12 Michelin-starred chef serves up sublime Spanish flavours

Eu Hooi-Khaw

Beef tenderloin with chlorophyll sauce, cheese fragments and Perigueux sauce by Spain’s most decorated culinary star Martin Berasategui at Sabayon in EQ Kuala Lumpur. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

IT was such a treat to taste the finest from Spain’s most decorated culinary star, Martin Berasategui. 

The chef, who has a total of 12 Michelin stars to his name, is having his creations featured in the lunch and dinner menus at Sabayon, EQ Kuala Lumpur, until November 24. 

You would possibly have to visit four of Berasategui’s restaurants in San Sebastian, Barcelona, Ibiza (Spain) and Tenerife in the Canary Islands to savour all that was in our degustation menu for dinner. 

As he could not be physically present, his protégé Paco Budia, who is head chef at Etxego Ibiza, presented with panache Berasategui’s signature style at Sabayon, in the menu curated by him.

Protégé of Martin Berasategui and head chef at his Ibiza restaurant, Paco Budia, is representing Berasategui's vision at Sabayon. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

Complexity, depth of flavour, texture, sheer exquisiteness and plating perfection are encompassed in Berasategui’s cuisine. So, it was a starry three appetisers for us – melon osmotised with caipirinha (from two-Michelin star M.B. Tenerife), seaweed crisps (one star, Oria Barcelona), and fried brioche (Etxego Ibiza, Michelin Guide). 

There were sweet, citrusy bites from the melon lightly infused with a rum-like liquor. I picked up the delicate seaweed crisp with salmon tartare and sank into the sweet, lovely cottony brioche topped with salmon roe. 

(Clockwise from left) Melon osmotised with caiprinha, fried brioche, and seaweed crisp. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

I was wowed by the foam of jalapeno with cucumber mayonnaise, black garlic ice cream and tuna. The sweet black garlic ice cream sent ripples down the palate, contrasted with the salty jalapeno foam and cucumber mayonnaise. This was from the three-star Lasarte Barcelona. 

Foam of jalapeno, cucumber mayonnaise, black garlic ice cream, and tuna. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

Also delicious was the sea bass with mashed potato, green sauce, citrus mist and molluscs. 

There was the soft, pillowy and moist sea bass in pleasing harmony with other components on the plate. It is a dish from Martin Berasategui’s eponymous three-star restaurant in San Sebastian. 

Sea bass with mashed potato, green sauce, citrus mist, and molluscs. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

Beef tenderloin with chlorophyll sauce, cheese fragments and Perigueux sauce was superb. Sauces define a chef, and Berasategui clearly deservedly earned his three Michelin stars with this creation. 

The beef tenderloin looked like chocolate, and tasted just as smooth and creamy as, gelling with the dark, complex and exquisite Perigueux sauce with black truffles, and the refined chlorophyll sauce, with asparagus. 

Shavings of black truffle on the ensemble enhanced it. The stronger flavour of the cheese sauce kicked in, too, in perfect balance. 

Chef Martin Berasategui's gin fizz. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

Then it was the classic gin fizz with strawberry granita from Etxego that served as a palate cleanser before dessert. Then it was the amazing dessert – coconut ice cream with orange, passionfruit granita, carrot chips and beetroot compote, from the Michelin-starred Oria Barcelona. 

Mignardises, or petit fours, ended a wonderful dinner served with wine, including an award-winning Barbaresco, which we loved. 

Coconut ice cream with orange, passion fruit granita, carrot chips, and beetroot compote. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 12, 2022.

Berasategui, who’s from Basque, also owns Eme Be Garrote Restaurant in San Sebastian, Restaurant Orla Martin Berasategui, Bilbao, and Restaurant Fifty Seconds Martin Berasategui in Lisbon. 

The “Flavours of Spain” dinner is RM688+ per person; you can add on wine pairing for RM328+, or RM1,016+ in total. 

The lunch menu is RM328+ or RM428+ with wine. Wines accompanying the meals include Champagne Baron de Rothschilds, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, Albert Bichot Chablis, and Whispering Angel – a rosé from Côte de Provence.

Sabayon is on the highest floor of EQ’s Sky 51, with a stunning view of the Twin Towers and the city. Call to book a table at 03-2789 7800, or visit the hotel website. – November 12, 2022.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website hooikhawandsu.com.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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