TASTES have the power to evoke memories and in my case, it came in the form of a green crab curry with fresh basil leaves.
Served with a side of deep-fried convolvulus and rice vermicelli at the Raintree Skybar, a spoonful of this creamy gravy inevitably brought back memories of lunch at a noodle shop in Sithammaraj Road in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, some 20 years ago.
Located just a minute away from an 800-year-old temple, the green curry then was memorable for its heady fragrance. Not surprisingly, the noodle shop is still there and continues to be a popular draw with locals and tourists alike.
Back to Kuala Lumpur and the present, the fact that the green curry served on the 27th floor of the Dorsett Hartamas Hotel was able to evoke such a strong sense of nostalgia was testament to the authentic flavours of their Thai cuisine.
The kitchen is directly managed by the Chakri Palace chain, which has been serving fine Thai cuisine for the past 21 years.
We were told that the head chef at this outlet hails from Bangkok and has more than 30 years of experience.
A popular starter is their miengkam, which is wild betel leaves served with an array of ingredients like peanuts, shreds of baked coconut flesh, fresh onions, lime and dried prawns.
All these are to be rolled up in a single wild betel leaf and popped into the mouth for a tasty crunch.
Tantalising the taste buds is an accompanying dip made of prawn paste, plum sugar and fish sauce.
For mains, a dish of steamed tiger king prawns with a lime and chilli sauce made its debut.
Featuring a combination of spicy and fresh sour lime notes, this cooking style was first introduced with sea bass but seeing how common the combination had become, it was decided that a change in the main ingredient was needed.
We were told that the draw in this dish lies in the steaming time. Five minutes on medium heat and no longer, so that the sweetness of the prawn which carries with it a hint of the sea is kept intact.
As the prawns are served in their shells, the best way to savour this dish is to make sure that the flesh is given a good dousing in the lime and chilli sauce after the shell is peeled away, to experience the interesting combination of flavours.
Coffee lovers will appreciate the roast duck which comes with a coffee sauce.
Those sensitive to caffeine, take note. The sauce has an invigorating effect, thanks to the coffee powder.
In terms of taste, it has an interesting smoky flavour highlighted by the presence of sour plum and fermented bean paste.
Combined with the roast duck, the sauce served to highlight the black lemon and star anise marinade used to flavour the meat. As the thigh was used, the meat was undeniably tender and juicy.
The tom yam pizza is another popular item here. Topped with a medley of prawns, calamari and mozzarella cheese atop a base of tom yam paste, it makes for a good accompaniment with evening drinks.
To pair with the pizza, the restaurant recommends its Tropical Detox, Midori Sour or Tequila Sunrise.
The first is non-alcoholic and features a refreshing combination of orange, apple and pineapple juice sweetened with grenadine syrup.
The second and third are cocktails containing vodka and tequila respectively.
Diners who make their bookings through the Chakri Thai Restaurant, Imperial Chakri Palace Skyview or Dorsett Hartamas social media pages on weekdays from 3pm to 5.30pm will enjoy a 30% discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Raintree Skybar, Dorsett Hartamas, 27th Floor, D-G-08, Plaza Damas 3,63, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Taman Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 016-227 7033. Business hours: 2pm to midnight. Pork-free.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.