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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Enak KL @ Starhill Gallery

This multiple award winning restaurant, serving upscale traditional Malay food in an elegant ambience, is none other than Enak KL @ Starhill GalleryThey are probably one of its kind to offer authentic Malay cuisine, prepared using age-old recipes that have been passed down for generations, and delivering it in a fine dining setting.

And so, with the word 'fine dining', you can equate that the food is not cheap...and I got to sample it (of course) with the help of some form of discount from a group buying site.
  
On their menu are a number of tasting menus which allows you to sample 3 different varieties of food in one dish and that's the 'route' I shall take going forward.

Before our food arrived, we were served with a snack known as "Emping Melinjo" (usually accompanied with a fresh "sambal").  [#Tip: Emping is a type of Indonesian chip made from melinjo seeds (or nut).  They are beaten to a crispy thinness, sun-dried and fried to golden brown.  The emping crackers have a slightly bitter taste but I love it!]

We started off with the Enak KL Appetiser Tasting Menu @ RM32 which is a delicious trio of well-matched concoction of minced beef and potato patties, deep fried squid and grilled prawns.  [#Note: In fact, this dish, featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate...Malaysia" segment, was what made me decide to try this restaurant in the first place.]

The "Pergedel" was made up of 2 mashed potato patties with minced meat (beef in this case), seasoned with nutmeg (as stated on their menu), dipped in egg and deep fried.  I've eaten my fair share of pergedel and this one definitely scored high marks in my book.  It was soft and smooth on the inside with nice crisp frizzy egg strands on the outside...one of the best potato patties I've ever eaten.

The next item of this trio was the "Cumi-Cumi Garing" which was deep fried squid rings that have been marinated in turmeric and served with a sweet chilli sauce.  Unfortunately, the "cumi-cumi" (squid rings) were not "garing" (crispy) enough for my liking.

The final item in the appetiser trio was the "Udang Bakar" which was 2 grilled prawns (de-shelled except for the head and tail) and served with a fruit salsa.  The prawns were well charred (for a nice grill flavour) and turned out to be the best tasting of the 3 and our favourite dish of the evening.

Next, came our orders of main courses which can be eaten with "Nasi Putih" (White Rice) @ RM5 or "Nasi Enak" @ RM8.  My choice of "Nasi Enak" is a savoury rice cooked with herbs and spices (something like nasi briyani).

Our first main dish was the Enak KL Beef Tasting Menu @ RM38 which was made up of a trio of Daging Kurma, Daging Hitam and Rendang Padang.

This was the "Daging Kurma" which was made with NZ topside beef, in a signature blend of spices, and braised in "santan" (coconut milk).  Personally, I'm not a fan of kurma but the tender beef was not too bad.

The "Daging Hitam" were chunks of NZ topside beef, simmered in a thick black gravy with ground spices, until really tender....it was a decent dish.

Rounding up the trio of beef was the "Rendang Padang" (which is basically similar to beef rendang) where chunks of NZ topside are slowly cooked (with santan and spices) till super tender and topped with finely sliced kaffir lime leaves.  This slow cooking gives the rendang a depth of colour and a wonderfully rich flavour.  This was my favourite among the 3.

Our next order was the "Sotong Berisi" @ RM28 which was 2 pan fried whole squids, stuffed with a filling of shiitake mushrooms and minced fresh prawns, served with a sauce that had a strong infused lemongrass flavour.  I did like the sauce that came with the squid but found the squid a bit rubbery.

Next up was the "Tauhu Telur" @ RM15 which tasted a lot better than it looked!  This was because Enak KL's service was so good that the waiter cut up the tofu for us before I managed to take a snapshot.  This Egg Tofu was a slab of silky smooth tofu, coated in egg and fried till the sides are all frizzy, and served with a drizzle of sweet sauce.  This is very similar to the Tauhu Telur you get from any Indonesian restaurants and this version was equally good.

We rounded up our meal with an order of the Enak KL Vegetable Tasting Menu @ RM24 which consisted of Bayam Goreng Kampung, Terong Balado and Kerabu Asparagus.

The first of the trio was the "Bayam Goreng Kampung" which turned out very much to our liking.  This was just simple Chinese stir-fry spinach with bits of chopped mushrooms, garlic and young corn...and the best of the 3!

The "Terong Balado" is made up of sliced eggplant saut√©ed in a spicy chilli sauce.  Taste wise, it was ok, for a simple vege dish.

Although the menu listed the 3rd item as "Kerabu Asparagus", what we were served wasn't.  I think it was "Kerabu Jantung Pisang" (banana blossom salad) which turned out to be my least favourite.  The flavours were too bold and funky for my taste buds and I don't particularly like kerabu to start with anyway.

As I had not utilised the entire value of my voucher, I went with an order of dessert, the Sago Gula Melaka @ RM15, even though I was very full at that point.  The dessert was beautifully plated and I was surprised to see that the sago served was green in colour (instead of the usual transparent ones I'm accustomed to)...maybe it was infused with pandan extract (though I didn't detect any pandan flavour) or maybe it's lime.  It was served with the usual combo of santan and melted "gula Melaka" (palm sugar).  Although, I welcomed the fact that it was not overly sweet, I also detected a very slight hint of sourness (which was unusual for this type of dessert).  I'm "sitting on the fence" with this one, I don't know if I like it or not....weird is all I can say!

Our drinks for the evening were Watermelon Juice @ RM16 and Mango Juice @ RM16.  Again, the waiters did not fail to ask if we wanted any water (as they serve the expensive Evian water).  Of course we didn't fall for the 'trap' ;) from our numerous 'experiences' of eating in Starhill (what's with restaurants there always trying to 'push' their Evian water)!!

[#Note: I did notice that the diners tend to want to take a photo with the chef...I guess he became quite a 'celebrity' after appearing on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate"!] :)

My Personal Opinion

To enjoy this dining experience, I feel you have to truly care for authentic Malay cuisine to begin with.  Having said that, the food was not bad, it's just that I don't love traditional Malay food as much.  For me, the best dish of the night was the Enak KL Appetiser Tasting Menu (the same dish that was showcased on Food Network recently). 
Despite its bold flavours and elegant execution, I'm not sure its higher end prices will resonate with the average Malaysian who would probably say that they can find cheaper versions of this kind of food from many Malay "gerai makanan" (food stalls).

Although a meal here can easily set you back more than RM100 per person, we won't even 'bat an eye' if we had to pay such prices for a western meal.  I guess we just don't associate local cuisine with expensive food.  But, to be fair to them, the food was exquisitely prepared (not your usual Malay warung fare) and you just have to pay a premium price for it in this kind of setting.

If you have to entertain friends or expatriates from overseas, who are looking for authentic Malay cuisine, this will probably be the place to impress them with fine (food) presentation, classy ambience and attentive service. 

Enak KL
LG2 Feast Floor Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

2 comments:

  1. The food here is really similar to the food I ate in House of Sundanese Food (no longer there), KLCC before. You are right, I most probably will not pay RM15 for sago gula melaka but I will pay good money for really tasty beef rendang. Not fond of daging hitam because I don't like the sweetness of the hitam sauce.

    You are right again, this is a good place to let foreign visitors have a taste of local cuisine if they are afraid to eat at the usual local places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooo...I remember (and like) the "Dancing Fish" at the House of Sundanese. Too bad they closed...the food was good. They've got another Indonesian restaurant in its place...Bumbu Desa (but the food is not cooked to order...yikes)!

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