Indian Food Freak was quite recently invited to Le Meridian, New Delhi for the launch of Rasa Ria Malaysia, the Malay food fiesta currently going on till 14th October 2012. The festival is being held at Le Belvedere, the rooftop restaurant. Authenticity of flavours is ratified as Chefs Nazarudin Yusoh & Chef Mohd. Alif Azlan Muda have been specially flown in from Le Meridian, Kuala Lumpur to prepare exotic Malaysian delicacies.
As we entered, I observed that the restaurant was bustling with people and I could not spot even a single empty seat. I hadn’t realised till that there was such a huge interest (or was it just curiosity) within Delhiites about the Malaysian cuisine which has a profound influence of the Malays, Chinese and Indians. There has also been a signature impact because of the Portuguese, Dutch, British and the Thais. Quite a melting pot of cultures which obviously reflects in the cuisine too.
The food festival was declared open by HE Dato’ Tan Seng Sung, the High Commissioner of Malaysia who had himself taken a special interest in defining the menu for this extravaganza. As the speech ended, the huge buffet was thrown open. We were perhaps the lucky ones to be served starters on the table. I enjoyed savouring a very delicate Kerabu Mangga Muda Dengan Sotong (Mango young & Squid Salad), Kerabu Ayam Dengan Kacang Pajang (Chicken & Bean Long Salad) and the Kherabu Betik Muda Dengan Udang (Papaya and Shrimp Salad). There is a lot of choice for the vegetarians too from the salad counter with various combinations encompassing fruits and vegetables.
I gave a pass to the soups but was told that they were yummilicious. I particularly enjoyed both the Ayam (chicken) and Dagan (lamb) satays from the live counter and went down the memory lane reminiscing the time I had once spent in Kuala Lumpur. To sample the main course further, I picked small portions of Ayam Masak Merah (Simmer chicken cooked with chillies and tomatoes), Kembang Kambing (Lamb cubes cooked with coconut milk and spices) and Daging Masak Hitam Manis (Simmered tenderloin with dark soya sauce and spices). In my humble opinion, if you are going for this festival (I think you should), dump the chicken and go for the lamb and the tenderloin which were my second helpings. Perfect preparations and quite suited to our Indian Palates. The main course had extensive offerings for the vegetarians too. I did try the Gulai Ikan Tongkol (Tuna fish curry) from Rajat’s (a foodie friend who accompanied me) plate but was not very impressed by its texture. By taste, well it tasted like a fish.
The dessert counter had a combination of Malay sweets as well as fruits and ice cream. I tried the Pengat Pisang (Sweet banana cooked in coconut cream) as well as Agar Agar Santan (Malaysian Coconut Jelly). Both outstanding goodies. As I was putting down my spoon a tap on the shoulder made me turn around and I came face to face with HE, The High Commissioner of Malaysia. He very gently inquired if I enjoyed the food. My jaw had already dropped by seeing some of his stature checking on every table if people had a great time. Speechless, I nodded in affirmative.
To Sum-It-Up: If you want to savour authentic decadent Malaysian cuisine, call up Le Belvedere asap and book your tables for Rasa Ria Malaysia unless you wish to fly to Malaysia after the 14th of this month. The food is exciting and flavours of each dish talk to you. Eat slow, eat a lot and go back home happy.
Cost: Lunch: A La Carte Selection, Dinner: Buffet at Rs 2,250 plus Taxes | Valid Till: 14th October, 2012
Address: Le Meridien, Windsor Place, Janpath, New Delhi-01 | Phone: 011-23710101