This article was translated by John R. Bopp
San Sebastian-born Pedro Samper is the head chef at the four restaurants in the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, a luxury hotel in the Malaysian capital.
He’s been working there since September 2018, but he’s been a head chef in Asia since 2013. This past March at The Brasserie, he started offering a unique experience once a month: a “Basque dinner“.
Critics have given high marks to the idea and to the menus he’s put on offer. It’s a luxury to have chefs all around the world showing off and reinforcing the idea that we are The Culinary Nation.
We do have to mention two things we found strange:
First, that the critics have somehow come to the conclusion that Basque cuisine “is void of any greens or fresh vegetables”. Greens are always featured on our tables, at home or in restaurants. With products like Lodosa green peppers, or Tudela artichokes, or Gernika beans, Araba potatoes, piperrak, or “teardrop peas” from Gipuzkoa, or even some Espelette peppers, we have a lot to choose from.
Secondly is their thinking that back cuisine has “a whole lot of spices”. Again, we beg to differ. We admit that this perception might be due to the “exotic” nature of the food, which always happens with unfamiliar cuisine from faraway places; we find food from that side of Eurasia to also feature “a whole lot of spices”.
In any case, a heads-up: if we disappear for a few days, it’s because we’re at The Brasserie enjoying the “Basque dinner” chef Pedro Samper has prepared.
And again, we must congratulate him for this marvelous idea, for finding diners who can enjoy the spirit of our grandmothers’ cooking as adapted by Sempre, as always, to the tastes of that part of the world.
We also appreciate, quite a bit, that the Malaysians know we live on both sides of the Pyrenees; all too often, that piece of information is “forgotten” by people who are far closer-by.
Dineout – 10/2019 -Malaysia
The Basque Country Dinner at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur in October
Buñuelo de Viento Crème Fraiche, Osietra Caviar
Autumn Leaf Girolles “Escabeche”, Ceps Mayonnaise
Txangurro & Sea Urchin San Sebastian Sle Crab Stew
Idiazabal & Figs Beetroot Sago Cracker
“Panache” Seasonal Mushrooms, Green Peas, Poached Egg, Potato Parmentier
Marmitako Basque Sle Red Tuna Stew
Rabo de Buey al Vino Oxtail & Cabbage, Black Truffle Croissant
Chestnut & Intxaursaltsa Pecan Nuts, Marron Glacé
Gâteau Basque Almonds, Cherries
First Classe – 4/3/2019 – Malaysia
Travel to the Basque Country with Executive Chef Pedro Samper at St Regis KL
For those not in the know, the Basque Country is located in the western Pyrenees and straddles the border between France and Spain on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. The origin of the Basque Country dates back centuries when residents lived off their livestock on the Pyrenees mountains.
Life Style Asia – 5/3/2019 – Malaysia
Review: The Brasserie at St. Regis KL takes you on a journey of Basque cuisine
Basque cuisine hardly travels out of the Basque region so much so that many are not even close to being versed with the flavours it has to offer. The closest one may get to Basque food is probably the burnt cheesecake, a Basque novelty that was created by accident in San Sebastian.