freshness of the Mediterranean was evident in this grilled octopus. I loved how light the food tasted as well.


Then it was time for the mains and third course.


For the Third Course I had the Confit Fillet of Black Cod served with Creamed Organic Corn, Micro Mixed Salad and Vanilla Oil. With its flaky flesh, and high oil content, smoked black cod is a delicious, delicate fillet that should be enjoyed plain and simple. I felt the Creamed Organic Corn wasn’t necessary as the fish was already superb on it’s own and just some sea salt and pepper.


Cumi had the Grilled Wagyu Rump and I could hear him sigh his appreciation for the doneness of the steak. A lovely medium rare, this rump Waguy was served with Sautéed Vegetables, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Romesco Sauce, and paired with several different reds, as recommended by the Sommelier..

We paired the steak with the Tinto Pesquera, Crianza, Ribera del Duero 2007, the Brouilly, Joseph Drouhin, Beaujolais 2011 and finally the Chateau La Bourguette, Cuvee Tradition, Sainte Foy 2007. Cumi had his favourites, and I had mine. I felt the Bordeaux went beautifully with the Wagyu steak. The Rump was definitely a chewy cut for a Wagyu marbling of five. Definitely for folks who like a bit of bite in their steaks.


medium rare wagyu rump.. what a rosy blush! 


Chateau La Bourguette, Cuvee Tradition, Sainte Foy 2007 ..  my favourite paired with the steak


The great thing about Frangipani is that if you find a wine you are not so happy with, you can always ask for a different one. And you can keep going till you find the perfect match.. kinda like life, innit?


Finally, it was time for dessert.

This Lemon Pannacotta, Strawberry and Mint Sauce was sour and a little strange on the palate, but I guess whether or not this goes down well with you, really depends on whether or not you like your pannacotta sour. I prefer the regular sort.


Toffee of Banana and Vanilla Ice Cream was a big hit with us. Who can fault slices of banana that are battered and deep-fried, then coated in toffee, making them deliciously crisp? Eat each hot mouthful with vanilla ice cream and just be happy to be alive!

We were also served few items from the Ala Carte Menu which was not part of the Signature Menu, but worth mentioning ..


Prawn Carpaccio

The very pretty and impossibly fresh prawn carpaccio is a very exceptional dish indeed. Served with Shrimp Oil, Pesto and Mashed Avocado, this exquisite ensemble was made all the more special with its delicate, artistic herb garnish. Looked like a work of art.


Black Anchovies from the Cantábrico Sea – Tomatoes Three Ways and Extra Virgin Olive oil

If you have never liked the taste of anchovies, this dish from the Cantabrico Sea, will be a revelation. Its rich, bold flavor expands across your tongue just as how, music fills an opera house. These anchovies are not for the meek. The little fish cannot hide the fact that it’s cured for months so you need to have it with some brioche. The resulting texture is meaty and salty, reminiscent of that other Spanish favorite, jamón ibérico. It is pure umami .


If you have never liked the taste of anchovies, the bocarte or anchoa del Cantábrico, will be a revelation. It is the José Carreras of anchovies! 


Pan Seared Foie Gras served with Sautéed Apples, Vanilla and Quince Membrillo, paired with the Sweet Wine , Celler Pinol ‘Josefina Pinol’, Terra Alta 2010.

I instagrammed this photo, saying that it was the perfect wine- food pair and I still stand by it. Looking back at this photo again, sends shivers down my spine as I replay the exquisite richness of the foie, paired with the honeysuckle flavours of the Celler Pinol ‘Josefina Pinol’, Terra Alta 2010.


Then it was time to move on to the Bar are for more cocktails ..


Here’s my all time favourite drink at Frangipani – the martini lychee, and something a little stronger, for my man.


oh for the love of cognac.. I lost count after a while! 


In the company of Michelin Star chefs.. can’t complain. Definitely a good night.. we will be back for a revisit!

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