WHEN it comes to tried and tested dishes, chefs have to tread carefully when reinventing the wheel.
One example is the Beef Wellington, the Achilles’ heel for many chefs and for good reason, mainly because it is a complicated dish to execute and often the centrepiece that carries high expectations.
Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur executive sous chef Mohd Nizam Samsee, however, has taken the concept of a complex dish and improvised it using local ingredients. The result is an appetising and simple Otak-Otak Wellington.
It is one of the highlights on the Christmas Eve buffet dinner at the Dondang Sayang Coffee House.
Instead of beef, Nizam used tenggiri fish mousse for the filling and managed to include mushroom duxelle as well as mozzarella enveloped in the essential flaky pastry.
“Tenggiri is the best fish to retain the flavours of the spices used for this — namely turmeric, ginger, curry powder, fennel, coriander and lemongrass.
“We experimented with dory but it could not carry the flavours, ” he said.
The spiciness of the otak-otak hits you at first bite, which I thought was daring for the chef to do, so diners with a low tolerance for spiciness might find this quite hot.
Nizam has also included a number of Asian-inspired dishes on the Christmas menu for those who still crave for local flavours this season such as Roasted Crispy Duck with Plum Sauce, Steamed Fish with Cheng Cheong Sauce and Prawns with Oat and Curry Leaf.
The aroma from the sauce on the steamed fish caught my attention, and Nizam revealed it had torch ginger flower, ginger, belacan, garlic, tamarind and tauchew (black bean) sauce.
Other notable dishes include Oven-Baked Chicken Mushroom Ragout, Braised Lamb Osso Bucco, Salmon with Orange Emulsion, Roasted Beef with Green Peppercorn Reduction, Prawn with Oats and Curry Leaf, Prawn Thermidor with Lemon Caper Relish, Potato Gratin, Shepherd’s Pie and Oven-baked Vine-Riped Tomatoes on Gnocchi.
My particular favourites were the lamb, beef and prawn dishes. A variety of pasta, soup, salads and seafood on ice are available.
For dessert fans, expect chocolate mousse, eclairs, macarons, a chocolate yule log and an interesting take on popcorn and chocolate — the Popcorn on a Chocolate Stick.
The hotel’s theme this year is Magical Christmas, and it is reflected in the 2.4m high Christmas tree adorned with the blue and silver ornaments.
The coffeehouse Christmas Eve dinner on Dec 24 is priced at RM148 nett per adult and RM70 nett per child (six to 12 years old) and is available from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
There is a 15% discount early bird special for bookings before Dec 18. Diners can look forward to lucky draws, live entertainment from in-house strolling band and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
There is also a Christmas high tea from 12.30pm to 4pm at RM88 nett per adult and RM44 nett per child.
For New Year’s Eve, there will be a dinner priced at RM158 nett per adult and RM80 nett per child from 6.30pm until midnight with DJ entertainment, lucky draws, and a best dressed prize, to name a few.
A New Year’s Day brunch is available for RM70 nett per adult and RM39 nett per child.
DONDANG SAYANG COFFEE HOUSE, Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2161 8888 ext 123) Business hours: 6.30am to 1am daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.