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LSA Makan Club: ATAS seasonal menu will change your mind about truffles

Love truffles? Indulge in the nuances of truffles — from subtle to intense — when you experience the handcrafted truffle menu at ATAS Modern Malaysian Eatery.

The LSA Makan Club returned with another serving of ‘living the good life’ experience, together with our friends at ATAS Modern Malaysian Eatery headed by Chef Tyson Gee.

On the invitation list were LSA Friends, Nalisa Alia Amin, Fiqrie, Melissa Th’ng, Rubini, as well as Shalma Eliana. As part of the LSA Makan Club experience, they were treated with a curated menu comprising some of ATAS’ signature creations as well as a selection of dishes from the restaurant’s handcrafted truffle menu, which is part of its third anniversary celebrations.

LSA Friends at the LSA Makan Club

The dinner opens with the classic Chicken and Waffles — a mainstay since the opening of the restaurant three years ago. The dish, refined and improved, features equal parts chicken liver parfait and a buttery melt-in-your-mouth slice of waffle; topped with hazelnuts and pegaga leaves. Every bite, quintessentially offers an explosion of umami and savoury notes, balanced with the peppery pegaga.

Next on the menu is the King Mackerel with Shiitake, Brussel Sprouts and Black Truffle. While the fish is cooked to perfection, a profound hint of earthiness layers the dish elegantly despite the idea of combining strong clashing flavour profiles from the complementary elements — mushroom, sprouts and truffle. It is served with a lightly seasoned consommé to bring all the elements together.

Every mouthful covers the palate with a sophisticated clarity, and each element can be distinctively enjoyed in its purest form. A dish defined by its purity and simplicity, the appetiser gives such a relief to the usual palate fatigue you’d endure in a multi-course meal — chef’s kiss!

Comfort food

Moving on from something light and gentle, the next dish is packed with rich and comforting flavours. The Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with White Truffle Foam is truly a crowd pleaser.

“It is my favourite of the night,” shares 21-year-old singer Shalma Eliana. Echoing her sentiments, Nalisa Alia Amin adds: “I love soups. And this dish is so beautifully balanced, rich and creamy, with a luxurious blanket of truffle foam to enhance its complexity.”

And true to the spirit of ATAS, there will always be a surprise element in each dish — one that will leave wondering or mind-blown. Boiled artichoke bits add texture, but Chef Tyson decides to include candied chestnut bits into the mix for added flavour. The subtle touch of sweetness makes the deliciously earthy soup a delight in every spoonful.

The main dish comprises Dry Aged Duck Breast with Roselle, Local Figs, and Raspberry. Two large pieces of beautifully seared duck breasts, served medium rare, centre the plate with roasted fig and roselle pieces for extra depth of flavours. The pegaga leaves are also added for a burst of freshness thanks to its peppery undertones.

“This is perhaps the second or third time I’m having duck, but this definitely surprises. I love how the meat isn’t gamy at all and the crackle on the skin is such a joy to indulge in,” confides model and actress Rubini.

“I’m a big fan of the duck breast. The fact that it is dry-aged brings out extra depth to the meal while developing an extra tender texture. It’s a win for me!” adds Nalisa. 

And dinner isn’t complete without dessert. The kitchen team sends out an intriguing dessert that references colours of autumn. Curated in shades of neutrals, the dessert is more than just a dollop of cream and foam — it is inspired by the Christmas’ Panettone. The dish, aptly named Panettone, Chestnut, Coconut and White Truffle celebrates each of the ingredients’ earthy nuances as the different elements play its own part to make the dish work.

Gems of white truffle marshmallow elevates the dessert with a multitude of expressions, combined with the complexity from candied chestnut for a touch of savoury and candied orange peel for a citrusy finish. And for someone who’s not a fan of desserts, the dessert is six spoonfuls of perfect harmony.

Panettone, Chestnut, Coconut and White Truffle

Verdict

ATAS delivers again. This time, as the truffle menu returns, it makes perfect sense why it has been booked out time and time again. The idea that truffle is prevalent throughout the menu, yet keeping its presence so subtle totally punched me in the gut. The level of control that the chef and his team have in the creation of each dish showcases a strong sense of mastery and finesse.

The menu embodies the ideals of ‘less is more’ despite truffle being an ingredient that’s commonly associated with ‘more is more’. The execution is so sophisticated and elegant, as compared to a smack-in-your-face sort of wafting scent of truffle that oftentimes overpower the dish. A sense of purity must be appreciated here.

For our LSA Friends who are truffle lovers, they all agree that it is the first time that they are enjoying truffles in such a subdued way — nothing over the top. It has been a surprising journey revisiting ATAS as it continues to surprise diners with more than just creativity and craft, but a sense of warmth akin to being back at home.

Martin Teo
Editor
Martin has a bent for history and food culture, especially of the Peranakan heritage. Since the pandemic, he finds joy in plant parenting and continues to expand his collection of Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Syngoniums. He's now on a lookout for the elusive Philodendron Florida Beauty to add to his urban garden.
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