Since Chinese New Year is around the corner, we’ve been going for many CNY tastings. FOOK KL, a pre-launched Asian restaurant under the famed Tamarind group, was one of them.
A stunning restaurant, like its sister properties, FOOK KL dresses to impress with its empress dowager-esque settings. There is no doubt that you’re stepping into an oriental pavilion when you walk into FOOK.
FOOK, which is the Chinese character for prosperity, is an appropriate moniker for the contemporary restaurant. A semi-open kitchen concept welcomes you before you enter the huge dining hall.
Of course, when you think of a Chinese kitchen setup, this is not what automatically comes to mind. It should have been a good indicator that what we were about to eat was very modern Chinese cuisine. And what a treat we were in for!
The FOOK KL Chinese New Year Menu started off with mushroom buns as appetisers. The soft baos were designed to look like whole mushrooms, but take one bite into the steaming bun and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. For someone who doesn’t fancy mushroom very much, I was won over by this appetiser.
Of course, every CNY menu is incomplete without a Yee Sang and FOOK’s Yee Sang (RM88++ for medium, RM118++ for large) is a fresh crispy rendition, generously plated with lots of salmon pieces. As far as Yee Sangs go, this was pretty standard, hitting all the right nails on the head but lacking creativity in its ingredients. I would have liked to see FOOK inject a little more of its character into this traditional dish.
Continuing our appetiser journey, we sampled a trio of bites. Starting with a mini cone stuffed with raw tuna, we moved onto a spicy century egg salad with cucumber.
Then finally, to finish off, we had a helping of kimchi. The trio was an interesting combination, though a little odd for CNY, complemented each other. My favourite out of the three was definitely the mini cone of tuna.
Next, we tried a seafood bisque with tempura-d lobster tail. This dish was very reminiscent of an assam laksa of sorts and was textured. It was appetising and definitely set our appetites up for our mains.
For a set menu that costs RM188++ per couple, it is generous to see that you can choose two out of three mains on the list. We started off with a seabass with ginger soy sauce, paired with longevity noodles. I loved the nod to a traditional CNY menu while keeping true to the FOOK identity in this dish. The fish was well cooked and the sauce was a perfect match to the noodles.
Next, we enjoyed a honey roasted duck with kailan, mushroom and mandarin orange sauce. Again, this takes inspiration from a couple of classic Chinese dishes and gives it a total FOOK transformation. The duck was beautifully roasted, juicy and tender, with just the right amount of fats to enjoy. The kailan was also delicious. But I did not particularly enjoy the pairing of the orange sauce with the duck, as I felt the flavour overpowered the duck.
Finally, we had what I assumed to be FOOK’s take on chicken rice. Confit chicken with ginger fried rice and a garlic chilli sauce was the last main on the menu. The confit chicken was a tad dry but the ginger fried rice was delicious and brought balance to the dish. Though if we had to pick two out of three, we would have picked the duck and fish.
Finally, to top off the meal, we were treated to a lovely sesame panna cotta with green tea ice cream. The sesame panna cotta was perfect - not too sweet and had a lovely consistency. It went well with the green tea ice cream. This had to be one of my favourite dishes of the night.
Overall, the experience at FOOK KL was one that was enjoyable and I am glad to see a contemporary Chinese New Year menu such as this. It is also one of the most affordable Chinese New Year meals I’ve seen to date. Though FOOK KL has not officially launched, they are currently taking reservations for Chinese New Year. This menu is available from 14 January to 20 February 2019.