Malay Food. Often overlooked and dismissed in the annals of fine dining. The Grand Doyen of Malay fine dining is actually Ibunda, which so far serves the best and priciest fusion Malay-Western food, albeit for dinner only. Bijan, over at Ceylon Hill will probably best termed as Malay Food toned perfunctorily to Western taste buds served in obligatory tropical inspired beautiful surroundings. Enak is posh and fine, but has not been able to pique my interest after two outings. Seeing that it is MIGF season, I was a bit surprised to find the lack of Malay food featured in the Menus. After failing to secure a reservation at Ibunda last night and cancelled plans to check Teeq out, I was surprised to find another restaurant offering Malay Food in the MIGF. The icing on the cake was that they could accommodate the menu for lunch. And behold, what a pleasant surprise awaited me.
The interior is tastefully opulent, evoking some nostalgia even. I can imagine Sean Ghazi crooning in the centre. There are private function rooms and even two tatami rooms, with floor sitting. I was in luck because the restaurant was fairly empty in the afternoon and I could choose anywhere to sit. The waiter was very very friendly and helpful and obliging.
Udang Kara Kerdil Limau Bali
Baby Rock Lobster Salad, Citrus Fruits, Pandan Froth, Aren'kha Caviar, Pomegranate Compote
The Baby Lobster Salad was marvellous. Light and crisp pomegranate compote and seeds lingered on the palate with a touch loving coyness. Arenkha Caviar is poor man's caviar, made from Smoked Herring which was not as lush as Sturgeron Caviar. Which was fine as it complimented the dish adequately. An ingenious and whimsical concoction, which can really be termed an amuse bouche or a palate cleanser.
Darat dan Lautan (Land and Sea)
Grilled Salmon, Mashed Potato, Roulade of Quail, Chiku Chutney
A very witty play of name. The Sea was represented by the Salmon, which was grilled and served with some mashed potatoes and dressed with local tangerines. Inventive play of different temperatures and textures. The Quail was not a roulade. because it did not come rolled in Proscuitto nor could I detect any forcemeat. Nonetheless, it was tender and the Chiku Chutney surprisingly paired magically with quail.
Sup Ketam Labu Kundur
Flower Crab Broth With Wintermelon
The broth was sublimely flavoured with crab, but I found it a little bit too salty. The crab meat was rolled into a cavity carved in the wintermelon. Probably a slight Chinese influence to this dish.
Silky Smooth Mango Custard
A beautiful Custard with a taste redolent of Mango and Caramel. Served with Roselle and fresh Mango cubes. And as described, silky smooth and beautiful texture and consistency. But why it was served at this point in the meal astounds me. It was too rich and a Sorbet would have been more appropriate as a palate cleanser.
Kerapu merah Pais Kelapa (Baked Garoupa fish rolled around Chilli Coconut Paste)
Sendi Kambing Beriyani (Lamb Shank with Briyani Paste),
Acar Limau (Lime Chutney)
Nasi Pandan Gajus (Screwpine Leaf Rice with Cashew Nuts)
The mains was slightly more disappointing. The lamb was beautifully tender, but the Briyani Sauce was a tad too overpowering, spicy and oily. The Chutney was not lime, but some preserved fruit which was overwhelmingly sweet, making it a let down. The fish was delightfully fresh and the rice was slightly scented with Pandanus leaves.
Manisan Bunga Emas
Warm Chocolate Hazlenut Pudding, Anise Flavoured Tea Cream and Young Coconut Ice Cream
The desserts were a lovely way to end the meal. Although the pudding was slightly too dry, the cream made up for it and the ice cream came with tender, fresh coconut meat.
Overall dining experience was wonderful. The cost of the meal was RM 159++ without wine. It's high time that Malay Cuisine come of age and be given it's due recognition. The current new generation of chefs are probably working in that right direction. It would be interesting to see if the Chef here could work with Foie and other exotic ingredients as Chef Zabidi does at Ibunda.
The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur
6 Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : +6.03.26.88.96.88