Bringing out the best in vegetables


Valmurugan showing some of the new vegetarian dishes. — Photos: IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Valmurugan showing some of the new vegetarian dishes. — Photos: IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

VEGETARIAN food need not be boring and with this in mind, Samplings on the Fourteenth Restaurant in Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur has a lineup of fusion vegetarian dishes incorporated into its dinner menu.

Chef de cuisine Valmurugan Subramaniam said instead of the typical Indian or Chinese vegetarian dishes, he has prepared fusion vegetarian meals to appeal to diners.

“When you say vegetarian food, for some, all that comes to mind are Indian vegetarian dishes mainly consisting of vegetables and curry. However, my vegetarian dishes are a fusion of Chinese, Indian, Western and Japanese. It will go well with Malaysian taste buds,” said Valmurugan who prepared a nine-course vegetarian meal for us to savour.

The portion and presentation of the dishes lived up to the restaurant’s fine-dining concept, enabling guests to leave with a great dining experience.

In general, many vegetarian dishes are tofu-based and intended to replicate fish or meat.

Terrine of roasted pepper with beans and peas jelly.
Terrine of roasted pepper with beans and peas jelly.

However, at Samplings, the chef experimented with a variety of vegetables such as mushroom, pumpkin, turnip and pickles.

The warm appetiser of Seared Halloumi and Breaded Camembert, Pickles and Sesame Dressing was unique. The dish was prepared using halloumi and brie cheese. The former was coated with bread crumbs and deep-fried, while the latter was grilled. Both cheeses were paired with some pickles and thin slices of grapefruit in a colourful presentation.

The Wild Forest Mushroom with Truffle Froth was the favourite among us.

The thick soup was rich with chunks of shiitake mushroom while truffle oil provided an extra punch to the taste. We even requested for soft buns to go with the soup, which was indeed an enjoyable treat.

The entree had interesting food combinations such as Chilled Tofu with Shaved Fennel and Yellow Pepper Coulis as well as Maple Glaze Pumpkin with King Mushroom and Spinach, which I enjoyed most. Steamed Dumpling stuffed with Sweet Turnip and Beans was another choice for the entree.

Chilled Tofu with Shaved Fennel and Yellow Pepper Coulis.
Chilled Tofu with Shaved Fennel and Yellow Pepper Coulis.

As with all dishes, the chef did a great job with food presentation.

For the maple glaze pumpkin dish, the chef layered the ingredients on top of each other with the king mushroom placed at the bottom. Slow-cooked pumpkin and lanched pitted spinach were added on top. The maple glaze pumpkin puree spread on the side offered subtle sweetness to the dish. It also came with a thin slice of oven-baked sweet potato.

The Yam Rice with Soy Sauce and Lotus Root was recommended as the main dish. Besides asparagus and lotus root slices, the chef added interesting details to the dish by garnishing it with sago added with saffron.

The vegetarian dishes are available starting this month from Monday to Saturday from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Diners can choose from the five-course dinner at RM118 nett per set, seven-course (RM148 nett) and nine-course (RM168 nett) , or a la carte dishes from RM18 nett.

Yam Rice with Soy Sauce and Lotus Root.
Yam Rice with Soy Sauce and Lotus Root.

SAMPLINGS ON THE FOURTEENTH RESTAURANT, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 1, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-2117 8000 ext 8131). Business hours: 6.30pm to 10.30pm (closed on Sundays).

This is the writer’s observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.