Hands up how many of you have ever been invited to a pre-food tasting, a day before an actual client’s food tasting? I can’t say I’ve had the chance right until last week when Mr. Andre Shum and Mr Danny Jee of Rama V extended an invitation over to such an event. The clients must really be important for them to go such distances. You have to give this Thai restaurant owners full marks just for their effort alone and with such service I think they are most deserving of its Malaysia’s Best Restaurant 2009 merits.
The degustation-styled menu of over 12 dishes served that evening has been specially designed and customised for the client. While the menu contained a mix of exclusive and exotic servings of braised sharks fin soup with chicken meat, grilled beef tenderloin and sauteed scallops with asparagus; it was their well-loved favourites from their regular menu which stole the show. And it is these classic dishes that will be the focus of my post today.
But before we could begin to partake something from the special menu, Andrea brought out a colourful platter of Jellyfish Yee Sang (RM68++ for a full portion). As he served this beautifully presented festive dish, he said “This is specially for my friends. It’s the first Yee Sang from our kitchen.” Boy, were we a lucky bunch. And being the good friends that we are, we tossed to good fortune, health, and a great food tasting session with many more to come.
Now, back to the reason why we’re actually here – to be experimental guinea pigs (that’s what friends are for right?). The first appetizer for the evening was the Chor Ladda, two very pretty blue dumplings with minced chicken and sweet crushed peanuts filling. No doubt beautifully crafted and the filling tasted wonderful, however, I wasn’t too fond of their thick and chewy blue skin. I’ve tried better ones on trips to Bangkok before. Having said that, I’d still recommend this dish as the perfect start to any evening here. Presentation is, after all, key in making a good impression.
On the same plate, was a serving of Hor Mok Poo. What is it you ask? Why, it is simply the most amazing crab souffle (otak-otak) I’ve ever tasted. Fresh crab meat enveloped by a very light and flavourful steamed fish paste which was accentuated by the the flavours of kaffir lime leaves and chili. Made me salivate just by writing about it again. Seriously, I’m not singing its praises just because I’ve gotten a free meal.
The prawn with heart of coconut and lemongrass salad (Yum Kung Pisek) was exquisitely presented in a wine glass. Hidden beneath a forest of lemongrass and mint leaves were two poached prawns soaked in a familiar Thai dressing made primarily of fish sauce and lime juice. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how spicy this dish was. Definitely got me sticking my tongue into the ice bucket right after chewing into a whole bunch of birds eye chili (cili padi).
While the first of our prawn dish was too hot to handle, the second was pleasure to have. The Kung Non Hae comprises of two steamed prawns with chicken meat wrapped in a golden egg nest. The accompanying sauce was a perfect blend of sweet, sour and spicy flavours. If anything, this dish in particular shows the strength of Rama V in producing delicate flavours and artful presentations.
We were served giant river prawns instead of lobsters as stipulated by the clients. I don’t have any complaints really. These gorgeous red crustaceans are probably just as big as the smallest lobsters around. Granted that being sauteed with young ginger, spring onion and finished with a dash of xiaoxing wine is more Chinese in preparation, but I reckoned it’s an excellent choice on their part. Any used of fish sauce here could have completely mask the freshness and sweet tasting flesh of the prawn.
A staple in any Thai establishment is the Pineapple Fried Rice and Rama V’s version is packed with raisins, cashews, chicken, prawns and of course, pineapple cubes.
If there is one dish that I’d remember from this meal, it’ll have to be the Salim. This was unfamiliar to me prior to that evening but I enjoyed it tremendously. Salim is traditional Thai favourite dessert with handmade coloured mung bean noodles (glass noodles) flavoured with jasmine scent and served with sweetened coconut milk and crushed iced. From what I gathered, this dessert is not easy to make and required many hours of hard labour. So, do save some room for dessert, skip the usual Tab Thim Grob or Mango Glutinous rice and order the Salim – you won’t regret it.
What I really admire them is for the fact that they are willing to push their limits and try to deliver their best for the clients. Overall, with our feedback taken into consideration, I heard that the official food tasting went very well the night after. I believe a celebration is in the works?
Should you be interested to throw a special party or event with a customised menu, feel free to speak to the friendly Mr. Shum and I’m sure he’ll be able to help you out. Contact details are at the bottom of this post.
Many thanks to Andre and Danny for hosting us with a wonderful evening.
Note: Lady GaGa is in no way related to this post, this writer or is endorsing the restaurant. The comic is a figment of my own imaginations. But what isn’t imaginary is her double win at the recent Grammys. All pictures of Lady GaGa was taken off the internet and I have no idea who the source is. Please drop me a note should you own the images and would like them removed.
Rama V Fine Thai Cuisine
5 Jalan U-Thant, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2143 2663
Opening Hours: Daily, 12pm – 3pm and 6pm -11pm