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Feb 4, 2013 10:36 PM

Kuala Lumpur - French-Japanese fusion at Cilantro

Takashi Kimura has been helming this award-winning French-Japanese fusion restaurant since 2001. I'd never gotten round to visit his restaurant during my previous visits to KL, and even when I was located here the past two years - until last weekend.

What I tried:

- Cold angel hair pasta with sea urchin and sweet prawns. I loved sea urchin, and Kimura's version here was better than the one I previously had at Gunther's back in Singapore. Not too sure about the raw prawns, but they provide an interesting slippery textural contrast to the cold pasta.

- Unagi with foie gras and mesclun. Not too sure why, but I wasn't really expecting a deep-fried battered croquette when I chose this dish. But it was well-executed, even if a bit too rich and oily for my taste.

- Confit of Loire Poussin with Truffle. This was well-seasoned though, again, I was expecting something else: the "confit" I was picturing would have a fall-off-the-bone tender meat, achieved thru slow-cooking over low heat, then with the skin crisped over high heat just before serving. What I had here seemed more like pot-roasted fowl.

- Rhum baba with vanilla ice-cream and berries. I'll need to order something else next time. The version here was dry-ish, way too small, more an sponge cake than a rum-soaked delicacy I'd expected.

Overall, Cilantro did meet my expectations. It was certainly one of the best fine dining French-style restaurant I'd tried in KL, and which I'd rate overall above Lafite, Le Midi, Prime, Mandarin Grill, and also its own sister restaurant, Sage; and about on par with La Vie en Rose and Frangipani.

Anyway, there are quite a few fine dining restaurants in Kl that I'd yet to try, e.g. La Maison Francaise, Marini on 57.

Address details
Micasa All Suite Hotel,
368B Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 3-2179 8000

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  1. Very interesting. I eat out a lot in Japan and also like the Japanese interpretation of French cooking. I think the Japanese have higher reverence for French cooking traditions than modern-day French chefs themselves.
    I like uni a lot and that dish you had looks to have very generous serving of it!

    1. The unagi and foie gras interpretation IS interesting.

      I had it at Sage in 2009 when Kimura was cooking there, and it was presented as a terrine of alternating layers of eel and liver. Surprised that it morphed into a deep-fried croquette.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Julian Teoh

        Actually, I *was* expecting something like a terrine. Then, this pair of croquettes came out and completely threw me off!

        Nice place, but not sure if it's the best. The talk of the town now seems to be ex-Frangipani chef, Chris Bauer's Cantaloupe at Troika Skydining.

        1. re: klyeoh

          I thought Cilantro was pretty meh. It did not have the excitement and sheer flavour that Frangipani had.

          But thanks very much for letting me know that Bauer has moved. Cantaloupe's now on my hitlist. In Ipoh now so will try Indulgence next week and report back!

            1. re: klyeoh

              Kung Hei Fatt Choy, klyeoh, and I hope the Snake brings you and yours much prosperity, happiness and great food!