Malaysia On A Plate At Selesa
Malaysian food in London may not be top billing in the Asian food market like Indian, Thai or Japanese, but it is slowly climbing up the culinary chart. More and more Malaysian restaurants are opening in the city and one of the latest is Selesa, the in-house restaurant of the Malaysian-owned hotel Park City Grand Plaza Kensington.
Selesa, which means a feeling of relaxation, prides itself as a showcase of authentic Malaysian cuisine without compromising the taste to suit western palate as some Asian restaurants tend to do so. But the food styling is modern and ingredients are local seasonal and what is available in the market. The chefs are Malaysians and are experienced in cooking popular Malaysian dishes and street food. It is a halal restaurant but alcohol is available on request from the bar to cater for non-Muslim customers.
The culinary culture of Malaysia is as diverse as its multi-racial society with early immigrants from the four corners of the world. Hence it is quite complex to define Malaysian food but the synergy of all the cuisines from Asia, Middle East and Europe make up the essence of a truly unique cuisine.
Flavours Of Malaysia
We ordered seven dishes for our dinner at Selesa that encompassed the flavours of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, which are the staple influence in the nation’s food. We had two starters and four main dishes and one dessert. We cannot have a Malaysian meal without the ubiquitous satay. We had lamb and chicken satay perfectly seasoned and accompanied by a divine peanut sauce, ketupat rice cakes, raw onions and cucumber. Satay is a kind of grilled skewered mini kebabs marinated in spices and might have its influence from Middle East but adapted to Southeast Asian style and taste.
Our other starter is Soto Ayam, a light spicy chicken broth with vegetables, fried tofu, ketupat and garnished with a piece of boiled egg. It is a hearty soup and is quite a meal in itself.
The main courses we chose were chicken, beef and fish dishes served with tomato flavoured rice. Ayam Masak Merah or “red cooked chicken” was chicken braised in tomato paste and spices garnished with fresh tomatoes. Another favourite Malay dish in Malaysia.
Beef dish came in the form of Rendang, one of the most popular dishes in Malaysia and Indonesia with various versions from different region. It is a dry beef curry quite heavily spiced infused in coconut milk and slow cooked to get that nutty coconut flavour. It was a tad too dry and the beef was quite stringy though it was tender.
My favourite was the deep-fried whole Sea Bass lightly spiced and bathed in flavoured soya sauce garnished with spring onions and coriander. The fish was crispy, light and not too oily.
Our vegetable dish is a mixed stir-fry of broccoli, straw mushrooms and carrots topped with minced chicken and tofu, a refreshing complement to the spicy dishes.
The dinner finished with a Malaysian favourite snack of Fried Banana Fritters and ice cream, washed down with tek tarik, a kind of Malaysian version of tea cappuccino sweetened with condensed milk, though they also prepare the same for coffee. A perfect end to enjoying Malaysia on a plate.
Where Is It:
Selesa is at Park City Grand Plaza Hotel, 18-30 Lexham Gardens, London W8 5JE
Nearest Underground: Earls Court ( about 10mins walk) or Gloucester Road
( about 15mins walk) website: www.parkcitylondon.com
Parking: Free parking after 6.30pm on street by the hotel
Tel: +44 (0) 207 341 7090
Aside from individuals, the restaurant is spacious with a large conservatory ideal for groups and private functions.
Another Review of Selesa