OpenHouse, Suria KLCC

October 21, 2018

OpenHouse's elegance radiates through rooms brightened by a blend of classical Malaysian inspirations, such as Peranakan themes, with contemporary urbanity. But its true beauty rests in the work of chefs Huzaidi and Yusaini, who've scoured the country for recipes that reflect our roots, paying tribute to everything from pais to pongteh, serunding to sambal, from a modern vantage point that shines a light on what the future of local cuisine might look like.

Start with OpenHouse's reinterpretation of Sarawak's umai, which wraps lime-cured prawn ceviche toasted in calamansi juice with ginger flower, dried shrimp, cili padi and nuts in betel leaves for a burst of sprightly flavours in small mouthfuls (RM47), and the trio of rock melon, watermelon and honey dew balls, their vivaciously juicy sweetness punctuated by the punchy umami of prawn, chicken and beef serunding (RM28).

Local produce brings lively sparks to these offerings: Kemaman shoots furnish herbaceous notes for the turmeric-cured chicken thigh jeruk (RM39), a salsa of ciku fruit and kaffir lime paste adds uplift to the smoked duck breast in a creamy ingkung berlada sauce (RM55), and a medley of village greens, including pucuk gajus, banana hearts, ulam raja and cekur, makes for a marvellous salad with a peanut dressing (RM25).

Even rice and sambal are radically recast; you'll find no fewer than four different variations of rice - glutinous grains served in pitcher plants (RM29), brown in bamboo (RM13), lemongrass-laced (RM19) or steamed with garlic in banana leaves (RM9) - and most extraordinarily, five types of sambal (RM7 each), showcasing a spectrum of pleasurably pungent flavours and naturally earthy textures - kulat kukur (made with wild jungle black mushrooms), isi rong (with rubber seed kernels), tempoyak ikan bilis terung pipit (with fermented durian and baby aubergine), temu pauh (with mango ginger) and hitam kepayang (with black jungle nuts). Cocktails (mostly RM39) also comprise local touches, but to a lesser extent, with components like assam boi, pandan water and coconut milk.

G48, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. Open for lunch and dinner. Tel: 03-2162-0888

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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