Dinner with a view
At Babe, you get an uninterrupted panorama of the city skyline and a Michelin-starred chef in the kitchen, writes Tan Bee Hong
Shimaaji Sashimi and White Konbu
GETTING to Babe on the 11th floor of Clearwater can be a bit of mystery in itself. Unable to locate the UP button at the lift area, I had to ask the helpful security guard for assistance. Yes, that’s how safe you will be. It’s dusk and our little group is spellbound by the uninterrupted view of the city skyline. When making reservations, do indicate whether you prefer to sit indoors or, for a really fabulous night view, on the pool deck which is also air-conditioned.
Chicken skin crisp with liver parfait, red wine caramelised onions and pickled mustard. GET STARTED
Heading the kitchen at Babe is Japanborn Chef Jeff Ramsey who, at 32, earned a Michelin star for his modernistic cooking style.
By his own admission, his forte lies in seafood but he is not fazed by meat either as he recently created an edgy Australian A5 wagyu menu. All the beef served at Babe come with a certificate of authenticity.
While waiting for the food to come, I sip on a glass of Torch Gingerale (RM25). What perks up this drink is the aroma of bunga kantan which combines very well with the ginger and lemon.
For a more fruity flavour, there’s Elderberry Smash, a blend of fruit with elderflower.
Then we nibble on chicken skin crisps. The crisp is the perfect foil for bringing together the toppings of liver parfait, red wine caramelised onions and pickled mustard as you get to taste all the different flavours and textures at one go.
This is followed by Mozzarella Explosion with Amela Tomato (RM40) which comes with stern instructions to pop the whole white balloon of mozzarella into the mouth without trying to cut it up.
Obediently, we do as told and are rewarded by a “pop” in the mouth that releases a stunning essence of mozzarella tinged with basil.
Sitting daintily to one side is a quarter wedge of Amela Tomato, said to be the sweetest tomato on earth.
BabenDazs (RM35), served in little sealed boxes, is foie gras and VSOP Ice Cream, sandwiched between two wafers. It’s just the bomb. There is something quite decadent about eating foie gras frozen into ice cream — both chilling and thrilling experience.
I am still smacking my lips when the waiter places before me a covered bamboo basket. He opens the cover and I get a whiff of fragrant smoke.
Inside is the 1,000-year-old Cedar smoked Yellowtail Nigiri (RM42/2pcs). The cedar dust is placed in a clam shell and
Hokkaido Don, Japanese rice topped with salmon roe, king crab, fresh uni
and dashi jelly
Mozzarella Explosion with Amela Tomato
lighted before the basket is brought to the table.
The smoke is just a mild whiff to engage your palate for the umami flavour of the Hamachi tinged with a bit of yuzu.
I cannot decide if I prefer this or Shimaaji and White Konbu (RM55). The fresh slices of striped horse mackerel sashimi, shaped into a blooming flower, are laced with sesame oil and then seaweed, scallion and flakes of snow-like konbu, are sprinkled over.
Or perhaps the Grilled French Royal Oyster (RM50/pc) is the clear winner. My eyes grow big at the sight of the huge mollusk blanketed under a creamy yellow tama miso (egg miso) sauce and a sprinkle of chopped scallions. There is a faint hint of heat and citrus that spices up the raw oyster.
To my surprise, the oyster has been cleanly sliced across in two, making it easier to eat.
Hokkaido Don (RM85) is a satisfying portion of Japanese rice topped with konbu powder, cured salmon roe, king crab and uni (sea urchin) so fresh you can practically smell the seawater.
Dashi jelly on the side binds all the flavours together. But if you prefer not to mix the ingredients, you will still enjoy the levels of flavours and texture separately.
I keep the best for the last. Ramsey’s Black Truffle and King Crab Chawamushi has rocketed this steamed egg to gourmet levels.
He has poured a thickened sauce scented with black truffle over the steamed egg. To eat, scoop the egg and sauce with the chunks of crab meat; it’s so good you’ll be scraping the sides of the cup and licking the spoon clean.