Dine Beyond Comfort Zone @ NOOK aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral

aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral recently appointed a new Executive Chef Phoebe Donko-Hanson who is unafraid to develop new styles and bold flavours in her gastronomy creation. With her new tasting menu introduction at NOOK, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant, the new ethnic-inspired cooking takes mylifestylenews to a another dining wonderland……

Dining in Kuala Lumpur offers so many classic Asian dishes with authenticity, it can be hard sometimes to find something refreshingly different with a clear voice and strength of conviction in what is put on the plate. As it happens, a funky hotel within the Starwood group, aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral takes us by surprise by introducing the latest Chef tasting menu from local taste buds to International Fusion cuisine.

Originally from Ghana, Chef Phoebe developed a taste for cooking at young age where family and friends got together, sharing tasty dishes and holiday feasts. While cooking, she would draw flavours from her childhood, creating the memories of her youth and food discovery. Her friends from school were from varied backgrounds and cultures and they would eat at one another's homes. It was during these shared meals that Chef Phoebe drew inspiration from ethnic influences and rich global traditions, including those from Haiti, Jamaica, South America, Vietnam, Korea and more.

The restaurant itself has futuristic pods designed to replicate first class pods on a jet, and an uplifting green and white colour combination with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Kuala Lumpur Sentral area. Interestingly enough, the green is chosen because it is the softest colour to the eyes, reminding one of pandan leaves and kaffir lime (a very Asian food emphasis). Add to this original Moooi lighting which are very futuristic too like exploding stars refreshing the entire dining venue.

 At first glance, the menu looked interesting, but on closer examination of the ingredients for each course we were thinking this could be one of those evenings where you think you have discovered a new talent that you can’t stop raving about! Our attention was taken by her six course Chef’s Tasting Menu as every course being thought through carefully with the less is more presentation. What an amazing array of ingredients and combinations to be had and we were not disappointed for one moment. Firstly, the plating was a presentation of fine culinary craftsmanship – or should we say craftswomanship. Her menu is a combination of flavours, textures and freshness and surprises were afoot in such a voyage of culinary discovery.

Beetroot Panna Cotta, dessert as a starter? NO! NO! Chef Phoebe cleverly transformed this creative starter with caviar, crème fraiche, crab, pickled carrots, cucumber and radish where all these incongruous ingredients come together to create magic. Beetroot is the dessert component with a sweetness to it, the pickled carrots and daikon radish brings the tartness to counterbalance the sweetness. The crab meat adds another textural dimension, with the cucumber completing the balancing act. What a triumph of such a creative dish that has elements of acidity and the sea, this is fun and playful in both presentation and flavor.

Tartare to follow – A-grade tuna loin, birds eye chilies, orange, soy and passion fruit. This was another dish full of surprises. Chef Phoebe commented that there are many flavours in common between Ghana and Malaysia, by combining tropical fruit such as passion fruit with the tuna seemed logical to her and then the daikon, sea salt and a touch of chili padi creates a little complexity. A revelation to us and Chef Phoebe had truly piqued our palate with this one.

The fun is getting more exciting now and Peanut Soup came next. Sea bass, coriander, chilies and okra. The peanut Satay sauce (which commonly used in Malaysia’s cooking) brings an interesting yet uplifting savoury notes and delicious companion for the perfectly cooked fish. Some tomato is also incorporated, along with ginger and chili padi, so what appears simple is not necessarily so in the nicest possible way. Yum!

Grilled Eggplant – Sweet plantain, spiced tomato, lamb loin and leaves. A mouthwatering dish, thanks to a beautifully spiced tomato sauce (it could have been a star dish just on it’s own!). Superbly cooked tiny cut of lamb loin provided a counterpoint to bitter, sweet, spicy tastes and floral notes from the chervil, chive, mint and parsley to create a plate full of so many high points.

Beef Tenderloin – Creamed spinach, lentil cake, balsamic gastrique and rocket. By this stage of our dinner, the perfectly pink chunks of beef were no longer a surprise element, but expected, and so we took an unexpected turn with the devilishly delectable creamed spinach (who knew this vegetable could taste so good) and lentil cakes, the dryness of which was the perfect foil to the creamed spinach and caramelized balsamic. Revelatory!

Milk Chocolate as dessert – Cheese mousse, espresso, salted caramel, raspberry, potato chip and toasted macadamia. This was such a playful dessert that married all disparate flavours beautifully together. Chocolate dipped potato chips anyone? Yes please and we wish there was more of everything.

When you think of hotels that always focus on buffets, this specially crafted Chef Tasting menu will knock you sideways with its finesse and fun – it was as if Chef Phoebe knew in what hotel she was cooking but has a sense of mischief and wants to take you into unchartered territory while having some fun at the same time and making you smile while you eat. Service also worth mentioning as it is rather spot on.  Be prepared to be amazed when you dine in NOOK at aloft Kuala Lumpur by Chef Phoebe’s International Fusion cuisine, You will experience more than just food with her passion and love in her very own style of gastronomy creation.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4.5/5
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverages: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Experience: 5/5

Chef's Tasting Menu

5, Jalan Stesen Sentral 5,
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Kuala Lumppur, Malaysia 
Tel: +6 03 2723  1188 

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

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