The Last (Or Latest) Word on Degustation
Ever since Epilogue opened its doors at SM Maison, adjacent to the Conrad Hotel; it's received praises from those who've made the effort to make the trek, and try out it's cuisine. A brainchild of the father/daughter team of Henry and Alyanna Uy, the concept was basically to provide fine-dining dishes in a casual setting - with a renowned Japanese chef who has trained and worked in Europe at the kitchen's helm. Epilogue's Hiroyuki Meno was the Executive Chef at Tokyo's Maison Paul Bocuse, and put the Noosa Restaurant at Jimbaran Bay, Bali on the culinary map. At Epilogue, he has slowly revamped the Menu, and shown his avid interest in using locally sourced ingredients.
An offshoot of his involvement at Epilogue is that a special 6 course Degustation is now available on a two-day reservation basis. You basically call Epilogue, book for the Degustation menu, mention preferences or food allergies, and let Chef Meno take you on a culinary journey that varies from day to day depending on what he finds in the local markets to incorporate with what he has in the kitchen stockroom. It's one surprise after another as he teases out and blends flavors with panache.
On the night we feasted on his Degustation Menu, these were the courses:
We started off with Caprese: Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella di Buffala, Tomato & Pineapple Sorbet, Tomato Clear Jelly and Basil Pesto. Cold in a good way, light, and the way the Buffala would mix with the Sorbet and Jelly in your mouth was a one-of-a-kind experience.
For the second course, Blue Flower Crab with Cauliflower Mousse, Bisque Mayonnaise and Fruits Vanilla Vinaigrette. This was served in a deep dish, like a pudding or tiramisu; and with the fruity vinaigrette and the mousse, was actually sweet enough to have me thinking dessert. Very delectable!
Third course was French Foie Gras on a bed of Carrot Purée, Balsamic Reduction and Wilted Greens. With a nice thick slab of Foie, I was thinking how my sons would have so loved this dish!
On fourth, we had Crispy Amadai, which sat on Clam Creamy Foam, Vegetables and Moringa Risotto. Loved how the Risotto was submerged in the Foamy soup, and how the skin of the Amadai was expertly crisped. I was feeling stuffed by this course!
For the fifth course, we had Jack's Creek MB7: Grilled Beef, Caramelized Onion Purée, and Green Pepper Sauce. To be honest, was feeling like Surrender was an option, but one bite of this Beef cut, had me swooning and wanting to applaud.
As sixth course, we had Banana Tart: Almond Cream, Caramelized Banana, Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. Here Chef Meno used 'saba' and gave us something familiar, yet different! A perfect note on which to end the night.
Epilogue's Chef Hiroyuki Meno
The way Chef Meno's background of being Japanese, but having trained in Europe, was brilliantly put on display in how the dishes were presented. As I mentioned the Green Moringa Risotto would only be revealed as you spooned through the Clam Foam - so there was this element of revelation, of surprise, not only in your mouth, but even in how your eyes met his dishes.
There is something very unique happening at Epilogue now; and I won't compare it to other Degustation offerings at other restaurants. Each chef will stamp his Degustation Menu with his or her own personality and provenance; but I can say that what Chef Meno has to offer is singular, and very much his own - and truly worth the visit to Epilogue!
Photographs by Philip Cu-Unjieng