While Penang and Ipoh hawker food has been quite a staple in Klang Valley, what Sarawak has to offer has just recently enter a lot of street food lover’s radar. And when it comes to Sarawakian simple eats, none is more popular than a good old fashion bowl of Sarawak Laksa.
One of the latest places to offer a good bowl is the newly revived NZX at Ara Damansara. NZX, or Niuzexui, was once the latest and hippest commercial area in PJ when it first opened several years ago. There were Starbucks, Big Apple donuts (when it was at its peak), and many more. I mean, it had semi-outdoor air conditioning, the place was great.
The biggest issue around NZX though, was access roads. You had to go through a dodgy and often congested tunnel under NKVE to get there via Taman Emas in PJ.
The access has been sorted out since, and there’s even the Lembah Subang LRT station just a stone’s throw away, so it was prime that NZX is experiencing a bit of a revival of late.
proper Sarawak Laksa, with decent size prawns too
Anyway, back onto the laksa Sarawak.
I was first notified about this place by one of the people who now manages the area, and after Anna Wong (a proper Sarawakian) gave her approval of this stall, I knew I had to give it a try.
And true to what the Sarawakian girl said, the laksa here was proper (at least to me). The soup was on point, and ingredients were rather generous. I also like the fact that they do not skimp on those prawns. It was quite a treat.
Penang char kuih teow here is decent as well
Oh, there are other stalls at this kopitiam as well. The char kuih teow I had on my first visit when the Sarawak stall sold out was pretty decent as well. I still need to try their kuih chap and other dishes.
Nook at Aloft KL is a pretty funky all-day dining restaurant that serves international and Asian cuisine.
The restaurant set up reminds me of those futuristic movies back in the 80s, little squarish pods that has a bench, chairs, and even come complete with artificial turf. Among the three Starwood hotels at KL Sentral area, this one is definitely the most hip.
Nook at Aloft, playful & hip
Earlier this month, together with a couple other reviewers, we were invited to sample the MIGF (Malaysian International Gourmet Festival) menu at Nook.
MIGF is about bringing the best out of the world class chefs who are already working at the restaurant (instead of one off “import” from overseas). It is about paying a little extra to get a more pleasant fine dining experience with quality ingredients and first class service.
At Nook, Chef Steven Seow flexes his creative mind and came up with this very interesting set of dishes. The festival runs throughout the entire October, 2013 (yes, this blog post is way late.)
smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit, Villa Maria Chardonnay, NZ
The starting dish is smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit with pomegranate and yogurt sphere. A two part dish that is served with the soya sauce on the little plastic drip thingy.
The sushi rice is coated with a fine layer of ebiko, and the scallop prepared with method inspired by umai (a traditional Sarawakian seafood preparation method, I had it over Mabul/Sipadan trip thanks to Irene). Duck confit with yogurt sphere provided a different texture and savoury taste, I particularly liked the bit of fried duck skin on top.
We had Villa Maria Chardonnay from New Zealand to start the dinner. Lovely pairing.
Sarawak lobster and ablone laksa, Leffe Blonde
Next up was the Sarawak lobster & abalone laksa with organic soba noodle. This was a dish unlike any I’ve tried, a sort of traditional hawker dish meet fine dining.
The soup is sourced all the way from Sarawak to ensure that it was authentic and just right. Lobster and abalone definitely provided a huge dose of luxury to this dish, and I thought the use of soba noodle was a clever touch to lighten up the dish a little bit too. Some of us asked for extra soup cos it was so delicious!
A glass of cold Leffe Blonde went well with this spicy dish.
wagyu beef cheek rendang, Madfish Chiraz, Australia
Continuing with the same philosophy, the next dish was Wagyu beef cheek rendang with farm vegetables, archar jelatah, and turmeric coconut rice.
Last I had something similar to this dish was the big lunch box at EEST, Westin back in 2009, and this definitely brought back the memory. The beef cheek was superb and as per Wagyu standard, super tender and flavourful. The turmeric coconut rice carries a nice and not overly strong fragrance, with two quails egg sitting on top of some sambal should you want to spice it up a bit.
Red goes well with beef, so we had Madfish Chiraz from Australia to wash down the meat.
Chef Steven Seow with the 8 treasure ice kacang
Concluding the dinner was another playful invention by Chef Steven Seow – the 8 treasure ice kacang. Basically shaved ice with 8 different ingredients such as lychee, blackberries, nangka, peanuts and so forth with 5 different syrup served on the side in syringes. Mix and match it the way you want and be responsible if you ruined your own dessert.
We had fun with this but my advice is to mix it up quick cos the ice tends to melt and create a hardened outer layer if you spend too much time taking photos.
me with Trixha & other food reviewers at Nook, Aloft KL
The menu is priced at RM 280+ per set for what you see here. The version without alcohol is RM 180+ per person, and for those with smaller stomach, you can go light for RM 160+, which exclude the wagyu dish but does come with a glass of Chardonnay. Every set comes with coffee or tea too.
I’d want to check out Nook’s normal menu too.
Address: Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral No 5, Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.13295, 101.68619 Tel: 03 2723 1188