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.
p/s: the hawker version at Bangsar is one of my favourites.
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.
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
No 5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13295, 101.68619
Tel: 03 2723 1188
Sometimes last month I got an invitation for a food review EEST, Westin. As it turned out, the PR lady, Yoke May, had invited Suan to the same session. Which made logistics a simpler matter to sort out since it was to be on a weekday evening.
The decoration of the restaurant was nice and inviting, an open kitchen, a bar seating area, a section of raised floor, comfortable chairs, big round tables, and a beautiful view.
the slightly eccentric but very friendly Chef Kuan
Our mission of the day was to try their Hurry Slowly Signature Lunch Box. The eccentric (not in a bad way) and very friendly Chef Kuan explained to us that they have 5 different cuisines – Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnam, and Thai. Each type comes with its own type of soup, main dishes packed in a lunch box, and dessert.
We were to sample the three most popular lunch boxes, Malaysian, Chinese, and Japanese. Since there were basically only two of us in the review session.
refreshing mint drinks, char siu pau, har kao, siu mai (dimsum)
To start, I was served with this refreshing mint drink to open up the appetite. I can’t remember what was the ingredients, but there were definitely mint (like duh!), and some mixture of juice that tasted not exactly unlike umbra (kedondong.)
We also sampled their char siu pau (chicken), siu mai (also with chicken meat), and har kao (prawn dumpling). I gotta say that they actually tasted quite good despite the lack of pork as this is a Muslim friendly restaurant like most other hotels.
Eest lunch box – Malaysian cuisine (with wagyu beef cheek rendang!)
Our next serving was the Malaysian cuisine lunch box that comes with soup soto, spring roll, rojak (pasembur in Penang), fried bean sprout with salted fish, and nasi pulut with rendang.
The beef rendang was actually made from wagyu cheek and was officially the best tasting rendang I’ve ever had. In one box you get a taste of typical Malaysian Chinese, Indian, and Malay dishes at the same time, and with good quality ingredients too.
Japanese cuisine – tempura, miso, salmon, tofu, garlic fried rice
The Japanese lunch box came with a bowl of miso soup with straw mushroom, three huge prawn and a few other types of tempura, garlic fried rice, grilled salmon, and tofu with spinach.
I particularly like the spinach tofu, silky smooth and the spinach really added a different dimension to its taste. A dash of ebiko gave it a bit of texture and the Japanese touch too. Grilled salmon was excellent as well.
Chinese lunch box, love the black chicken herbal soup
Then there’s the Chinese lunch box, with soup, dim sum, three cup chicken, brocolli, and pickled cucumber and jelly fish. The three cup chicken was very tender and packed a kick with it’s dried chili, I liked it. I think it’ll go well with just a bit of rice.
The dim sum was of good quality too, about as best and you can have it without any lard/pork in it. However, my favorite item from the Chinese lunch box has got to be the soup. The double boiled black chicken herbal soup was very sweet and fragrant, reminded me of the way mom used to cook them.
the three different desserts and chef’s special smoked salmon
Just about when we were filled to the brim, came the three types of desserts for the lunch boxes.
Ice kacang for Malaysian cuisine, longan tong sui for Chinese, and the Japanese box came with mochi black sesame ice cream. They were all quite tasty, but I think the sesame ice cream a bit more special.
Chef Kuan was in a very joyous mood and specially created a dish not found on the menu for us – smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, salmon roe, flying fish roe, truffle and beetroot oil. The salmon, with the combination of other ingredients was so savory and tasty I was literally in heaven! Thanks chef!
KY and Suan at EEST, Westin Hotel
The lunch box is priced at RM 42++, quite a decent value considering the ambiance you get and the quality of food provided. The restaurant is only opened from Wednesday to Friday, 12pm – 2.30pm. The ingredients of the lunch boxes may vary from week to week (probably according to Chef Kuan’s mood), but I trust that they will be equally good.
Eest, Westin Hotel
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
GPS: 3.147758, 101.714591
Tel: 03-2731 8333
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