The Sansho menu features 11 courses to illustrate the moon’s changing phases.
Zen by Mel introduces a new Sansho menu featuring 11 courses. The Sansho is inspired by the moon’s journey from sorrow to unwavering strength. As such, each dish represents a chapter of metamorphosis.
The special menu will last until December/January 2024 before introducing another new menu for the season.
Here’s the food served on the 11-course Sansho menu:
- Lunar Seal | Loyang
- Pearls of the Moon God
- Tears of Tsukuyomi
- Lunar Storm
- Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi
- Tsukuyomi no Umi
- Lonely Moon
- Sweet Chaos
- Eclipse | Nisshoku
The Taste Test
The first three starters – Izanami, Izanagi, and Lunar Seal, arrived in a beautifully decorated box.
Izanami is an umeboshi tart topped with halloumi, hazelnut, and a dollop of Iranian caviar for a briny taste. The tart’s base is made from pure apricot. To fully enjoy the flavours of the dish, drip three to four drops of Rosemary oil onto the tart before eating it in full. The flavour of this tart reminds me of a biscuit flavour.
The Izanagi is a tempura flavoured with local East Coast dressing made up of asam jawa and bunga kantan. The amaebi prawn has a good crunch and when dipped in the dressing, gives a slightly salty flavour.
The Lunar Seal features our local kuih called Loyang. It’s topped with Chu-Toro (salmon belly), aji verde, and shallots. The aji verde adds a fresh, crisp taste to complement the mild flavours of the Chu-Toro.
The starter course ends with a palate cleanser; a bentong ginger and lychee broth sealed in small corked tubes.
The next dish is Pearls of the Moon God. Bread lovers will relish this because the bun is soft and buttery. With the pineapple glaze on top, there’s a hint of sweet and sour flavour to the bun.
The dish is served with a soft butter mix – French butter infused with Yuzu Kalamata Tapenade, olive, anchovies, and a bit of chilli padi – further enhancing the delicious taste of the bun and making you want more of it.
Next up is Tears of Tsukuyomi, a rojak snack encased in a smokey glass cone. The rojak is comprised of sengkuang, jambu air, and green apples. It’s served with two dipping sauces: guava puree and rojak sauce. The dish has a fresh rojak taste with a nice crunch.
I did not expect the container holding the rojak snack to contain another dish at the bottom. It’s a small serving of napa cabbage smoked with apple wood with grana padano cheese on top. A hearty suitokku broth is then poured into the bowl containing the cabbage dish to be enjoyed together.
The first main course of the night is a meaty dish called the Lunar Storm. The kampung chicken is smoked in a box of rosemary and apple wood. It’s served with a side of vegetables comprised of kale, porcini mushrooms, asparagus, salted onions and shimeji mushrooms. For the sauces, we had vanilla kinoko jus and pumpkin puree that was mixed with a bit of truffle oil for umami taste.
The second main is the Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi featuring Hokkaido scallop cooked in French butter and served with foie gras. The sauce is madras curry sauce mixed with miayazaki mango for a bit of salty and sweet taste. The foie gras lends a buttery taste to the scallop and all the flavours are nicely balanced.
The third main, Tsukuyomi no Umi, is a risotto dish inspired by nasi kerabu flavours. The rice is marinated in amaebi headroe (the remainder from the Izanagi prawn fritters to prevent food wastage). Topping the rice is the flower crab, house kerabu sauce, ikura and roasted cherry tomatoes.
The first dessert Lonely Moon was a delightful surprise with its presentation. The round dessert – made of cold press sudachi, Umeboshi (plum juice) and green apple – is mounted on a stick like a lollypop. There’s also popping candy in it so there’s a slight crackle and pop in your mouth. The taste is a blend of sweetness from the apple and a hint of sourness.
Sweet Chaos is the main dessert made with mandarin oranges. Inside the dome, there’s white chocolate mousse doused with a bit of Cointreau. It’s served with a side of custard white chocolate and segmented mandarin oranges.
The last dessert Eclipse arrives in a box and has three parts. The first is an almond tart with lime custard and topped with matcha ganache and roasted hazelnut. The second is a coffee mousse with a caramel centre. The bottom cookie is made of coffee and peppermint. The third is an Oolong Lychee shot to give a refreshing end to the meal.
For drinks, I had cocktails called Elderwand and Pillow Talk. Elderwand is made out of vodka and sencha, while Pillow Talk is made out of gin and citrus. If you like sweet cocktails, I recommend these two drinks.
The appetisers were something different for me and it helped that it all tasted good. I really liked the main course Lunar Storm. The chicken was tender and flavoured well with the pumpkin puree and the vegetable sides.
Tsukuyomi no Umi is great for those who love the taste of prawns and crabs with kerabu flavours. Overall, the whole dish was creamy and easy to eat like a risotto.
If I were to pick one that I could eat all day every day, it would be the Pearl of the Moon God bun.
As for the desserts, I preferred Lonely Moon as it was simple and refreshing. The pop and crackle is a playful addition to the whole meal.
Zen By Mel
Address: F-10-01, Pusat Perdagangan Bandar, Persiaran Jalil 1, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (next to Tokyo 9 Bar, across Chagee).
Monday to Sunday, Closed on Tuesdays
First Session: 6.00pm to 8.00pm
Second Session: 8.30pm to 10.30pm
Instagram: Zen By Mel
For reservations: https://letsumai.com/widget/zen-by-mel