Makan Kitchen – DoubleTree by Hilton – Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2012

Starting off my first dining adventure for this MIGF month was Makan Kitchen at DoubleTree by Hilton.

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This menu is specially crafted by Azri Abd Manaf, Makan Kitchen’s Head Chef and it highlights 11 dishes which explores the rich diversity of Malaysian cuisine like Beef Rib Rendang, Marinated Stuffed Baby Quail Tandoori, Wok Fried Tiger Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk, Chinese Barbecue Roasted Beef Cheek and more.
Makan Kitchen

I had fond memories of DoubleTree by Hilton. I was at the opening party. Then in my previous job we executed some social campaigns for them and one of the funky things we did was the “Cookie mascot discovering KL” video. I thought their flash mob that happened in KL shortly after they opened their doors was daring and fun.
I remember cheering the wedding couples as they raced for the grand prize of a free wedding banquet for 20 tables worth RM38,000 during the November 2010 first ever ‘Brides Race’ in Malaysia.

Today I’m back and was glad to meet the new faces from the DTKL team. Chef Azri however, was part of the original team.

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Platters of savoury Otak-Otak (steamed fish paste) signaled the commencement of dinner.

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These squares were firmer than our steamed variety as they were baked but flavourwise they were still as creamy and tasty.

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But it was the Char Siew beef cheeks that made me sat up and took notice. Tender, tormentingly tender and gelatinous-ly tasty!

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It was roasted with our well-known sweet char siew sauce and the sprinkling of sesame seeds gave it a very nice nutty aroma. For Muslims who’s curious as to how our chinese char siew is like, this is it! 🙂

BELOW: Chicken Kulca, basically a mini naan bread with spicy chicken masala filling. I skipped this in preparation of the tantalizing mains ahead!

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Our drinks that night was keeping in theme with the dinner too. Matching our appetisers’ flavours we have “Chenda” – a fruity concoction of papaya, orange and yogurt (below in the shortest glass) which I thought was a good mouth cleanser after the strong tasting otak-otak and savoury beef cheeks.

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Nourishing and tummy warming Seafood and Wintermelon soup was next. Double boiled for 4 hours (whole wintermelon with all the ingredients inside!), the light and clear soup was a nice respite from the heavier appetizers earlier.

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At this stage we were served another original concoction by Makan Kitchen; their “Gu Zheng” which consisted of soybean, lychee and nata de coco. While the soup was savoury sweet, this was sugary sweet.

gu zheng

Finally we got to the mains. A selection of dips and sauces was served to pair with our mains and appetisers but frankly the food was good enough on its own so I ignored most of these.

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I was famished that night and couldn’t wait to dig into the Beef Rendang ribs. I have read all the menus from the participating restaurants for MIGF 2012 and naturally I have mentally selected some favourites from each.
For Makan Kitchen, other than the beef cheeks I had my eyes on the ribs and stuffed quail.

beef rendang - makan kitchen doubletree by hilton

For our spicy mains, we had the last of the creative concoctions from Makan Kitchen – the Dondang Sayang comprising of tea, rose syrup and full cream milk to wash it down. This was a perfect match as it’s common scenario to order teh tarik when we eat nasi kandar or malay rice. At that point of time it did feel like we are really having a true Malaysian meal; spicy rich curries, heavy carbs and sweet fragrant teh tarik!

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I had imagined the beef rendang to be dropping off the bone, aromatic from the spices and of course, tender from the long hours of required slow cooking. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
Thankfully our 2nd serving turned out better. Overall it was impressive in presentation due to the protruding bones and thick meat while  flavourwise it has wonderful depth. Only improvement required would be the texture. That would have been a beef rendang to be reckoned with!

rendang - makan kitchen doubletree by hilton

The quail was very creatively prepared; with paneer cheese and pomegranate stuffing and was reminisced of our usual tandoori chicken albeit in a smaller bird.

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The seabass took me by surprise. Fresh, flaky with a film of marinate that is just enough to flavour its delicate flesh. Thumbs up!

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The chef did a fabulous job of emulating our Chinese dish of salted egg yolk prawns and our iconic yam basket. The addition of crunchy spicy lotus roots made this dish a winner.

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Some fibres for the meal came from okra and being quintessential Malaysian we ate everything with rice of course.

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Last was the Ais Kacang; to douse the heat in our mouth and to end everything on a sweet note.

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Thank you Chef Azri and DoubleTree by Hilton for our scrumptious meal that evening! 🙂

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Full festive menu: RM95++ without wine. 

DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
The Intermark, 348 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
TEL: 60-3-21727272

Makan Kitchen, DoubleTree Hilton, MIGF 2012