Samplings On The Fourteenth Restaurant at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur – notably one of the city’s best kept secrets – has been giving diners a gratifying dining experience ever since it opened its door in 2011.
The open concept kitchen at once draws attention as does the brilliant view of twilight in Kuala Lumpur as the sun sets. The restaurant’s main dining room seats sixty people with two private rooms that accommodate eight and twelve guests respectively. Located at the East Tower on the 14th floor of Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Samplings operates from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Monday to Saturday – with Berjaya University College of Hospitality (BUCH) operating here every Tuesday and Thursday.
This refined restaurant offers a range of mains choices for various epicureans. Available seafood dishes on the menu include salmon sous vide with squid ink tonnarelli and littleneck clams to the signature black cod fish with trout caviar sauce and a seafood combination platter of grilled salmon, sea bass, prawns, sea scallops and baby lobster.
Diners with an appetite for meat will be eager to try the options on the menu which serves among other things luscious filet mignon, duck leg confit, Wagyu beef fillet, Australian beef rib eye and USA Black Angus beef sirloin all served with baked potatoes and grilled vegetables with a choice of béarnaise, porcini and morel mushroom, bordelaise, Sarawakian peppercorn or truffle oil beef jus sauce. Recommended are Sampling’s signature dishes – the delish Tasmanian rack of lamb and heavenly braised Wagyu beef cheek.
Serving a Classic Western menu, it would be easy to presume the restaurant’s chef is of European heritage upon dining here. Those presumptions are at once debunked upon meeting Sampling’s affable Chef de Cuisine Valmurugan Subramanian who is fondly known as ‘Chef Val’ by his peers and loyal diners.
Chef de cuisine Val comes with 25 years’ experience under his chef’s toque in the hotel fine dining scene with additional experience cooking in several countries from Switzerland to Vietnam. As a young apprentice in the late 1980’s, he steadily climbed his way to become the chef de cuisine of a Swiss-French inspired fine dine in an international chain of hotels over 20 years. His panache for cooking added with his years of experience trained by many accomplished chefs has shaped him to master himself in the world of European cuisine with specialties in Swiss and French techniques.
Since joining Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur in 2010 as Chef De Cuisine, Val has significantly transitioned the new fine dine as a major contender on the local culinary map for its food and service while establishing a name for himself with his expertise along with his buoyant personality and charm.
Among his favourite ingredients are truffle oil for its aromatic punch and lobster butter which he says gives his sauces a boost in taste and texture. Believing that execution is fundamental to even the simplest dish, Val stresses on ensuring the quality of his dishes are always consistent. “I find inspiration from everything around me and love experimenting with different ideas and techniques to put on the plate,” he says.
The award-winning Val’s pure approach to cooking consistently delivers stunning dishes that highlight the main ingredient as evidenced by his specialty meat dishes. Mentored and trained by veteran German Chef Wolf Gang Kiesal, he bagged Silver in the Hot Cooking Category for the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) Culinary Challenge 2012 and has received accolades from the Food and Hotel Malaysia (FHM) Culinary Challenge 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 in the Hot Cooking category.
Under Val’s stewardship, Samplings has received Awards of Excellence by the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) for ‘Most Outstanding Canapés of the Festival’ and ‘Most Creative Dining Experience’ in 2011 for the Festival Diners’ Choice Category; ‘Most Outstanding Main Course of the Festival’ for his slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek dish, ‘Most Popular Restaurant’ for Taste MIGF and ‘Most Outstanding Soup of the Festival’ in 2012; and ‘Most Outstanding Wine Pairing of the Festival’ in 2013.
In conjunction with Sampling’s participation in the MIGF 2014 for the fourth year in a row, Val has this time delivered a stunning menu for diners to sample throughout the festival period. The seven-course menu is a fine gastronomc journey to be explored as he surprises with the amuse bouche, teases with the Rock lobster salad, comforts with the chick pea soup, then tantalises with the hot appetiser of smoked duck breast with fricassee of mushrooms and vanilla emulsion. A cool content slowly settles in with every mouthful of Val’s Riesling soursop sorbet.
Vice President of the Sommelier Association of Malaysia and BUCH lecturer Ronald Binati lends his incisive expertise in cultivated pairings to enhance the epicurean adventure once again this year. The Rock lobster salad is served with a delicious Sixty Drops Marlborough sauvignon blanc from New Zealand while the smocked duck breast flourishes with a sip of Barone Ricasoli Chianti DOCG from Italy.
The satiating journey reaches a pinnacle with his superb delivery of main course – an option of his famed Wagyu beef cheek with his signature touch including a coffee sauce or the beautifully-plated serving of steamed salmon Napoleon on a bed of finely crafted squid ink pasta with grapefruit and salsa verde. For the Wagyu beef main, Binati perfectly picks the exquisite Ruffino Lumina, Delle Venezie IGT pinot grigio from Italy while a smooth Richard Hamilton McLaren cabernet sauvignon from Australia is served with the salmon Napoleon.
Then like a fine artist, Val makes a closing impact with a sinful Valrhona chocolate dessert of chocolate brownies, hazelnut mousse and passion fruit ice cream with a serving of heavenly Amarula. Mignardises and free flowing coffee follow the end of Val’s master presentation.
This epicurean adventure with wine pairing is available for RM398++ a person while the same seven-course menu is offered at RM198++ a person without wines. A complimentary glass of red or white wine is given to diners opting for the latter. A lighter five-course festival menu is also crafted by Val with a Barramundi cod or herb crusted rack of lamb main at just RM158++ a person. All three menus are available for dinner only on Mondays, Wednesdays Fridays and Saturdays in the months September and November 2014. Throughout the MIGF festival in October 2014, the Samplings festival menus are available from Monday to Saturday.
In the spirit of the MIGF festival 2014, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur is extending a special room rate for festival diners of any of the three offered menus. Upon paying for the bill, any two diners are entitled to stay in a Superior room for RM295++ for one night, subject to availability. In addition, a 10 percent discount voucher is offered for the Christmas takeaway turkey by the hotel from 1 to 31 December 2014. (T&C Apply)
For further enquiries or reservations, kindly contact Samplings On The Fourteenth Restaurant at 03-2117 8000 ext. 8131 or e-mail [email protected]