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An Imperial Journey For A Birthday

Sampling Darren Chin's Delicious Spring Menu With Hennessy... On My Birthday!

It's not every birthday you get to unwind and sample some of life's best, and that's exactly what I got to do this year with Hennessy Malaysia. Of course, no one actually knew it was this writer's born-day because I'm quite "ninja" with these things. Still, I took it as a personal treat to be part of the exclusive gastronomic experience at D.C. Restaurant with Hennessy.

A special highlight of the day was in fact the inclusion of the Hennessy Paradis Imperial, a specially created cognac selection by Yan Fillioux. It's a special pour simply because the average number of eaux-die-vie with the potential to one day join this blend are a rare few: only 10 out of 10,000. Hennessy's Master Blender/s savoir-faire identifies and defines the right ageing conditions to raise a fine eau-de-vie to its point of elegance, the decisive and fleeting moment when the eau-de-vie reaches its apogee, ready to join the Hennessy Paradis Imperial blend. But of course, there was more to this occasion than the rare cognac as well; Chef Darren Chin.

Personally selected by the House of Hennessy, Chef Darren Chin was engaged to curate a luxurious luncheon experience for all in attendance, and my-oh-my, the skilled Chef did a fantastic job as you will see through the many tempting images in this article.

Having cooked professionally for 15 years, and trained in France for two years, Chef Darren Chin mingles French tradition with modernist techniques add life to his craft. His craft is basically part of the new generation of chefs who currently relate to the philosophy of "la Jeune Cuisine", which literally translates to "young cuisine". It's a new cuisine which approaches the kitchen with honest, pure and unpretentious principles, all in aim to present nature's bounty in its purest form apparently. That's of course, the marketing fluff. In all simplicity, Chef Darren Chin knows how to satisfy the humane senses from scent to after taste.

The menu curated that fateful by Chef Darren was to also invoke the deep tones of the Hennessy Paradis Imperial no doubt. On the luncheon's menu pairing with the Paradis Imperial, Chef Darren Chin commented, "To reinvent the essence of it, the menu uses the same unique processes that comes into the creation of Hennessy Paradis Imperial, replicated to match its high standards." Well, how did the RM998 per pax course meal go? Scroll on!

The luncheon began with a prelude serving of mini tartlets along with some Dom Perignon champagne to welcome the special occasion. Not long later, we were whisked away upstairs to the private area of D.C. Restaurant to begin the seven course spread. The first course was the Seasonal White Asparagus from "Sud Ouest" – France, served with a glass of Cloudy Bay Tekoko Sauvignon Blanc. This was an awakening start to the actual luncheon experience​, but I was already quite "upbeat" from all the Dom Perignon champagne earlier. (Please cut me some slack, it was my birthday!)

Next up, out came a serving of Hokkaido Green Asparagus and Sabah Bamboo Lobster Gratin, served with some good-ol' Summer Truffle. An easy meal for a second course, it went well with the Hennessy X.O neat pours all of us were enjoying. The rich notes of everyone's go-to Hennessy, the famous X.O, started out a little strong when paired with this dish, but as I made my way into the crab gratin, the strong, smoky note of the X.O sat well with the exotic theme of this dish.​

By the end of it though, it was time to cleanse off the taste buds for something on the menu that caught my attention from the word go: 'Homage to M. Paul'. It was a delicious serving of locally-sourced market fish, served with potato scales and, orange and wild flower honey sauce​. We were informed by Chef Darren Chin at this point, that the market fishes were drawn from Kuala Selangor fresh waters, which as quite surprising at least to me, considering its freshness. Fourth course, superb!

For my main, I had already pre-selected the wagyu beef, and yes, it was a savoury, succulent climax to this Hennessy luncheon at D.C. Restaurant. Why? It wasn't just any wagyu we were sampling; it was Kyushu Japanese Wagyu, graded A5. Yup, very special, and for such a treat, I got to pair this dish with the other star of the show, the Paradis Impérial.

Just before our mains, we were taken through a brief tasting to fully introduce our senses to the Paradis. ​A strong pour that has a subtle smokiness about it, the Paradis Impérial​ has a combination of sweet and dry notes. It was later that I found out that these are in fact the Jasmine, Orange Blossom and Spring Essences tasting notes. On its own, it is a properly balanced cognac, and over time, when tried with some ice or neat, its character reveals different taste accents. For RM8,000 a bottle, I think it is quite the bottle to have for one of those exotic dinners. On this occassion though, it paired really well with the beef, because it brought out its tenderness even more. 

After the sinful but yummy main, I decided to go with a simple serving of Light Crunch Meringue. It was served with black sesame pannacotta, mulled blueberries and the best part, cheese-cake ice cream! It was the perfect ending to the whole experience, and I for one know that I left D.C. Restaurant that day with a huge smile (partially due to the bountiful notes from the Paradis Imperial) simply because it became a very special birthday treat, a treat I will always remember. ​

If you're thinking now about sampling this brilliant curation by Chef Darren Chin at D.C. Restaurant, you still have a chance, because it is available to the public for dinner till this July 31st, from Tuesdays to Sundays. Give them a ring at 03-77310502 or visit www.restaurant-dc.com to book a place or two.​ You will go home truly satisfied.