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SAFFRON BRASSERIE, 
Lobby Level,
Ancasa Hotel and Spa KL,
Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-20266060 ext 7903
Business hours : 6.30am to midnight.

A road trip to several villages  sparks chefs’ creativity.

IT IS not every day a chef travels the country looking for the best kampung dishes to serve his diners, but the team at Ancasa Hotel and Spa Kuala Lumpur did just that.

The team led by executive sous chef Ricky Narayanan believes that serving the most authentic food cannot be done without proper research.

They decided to take a trip up north to sample the best from the villages en route for their Rasa Utara Ramadan buffet spread.

Ancasa Hotel and Spa Kuala Lumpur's executive sous chef Ricky Narayanan carving a grilled chicken.

Ancasa Hotel and Spa Kuala Lumpur’s executive sous chef Ricky Narayanan carving a grilled chicken.

“We travelled over five days from Taiping to Kedah and Perlis, eating and enjoying some of the best yet lesser known dishes,” said Ricky.

Happy with the results of the quest, the team put together over 700 dishes on a seven-day rotation menu.

Members of the media were invited to review the special menu recently. For the starters, Ricky has set up five different soups for each day, including Sup Kambing Berempah, Sup Soto Ayam Dara, Sup Ayam Berempah and Sup Tulang Rawan.

In the salad corner, a delectable array of salads or ulam are available, including pulut with serunding(chicken floss) and grated coconut.

At the noodle corner, a variety of Laksa from the northern region is available.

At the noodle corner, a variety of Laksa from the northern region is available.

At the noodles corner, a variety of laksa dishes from the northern region are readily available.

Unusual recipes include laksa belut and laksa Teluk Kuchai, while the ever popular asam laksa Penang, mee sup, mee rebus mamak and mee sup utara are included.

“We travelled through Teluk Kuchai and discovered the local laksa. The base is white with fish stock and nyiok sambal (a grated coconut chutney),” said Ricky, adding the stock is flavourful due to the assam pieces and serai strips.

In fact, most of the dishes displayed at the buffet are flavourful thanks to the diversity of ingredients used.

One of them is the Gulai Nenas Ikan Sepat Masin, a famous dish that has become a rarity since dried sepatis hard to find.

The rich flavours from the dried fish goes well with the sweet and sour pineapple chunks in the curry.

Another dish is the Sambal Sotong Kering (Dried Squid Sambal) that has loads of onions to sweeten the spicy dish.

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“The sambal goes really well with the nasi lemuni made from the lemuni plant that gives the rice a purple hue. The preparation is almost similar to nasi lemak,” he added.

There will also be nasi kandar for Penang food lovers as well as freshly grilled fish, including selarpari andterubuk to choose from.

Seven live action stalls have been set up for diners to enjoy freshly cooked char kuey teow, popiah, banana fritters and cucur udang from Kuala Sepetang, and the ever popular grilled lamb.

The Cucur Udang is thin, light and airy and goes surprisingly well with the peanut sauce served with it while the Banana Fritters is sweet and crispy all at once.

Diners will be spoilt for choice at the dessert table.

Diners will be spoilt for choice at the dessert table.

Diners will be spoilt for choice at the dessert table. An array of Malay kuih is available, as well as sweet porridges that are synonymous with the community in Perak, Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

The buffet is priced at RM75 nett per person and RM50 nett per child.

It is available until July 25.

This is the writer’s observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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