Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kuala Lumpur Impression (Part 2): Enak

After my "brunch" at Yut Kee, I went back to city centre to dine at the basement of an upscale shopping mall - Starhill Gallery next to The Ritz Carlton and Marriott. Enak is a Malay restaurant that is true to traditional flavors, yet trying to put in a contemporary touch in terms of cooking and presentation.  The restaurant came recommended by my Malaysian friend Jenny and CNN Travller rated it one of the best in KL, so I decided to come here for lunch.

I was a little disappointed with the decor as I walked in, especially when compared to the elaborate design of the entire floor of restaurants (they called this the Feast Floor) I was expecting something more posh but here is a little bit stereotypical with somewhat brightly lit dining area with sparsely placed tables and chairs, open kitchen on one end and separate area available for private functions - no difference than any regular restaurants. I went early so it's quiet when I arrived, but soon the restaurant was filled with office workers coming for lunch.

I was in a bit of hurry - having a flight to catch in the afternoon - so I opted for their 3-course set lunch without much thought or looking at their a la carte menu. To start, I simply adored the kerabu asparagus. In front of me is a delicately arranged salad with baby asparagus tossed in red chili and lime juice, and laced in freshly grated coconut flakes. It's beautifully presented, simple yet bombed with appetizing flavors - sweet, sour, spicy, crunchiness combined to become a perfect summer salad dish.

That was followed by the main dish of Rendang Padang. Rendang is a classic Malay dish and I love the endless combination of South East Asian spices which infused into the meat through slow cooking. It's not particularly spicy per se, but had enough kick to make you wanting more. But I found the meat - said to be chunks of New Zealand topside - a bit dry and tough. I reckon it's more to do with the choice of meat than the cooking method. But now I must learn how to make a good rendang, because I think that would have been perfect for my sous-vide tenderloin at home.

Dessert was Sago Gula Melaka. Sago pearls were cooked with coconut cream and served with melted palm sugar. I am sure this is a common dessert found in many restaurants but I haven't tried enough to say whether this is better than usual or not. But it's (sorta) appealing with the bright green color, neat presentation and more importantly, delicious. In this summer heat, something sweet and cold is a perfect ending of any meal, be it a baby coconut drink, sugar cane juice, or something more elaborate such as this.

So within an hour, I was given a quick introduction to Malay cuisine at Enak. It's less of a "fine-dining" restaurant than I expected, but nonetheless I enjoyed the meal. And all these for RM35 (less than HK$100) with drink... can you believe that?

Where? Enak, LG2, Feast Floor,Starhill Gallery,181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Menu Highlights? Kerabu Asparagus, Rendang Penang, Sago Gula Melaka

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