Like most Valentine’s Day meals that I’ve had in the past, I went to Babe last Thursday night, anticipating another mediocre set meal most restaurants in town would roll out on any given special occasion.
But I was wrong. So wrong. After an elaborate 10-course degustation dinner, I was almost lost for words, dumbfounded at what I’d just experienced, but elated to have witnessed the sheer tenacity and creativity displayed through every dish. The message and intention from Chef Jeff Ramsey was clear—he is on a mission to ignite one’s senses and taste buds.
We were first served the Caprese Salad Explosion, a very literal start to the evening, as the mozarella cheese spheres oozed creaminess—lightly flavoured with fresh basil, and perfectly complemented with Amela Rubins, a special sweet Japanese tomato. This was quickly followed by the O-Toro Tartare and Wasabi Shio Koji on a crispy air bread and Babe’s best-selling Mini Crispy Uni Tacos. A simple yet elevated dish, a thin piece of tempura-battered nori serves as the shell, filled with sushi rice, sea urchin and sprinkled with dashi soy gelee for a hint of umami. Every crunch was supplemented with the simplicity of rice and dashi to champion the smooth texture of the sea urchin.
At this point, we were just warming up, and keeping our spirits high for what was to come in the remaining courses. To pique our curious minds, part one of our fourth course, Special Nigiri Sushi was served in a cedar basket. The lid came off, and an earthy smokiness filled our noses immediately. Smoked in a 1,000-year-old cedar, every bite of the hamachi nigiri was sweet and fragrant. Part two featured a slice of half-seared, half-raw wagyu beef, on a bed of soft sushi rice and garnished with Sansho Tsukudani, a Japanese pepper with a profound citrus note.
Then, we were given “a break” as two small appetisers were then brought forward—the delicate Black Truffle and Alaskan King Crab Chawanmushi and Grilled Hiroshima Oyster—to separate the richness from the previous courses. Both easy on the palate, this was a refreshing change before our main, the rich and juicy Marble Grade 9+ Wagyu Steak with Kurozato Jus was served, along with kale chips.
The idea of love is thrilling, and this was clearly what Chef Ramsey was gunning for, in his rendition of Take My Breath Away. Quite a show on its own, we dipped bites of rose-flavoured meringue into liquid nitrogen for a couple of seconds before eating it. The strong rose flavour was enhanced by the coldness, leaving a slight tingling sensation, resulting in giggles of smoke to form a rather unusual experience. To top off an amazing night of molecular gastronomy, a vibrant plate of almond crumble, Genmaicha ice cream and mochi panna cotta encapsulated First Love while the tray of Petits Fours came with a stunning presentation of black pepper marshmallows and edible terrariums.
The special menu is available on the weekend before Valentine’s Day (10th to 12th February) and on Valentine’s Day (14th February) itself. Priced at RM999++ per couple, it includes a drink of sparkling rosé or wine. Sake pairings for glasses of 3 are available at an additional RM160++ and wine pairings for glasses of 3 and 4 are available at RM130++ and RM170++ respectively.