Cover Entrecote of Wagyu

Chef Junious Dickerson shared what it took to prepare the fabulous five-course meal for Tatler's first Christmas Ball

Eat, drink and be merry. That was the order of the evening at the recent Tatler Ball held at Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur. And that meant a sumptuous meal befitting this grand annual affair. Curate's Chef Junious Dickerson was in charge of the menu; this was his third Tatler Ball.

“When it comes to the Tatler Ball, there’s always high expectation," he said when we met right before the guests arrived. "The guests are well-travelled and frequented some of the best restaurants in the city, if not the world. I have to make sure that what we serve tonight is on par with the best."

One of the featured chefs at our recent Off Menu food festival, Dickerson was inspired by the Christmas theme. As such, such festive elements as chestnuts, truffles and ginger ale found their way into the dishes. "It’s also a chance for me to push the boundaries, create something unique for an unforgettable experience."

No gourmet meal is complete without fine beverages. Apart from wine and champagne, Tatler Ball 2021's partner Moët Hennessy Diageo also served Hennessy VSOP and Hennessy X.O cognacs. 

See also: Snapshots from Tatler Ball 2021

Torched Hamachi Crudo

Paired with Moet & Chandon Brut

The menu kicked off with thinly-sliced fish appetiser, accentuated by coconut bisque, spicy avocado and hydrated seaweed. The addition of sea urchin and pickled mustard seeds raised its piquancy by several notches. Dickerson plated every ingredient with a great degree of precision, creating a visually striking arrangement he described as "a celebration of the sea.

“We start with the highest quality fish possible but we also don’t want to do too much to it to let it shine on its own,” Dickerson said.

 

Potage of Dubarry

Paired with Terrazas Reserve Chardonnay

Dickerson’s eyes lighted up as he talked about this soup dish, one of his favourites on the menu. Eager to incorporate local flavours, he decided to use curry milk, which he believed paired superbly with cauliflower.

“To make it unique, we add espuma of smoked scallop. We pump gas into it, making it light and airy. It’s very strong in flavour, and balances nicely with the soft notes of cauliflower and curry. This soup is thus full of textures which complement each other."

Grapefruit Parfait

The Grapefruit Parfait was a vibrant citrus concoction with tapioca pearls, candied ginger, lemon curd and Sichuan pepper dust. It's the perfect palate pleaser, and a fitting conclusion to the first act of the dinner.

Roasted Turbot or Entrecote of Wagyu Vegetarian Options

For the entrees, there were two options. Option one was the Entrecote of Wagyu, a marble 7 premium beef sirloin accompanied by chestnut mousseline, braised cordyceps, and a sumptuous black garlic puree. Measured doses of smoked onion soubise and sauce Rouennaise were added to heighten the flavour profile. This dish was paired with Terrazas Reserve Malbec.

The Roasted Turbot is a prime cut of the fish garnished with Jerusalem artichokes and glazed with a light toum sauce. An unconventional ingredient is also added—chicken skin, which the chef believed added crispiness and enriched the overall taste. The dish was paired with Terrazas Chardonnay.

“I could have used salmon, or sea bass," he admitted. "They would probably have been the more conventional options. But I also something unique. My main objective was to be daring, not just rely on tried-and-tested ingredients."

The beef slightly edged out fish that night, with 128 guests choosing wagyu and about 100 making fish their choice.

Cereal Milk Sponge

“Do you remember the best part about eating cereal as a kid? It was at the end when you drink in the remaining milk but it tastes like cereal,” Dickerson laughs.

This childhood experience set the foundation for Dickerson’s dessert, inspired by the classic French mille feuille. The chef first soaked cereal in milk, then strained the combination, with the remaining milk made into a mousse. This mousse is sandwiched between puff pastry, and garnished with chocolate discs, salted caramel ice cream and honey comb. For a local touch, Milo powder was added.

Vegetarian Menu

Guest who were on a plant-based diet were not excluded from the feast. Just like the above dishes, Dickerson's vegetarian menu was well thought out and carefully prepared.

It kicked off with Cesar Salad Croquettes, a lush starter combining potato croquets with kombu dressing and kalamata tapenade. This was followed by the Beetroot Veloute soup, before reaching a culinary crescendo with the entree of Roasted Cabbage with Potato Puree and Shaved Black Truffle.

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