We applied ‘Le 7 regole per riconoscere la buona cucina’ by Roberta Schira to our dining experience at Ferdinand’s, The Magellan Sutera Resort

Written by @Lan & Research made by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com unless stated otherwise)

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“There’s nothing more romantic than Italian Food.”-Elisha Cuthbert

A deeper look into ‘Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra’

We took weeks to produce this critique. A lot of reading and we even had to ask one of our Italian friend to translate a book written by Roberta Schira who is a journalist and food critic. Yes, we had to refer to some writings about Italian Food for 2 obvious reasons. First, we rarely dine in a fine dining restaurant, let alone in Italian Restaurant. Second, the food we ate was something new for our palate. To produce a credible critique, we must then refer to some valid sources, as guidance as we go through with this particular post. Welcome to Ferdinand’s @ Magellan Sutera Resort and let us introduce ‘Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra’. To describe our experience at this exclusive Fine Dining Italian Restaurant, we decided to apply the ‘7 rules to understand good cuisine’ or Le 7 regole per riconoscere la buona cucina by Roberta Schira.

Prelude

It is said that Ferdinand’s is a world class Italian restaurant offering the most exquisite fine-dining experience served with style, charm and attention to detail. Recently it is listed as one of Malaysia’s best restaurants for 2016 by Malaysia Tatler. Simply put, it is high-end restaurant, with fine dining concept. The fact is, we both have never prefer dining in a fine dining restaurant and to make things worst, we don’t really go for Italian Food except that casual Pasta and Pizza.

Roberta Schira wrote about some universal rules that can be applied anywhere, in any kitchen, restaurant, country. She mentioned in her writing that it is undeniably crucial to taste, study, ask questions and compare the food that one consumed in order to understand it wholly and most importantly ably to produce objective critique, far from being subjective with some added personal judgement. In order to be objective, one must travel, experience and understand many varieties of food in different culture. We somehow see the truth in her sayings thus we have decided to applied her 7 rules while dining at Ferdinand’s.

Gone are the days when food critics simply write anything about his or her dining experiences. Gone are the days too when food critics must 100% obliged to the brand that invited them for some food tasting. Food writers and critics must be able to write independently, without any favor to any parties which includes the sponsors. If it is good then it’s good, bad if it is bad. To produce genuine and objective critique, one must have guidelines, at least for the beginners. Personal judgement(s) must be omitted. We admit that we are both not the best food critics, we are still learning. In fact, we are just about to reach our 365 days being as food and travel writers.

While we did taste few dishes while being at Ferdinand’s, we want to concentrate this particular critic to one dish that attracted our attention, Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra. The reason we chose to write about this dish is because it looks pretty much different from dishes that we consumed all this while. The presentation, description in menu, colors and price were the 4 important factors that mostly corresponded to the 7 rules by Roberta Schira. The other dishes were well presented too but this particular dish outshine the rest.

Interestingly, there is an insert (at the end of the book) by Roberta Schira. One may print it and during any dining experience, vote out of 10 for each category. Roberta Schira would like anyone, be it readers, food lovers, restaurant owners and people in the restaurant business to try her 7 rules and perhaps create their own. She added, “It would create a discussion around such a ephemeral and subjective matter: how to judge a gastronomic experience.”

About The Food

Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra

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This particular dish is priced at RM145.00 nett per serving. It is one of the many main courses available in the menu. This dish is about Pan Seared Sous Vide Poached French Duck Breast and Deep Fried Duck Liver with Red onion Marmalade, Garden Vegetables drizzled with Duck Juice reduction.

The 7 Rules

And so we visited Ferdinand’s, tasted the Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra, cleaned the plate, literally and now it’s time to have a look at the 7 rules by Roberta Schira. As recommended by Roberta in her writing, we will score each component in the 7 rules and later will reveal the total points to see if Ferdinand’s ably to fit-in the 7 rules in their restaurant business.

1. Ingredients
Must be the best the market can offer, fresh and of quality. Ingredients are good when they taste like they should.
Again and for the record, the dish that we both ate is Pan Seared Sous Vide Poached French Duck Breast and Deep Fried Duck Liver with Red onion Marmalade, Garden Vegetables drizzled with Duck Juice reduction. Now, though we rarely dine at any Fine Dining Italian Restaurant, we did consume Duck somewhere else. We know how Duck taste like. At Ferdinand’s, both Duck Breast and Liver were fresh and certainly not being frozen for long period of time. We know how frozen food taste like. The Red Onion Marmalade gave another distinct taste, combined with that Dark Juice reduction, it’s a clever creation, the overall taste was absolutely heaven. The vegetables were fresh as well as if someone had just made the effort to pluck em’ out from earth. The meat was tender and tasty!

Our score: 9.5/10

2. Technique
Must know how to manipulate and transform the ingredients in a dish respecting 
its essence, tradition and science. Knowledge of chemistry and physics as well as tradition is important to create a solid technique; no matter what the chef wants to do, traditional cuisine or experimental. The Chef in charge at Ferdinand’s, Chef Daniele Rossetto not only creatively presented each element in the dish, the preparation of the dish involves sous vide, a method of treating food by partial cooking followed by vacuum-sealing and chilling. While keeping the Italian essence in the dish, the Chef indeed incorporated Science in preparing it! The Chef cleverly thinks of the colors of all elements on the plate, it was indeed a colorful dish that really inviting, alluring that is!

Our score: 9/10

3. Genius
The capacity to transform something that already exists into something new. Every artisan needs to follow rules and have technique, to take that and go beyond is genius
. For all the Chef’s creativity out into the dish, we without any hesitation dubbed this Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra as a creation by a genius! The same menu might be found in another Italian Restaurant, but none will be able to beat the overall quality of this dish by Chef Daniele Rossetto! We are so sure about that! Everything about the dish from its Chef to the presentation and taste, remarkably genius!

Our score: 9.5/10

4. Equilibrium/Harmony
A sense of harmony within oneself and the world during the culinary experience.  For a restaurant looking for the perfect execution, balance and equilibrium mean “non predominant”, elements should balance each other out. In Haute and avant-guard cuisine, balance is almost a nuance that gives it a certain sense of value, creates harmony: collects the dissonance.  
We must say that we felt ‘united’ with all other things/elements inside Ferdinand’s. There’s a sense of balance in everything we’d experienced here. The service, food, ambiance, lighting, live A Capella music and everything under the Ferdinand’s roof seemed to work as one great entity, giving that pure satisfaction to guests. There’s sense of interconnected as if there’s Yin and Yang when we dined here for a flat 2 hours! We felt absolutely comfortable as if being in our own home, well, with some ‘upgrades’, literally.

Our score: 9.8/10

5. Atmosphere
The ensemble of details that makes one utter “I feel good here”. Atmosphere is made of lights, interior design, people, aromas, sounds, service, and something else that you can’t really explain. 
The X Factor in Atmosphere element was the service. We have never met such a dedicated team that worked so diligently and synchronized, looking into the tiniest details.

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Mizan, Alice and Gerald

We were greeted and warmly welcomed by three staffs of Ferdinand’s, Mizan, Alice and Gerald. Mizan was the person who accepted our reservation via phone call a day earlier and he was quite happy to see us coming. Alice then took us to our reserved table and since this is a fine dining restaurant, she religiously introduced herself in the most formal way, opening up the menu, switching on that little LED Clip Light and went on with the detailed explanation of each segment in the menu. She paused at times to ensure that we were on track with her as we did look a bit confused. She left us for a while to allow us to choose our desired food items.

Gerald came with some wine recommendations, a long list that we had to politely reject as we do not consume alcohol beverages. I guess, that is pretty rare in Ferdinand’s as most diners will opt to have wine. Having said that, those who must stay away from Wine are still very much welcome in this restaurant. Our advise is be picky with what you are about to order. We took about 30 minutes before we placed our order. There’s no need to hurry, take as much time as you want, the staffs will be patiently waiting for your orders.

Alice came back and we once again asked her to explain about the ingredients in some of the menu options. She is indeed one professional staff as she managed to go through our queries, one by one to a point that we became so familiar with the menu already! We made our decision and each time we mentioned our choice, she gave detailed explanation, the ingredients, the taste and other expectations. Such a great staff. She recommended Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra as the main course, to which we obliged, without any hesitation, as we trust her completely.!

Our score: 10/10

6. Project
Place an idea behind a dish, a place, move forward. You can have a grand project or even a small regional one, something that interests a country or a neighborhood. Doesn’t matter how much money is involved: what matters is that you can see there is a high motive behind every dish, something that goes beyond taste, price, calories. You can’t tell the story of food through numbers. 
Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra was indeed something truly a masterpiece.

It had all that the unique tastes that went beyond the Italian name being tagged to the dish, it’s expensive, yes, but the real value of the dish is infinity! The dish represented Italy as we see it with bits of France, but overall the motive is to educate diners on what’s being served on the plate. The main idea is to wow guests with the presentation and taste and boldly use Duck breast as well as Liver as the main characters, something that people in Malaysia do not consume on daily basis.

It aims to educate guests about not only geographical thingy but the elements or components are cleverly chosen to make guests have lengthy discussions among themselves and with the servers, checking on what’s this and that. Consuming this dish is kind of learning new things, at least for those who seldom eat Duck Breast and Liver. Believe us when we say that we spent 20 minutes discussing about the colors, texture and overall presentation. Consuming this dish was like a journey for both of us!

Our score: 10/10

7. Value
What we think is the right compensation for the gastronomic experience. Did I get my money’s worth at this dinner? Good service, attention to detail, good feeling and thoughts?
The price of this dish is RM145.00 nett. Some people will say it’s bloody expensive. Some will say it’s better to head for the Buffet at other restaurants. Yes, we cannot deny that RM145.00 is a lot of money. However, the overall experience from the service, ambiance, atmosphere, taste, presentation and final thoughts worth more than RM145.00. It is the whole experience that counts not the tiny tiny bits on the plate. The satisfaction matters more than what you see on the plate. The first bite that we had worth more than the price, imagine this, we had ‘plenty bites’ of wonderful tastes and textures. It is one absolute and wonderful gastronomic experience.

Our score: 9.5/10

Overall Score

Ingredients : 9.5/10
Technique: 9/10
Genius: 9.5/10
Equilibrium/Harmony: 9.8/10
Atmosphere: 10/10
Project: 10/10
Value: 9.5/10
Total : 67.3/70
Average: 9.614/10

Overall, we regard our experience as Excellent. The average score of 9.614 indicated that every elements in Le 7 regole per riconoscere la buona cucina by Roberta Schira achieved almost perfect score. Thanks to the 7 rules by Roberta Schira, we have managed to become more objective in writing our review/critique.

What we like least…

The ambiance of this restaurant is purposely design to create that romantic and exclusive dining. We like that. However, the light is deemed a bit that at times it was pretty hard to get some good pictures. We’ve been advised about that before coming in and some prominent bloggers/writers even had the same issue. We decided to come up with a back up plan for the photo shoot, we will be doing that on the other side of the restaurant where lights were a bit brighter. With that said, we think this restaurant is definitely great for those looking for a place to dine romantically. Photographers on the other hand will have some difficulties in capturing all that good images. Having said this, we however perfectly understood why the lighting is set to be deemed. It’s a fine dining restaurant, there’s no need for flashy lights. It’s about creating romantic and elegant style of dining.

The Chef

Chef Daniele Rosetto

Different from other posts about restaurants, this review will not be highlighting the interior and exterior of Ferdinand’s. We would like to highlight the man behind the scenes, in the kitchen, preparing and supervising the food at Ferdinand’s. We saw him once, just a glimpse and we did request to meet him but he was quite busy with his task. We had to proceed with the dinner without some lengthy explanation from him in regard to the food that were prepared for us. My Chief Editor asked me to proceed with doing some online readings and here are some useful information about Chef Daniele Rosetto.

Chef Daniele Rosetto-Image by Sutera Harbour Resort

Italian-born Chef Daniele Rossetto joined Sutera Harbour Resort in May 2013, bringing his formidable cooking talents and fun loving character to the Ferdinand’s Italian Restaurant located at The Magellan Sutera Resort. Growing up in Venice, Chef Daniele’s love for food was inspired by two very good cooks in his household – his grandfather and his mother. His favourite dishes were his grandfather’s fish soup and his mother’s risotto.

Chef Daniele’s journey into the culinary world began when he enrolled himself into Instituto Professionale Alberghiero di Stato, which is a Professional Institute of Catering in Castelfranco, Italy. Since his graduation in 1990, he has been a chef for more than two decades in which 15 years were spent being a chef in several restaurants and hotels in Italy and five years as Head Chef at Boscolo Hotel Maggior Consiglio in Treviso, Italy.

He was later invited to be a guest Chef at Martini’s on 57, Kuala Lumpur from December 2012 to January 2013. Fueled by his Italian heritage and a desire to develop new dishes and flavors while meeting new challenges, Chef Daniele stays informed about new trends by reading magazines and interacting with people of the same passion. He believes that there is always something to learn from everyone.

Chef Daniele said that being a Chef is a job that never stops as it requires an open mind. With his creative flair, passion for his work and being meticulous about his cooking, patrons are assured of an unforgettable dining experience with Chef Daniele’s innovative culinary creations.

In need to have the same gastronomic experience?

Ferdinand’s
The Magellan Sutera Resort
Sutera Harbour Resort
1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard
88100 Kota Kinabalu
Sabah, Malaysia
Phone: +60 88 318 888 / 308 431
Fax: + 60 88 317 777 / 310 118
Website: Click HERE
Instagram: @suteraofficial

Opening Hours :6.00pm – 11.00pm
Location : Level 2, The Magellan Sutera Resort
Capacity : 88
Cuisine : Italian

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