New Executive Chef Phoebe Donko-Hanson from Ghana has been helming the kitchen at Aloft Kuala Lumpur for several months now. Besides leading the kitchen team at the hotel, this seasoned culinary talent has been busying herself creating and introducing new dishes to the menu of Nook, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant.
Nook – the all-day dining restaurant
Prior to joining Aloft Kuala Lumpur, Chef Phoebe was the Executive Sous Chef at W Retreat & Spa in the Maldives. She drew her inspiration from ethnic influences through her experiences in Haiti, Jamaica, South America, Vietnam and Korea. Her culinary style tend to lean on bold flavours that are related to her childhood and memories of her food discoveries during her youth.
We had a taste of Chef Phoebe’s creations and some refreshed popular items from the Nook menu recently. It’s easy to spot her new items – those with bold robust flavours using ingredients like birds-eye chillies, fragrant spices and garlic. Using these ingredients which are familiar to Malaysians, Chef Phoebe concocted dishes which we all can relate to, flavours-wise.
Most of Chef Phoebe’s dishes which we tried were light starters using healthy ingredients. On the top of our list is her Miso-baked Eggplant (RM38) where the delicious eggplant was complemented with quinoa, brussels sprouts, asparagus, fried tofu, spring onions and flavoured with soy caramel.
The Seared Scallops (RM32) were fresh and plump, served with sun-dried tomato risotto, artichoke hearts and gremolata. Definitely on our list of must-order dishes!
More healthy dishes came in the likes of:
Beef Carpaccio (RM33)- paper-thin slices of beef decorated with capers, onions, gherkins, whole-grain mustard, rocket and sprinkled with shaved parmesan
Pink Pomelo Salad (RM28) – marinated prawns tossed with mint leaves, coriander leaves, beansprouts, carrots, cucumber, cashews and raja vinaigrette. However, we found the dressing to be a tad lacking in flavours. A bit more depth is needed for the flavours.
Watermelon Mosaic (RM22) – such an arresting presentation of watermelon cubes coloured by beetroot, pickled onions, black olives, feta cheese and drizzled with broken beetroot dressing.
Now for the more filling dishes:
Bouillabaisse Deconstruct (RM52) – a very tasty dish comprising red snapper fillet, scallops, tiger prawns, mussels, spring onions, mashed potatoes and enhanced with bouillabaisse reduction.
The Braised Beef Shortribs Sandwich (RM38) was one huge stack of thick-cut bread, braised beef short ribs, melted Gruyere cheese, red cabbage & carrot slaw, chilli mayo and pickles. It’s a truly fulfilling sandwich as it’s also served with a tin of addictive chunky fries by the side.
Nook’s signature Sago Gula Melaka (RM18) remained the same – tapioca pearls, palm sugar and coconut milk with homegrown jackfruit and garnished with pomegranate. The syringes of coconut milk and gula melaka were interesting but I felt the gula melaka was not strong enough.
There will be more new dishes to be introduced by Chef Phoebe in the coming months and I can’t wait to taste those. I’m particularly intrigued by those with stronger hints of her ethnic heritage.
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
5 Jalan Stesen Sentral
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur