Makan Kakis and I are in KL again for a weekend to feast on the delights of our brethren across the border.
At the pinnacle of our holy grail was the pleasures of Nadodi, the journey to KL’s gastronomical par excellence.
There are first timers to Nadodi amongst our midst on this trip ready to be blown away.
Brand Director Kartik Kumar looked after us well the whole night and regaled us with his effortless delivery about each of the dishes and the ideas behind them.
From the Nadodi website:
A WELL-WORN PATH.
From Tamil Nadu to Kerala and crossing the then-usable land bridge into Sri Lanka, the food of the nomad peoples have sustained them and nurtured their tribes throughout the ages.
Ingredients were more found than sourced and the practicality of ‘making do’ over-rode any thoughts of grandeur of an actual cuisine in their quest for survival.
AN HONOURED TRADITION.
Three regions, similar cuisine – yet unique.
We at Nadodi, honour and respect the journeys of those that have come before.
We are heralding a renaissance of thought – going back to the basics on which the nomadic tribes subsisted on – and rethinking the preparation and core presentation of these self-same ingredients to please the savvy and well-informed audience expectations of today.
We wanted to honour the proud tradition of Indians never eating on an empty stomach.
So we dutifully ordered the excellent cocktails which Nadodi has become famous for.
Nadodi offers incredible cocktails created under the watchful eye of their mixologist Akshar Chalwadi.
The cocktails were as much a play on the senses as the food itself, some playful, others clever and intriguing, all delicious and excellent.
We ordered these:
Moringa leaf flavoured Gin
Wagyu beef fat washed vodka
Cocktail with no name – truffle oil infused Gin
Scotch hand pressed tamarind juice, earl gray
Rasam distillate vodka
Smoked salmon infused gin
The 11th Mile Journey – and so it begins
We were shown the menus for both the 9 mile journey and the 11 mile journey.
And decided on the long scenic route.
Wooden spoon liquid of palm sugar, dry ginger and cardamom to start the journey with something sweet.
This was followed by a whimsical play on the flavours of nasi lemak in a homage to Malaysia presented as a cute nasi lemak burger.
A spicy mushroom chettinand to whet the appetite completes the trio.
One of the prettiest dishes of the night and a fusion of East and West.
A turmeric and curry leave infused brioche wrapping jackfruit seeds presented a kaleidoscopic delight of yellow and green.
We picked it up with four fingers and popped it in our mouth, releasing a smorgasboard burst of flavours. This was to be one of our favourite appetisers of the night.
An ensemble of shredded king crab decorated with daikon pink flowers looked too pretty to eat and tasted wonderful.
Chicken Samosa – tasting morsel
We were offered this to try.
The chefs were still experimenting with this dish for their future menus and wanted to know what we think.
Kok Hoe said this was simply the best chicken samosa he has ever tried.
I was taken by the shattering crispiness and liked the spiciness level.
Sanjay thought it would taste even lovelier if it was dotted with a mint and yoghurt chutney.
Piercing through the seaweed dusted layer revealed an egg concoction made all that more decadent by dollops of indulgent caviar.
Yummy foie gras mousse was slathered between two layers of light airy biscuit, producing another favourite of the night.
If this is street staple, I will live as a street hobo happily.
This was fermented dough which tasted much like thosai with a slight sourish overtone.
It was dotted with Japanese Sakura Ebi prawns.
At Nadodi, even the palette cleanser wows.
They do wonderful things with beetroot producing a dramatic red sky with shards of beetroot skyscrapers. The foundation made of coconut and peanut was delicious and went marvellously with the beetroot to cleanse the palette.
My dining companions declared it another winner for the night.
You never tasted fish until you taste the fish at Nadodi.
The daily catch was snapper.
The crust on the fish and the sauce it sits on were outstanding.
Rasam and almond milk
The soup offering on today’s menu was a clear rasam broth.
But I had called ahead for them to prepare Rasam broth with almond milk which blew me away the last time I was at Nadodi.
The rasam at Nadodi is painstakingly made by slow extracting the essence of heirloom tomatoes, ingredients like coriander, cumin seeds, garlic and other flavour infusers, and finished with cream and almond milk and a dash of almond powder.
It was packed full of flavours from the spices, a nice tart acidity from the tomatoes, and the use of almond milk made it light despite the intensity and wave of flavours.
Heaven in a bowl.
We were all facing a serious problem when this first main course arrived.
We were almost full.
The highlight of the dish was the black and white sothi which the scampi sits on.
It was explained to us that sothi in Kerala was prepared white in Color unlike the yellow colouring adopted in other parts of India. The black stripes were charcoaled infused sothi to recreate Yin and Yang elements.
Silence of our Lamb
Every lamb dish I have had at Nadodi has been nothing short of spectacular.
Today was no exception.
Many of my dining companions declared it one of their favourites for the night.
They used Iberico lamb which was delectable but it was that Thuna Paha (a Singhalese curry mix of spice) Marsala blended with lamb fat it sits on which brought the lamb to another level. Heaven literally.
The heat from the spices was nicely moderated by the sweetness of the sweet pumpkin purée.
And just look at that pink doneness.
Hannibal Lecter will approve.
By this time, two things were happening.
We were at breaking point with regards to our stomach capacity. Many were prepared to wave the white flag.
The ladies were getting sleepy as they had gone shopping earlier while the men had a rest in the hotel.
Okay, so the picture above was posed. But you get the drift.
Then the Globe arrived.
Crispy lotus root chips acted as papadums.
The low glycemic red rice tasted luxuriant and Kuan raves about it. It was unlike any health food I ever tasted, and the duck confit ball nestled nicely in this intense curry reduction.
Nadodi Brani – a tasting portion
Nadodi kindly offered us a tasting portion of their legendary nasi brani.
It was intense and heavenly.
Sweet spice and everything nice
Reflections and Thoughts
I asked Kok Hoe and Cristal, who have been to Gaggan, what they thought about Nadodi.
They felt that Gaggan was more molecular, a little more pretentious with some hits and some misses, but overall still a special experience.
They were full of praise for Nadodi, and felt they were closer to form, more genuine to its roots and all about the food and less pretension.
They loved Nadodi and thought the experience was nothing short of magical.
I asked all of them to name three of their most liked dishes for the night and it looked like this:
Kuan – Trio, rasam broth , lamb
Cristal – Beetroot , street staple, brani
Cari – nasi lemak burger in trio , foie gras cracker and beetroot
Kok Hoe – Lamb , beetroot, foie gras cracker
Sanjay – Lamb, rasam broth, beetroot
Andrew – Rasam broth , lamb, brani
Chef de cuisine Sricharan Ventakesh with the ladies
Nadodi Restaurant KL
Lot 183, 1st Floor, Jalan Mayang,
Off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+60 3 2181 4334
+60 17 390 0792
Nadodi Restaurant Kuala Lumpur Opening Hours:
Monday through Saturday from 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.