Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ibunda - Malay dining at it's finest!

When I first heard about Ibunda’s concept of Malay fine dining I was a bit skeptical…after all, Malay food tends to be the food you find on street side corners or at home…delicious food by all means…but nothing close to the notion of fine dining…you’d usually expect traditional dishes such as beef rendang(spiced beef stew), sambal belacan(spicy chili shrimp paste), nasi lemak(coconut rice served with chili paste and many other condiments) and more simple wholesome food.

With all these negative thoughts I knew that the food at Ibunda would have to go the extra mile to amaze me…to tell you the truth I was half expecting an overly priced glorified nasi lemak…I however was pleasantly surprised…and not just that…I was incredibly impressed with the type of food served and the techniques used to prepare the dishes…and don’t even get me started on the gorgeous presentation…simply put…Ibunda blew me away!

Ibunda fuses French cooking techniques with Malay flavours…there’s even a dish with foie gras in it. Chef Zabidi Ibrahim calls this Neo-Malay Cuisine. The restaurant is set in a colonial building and is very simple and elegant.

Before we could order our starters an amuse bouche was placed before us…it was a sort of salmon paste on top of a crisp bread topped with tofu…certainly an appetite teaser.

For appetizers we decided to sample a few of the specialties…first off we had the Grilled catfish, softshell crab masala served with a pomegranate salad and red caviar…

The flavours were playful as pomegranate is not used in Malay cuisine and yet it worked well together. It's also just such a pretty sight with those pink jewels.

Next up was the baked scallop served in it's shell with a sour Kedondong (Jamaican plum) puree…

The scallop was tender, fresh and sweet…the sour spicy puree pairing was sublime!

We also HAD to go for the pan fried fois gras with a chiku (sapodilla fruit) kiwi coriander dressing. A curry sauce was also shaken up in a cocktail shaker and poured on the fois gras just as we were about to dig in. It was an interesting combination…rich creamy fois gras with a sweet sour and spicy sauce…this dish had me declaring Chef Zabidi a genius!

As soon as we were done with the appetizers we decided to share all four of the specialty soups between us…they all sounded so interesting and we didn’t want to miss out.

First was the Ibunda crab soup said to be Chef Zabidi’s specialty…

The soup is clean and subtly flavoured and the crab meat is tender and smooth…the broth allows the true flavour of the crab to dominate…slurp!

Next was the baked pear minced lamb shank soup…

This is a pairing I wouldn’t normally expect to see in a soup but it was very unique and I enjoyed it...lovely presentation here as well...

There was also a mushroom dumpling soup with onion curry leaf and a hot and sour soup that was also very nice.

For my main course I had the grilled lamb rack spiced with local herbs and served with a breadfruit puree and topped with a mustard onion pink peppercorn sauce with papaya lime pickles.

The lamb was tender and it could rival any fine dining establishment… the breadfruit puree had a familiar taste...like an unripe banana mash...it was certainly interesting.

R had the steamed wild river fish with mixed beans, dried shrimp paste and ginger garlic sauce.

We’re told that the wild river fish can only be caught at waterfalls and so they’re a delicacy and can’t be mass produced. R enjoyed every bit of it!

My friend Aida (who is also the person responsible for these lovely photos as my camera couldn’t seem to take any nice ones in the dimly lit room) chose to have the braised and baked spare rib in tomato honey gravy served with tapioca and local spinach sauce.

She said that it was very tender and that the meat was falling off of the bone.

And finally for dessert I had the chef’s special which is a combination of four desserts. A black glutinous rice pudding with a durian mousse and macadamia nut ice cream…a jackfruit dumpling with sago coconut cream sauce…sun dried rice with a mango sorbet…and a cashew nut layer cake.

The desserts had flavours that are typical of Malay desserts and yet they were more refined…very nicely done...Ibunda has taken Malay cuisine to a whole other level!

251 Jln Bukit Bintang
03.2148 8488

***As mentioned previously the photos in this post were taken by my friend Aida who is looking to start her own photography blog soon. I'll post the link on here once it's up***


Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Your meal looks very original and delicious! The spare rib looks so soft -I adore really soft meaty ribs and some of the ideas are really unusual!

carol said...

this sounds sooo interesting... definitely not the malay food i know and am familiar with... who knew...

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Wow, I wish we had Malaysian fine dining in Sydney. Lots of Sydney blogs talk about Japanese fine dining, but this sounds much nicer. I love the presentation of the pear and lamb soup.

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Lorraine - It was certainly a treat! Soft meaty ribs are always a good thing :) I also forgot to mention they do a capsicum curry creme brulee! imagine that!

Carol - Tell me about it...I was not expecting this kind of food.

Arwen - This is actually the first malaysian fine dining restaurant here...I hope more places like this open up soon :)

Noor Azli said...

We will be there one fine day