|Chicken Rendang in Kolkata|
Every time J calls me for an event, I get slightly worried about stomach space, and end up starving myself before reaching Hyatt. As I seated myself opposite RB, who raised an eyebrow expertly at me, J turned towards me to introduce the two chefs – Chef Juanda bin Rustam and Chef Remy Then Soon Sin, who are visiting from Malaysia, and are currently working with Hyatt Regency Kinabalu.
|Visiting Chefs at Hyatt|
Playing with the different influences that unites together gloriously in Malaysian food, the two chefs presented an array of dishes – from Nyonya and Peranakan cuisine to Hakka and Indian influence – the food showed the rich diversity the country offers, and the wide range of flavours available. As I settled down with a cup of coffee, RB chose the coconut water, because it went with the theme.
|Coffee at Waterside Cafe|
As I sipped my strong cup of coffee, we shared little anecdotes about Malaysia. RB insisted I must go to Penang to taste the diverse cuisine of Malaysia. “It is a food capital and you must visit it”, he emphasized. I grinned and we entered a lively discussion about the food.
The Soto Ayam, or chicken broth, was a dish filled with chicken and chunks of vegetables. The salt quotient of this dish was slightly more than I would have liked, but a squeeze of lime solved the issue for me.
A thick stack of vegetables, fried potato, bean sprouts, as well as boiled and fried eggs were served in front of us. The Gado Gado is essentially Indonesian – a salad served with a chunky peanut sauce, which had a delicate sweetness that paired wonderfully with the crunchy bean sprouts and silky egg yolks.
|Poached Seafood Salad|
The Kerabu Aneka Lautan, was a devious little thing, with bits of poached seafood mixed with a spicy raw papaya which will hit you straight with the strong kick from the Thai chillies – the delicate seafood is boosted with a generous helping of papaya, frosted with coconut and chillies. I would have wished for more seafood in this dish though.
Vegetable spring rolls, or Popiah Goreng, are a crowd pleaser, and here they were deep fried, before being placed on a bed of fried noodles. They are, by no means, meant for the calorie conscious, and are served with a red sauce.
|Beef and chicken satay|
I am a dedicated lover of the Satay, and the beef and chicken satay were grilled to perfection, and then served with a rich peanut sauce with a decided hint of lemongrass and chillies in it, chunks of cucumber, onions, and rice cakes. I preferred the beef over the chicken for the simple reason that the beef was cooked to perfection, and was moist and lightly charred outside.
Nasi Kuning is yellow rice – cooked with turmeric and coconut. The mild flavours of the coconut was perfectly offset by the sweetness from the golden raisins, and it was best with some Malay Lamb Curry (Gulai Kambing). The boneless pieces of lean lamb were soft but they retained their shape well.
|Malaysian Lamb Curry|
The Asam Pedas Ikan contained a set of red mullets cooked in a sour sauce. This dish is generally served with steamed rice, and the sourness of the gravy comes from the addition of tamarind and tomatoes. The heat, on the other hand, comes from the red chillies that were so generously added to the dish.
As the Nyonya and Peranakan roots of the country was evident so far, the chefs decided to bring out the Chinese influenced dishes from their repertoire. The Mee Goreng was tossed quickly over severely high heat, a mild amount of smokiness infused with the noodles as the ‘breath of wok’ (wok hei) worked its magic.
A bowl of stir fried vegetables (Sayur Campur Bercendawan), with chunks of broccoli, mushrooms, carrots and babycorn was served now. I am an ardent fan of slippery shiitake mushrooms, filled to the brim with the meaty umami flavours, and this did not disappoint. Mild and seasoned lightly, the vegetables retained their crunch, and the light sauce clung to them to add a layer of moisture which made me ask for more of it.
|Stir fried vegetables|
The Ayam Rendang came to the table with the promise of heat (just look at the red chilli on top), but proved to be mildly sweet, coconut-infused, and the soft chicken pieces soaked in the clingy rendang gravy. The turmeric and coconut rice was rather well-paired with this dish, the mildness of the two dishes complementing each other.
The Malaysian food festival Kolkata is on from 10th to 19th of this month at Hyatt Regency Kolkata, between 12:00pm to 3:00pm and 7:00pm to 11:00pm. The price for the lunch buffet is 1550/- plus tax for lunch, and 1650/- plus tax for dinner. Plus, Hyatt is holding cooking classes on the 15th and 16th of July, 2015, where some of the dishes will be prepared. The charges for attending is 2500/- and to attend the class, which will come with lunch, call 033 2517 1425. Also, check out Hyatt’s website to stay updated or check out their Facebook page.
|Waterside Cafe Hyatt Regency Kolkata|
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at Hyatt Regency Kolkata at the kind invitation of the management.