Kambing Guling and Bakwan Malang are two of the interesting dishes
crafted by guest chef Robert Wisnu Untoro (right) for the Indonesian Food and Culture Week at Curate, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
Held from October 7 – 13, the special food and cultural promotion was organised in collaboration with the Embassy of Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur. The sumptuous daily lunch and dinner buffet features specialities from across the Indonesian archipelago.
Chef Wisnu, who is also as a DJ, kept diners entertained while cooking up a storm with his inimitable flair. We were smitten at first bite by the tender, spiced-rubbed Kambing Guling – roasted leg of goat sliced on request from the carvery.
Interestingly, Bakwan Malang isn’t unlucky despite its unfortunate name. In East Java, bakwan refers to fried wontons with a mixture of meat or fish and flour filling while Malang is the name of the East Javanese city. Basically, it’s a soupy noodle dish with fried wonton, fish balls, beef ball and fried beancurd. Chopped spring onion, fried shallot and a dollop of green chilli sambal add subtle pops of flavour to the offering.
Aromatic spices like cloves and pepper are evident in clear, tummy-warming Sop Buntut (Javanese oxtail soup) which has chunky pieces of bones and tender cubes of beef in it.
A plethora of salads such as Urapan Sayur, Lalapan, Tahu Gejrot (fried tofu and beansprouts in sweet spicy sauce), Ketoprak (tofu, shredded vegetables and pressed rice cakes in peanut sauce), Salada Ayam Bumbu Bali, Pecel and Karedok piques our palate before we descend on the main courses. The lightly blanched salads are mostly tossed or served with peanut sauce.
Spicing the meal up are an array of curries; some flaunting lush, fragrant coconut milk-enriched gravy, others accentuated by drier spice blends. Notable dishes worth sampling include Telur Pop (deep-fried hardboiled eggs in pale coconuty gravy), Bebek Sambal Hijau (duck in dry green chilli curry), Ayam Gule (Sumatran chicken curry) and the classic Rendang Daging (beef braised in thick coconut milk, ground chilli and spices).
Different combination of spices are employed with finesse to produce delicious specialities such as Terong Belado (eggplant stir-fried with coarsely pounded chilli), Ikan Bakar Padang (grilled fish with spice rub), Gule Kapau (young jackfruit curry with long beans & cabbage) and Sambal Goreng Uti (stir-fried chicken liver & potato dices with sambal).
Dessert bears close similarity to our local kuih such as the colourful renditions of Kuih Lapis (steamed multi-layer rice cakes) and Kek Lapis (baked Indonesian layered cake enhanced with spices). Simpler street-food delights like Timus Ubi (baked tapioca cake) and Bubur Sumsum (thick gruel of coconut milk with rice flour complemented with palm sugar syrup) are also served.
A showcase of hand-drawn batik, pretty and traditional Indonesian apparel and handicrafts beckon at the mini Indonesian bazaar outside the bright and breezy Curate.
Dinner guests were also entertained by the percussive melodies of gamelan, a musical ensemble combining Javanese and Balinese influences together with the genteel movements of trad dancers.
For reservations, call Curate, tel: 03-23828888. Address: Level 5B, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Ampang, KL.