Friday, August 07, 2015

Amy-zing Amy Beh & Chef Eric Siew Team Up In Makan Kitchen...Until October 2015.. And a Five-Bulous Durian Treat for Weekend High Tea

Anyone born in the age of the hardcopy newspaper and who reads the Star would know the name Amy Beh, columnist of Kuali, and at one time, the "Dear Abby" of the culinary world, with people writing in with all kinds of questions, from "how do I crack my egg" or "how do I know when water is boiling", to "can you please replicate my dead grandmother's mui choy kau yoke recipe?".  This household name is synonymous with Malaysian/Asian/Nyonya cuisine, and actually, I have all her books published by THE STAR, which I shamelessly brought along for her to autograph.

Tying up with one of my new favourite chefs, (as in, he's a new favourite of mine, he's not new in the market), Chef Eric Siew, Executive Chef of Doubletree Hilton, they are having this "FABULOUS FIVE" nightly dinners, from 1st August to 31st October, at Makan Kitchen, at RM125 nett per person, in conjunction with the hotel's 5th Anniversary Celebration.

So, considering Makan Kitchen has such an extensive buffet, what EXACTLY is this FABULOUS FIVE?

First, an AMAZING dish, that really caught us by surprise.  Whilst the idea of crab porridge in itself is already delectable enough, we were really wowed by that first bite, as predicted by Amy, who told us to give her our first impressions.  The cacophony of flavours just embraced the palate, that spicy, creamy, fragrant oily, crab infused grains of rice.  I think I could have just an entire bowl of this and walk away happy.  Meanwhile, Chef Eric told us to make a mental note and rank the foods later on, in terms of our personal favourite.

 Fish Head Curry, Nyonya Style.  A thick, rich, coconutty version of this popular curry, made from the head of red snapper, with meat that was fleshy and flavourful.  The perfect accompaniment with rice.  I especially loved the brinjal that had soaked in all the wonderful flavours.

Curry Kapitan Chicken.  Just reverse engineering this dish in my head was enough to give me a headache, for that sauce looks so complicated, and probably contained 300 ingredients.  (okay, I exaggerate a little).  But oh so good.  Not your usual run of the mill curry kapitan.

I knew the next dish was going to be the famed LAMB KUT TEH, the lamb, and pork free version of it's haram cousin, bak kut teh, and was rather curious, because I generally do not like lamb in my old age.

To my surprise, this dish was totally free of any lambiness, and in fact, the meat was sooo good.  Infused with the herbal flavours, only a slight hint of ovine-ness, the meat, falling off the bone, and super tender, was really, a worthy substitute for its non kosher cousin.  I am hoping to bring my non pork eating friends to sample this.

Look at that meat!!!

And finally, the famed "Ma Lai Koe" steamed sponge cake.  I asked why the name "Ma Lai Koe" which literally translated means Malay Cake, ...since the Malays don't really subscribe to this as theirs, .. well, there was no real answer.  The specialness in this particular version is the premium gula melak (palm sugar) used in the concoction, which has to be specially sourced from a special vendor.  There is a little heap of grated gula melaka on the top as well for the unadulterated flavour.

Now, these five dishes, whilst part of the buffet spread, are not served in the buffet line, but a la carte style, ie, you will be served this by the dish.  And the good news is, yes, you can have seconds.  So it's comforting to know that your crab porridge will be served individually, and not from a large cauldron with all and sundry attacking the crabs leaving you with grains of rice.

And then, there was an encore performance.  Apart from the FABULOUS FIVE, (by the way, all the FIVES are in conjunction with Doubletree Hilton's Fifth anniversary), there's also a FIVE-BULOUS DURIAN available during the weekend High Tea.

Before you read on, this is only for parties of five, and above... so if you are four, you better just call me along for the ride.  At RM91 nett per person, apart from the usual high tea spread, you get this multi tiered platter of the following:

Durian fried rice, (Nasi Goreng Durian)...I tell you, I wonder when this is going to be a mainstream dish, it is so good.  The slight hint of durian perfectly complements the fried rice, which has crispy ikan bilis, and some herbs.  It's like eating rice with tempoyak, but unfermented.  So good I had two packets, despite a full fledged five course meal.

Crispy Durian Fritters, like Goreng Pisang (or Pisang Goreng, whatever tickles your palate), which is chockful of durian goodness.

A curious but interesting combo, Ayam Durian Skewer.  Very innovative, and I loved the sweet salty combination.  A bit on the rich side, and after two or three chunks, you do get rather overwhelmed.

Durian Cheese Apam, ...actually it tastes a bit like cheesecake.  Light chiffony texture, with a dollop of Creme de Durian...

Kek Lapis durian, back to familiar territory with layers of sponge and durian puree, and dessicated coconut.

So to recap, bring a party of 5 for high tea and get this platter as part of the high tea.

Chef Eric Siew, Chef Amy Beh, and lil (well, not so lil) old me.

Makan Kitchen
Doubletree by Hilton
Tel : 03-21727272

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