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NOOK,
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2723 1154 / nook.03758@alofthotels.com
Business hours: 6.30am to midnight, daily.
Pork-free restaurant.

Local delights given a modern touch for gourmet festival.

ALOFT Kuala Lumpur Sentral’s Nook will be presenting six courses of enticing epicurean delights inspired by familiar local flavours for its Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2014 (MIGF) menu.

Although specialising in both Asian and Western dishes, the restaurant’s head chef Mohd Rozaiman Mohd Sahid drew from his heritage to concoct a menu built entirely on Malaysian cuisine that has been re-fashioned with an elegant finish.

The festival menu begins with “A Sassy Start” of marinated sea conch, octopus and sea urchin roe in coconut kerabu with fiddlehead fern.

Marinated sea conch, octopus and sea urchin roe in coconut kerabu with fiddlehead fern.

Marinated sea conch, octopus and sea urchin roe in coconut kerabu with fiddlehead fern.

A modern touch to the traditional Asian salad, the chef enhances it with the use of melting sea urchin roe and sea conch as a variant on the customarily used cockles.

Paired with a Gula Melaka “WXYZ Mojito” and topped with a sugarcane stirrer, the dish smells of the sea and is riddled with fragrantly roasted desiccated coconut, dried shrimp, lime juice, spicy blended chilli and vinegar for a slightly sweet acidity.

What sounds like a run-of-the-mill soup, the Chicken Noodle Soup, is injected with a surprisingly delicious interactive element as the chef serves a refreshing consommé beside a syringe of black chicken paste infused with galangal and garlic.

Once the paste is swirled into the beautifully pale amber clear broth with floating edible flowers, it uniquely becomes the noodle portion and aromatically adds to the tastes of the soup, developed from the East Coast “Pindang” style that is tinged with sourness.

Sambal Beef Tongue and Tendon served with Percik Sauce and Achar Crudite.

Sambal Beef Tongue and Tendon served with Percik Sauce and Achar Crudite.

“I do not want guests to just eat, but also interact with their food as discovery is a very interesting part of eating which brings the experience to a new level.

“It is definitely not fusion food as I was inspired by the food we eat locally and saw this as a way to introduce our cuisine to foreigners in a more identifiable presentation as fine dining,” said Mohd Rozaiman.

Throughout the menu, chef Mohd Rozaiman mixes up the simple, humblest food with the intricately complicated yet immediately recognisable fare.

The first main course is Sambal Beef Tongue and Tendon served with Percik Sauce and Achar Crudité, which involves complexities in its mode of preparation to develop its dissolve-in-the-mouth quality.

Freshly shredded beef tongues are cooked with sambal through the water bath or bain-marie method for approximately six hours then rolled, while the tendon is vacuum packed and boiled at a constant heat for 12 hours.

It is a dish reminiscent of the most tender rendang that is accented by crackles of curry leaves and simplicity of the crunchy achar with thinly diced pineapples, cucumber and red onions, then paired with a fruity almost tropical Miguel Torres Santa Digna Chardonnay Reserve that have notes of mango and apricot.

Cleansing the palate is a tangy refreshing Lemongrass, Lime and Pandan Sherbet with a hint of bitterness from the lemongrass jelly cubes and bits of pomegranate.

This was followed by a Cod Fish Assam Pedas (top pic) served with Garlic Rice, Salted Egg and Tempura Eggplant that goes with a softly round, balanced Chilean Miguel Torres Santa Digna Carmenere Reserve that has a hint of sweetness.

A time-honoured recipe, the chef cultivated and altered to make its flavours his own by modifying the dish with a richly luxurious silver cod served with an unassuming side of garlic rice, while the essence of which he still attributes to his mother.

Nook Cendol.

Nook Cendol.

The courses conclude with a “Sweet Ending” of Nook Cendol with pandan rice flour jelly, Ba’kelalan salt from the Bario Highlands of Sarawak, shaved palm sugar ice, red bean and glutinous rice.

Served for its contrast is the slightly sweet and tart Sour Boy assam boi cocktail as a perfect conclusion to uniquely Malaysian dishes that have been styled in form to minimalism of Western fine dining, much like the characteristic clean-cut simple but modern decor of the restaurant and atmosphere of the hotel itself.

The MIGF menu is available until Oct 31 from lunch hour onwards at RM188nett or RM250nett with wine and cocktails pairing for the six-course menu, while the lighter three-course menu is priced at RM98nett or RM130nett paired with wine and cocktails.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by Star Metro.

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