Ashley Yiin had her first taste of foie gras on a trip to Paris last year and liked it so much that she decided to make her version of it using mushrooms.
This young chef at the newly opened Ashley’s in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, succeeded in replicating the taste and texture of foie gras in her Living Mushroom Foie Gras, drizzling it with a little truffle oil and serving it with sundried tomatoes, flaxseed crackers, rosemary flatbread and carrot.
It’s foie gras without guilt, made solely from button mushrooms with Irish moss, a seaweed gelatin, to hold it together.
It was simply amazing – the flavour, the silky smoothness, even the colour of it which resembled foie gras.
I revelled in the rich, creamed mushroom and loved it with the crispy flaxseed crackers, though not with the flatbread. If the carrot had been shaved thinly, it would have gone well with the delicate, sublime “foie gras”. We wiped the plate clean.
Ashley’s is an offshoot of Living Food Café/Bistro in Menara Tan & Tan in Kuala Lumpur. Ashley, the chef, has been working there with her mum Emily, cooking and developing recipes for the two cafes.
Among these are the Spinach Mai Gai, Pearl Snapper Asparagus Beancurd Wrap, and Shrimp and Beluga Lentil Dumpling. These are all part of the Organic Dimsum Set which also comes with Scallion Sesame Pancake and Almond Butter Pancake.
The Spinach Mai Kai (Ashley’s version of Loh Mai Kai) is spinach wrapped up in a ball with quinoa, mushroom, salted egg yolk, chestnut, ginkgo and dabai, a native Sarawak “olive”.
It was a mouthful of different textures, with each ingredient contributing its own flavour, yet coming together delightfully.
We found the Pearl Snapper Asparagus Beancurd Wrap a little salty.
Eaten hot, the Shrimp and Beluga Lentil Dumpling was like a Har Gow or prawn dumpling, tumbling out the sweet essence of chopped prawn, shiitake mushrooms and lentils. The pinkish hue of the wrapper, made from arrowroot, came from red yeast. It was delicious.
We also had the Vegetarian Dumpling (from the Vegetarian Dimsum Set) which was filled with tofu, lentils and mushroom. Its wrapper was tinged green with spirulina.
I loved the Portobello Mushroom and Buckwheat Polenta Stack served with pink peppercorn rhubarb puree, pumpkin puree and mushroom ragout.
There was the well-seasoned buckwheat polenta slice on top and bottom, then the aromatic mushroom ragout spread on the huge Portobello mushroom.
There was a lovely mouthfeel as I sank into this mushroom “burger” going through the soft, juicy Portobello and the buckwheat polenta which I dredged through the rhubarb sauce, then the pumpkin one.
The Quail Currant Stew was amazingly good. The quail had been slow braised with lentils, pinenuts, carrot, raisins and organic Spanish red wine, rendering the meat tender and bursting with flavour.
The stew, nuanced with the raisins and wine, and thickened with the lentils, was irresistible too.
Dessert was Apple Doodle with Chocolate Sauce, made up on the spot by Ashley. It was chilled and crunchy apple spirals, berries and chopped macadamia drizzled with chocolate sauce and macadamia nut cream.
We were bowled over by the Salted Caramel Apple Cake beautifully shaped like a rose with lush petals of thin slices of dehydrated apple. They sat firmly on a bed of salted caramel with bits of macadamia and walnut.
The menu at Ashley’s has a few dishes that are not served at Living Food Bistro, such as the ones we had. I was told to try the Wagyu Ribs served in a pumpkin mash on my next visit.
But popular dishes that are at Living Food are also available here, such as the Borneo Laksa cooked with almond milk, with prawns and a miso sambal; the Posh Burger with a lamb patty and the bun made with red yeast; and the divine Apple Crumble.
The prices: The Organic Dim Sum Set of five items which could be shared is RM75, Living Mushroom Foie Gras is RM38, Quail Currant Stew RM38, Portobello Mushroom and Buckwheat Polenta Stack RM42. The desserts are from RM10 to RM15.
Ashley’s is at 11 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Tel: 017-325 3663, email firstname.lastname@example.org. – May 10, 2014.