ONE month. Seven days. Four menus. The chefs at Hilton KL go all out to make sure there are no jaded palates this year for Ramadan, writes TAN BEE HONG.
WHILE most outlets are focused on a single theme for their buka puasa buffet, Sudu is creating a new record with not one... not two... but four different menus for different days of the week.
The main theme is Balik Kampung, which is served on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, it´s Muhibbah. Saturday is a nyonya feast and Sunday sees selections from the Middle East.
The Balik Kampung menu also kicks off and ends the promotion at the restaurant in Hilton Kuala Lumpur, which is on throughout August.
At a sneak preview of what they have to offer, the Sudu kitchen staff headed by chef Shahril Omar, showcased dishes from each of the four menus.
The feasting starts with cool refreshing drinks of fruit juices, air bandung as well as hot coffee and teh tarik.
The media preview starts with an unusual egg salad. Hard-boiled egg is deep fried briefly and then cut into half and served with serunding kerang (coconut floss with cockles). The latter is most unusual as serunding is usually made with meat or fish.
Bergedil (potato cutlets) with minced beef, otak-otak daun (spicy fish paste in palm leaves) and various kinds of ulam (local salad leaves) make great starters too.
Rice and noodles are a must for breaking of fast. Every menu has its own specialties. There´s lamb biryani, nasi minyak (fragrant rice), nasi kemuli (spiced rice) and muhammar (Middle Eastern golden steamed rice). Those who prefer noodles have choices such as fried kway teow, mee rebus, chicken noodle soup, Hokkien prawn mee, laksa Johor, fried loh shi fun, laksa utara and mee mamak.
We had biryani and white rice with an assortment of main dishes. I love the red snapper curry which reminds me of halcyon days at the Indian curry houses in Penang. The fish is sweet and smooth, the curry fragrant with a tinge of the exotic.
Fighting for equal attention is percik tiger prawns. The gravy is stunning. Creamy and aromatic, it draws out and highlights the sweet flavour of crustacean. Use your fingers. Licking them clean afterwards is part of the joy.
Spicy fried chicken sounds mundane. But not the way it´s done here. The meat is well marinated, with the spices penetrating deep into the very marrow of the chicken bones even.
In contrast, the sotong masak pindang rebus falls flat. Despite its royal hues of yellow, the freshly boiled squid is simply that - boiled. It practically screams for a dip of sorts. Which I suppose you can get from the range of dips offered daily - from sambal belacan and sambal tempoyak to cincaluk and budu or chutney to western-style dips such as Thousand Island dressing and Italian dressing.
The roganjosh (lamb curry) restores my faith in the Sudu team. The cubes of lamb are delightfully tender, with a clever balance of spices so that none dominates but all come together in a heady rhythm of flavours.
There are a few action stations to keep the excitement flowing. So you get noodles and roti canai cooked a la minute as well as grilled fish and shawarma where little pita pockets are stuffed to order with roast lamb or chicken dressed with a creamy tahini sauce and sliced onions and tomato. Delicious and satisfying.
Dessert comprises of both local kuih-muih as well as French pastries. The local variety is colourful and you´ll find hot sweets such as bubur cha-cha. Cakes and puddings fill the shelves. Feast on apple crumble, chocolate mud cake, marble cheese cake, lemon meringue pie and Middle Eastern treats of honey almonds, date fudge and baklava. The latter is a rich, fanciful dessert made with layers of light, flaky filo pastry rolled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. Happily, it´s not too sweet and I even manage to scoff two pieces.
The festive feast at Sudu, priced at RM129 (weekday) and RM119 (weekend), is from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. The balik kampung promotion is available for private functions in the Grand Ballroom and Sentral Ballroom or leveL7even.
On Aug 31, Sudu will celebrate both Hari Raya and the country´s 54th National Day with a buffet spread of Malaysian and International favourites at RM54 per person.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Stesen Sentral, KL
Tel: 03-2264 2592