Sunday, January 20, 2008

Prime Grill Room, Crown Princess Hotel

Pleasures of three

Trilogy is the presentation of a dish in three ways, tripling the senses of sight, smell and taste in one order, writes TAN BEE HONG

It’s the power of three at the Prime Grill Room at the Crown Princess Kuala Lumpur as the pleasures of dining

Yes, it’s Trilogy of Food according to the hotel’s executive assistant manager Darren Tey. For every item ordered, you get it in three different ways, tripling your senses of sight, smell and taste.

Tay says that most places only serve food in one style. “If you order a steak, you get it either with black pepper sauce or mushroom gravy,” he says. “But why stop at one? Isn’t it more pleasurable to have more than one flavour at one sitting?”

Putting a great deal of thought into that, he and his team decided to give customers triple the pleasures with three different flavours each time.

So, for an order of steak at Prime Grill Room, you get a grilled medallion of beef with baked polygon potato, butternut and carrot. But the steak is cut into three portions and each part is topped with a creamy watercress sauce, light butter scotch sauce and roasted pepper sauce.

It’s not just the beef. Appetisers, soup, fish and lamb and dessert are also give the triple treatment in two four-course set menus priced at RM120++ and RM160++ (with three glasses of wine).

At a sampling of the Trilogy menu, we start with scallops. Three succulent scallops are presented on a plate, prettily arranged with one surrounded by capers and pinenuts, the second with anise cream and the third well wrapped up in wantan skin, deepfried and topped with hollandaise sauce.

The scallops are cooked just right, leaving them translucent and juicy. The pinenuts give it a crunch while capers a strong aroma.

The anise sauce is subtle while the wantan scallop is deliciously hot.

Next came asparagus triplets, two with toppings of herbed hollandaise sauce and mornay sauce. A third is wrapped in phylo pastry and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. While the first two are blanched, the third asparagus shoot is baked to allow the pastry and cheese to bloom in aroma.

The Trilogy menu offers two types of soup — chicken and tomato — served in dainty espresso cups.

If you like it spicy, you’d love the tomato. There’s a thick, creamy one with juniper berries and another with strong flavours of Indian spices. I love the third, a clear tomato tea made with strips of sundried tomato.

But on the whole, I tend to lean in favour of the chicken soup. Here, you can start with a cold chicken consomme to freshen the palate or leave it to the end to clean the tastebuds.

The second is a lovely clear soup with subtle hints of American ginseng (fa kei sum). The third is much stronger in taste and aroma. Chopped sweet basil lends it the flavour and aroma, which surprisingly, does not clash with the equally strong aroma of serai (lemon grass).

For main courses, there’s a choice of beef, lamb or fish. The lamb comes with fries made with pumpkin and flavoured with rosemary, minty cucumber cubes and buttered chickpeas. But it’s the sauces that gives you that triple sensation (picture). There’s Californian raisin sauce, dried apricot sauce and sundried tomato sauce.

Fish lovers would enjoy the panfried cod fillet, served with veils of crispy potato, baby carrots and asparagus. The sauces too, I feel, complement the mild cod well. There is hazelnut and vegetable pearls, a light lime and wine sauce and a delicious creamy seaweed sauce. The lime and wine sauce does a good job of bringing out the better side of the cod while the hazelnut sauce enhances its flavour with a nutty feeling.

Dessert also has two choices in three flavours. Those who enjoy ice cream and chocolate will love the Three Flavours Ice Surprise. Reminds me a little of the ais kacang ball that was so popular when I was in school. OK, maybe that’s stretching it a bit too far but I am thrilled to find, within the ball of chocolate, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and inside the vanilla ice cream is a centre of citrus fruit sherbet.

Or you can opt for crepes in three flavours and served with vanilla ice cream. The soft, silky crepes are served warm, giving a lovely toasty feeling to a night of Trilogy. Three crepes are served with a rich, seductive butterscotch sauce, a citrusy orange sauce and a fresh strawberry sauce made with a whole strawberry.

If you think it ends here, you’re in for a surprise. Right after the surfeit of sensations for the evening, you are presented with a choice of three coffees and teas.

There’s decaf espresso, a pretty strong brew but the absence of caffeine allows pure enjoyment of the coffee without worries.

If you like it normal but strong, espresso forte makes a robust ending and for those who want “kopi kaw”, ristretto coffee is guaranteed to awaken all your senses.

For tea drinkers, there’s peppermint tea, red berries tea and camomile.

Prime Grill Room is open daily for dinner only.

Crown Princess Hotel
Jalan Tun Razak, KL
Tel: 03-2775 1022

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