My first encounter with Rama V – that fine-dining Thai restaurant in Jalan U Thant, Kuala Lumpur, not the famous king of Siam, was when I had the privilege of being invited to their Loy Krathong Festival Charity Dinner, sometime late last year. Prior to that, I had of course, heard and read so much about this elegant restaurant with its unique lotus pond and lush garden setting.
On that particular evening, the whole courtyard and garden took on a festive air as guests chatted and mingled by the lotus pond, sipping wine and champagne while waiting for the festivities to start. As soon as the sun set, casting the last amber rays across the sky and lending a magically warm and romantic glow to the whole garden, guests were invited to pick a lotus flower-shaped boat – that’s the “Krathong” – among the many colorful ones laid out. “Loy” means to float and so there we were… lighting the candle and incense sticks in the krathong and making a wish before loy-ing them onto the lotus pond. Tradition has it that Loy Krathong takes place during the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar … in the western calendar, this usually falls in November. This is when the tides in the rivers are at the highest and the moon at its brightest.
The Thais believe that the act of floating away the krathong is symbolic of letting go one’s anger, grudges and all negativities so that one can start life afresh on a new footing.
As we all know, many parts of Thailand were inundated with terrible floods in the last quarter of 2011 and in places of severe flooding, Loy Krathong celebrations had to be cancelled. This special Charity Dinner at Rama V was held to raise funds to help the flood victims. Quite a number of corporate sponsors were enlisted and generous folks contributed to this worthy cause.
The dinner kicked off with a Trio Appetizers platter featuring their signature Chor Ladda, Thung Ngen Yueng, Popiah Sod. Chor Ladda – the unmistakable blue flower-shaped dumplings filled with minced chicken and peanuts had my tongue experience a burst of contrasting flavours from the sweetish savoury combination. The crispy Money Bag and refreshingly light Paper Roll did not disappoint either.
In between sipping champagne and wine, we enjoyed the Yam Som Oo – Pomelo Salad with Minced Chicken and Shrimps served on a pale pink Banana Blossom. Next, we had a bowl of hearty Gaeng Fak Thong – Roasted Pumpkin Soup which had been souped up with chunks of seafood, chopped pistachios and a sprinkling of lemon zest – absolutely lovely. I love how the chef has ingeniously lifted this soup out of the ordinary with the pistachios and that whiff of citrus aroma.
The entree of Kung Manow Woon Sen – Steamed River Prawn served with Glass Noodles in Soya Sauce was definitely one of the highlights of this specially put-together menu. The super-fresh prawn was steamed to perfection, resulting in a deliciously succulent and bouncy texture which made me wish there was more than one prawn there! The glass noodles carpeting the prawn had totally soaked up the natural sweet flavours of the prawn and every strand of that was slurped down with relish.
What’s a Thai meal without a Duck Curry, right? Rama V’s Gaeng Ped Pol Linchee is Roasted Duck Curry served with Asparagus Tips and Japanese Sticky Rice. The thick red curry was fragrant with the essential Thai herbs and balanced well with the rice. Initially I thought this would be an overly-rich combination but surprisingly it turned out to be my favourite dish of the evening!
We got a taste of 3 of Rama V’s signature desserts in their 3-Season Platter – Winter, Spring & Summer. There were Water Chestnut in Coconut Milk, Taco and Mango with Sticky Rice. All served in appropriate portions and served as a perfect end to a gorgeous meal.
The specially concocted menu was not only a feast for the palate & tummy but also a feast for the eyes as every dish was plated meticulously and care taken to present them beautifully. Most of the dishes are available on their menu but do call ahead to enquire/order. Guests at the gala event were also treated to some traditional dances with the Thai dancers flitting in between tables. There were lucky draws too, with attractive prizes from the sponsors. We were lucky enough to win some dining vouchers from Rama V and we have actually used them for another lovely meal at the restaurant recently – watch out for the blog post on this!
One can easily see that the chefs and owners of Rama V take pride in creating and serving authentic Thai dishes in a beautiful and classy set-up. It isn’t surprising that since they started in 1995, they have chalked up a string of culinary and dining awards… among others, Malaysia Tatler has rated them as one of Malaysia’s best restaurants for many years, highly recommended by Expatriate Lifestyle and more recently, Rama V was listed in the Top 40 Food establishments by Time Out KL.
Fine Thai Cuisine
No.5 Jalan U Thant
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 12pm-3pm; 6.30pm-11pm