Although I believe that the best food in Kuala Lumpur is found at the hawker stalls, I thought it would be fun to find out what fine dining in KL is all about. Therefore, when I saw a recommendation for Malay food at Gulai in Carcosa Seri Negara, I made a reservation for lunch.
It was my second time to Carcosa Seri Negara, and as before, it was a pleasure arriving at the beautiful white mansion up the hill, surrounded by lush greenery. It was extremely quiet. We were surprised that unlike our last visit, there was no one to greet us this time. After a brief wait, I interrupted what looked like a staff meeting for some attention.
As we were not in our usual summer outfits – they had a “smart casual” dress code – we chose to sit indoors where there was air-conditioning. We were ushered into a room with a table for 4 in the restaurant. Devoid of any paintings, the walls were stark and we sat in this slightly uncomfortable room, with the only welcoming feature being a tropical flower in a vase, which was stunning against the white tablecloth. It was quiet and it seemed like we were their only customers.
… the meats were cooked to perfection, but the sauces definitely lacked oomph.
Since there were 3 of us, we ordered 3 starters - crab soup, venison satay, and salmon otak otak - and 3 main courses – fish, chicken, and beef curries. All the dishes came beautifully presented. Each main course came with a small serving of rice, sauce and vegetables. We decided to share, and it was a bit awkward as the portions were small. After a civilised lunch with no fights, we agreed that all the meats were cooked to perfection, but the sauces definitely lacked oomph. In Malaysian slang, there was “no kick”.
We decided to forgo desert at this fancy restaurant, in case it lacks the syiok factor (Malaysian slang for yummy). Instead, we went to a little shop in Bandar Utama for our third course, then having had our dessert, we went home with full bellies and were extremely satisfied.