One menu. Two venues. Two prices. Tan Bee Hong checks out what’s going on at Concorde Hotel KL
IF you’re planning to break fast at Concorde Hotel KL, you have a choice of going to Melting Pot Cafe or Teratak Chef Abbas@Ballroom.
The menu for both venues are almost similar but prices (see box) differ and there will be more action going on with chefs dishing up food a la minute at stalls set up for Teratak where the F&B team is introducing a new concept this year, designed along the lines of a bazaar setting. Group bookings for Teratak are entitled to special package prices too.
Chef Abbas Ali Khukda Baksh has picked his favourites from the 11 states in the peninsula such as botok-botok (Johor), percik (Kelantan) and mee udang (Penang).
RICE TO THE OCCASION
This year, the buzz is going on at the biryani corner. Every day, Abbas offers two types of biryani. This is in addition to nasi kerabu, nasi kunyit and the popular whole roast lamb stuffed with biryani, one of Abbas’ signature dishes. The nasi biryani varieties include quail, egg, fish head, venison, buffalo and beef ribs.
At the Press preview, we are offered quail, egg and fish head. And if you think all biryani taste the same, think again. The quail biryani looks most interesting, with the usual saffron tinged grains but turns out to be ordinary enough. The egg biryani comes with deep fried hard boiled eggs and is sprinkled with chopped glazed fruit that adds a pleasant sweetness.
But it is the fish head biryani that quickens the pulse. The rice looks plain white but has an amazingly buttery flavour that does not threaten to distract from the pieces of delicate fish head which is lightly deep fried. Add a spoonful of the sauce from the fish head curry and the rice takes on a different but equally pleasing nuance.
The bright blue rice of nasi kerabu reminds me of the hot weather and cloudless skies but this east coast rice salad specialty has cool textures with the addition of salted egg, chopped long beans, four-angled beans and beansprouts. Add a dash of budu (fish sauce) and it’s heavenly.
Enough about rice. Get started with the range of ulam or seafood on ice for a refreshing way to break fast. Or sip hot soup (gear box soup is a favourite) or bubur lambuk and slurp on a variety of noodles from the action station. Watch chefs prepare shawamar and grill seafood of your choice or nibble on choice dim sum.
Steaming hot with all kinds of aroma. The main dishes — seafood, meat and vegetables — have enough variety to demand a few trips to the buffet table.
Surprisingly, chicken grabs my eye this year, especially the spicy roast chicken with lashings of coconut cream. It’s so aromatic with spices. Chicken rendang with pucuk ubi is another flavoursome thriller.
Whole roast lamb is always a highlight but lamb also comes cooked with broad beans and in curry.
Seafood is another good choice, with fish, crabs, prawns and clams. Naturally, everyone makes a beeline for Abbas’ fish head curry but try not to miss out on the fabulous red snapper with honey percik sauce. There is also Chinese-style steamed pomfret, botok-botok parcels, catfish in gulai tempoyak, asam keladi fish, siput sedut, chilli butter milk clams and hot pepper crab.
Spicy prawns are finger-licking good as are those in sweet and sour sauce.
As for vegetables, you get a range of ulam and Chinese-style kailan as well as eggplant in sambal, pucuk paku with belacan and fresh salad greens with various dressing.
At the dessert corner, cakes, tarts and mousse vie for attention alongside local kuih muih and freshly cut fruit. Happily, all the pastries come in bite-size pieces or wedges, so you can try more varieties.
Ais kacang is served to order, with toppings of ice cream. Or have something hot such as black glutinous rice porridge, corn porridge and green pea porridge. If nothing tempts you, lean back and relax with a cup of hot teh tarik or coffee.
2 Jalan Sultan
Tel 03-2144 2200
Chef Abbas’ specialties
Melting Pot RM89++ (half price for children 5-12)
Teratak Chef Abbas RM75++
Coffee house chic Surau on 1st floor
Go give it a try