I finally get to dine at the restaurant from the lady who single-handedly popularised macarons in KL. Her Solaris Dutamas outfit seems to tick all the boxes: looks, charm, fancy kitchen utensils dangling from the ceiling, and a concise and appetising menu that screams elegant and contemporary French cuisine. Despite all this, I still didn't think my palate had been sufficiently seduced....
Industrial chic with cement walls, ceiling and steel finishings, and dabbled with a ruby and violet colour scheme, decor at Nathalie's is all class. We teeter a little bit on those high chairs and one has to strategically place them as close as possible to the equally high tables but we manage. The courteous waiter is friendly and knows how to create rapport whilst explaining the menu. I don't really mind that we're the only customers during a weekday lunch service as service is appropriately attentive and efficient.
Crusty bread rolls arrive in a mini basket and maybe I've been away from KL for too long, but this is one of the few times I've had really decent bread. The rolls are so perfectly warm the butter slides straight off my knife from the steam; I get quite excited thinking that a place concentrating on all these details has surely got it all right.
In come the appetisers. Every dish looked a picture drawing lots of breathy ooohs from us. However, the Norwegian Egg which was a soft boiled egg wrapped in smoked salmon atop an artichoke and drizzled with chive sauce was like an airplane landing with a soft thud on our palates. None of the smoky fishyness from the salmon and we found ourselves generously sprinkling on the salt and pepper to salvage the taste.
The tomato crumble was full bodied with a super caramelised tomato "bottom", sweet with a sharp zing from the balsamic reduction and perfectly balanced by with the creamy goats cheese mousse.
The tuna millefueille was a great little stack of textures and classic flavour combinations: soft delicate tuna, fresh avocado, creamy tuna mousse sitting on a crunchy pastry base with a salty black olive drizzle. As well intended it may have been, it was like each separate ingredient had their own little agendas rather than working to produce a team flavour.
I found similar themes in the mains: beautiful presentation but the same soft thuds. Two of the mains came topped with an incredible amount of foam it was like a mini flavoured bubble bath. Porcini canelloni was rich with chunks of earthy mushroom mixed with parmesan cheese though very quickly the same strong flavour throughout became overwhelming. Some crunchy breadcrumbs to lift the texture perhaps? A sharper vegetable to cut through the richness? The king prawn ravioli was very well done, the prawn bits inside the pasta had good bite.
The best main of the day was the chicken. Cooked perfectly, bathed in a mushroom sauce, and served with mash, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus and a mushroom sauce, there was good balance of all components. The parmesan tuille that sat regally on top the mound wasn't just a pretty cracker, it served to break up the softer ingredients beneath.
By this point I felt like I was well on the turns of a rollercoaster meal. Desserts again were a mixed bag: I could not say enough for the heavenly pear and passionfruit sorbets which were luscious sticky, icy renditions of their fruits and of course for Nathalie's wonderful macarons in lime, ginger and lavender & apricot. Given that lavender always makes me think of potpourri sachets, this little biscuit wasn't offensive in the least and in fact quite enjoyable. Sadly, the dessert selection of a chocolate mousse, a lemon financier and choice of two macarons (included in the above) was churlishly tiny . I mean, one macaron was larger than that financier. It was like the canape version of the canape!
I really really wanted to like Nathalie's. I love how well put together the restaurant and the menu is, and how there's obviously a high standard of technical expertise from the chef and kitchen. And considering the prices charged, there really needs to be more consistency across all items. For a restaurant of this calibre, my tastebuds need to be taken by the horns and thrown to the floor in high drama - no soft thuds please! So until I taste otherwise, I'll keep to the macarons and sorbets for now. The damage came to RM 314 between three people.
Unit A4-1-5 Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 6207 9572
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