It was 1990 when Serai Group opened its first restaurant, Serai Thai in Shah Alam which to this day serves Northern Malaysian and Thai cuisine. Managed by a family of restaurateurs, the group has since grown by leaps and bounds throughout the Klang Valley, with six different brands under the umbrella – Serai being one of them. Serai has spread to five locations around KL, and the outlet at Pavilion KL recently saw an exclusive menu review held in conjunction with Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival (MIGF).
Located on the 7th floor of the Bukit Bintang mall, the restaurant’s casual and unpretentious ambience, as well as its dishes which offer a perfect balance of Asian and Western flavours, keep diners returning time and again.
The dinner saw the attendance of 22 specially-invited guests who were in for an enticing five-course meal.
A ‘thumbs up’ from the guests before the dinner begins
Among them were Ambassador of Embassy of Brunei Darussalam HE Dato’ Paduka Haji Alaihuddin Haji Mohd Taha, Ambassador of Embassy of Sweden HE Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, Antah Strategic Services Sdn Bhd Managing Director Tunku Mohamed Alauddin bin Tunku Naquiyuddin and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad Chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin bin Putih.
HE Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt and Dato’ Bahar Ahmad
Rina Abdullah, Puteri Badrinise Zakuan and Tunku Mohamed Alauddin bin Tuku Naquiyuddin
Tan Sri Dato’ Ir Othman Merican, Puan Sri Datin Sylvia Shazia Merican and Julian Yap
HE Dato’ Paduka Haji Alaihuddin Haji Mohd Taha and Datin Hajah Mariani Haji Bongsu
Jean-Eric Husson, Rina Abdullah and Laurence Husson
Zachary Aman and Su Yen Pang
Datuk Zainal Abidin bin Putih and Puan Sri Datin Sylvia Shazia Merican
Datin Su Wai Fun, Datin Meera Sen, Qistina Taff, Su Yen Pang and Claire Lee Bloy
Datin Mazliah Zainal Abidin, Laurence Husson and Datin Jasmine Abdullah Heng
Leading the kitchen team was Serai Group Executive Chef Najib Hamid who spiced up the menu with two surprise dishes (an amuse-bouche and palate cleanser) on top of the restaurant’s three-course Festival Menu.
Dato’ Steve Day introduces each guest, the restaurant and its crew
After rounds of canapés, lemongrass mocktails and a short introduction of the invited diners and restaurant crew, guests took their seats at the long table decorated with orchid bouquets specially prepared by Chef Najib and his team.
The first dish served was a combination of heirloom tomato with mozzarella cheese and balsamic, a specially made amuse-bouche that ignited the senses with good composition of acidity.
Heirloom tomato with mozzarella cheese and balsamic
Shortly after came the appetiser, chilled yuzu watermelon with spiced tiger prawn, feta cheese and petit herbs salad. The ingredients worked together to produce a symphony of refreshing flavours that received high praise from the diners.
Chef Najib putting final touches to the appetiser
Chilled yuzu watermelon with spiced tiger prawn, feta cheese and petit herbs salad
Before the main course was served, Chef Najib offered another surprise in the form of a passion fruit granita palate cleanser which had a frozen texture similar to sorbet but more crystalline. The icy concoction came at the perfect time, clearing palates for the savoury dish ahead.
Passion fruit granita
The main course, crispy lamb ribs glazed with chilli jam, lamb shank fritter accompanied with Parisian mash, minted peas and pickled kyuuri (cucumber) was the star of the menu, undeniably the highlight of the dinner with guests nodding in affirmation as they took their first bite.
Crispy lamb ribs glazed with chilli jam, lamb shank fritter accompanied with Parisian mash, minted peas and pickled kyuuri
The dessert curbed sugar cravings with generous servings of deconstructed coconut pavlova-coconut gelato, mango, passion fruit coulis and dehydrated meringue on a plate.
Dessert is served!
Deconstructed coconut pavlova-coconut gelato, mango, passion fruit coulis and dehydrated meringue
Rounding out the dinner, MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day congratulated the kitchen and service crew of Serai @ Pavilion before inviting MIGF Festival Advisory Committee member Tunku Mohamed Alauddin to say a few words on his dining experience. The royal noted the smooth, unobtrusive service which complemented the exquisite fare.
A round of applause to Chef Najib and his team
HE Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt was also asked to share his thoughts, and “an explosion of sensational tastes” was how he described the fabulous menu, adding that he has always been an avid foodie when it comes to trying the various cuisines in Malaysia’s dining scene.
HE Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt loved the blend of Asian and Western flavours attempted by Chef Najib for each dish
The Full Festival Menu at Serai @ Pavilion is priced at RM150+ per person without wine.
For more photos, click here.
Sponsored by Vision KL, Festival Publicity Dinners help create and sustain the MIGF buzz throughout the Festival month. These dinners provide an excellent way for the organisers to individually recognise the professionals in each Festival Restaurant and to thank everyone involved, from the restaurant managers and service teams, to the Master Chefs and their kitchen staff.