The 39: Chef’s penchant for authentic tastes is reflected in dishes

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The 39 Restaurant,
Perdana Hotel and Suites On The Park,
10, Persiaran KLCC,
Kuala Lumpur,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

WHAT goes into satay sauce? Peanuts, of course. Shallots, garlic, galangal, dried chillies and crushed Marie biscuits!

Yes, you read right. Marie biscuits. This is what Perdana Hotel and Suites On The Park executive sous chef Ard Abd Aziz uses to give his satay sauce a rich feel.

“This is how I make my satay sauce thick and creamy,” quipped the Johorean.

Here is a culinary practitioner with a penchant for rich, flavourful dishes and it is reflected in this year’s Ramadan buffet spread at The 39 Restaurant.

They include thick lasagna with chicken serunding, loaded with mozzarella. Fresh chilli sambal with generous slices of onions, limes, chillies and mangoes. Juicy oysters and plump mussels on ice. Appetisers of spiced fish roe and deep fried beef lung. Salted fish dressed like hors d’oeuvres with toppings of red and green chillies and crispy slivers of fried onions. Ard knows how to make mouths water.

The seafood available at the buffet features fresh oysters, mussels and crab claws.
The seafood available at the buffet features fresh oysters, mussels and crab claws.

To whet the appetite, the soup counter offers a selection of deboned mutton, beef and chicken balls, ayam kampung, spring onions and fried onions.

Lamb shank (known to the locals as “gearbox”), filled with the buttery goodness of marrow and oxtail, surrounded with beautiful rings of fat are the stars in this section.

Straws are provided so diners can conveniently suck out the marrow without wrecking the china. Though the meat is easily pried off the bone, the fun in eating soup “gearbox” lies in the struggle, so expect a token resistance at the joints and tendons.

A hearty choice of soups like oxtail and lamb shank make for a good warm up.
A hearty choice of soups like oxtail and lamb shank make for a good warm up.

Ard also recommends the freshwater prawn sambal. A paste of dried chilies, ground garlic, shallots, young ginger, lemongrass and tamarind is stir-fried in oil until fragrant. Then, in goes the prawns.

Diners love sucking roe-filled heads and sinking their teeth into the tasty flesh!

While lemang, ketupat, nasi impit (you must try adding a few of these soft rice squares into your oxtail soup!) and rendang are the traditional mainstays on a buka puasa buffet line, this restaurant offers something more in the satar, a Terengganu delicacy, and bubur lambuk – rice congee flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon, clove and star anise, enriched with coconut milk.

The mark of a good satar, basically mackerel flesh mixed with grated coconut, green bird’s eye chilies and black pepper, requires that it be grilled over charcoal. In Ard’s opinion, the most expert satar griller he knows is a vendor from the Kampung Datuk Keramat old market who has 20 years of experience.

Authentic chargrilled fish satar.
Authentic chargrilled fish satar.

“The trickiest part is in getting the heat right so the inside is cooked without over burning the leaves. Novices burn the leaves and leave the fish half-cooked,” explained Ard.

Like the soup, the bubur lambuk not only comes with lots of chicken, diners are also offered a bewildering selection of condiments like peanuts, salted egg and fried onions. The latter, fried to a fragrant, brittle crisp, are perfect contrasts to the soft, smooth congee.

One definitely needs patience for bubur lambuk as it requires constant stirring. Turn away for just five minutes and the bottom burns. When that happens, the whole pot is ruined.

The creamy bubur lambuk.
The creamy bubur lambuk.

The buffet, priced at RM139 nett (adults) and RM69.50 (child), is served from 6.30pm to 9.30pm and is available until July 2.

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


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