When a dish makes an impression on the taste buds, that memory has the tendency to last forever.
It has been four years since my last visit to Nipah Restaurant at EQ Kuala Lumpur but the memory of its curry noodles and cheesecake have lingered on my mind.
Before the hotel was closed for its major revamp in 2012, the broth for the noodles was created by one of its pioneer employees.
Back then, chef Azhar Alias from Perak used to create the stock using tiger prawn shells with the heads intact so that the roe would meld into the stock.
Together with dried shrimp, the shells were set on a slow simmer for four hours to create the chowder.
Teasing the taste buds, were a blend of herbs comprising daun laksa, daun pandan and bunga kantan.
I remembered the cheesecake for having the lightness of a sweet cloud.
Composed of fluffy meringue and cream cheese that was folded together, flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla, it was baked for two hours.
Not surprisingly, both well-loved items are part of this year’s Ramadan buffet.
This year, diners will find the curry noodles featured near the selection of chicken, lamb and beef tripe soups.
Another dish to look out for in the spread is the East Coast-style bubur lambuk.
The new creation by Malay cuisine chef Muhammad Hajral Lisarni uses skipjack tuna flesh combined with chilli, turmeric, coriander, ulam raja, bunga kantan and kaffir lime for a herbaceous congee.
Its deep flavour is obtained by reducing the fish stock to a rich concentrate before adding the rice grains.
Nearby are the satay and roast lamb sections.
The skewered meats of Australian beef tenderloin and chicken are thick and juicy while the whole roasted lamb comes with mint and rosemary sauce.
Pairing the lamb with a sour tamarind sauce helps cut the fatty aftertaste.
Eighteen dishes are featured in the main course section.
Among the highlights are a smoked Australian beef rump in a spicy yellow curry, young jackfruit in coconut milk, sayur lodeh and beef rendang.
We were told that the rump for the curry was smoked with applewood chips while the rendang was made using Australian beef.
The beef in the rendang was so fresh that a slight grassy aftertaste in the meat could be detected.
According to Muhammad Hajral, the theme for Nipah’s Ramadan buffet draws on the appeal of evergreen favourites from the different states.
“I like to travel and see what people in other states are eating. From my journeys, I have discovered that every state has its own signature dish,” he said.
He has chosen to feature Mamu Fried Chicken – a signature dish at mamak stalls in Penang.
The chicken is marinated overnight with herbs like ground coriander whereas chilli powder and rose syrup give the chicken its typical reddish shade.
For the Johor dish, the expertise of sous chef Zaini Adan was sought to develop the Batu Pahat briyani.
The original recipe features herbal hard-boiled eggs and for the buffet’s version, saffron is used to give the eggs a golden hue.
Accompanying the briyani is a selection of chicken, lamb and mutton cooked in briyani spices. In this section, diners will also find an Australian beef rib gulai, fried barramundi steaks in belacan sauce and salmon head curry.
The beef rib is tender and the fish head has lots of flavourful gelatinous parts.
However, if one chooses to eschew the meats, the ones in the briyani are good even on their own.
Over at the dessert section, the strawberry mousse cakes look as tempting as they taste.
Also look out for the jackfruit pengat. The endearing quality of this sweet dessert is in its elongated, soft, red sago pearls that are chewy but still soft and bouncy.
The Citarasa Nipah buffet is available from March 23 to April 21 from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
The buffet is priced at RM228+ per adult and RM114+ per child.
NIPAH, Ground Floor, EQ Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2161 7777 or WhatsApp +60122789239 for reservations). Business hours: 7am to 11pm.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.