Nook at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral’s traditional Chinese New Year meal celebrates our cultural diversity with a Modern Malaysian Tasting Menu.
The meal starts with a prosperous toss of Golden Salmon Yee Sang to welcome an abundant year with fresh salmon doused in sour-sweet plum sauce and a sprinkle of popping candy.
This is followed by the eight-course Malaysian menu, namely Cured Salmon Kerabu served with Compressed Apple - a tempting appetiser of familiar flavours.
The rich combination of cured salmon, fused with local ingredients like toasted coconut shavings or kerisik, contrasts with the bits of compressed apple.
There is a wine or signature cocktail pairing option for the menu and the dish goes well with a bubbly, tropical Miguel Torres Santa Digna Chardonnay Reserve with notes of vanilla and coconut to complement the kerabu.
The back-to-basics Chicken Soto Consommé is a soup with a light base of wholesome essence of chicken.
An Indonesian-inspired dish, the pale yellow broth has a hint of sourness, and is completed with cubes of nasi himpit a buttery bergedel - our Malaysian version of potato croquette - and groundnuts.
The Spinach Sambal with Crispy Tempeh is a contrast of tastes as the creamy spinach is steeped in the heaviness of aromatic coconut milk and a hit of spicy sweetness from sambal.
The squares of fermented soybeans provide a nutty crunch, paired with their signature WXYZ Mojito concocted with gula Melaka, mint leaves and topped off with sugar cane modified as a stirrer.
The icy cold citrus Lime Sorbet neutralised the taste buds, preparing the palate for the Silver Cod Asam Pedas that proved to be an unconventional take on the dish with the use of a fuller, more luxurious fish.
Though Nook’s previous head chef created most of the menu, the Silver Cod tamarind dish paired with the fruity Chardonnay, was fashioned by current sous chef Adri Ghazali.
“The taste of the salted egg brings out the robust flavours of the assam pedas sauce, and goes well together.
“I enjoyed preparing this menu as it features a mix of local and Western flavours.
“We wanted to offer a change from the traditional Chinese New Year dishes,” he added.
The Scallop Sarawak Laksa is a concentrated full-flavoured soup with a base of chicken and king prawn stock.
The laksa features a myriad of herbs and spices like lemongrass, dried chilli, sesame seed, galangal, candlenut, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom blended together with coconut milk.
It is paired with a deep burgundy Miguel Torres Santa Digna Carmenere Reserve aged in French oak with a hint of tartness from balsamic notes and spices.
Rounding off the mains is the Turmeric Nasi Lemak with Wagyu Beef Cheek served with Carmenere red wine, an interpretation of Malaysian rendang that was presented at the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF).
As the turmeric nasi lemak is not overly heavy, it goes well with the velvety tenderness of the Australian wagyu cheek, although the overwhelming flavours of the rendang cooked in numerous spices and coconut milk detracts slightly from the beef itself.
The meal ended with Rainbow Sago Gula Melaka, with a side of ABK (Ais Batu Kopi), or frozen espresso cubes served in a glass with milk on the side.
The sago was presented in a jar to show off its colourful layers, while the coconut milk and gula Melaka were served in separate syringes for diners’ to add according to their preference.
Available throughout the day, the eight-course menu per person is priced at RM108 nett or RM188nett inclusive of cocktail and wine pairing. Bookings for tables of four or eight will receive a complimentary yee sang until March 5.
NOOK, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, No. 5, Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. (03-2723 1154). Business hours: 6.30am to midnight, daily. Pork-free
¦ This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.