Friday, September 26, 2014

QURESHI - A ROYAL CULINARY PASSAGE TO INDIA

 
Dum - large claudrons filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices then sealed and cooked to produce an unbelivably delicious one-dish meal to feed large groups of workers - was once a common dish until the 18th century Nawabs took a fancy to it. Fast forward to 200 years later, two brothers Mohammed Ashfaque and Mohammed Irfan Qureshi who are from the Nawabs' family of chefs rediscovered the secret of dum cuisine and refined it to majestic new heights.

The latest addition to the Qureshi restaurant empire is ensconced within the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC). Opened during Ramadan this year, director Muhammad Ahsan Ali Qureshi shares how his father have carved a hallowed reputation for himself as a chef over four decades, and his four other brothers are emulating the family scion. "I'm the only one out of the kitchen and in the frontline," says Ahsan with a smile.
 
 As we sampled the restaurant's house drinks: Thandai (RM15) - a refreshing blend of milk with cardomom, almonds and saffron; Ambi Panna (RM15) - a summer cooler of raw mango, cumin and mint; Nimboo Nariyal (RM15) - coconut lemonade with tender coconut and mint and Lassi (RM15) - mango with yoghurt, Ahsan delves into the secrets of Qureshi's success. 
Brothers-in-arms...Ashfaque & Irfan Qureshi
"What makes us different is our meticulous and elaborate cooking methods, using handpicked spice mixtures and royal recipes of Mughal empresses. Our battalion of chefs are specialists of different dishes: kebabs, tandoor specialities, briyanis and dums while consistency is ensured from the standard spice blends the brothers have formulated and are produced in the family's own spice factories in India. Having established our footing in India and the Middle East, we're planning to expand further to Singapore, Indonesia and Australia with KL serving as this region's main outpost."

Seated in the private dining room, we got a good view that encompasses the opulently furnished dining area that can seat up to 85 persons. Even at its busiest period, the noise is noticeably muted by the plush carpeting, curtain drapery and linen-clad tables.
The 'star' dish (for me at least) has to be Tandoori Chicken (RM35) - a whole spring chicken marinated in aromatic tandoori spices and grilled to perfection. The marinade's deep-seated accents have permeated the moist, juicy meat so thoroughly that the juicy meat tasted sublime.

 
 After hearing Ashan waxing lyrical about the dum speciality of Raan E Qureshi (RM100), our curiosity was satisfied when the leg of mutton arrived. Once the sealed dough wrapping encasing the mutton was removed, we caught wonderful whiffs of the meat. Unsurprisingly, the meaty chunks were fall-of-the-bone tender, having been marinated in malt vinegar for 24 hours. Stuffed with onion, cheese and mint then cooked dum-style for 2-3 hours, it was served with roasted mushroom.
Good enough to be eaten on its own, the pot of Dum Lucknowi Biryani (RM45) also came sealed under a layer of dough. Again, when the covering was removed, a most appetising aroma rose from the mound of fluffy basmati rice perfumed with saffron, spices and marinated lamb; enticing us to dig in with gusto.


Simmered in rich, bright vermillion tomato cream flavoured with fenugreek, the sumptuous Butter Chicken (RM35) tasted lush on the palate; the thick, unctuous gravy enveloping our palate with a multitude of sweet, savoury and spicy nuances.
We mopped up the irresistible sauce with crisp yet flaky Lache Paratha (RM12) - swirly, thin mint-flecked paratha. The delicious flat breads also paired splendidly with the signature Dal Bukhara/Qureshi (RM30) - mildly hot stewed black lentils with tomatoes and aromatic spices, finished with butter and cream. You can douse the heat somewhat with Raita (RM10) - the restaurant's classic side dish of homemade yoghurt with cucumber (diners also have a choice of boondi, pineapple, tomato, mint or potato).
Dessert is taken equally seriously here but they are worth returning for. Try the Classic Rasmalai (RM20) - cottage cheese dumplings in saffron and pistachio reduced milk which boasted a slightly crumbly texture at first bite but soon yielded to dulcet smoothness in a twinkling.

Our initial skepticism was banished upon a bite of the Warm Carrot Halwa (RM15). Made from coarsely grated carrot cooked in milk instead of sugar, it is complemented by some super creamy, mildly sweet pistachio kulfi.


Spongy without the usual cloying sweetness is Gulab Jamun (RM20). Presented in a cocktail glass filled with diced fresh fruits, it's the perfect treat to conclude your outing to Qureshi on a sugary high.

QURESHI - Ground Floor, East Wing, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, no.10, Jalan 1/70D, Off Jalan Bukit Kiara, KL. Tel: 03-2011 1007. Opening hours; Daily except Mondays from 1130am-230pm; 630pm-1030pm.

No comments: