A feast for the senses

TAMARIND SPRINGS Menara Indah ClubhouseNo 1 Jalan Kerja Air Lama68000 Ampang, SelangorTel: 03-4252 0836Opens: Noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinnerClosed on MondaysPork-free 

AS WE stepped through the rustic wooden gateway of Tamarind Springs in the falling twilight, we came upon a lush tropical garden with a flight of mossy stone steps, flanked by rows of flickering tealight candles, leading downwards.  

It was breathtaking. 

The walk to the restaurant’s main entrance is an experience in itself. Tall, leafy trees overhead, a pond of water lilies and tinkling fountain, and cocoon-shaped, cane lanterns illuminating the way.  

Dining on the verandah can bequiet a romantic experience.

This resort-styled dining outlet, the first of its kind by the Samadhi group, has been garnering rave reviews from discerning gourmets since it opened in September 2002. Set in the foothills of Ampang, Tamarind Springs is a mere 15 minutes’ drive from Kuala Lumpur via the Ampang Elevated Highway. 

The restaurant is highly regarded for its Indo-Chinese specialities, personalised service and ambience. Perhaps it is not at all surprising that it won the Most Creative Restaurant Display prize at the 2004 Kuala Lumpur International Gourmet Festival.  

Tamarind Springs is named after the stream that winds its way through the property. The restaurant has a treetop veranda, and this feature is guaranteed to win you over.  

Executive chef Somkuan Wandee serves up modern and delicious interpretations of Indo-Chinese cuisine. This Chiang Mai native acquired her cooking skills from her mother, and, apparently, she is greatly inspired by her grandmother who once served the King Of Siam. 

Director of marketing communications for Samadhi Restaurants, Resorts and Spas, Maple Loo, said the menu offers Laotian, Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisines.  

“Laotian food share many similarities with Thai cuisine for its robustness and liberal use of spices. Cambodian food is more influenced by Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines, though, hence many of the dishes incorporate accents from these two cuisines,” said Loo. 

One of the participating outlets in the Kuala Lumpur International Gourmet Festival that will be held from November 10 to December 8, 2005, Tamarind Springs has planned a special Festival Menu priced at RM280++ for two. 

You get a welcome cocktail, followed by appetisers such as omelette rolls, meang kam, steamed mussels and tomato stuffed with minced chicken. The miniature meang kam – parcels of crushed peanuts, finely diced shallots and ginger, dry-fried coconut, diced fresh lime and dried shrimp wrapped in betel leaves – are particularly outstanding. 

The Salmon Sashimi and Water Chestnut, which comes with a distinctive Laotian house dressing is just as memorable. The piquant sauce of this appetiser – briny fish sauce and tangy lime juice blended with grated ginger and bird’s eye chillies – gives the succulent raw salmon a real zing, while the water chestnut is sweet and refreshing.  

BBQ BeefRolls withSugar Cane.

For main course, there is the Khmer Sea Crabs and Banana Blossom Curry. This is an offering of two crab shells filled to the brim with minced crabmeat and chopped banana blossom in a rich, creamy and subtly spicy curry. Served with yellow glutinous rice, it is a match made in heaven.  

The Barbequed Beef Rolls in Sugarcane has the rustic touch of Indo-Chinese cuisine. With the thin, grilled beef slices enlivened by a sprinkling of cracked pepper and tempered by the sweetness of the sugarcane, this homely dish is divine. 

Even the Broccoli and Tofu (beancurd) in Spicy Almond Sauce has the distinct flavour of Indo-China, with the fish sauce making its presence felt in the light, spicy sauce that tops this combo of diced beancurd, broccoli florets, fried cashew nuts and shallots. 

Saigon Buo Loy (glutinous balls) in Ginger Syrup with your choice of coffee or tea conclude this wonderful menu. The service staff is gracious, unobtrusive and prompt. We certainly enjoyed ourselves.  

Tamarind Springs is definitely a restaurant worthy of your time and money. Dinner is very popular here due to the rustic ambience, so prior reservations are advised.

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