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Six hands, one curious foodie

Six hands, one curious foodie

As the evening drew closer, my anticipation for the Six Hand Dinner experience at Kyujin last Friday heightened. Curiosity and intrigue began to fill my thoughts, and I was eager to see what mysterious creations there were to be laid out before me.

The previous Six Hand Dinner at Kyujin offered a glimpse into Sarawak’s rich culinary heritage through the creations and reinterpretations of specially invited chefs from Kuala Lumpur’s Eat and Cook.

This time, Kyujin’s Chef Alexandros invited his culinary compadres from Taipei, Taiwan, namely Chef Sid of Nabo Ulv and Chef Bally of JK Studio for a special evening that witnessed the trio transforming the dining experience into a medley of unexpected tastes and textures. The former is a Michelin-starred modern Scandinavian-style casual fine dining restaurant renowned for its Nordic-style charcoal grilling, pickling, and fermentation. The latter is a refined fine dining establishment that offers French cuisine with Asian influences.

Six hands, one curious foodie
~ Chefs Alexandros (middle), Sid (2nd from left), and Bally (2nd from right) and the rest of the team from Kyujin.

Pleasantly surprised

The Six Hand Dinner at Kyujin offered an intimate dining experience in a relaxed contemporary setting, with guests seated around the bar-style seating area. In the middle of the room, an island served as a live plating station where Chefs Alexandros, Sid, and Bally carefully put together each dish before presenting them to the guests.

To start the evening, we were presented with a delightful duet featuring a Swiss Roll of Clam and a Tart of Oschietra. These light and flavourful bite-sized hors d’œuvre served as a tantalising prelude to the exciting dishes that would follow.

Still on the amuse bouche, the following dish surpassed this writer’s expectations. Local beef bone marrow was elegantly coated in charcoal and topped with five spice powder, cucumber, homemade jalapeño relish, and fragrant coriander. Anticipating a crispy and slightly chewy texture, my taste buds were met with an unexpected surprise. The outer shell had a delightful crunch reminiscent of deep-fried fish skin, while the tender and velvety bone marrow melted in the mouth, releasing an explosion of rich flavours. The jalapeño relish did well to cut through the richness of the marrow, creating a nice contrast of flavours.

Six hands, one curious foodie
~ Chefs Alexandros (right), Bally (centre), and Sid plating the amuse bouche.

Standout dishes

Speaking of pleasant surprises, this writer definitely had a few throughout the course of the evening. Granted, each dish presented to us was an exquisite fusion of ingredients from Taiwan and Sarawak that resulted in a unique symphony of flavours both familiar and new to the tastebuds all at once. However, some stood out more than the rest.

One of those standouts was the squid dish. Prepared using a traditional cooking method favoured by Taiwan’s aborigines, squid slices were placed over a charcoal grill, imparting an intense smokiness that elevated their natural flavours. Slivers of beetroot pickled in red wine vinegar added a touch of sweetness, acidity, and an earthy undertone. And as if to weave the elements together, a hint of carbonised garlic powder was sprinkled over the dish, serving as the binding force that created a cohesive and delightful ensemble. Hands down one of my absolute favourites.

One dish that also stole the spotlight was the Angus tongue. Drawing inspiration from Taiwan’s gastronomic culture, the often-overlooked cow’s tongue was transformed into a true delicacy, leaving this writer thoroughly impressed.

In Taiwan, cow’s tongue is a culinary gem, and this rendition paid homage to the tradition. The locally bred Angus tongue, carefully selected for its quality, served as the foundation for this dish. Taiwanese wild pepper and charcoal cream were also added, while crispy deep-fried seaweed added some crunch.

At the first bite, I was taken aback by the tenderness and succulence of the Angus tongue. The subtle yet distinctive seasoning revealed layers of complexity, enhancing the natural flavours of the tongue without overpowering it. It was overall a splendid dish! That’s saying a lot coming from someone who does not typically indulge in tongue dishes… ever, save for this particular occasion. The Angus tongue dish was paired with a glass of Botter Amarone (Italy, 2019) wine.

The third dish that stood out was the Cobia, a predatory fish frequently misidentified as a remora or shark sucker. The fish arrived fresh at Kyujin well in advance of the Six Hand Dinner occasion and was aged for a period of nine days. The skin of the fish was then removed, unveiling a tender and sweet flesh of the beautifully aged fish.

The Cobia was accompanied by a delightful sauce infused with squid eggs, which added a unique depth of flavour. A subtle drizzle of spring onion oil was added, and a paper-thin spring onion crisp adorned the dish. To finalise the culinary masterpiece, a light yet flavourful broth, made by boiling squid and cuttlefish bones, was elegantly poured into the plate, completing the dish.

Six hands, one curious foodie
~ A delightfully sweet and tangy winter melon dessert.
Six hands, one curious foodie
~ Six hands, one curious foodie
Six hands, one curious foodie
~ Squid broth is poured over the 9-day aged Cobia dish.

Six hands, one curious foodie
~ This squid with charcoal, pickled beetroot, and carbonised garlic is delightful combination of flavours and textures.

Memorable evening

The Six Hand Dinner experience also included delectable chicken wings accompanied by crispy rice, spinach, and a delicate bubble of clam, paired with Little Yering Chardonnay (Australia, 2020), as well as a succulent lamb saddle with black pepper and garlic, spiced carrot and juniper jus, paired with a glass of Eguren Urgate Cinquenta (Spain, 2016).

To conclude the dinner on a sweet and refreshing note, a delightful composition of winter melon in various forms including espuma, jelly, boba, and pickle was served. The “Pebbles” dessert, featuring an Earl Grey cake accompanied by two pebble-like capsules (hence the name) – one filled with a luscious vanilla sauce and the other containing a tangy sauce made from Chef Alex’s homegrown mulberry – satisfied my craving for a sweet indulgence. Additionally, the “Le Petite” dessert showcased Sarawak’s famous gula apong (Nipah palm sugar), complemented by a delicate spoonful of durian mousse on the side.

As the evening went by, I sat in profound appreciation of every aspect of the Six Hand Dinner experience. Observing the chefs, masters of their craft, skilfully assembling plate after plate of amazing dishes was both inspiring and entertaining. Having Chef Alexandros personally explain each dish as it was presented gave me a sense of admiration and a deeper understanding of the chefs’ distinct culinary styles. Also, the impeccable service provided throughout the evening elevated the entire experience.

To leave a dining establishment with such vivid and cherished memories of the flavours and textures encountered is a rare occasion for a discerning foodie like myself. The Six Hand Dinner presented by Kyujin, Nabo Ulv, and JK Studio is one of those rare occasions.

– By Lester Geres –


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