The Place I never expect to travel to Kuala Lumpur just for a meal. Nadodi has changed my perception of the fine dining scene in the capital of Malaysia. Located opposite the iconic Petrona Twin Towers, I was hugely curious about the cuisine at Nadodi for a start, as its focus is on contemporary South Indian cuisine. The name Nadodi translates to “Nomad” or “Wanderer” in Tamil and Malayalam, and the gastronomic journey here draws reference from three regions in the Indian subcontinent—namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. I was excited to say the least.
In terms of its interior, the restaurant spots a contemporary look, with a private room which provides a glimpse of the action in the kitchen, also known as the Chef’s Table.
The Food The restaurant is helmed by South Indian born Sricharan Venkatesh, Chef de Cuisine at Nadodi, and there is an option of the 7-course Tasting Menu (MYR360++), 9-course Tasting Menu (MYR430++) or the 11-course Tasting Menu (MYR490++). The dishes and gastronomic journey here are largely inspired from spices from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka.
The main dining space is also home to the bar counter, as there is a pretty extensive cocktail program here to pair with the dishes.
The meal started well with some pretty bites, Nadodi’s take on classic South Indian snacks. The Pie Tee for one is an inspiration from Peranakan cuisine, holding a spicy-sweet mixture of jackfruit seed sambal balanced with local kelulut honey.
The Beetroot Burger is one interesting snack. This is slightly spicy and very light in texture.
Lastly, the Mushroom Tart is the spiciest of the three as the locally sourced mushrooms are cooked in masala spices and dusted with curry leaf and mushroom powder.
The first course proper is a Duo of Chicken Kola Urundai and Mango, Curry Leaf & Anchovies Paniyarum, both inspired from a popular snack from Chettinad. The flavours are punchy and interesting for me, especially with the use of various spices here to whet my appetite further.
The second course is the Out Of The Shell, a dish which features the pan-seared Hokkaido scallop on a bed of turmeric-lemon foxtail millet – an ancient grain that is a staple breakfast dish for many South Indian families. I love the spices at play here, a mix of curry flavours from spinach, broccoli, green chilli, coriander and Sri Lankan cinnamon.
One of the dishes here which is stunning in terms of presentation is the next dish named Puliogare, a common tamarind-rice preparation across South India. Instead of rice, the chef uses Chinese round barley with tamarind paste instead, paired with a local red snapper fish which was lightly grilled and smoked over charcoal right at the dining table. The slight smokiness of the snapper adds much elevation to this dish on the whole.
Next up is the Red Kari, a visually stunning combination of beetroot curry, beetroot sorbet and beetroot glass, accompanied with coconut and peanut espuma.
I Am So Prawny is another dish which is pretty interesting for me. There are three parts to this dish, all inspired by coconut. The red minced paste here for a start is a blend of local prawns, chilli, spices and coconut, taking inspiration from the traditional kheema which is typically a mince of chicken or mutton meat instead. Fermented coconut flat bread and its in-house butter made with dried coconut flesh are served along with the spicy prawn paste, and the best way to enjoy the dish is to spread the butter and paste on the flat bread and have it all together. The flavours are very rich, and I like the punchy notes of the prawn paste.
It’s called the Humble Broth, but I would say it is a modest name. This soup dish is inspired from the classic South Indian rasam, made from Cameron Highlands heirloom tomatoes flavoured with a spice blend of peppercorns, cumin, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and coriander stems, curry leaf and green chilli. Looks simple, but really, it’s so comforting, familiar and good.
Another dish I enjoyed is this Beneath The Cloud, essentially Alaskan King Crab salad on Saffron sambal curry. There is also foam beneath the crab, hence the dish name. Interestingly, the fumet foam is prepared from fish stock and white wine and it blends really well with the crab salad.
Next up is a meat dish, named Silence of Our Lamb. The lamb is smoked, and the smokiness is evident in its flavour. I was surprised I enjoyed it as I am more of a beef eater than lamb. However, this seared Australian lamb loin is not at all gamy, as the lamb is marinated with mint and garlic. It is also served with dutch baby potatoes over a lamb curry of green chili, garlic and coriander leaf.
The last part of the savoury dish is the signature Nadodi Globe, a trio of dishes featured on each seasonal Nadodi menu. This is a mix of raita with salad, biryani, and grilled red eggplant with sesame and peanut lentil curry. The most awesome globe for me is no doubt the delicious biryani. The classic Indian dish is prepared from short grained rice, with each grain being so well-defined and moist. Cooked with chicken, the flavour really grows on me and I couldn’t resist finishing every grain even though I was already quite filled at this juncture. One of the best versions I have tasted.
The last dessert course is the classic Palkova. The Tonka Bean ice cream here is paired with crushed coffee and cumin-cashew nut flavoured meringue pieces, coffee jelly cubes and palkova paste, finished with a dusting of sea salt. The mix of ingredients here is pretty complex yet it all gels well.
Needless to say, the Petit Fours concluded the meal on a good note.
All in all, the dishes are moderately spicy and should be manageable even if you can’t take spice very well, like me.
Rants The vicinity of Nadodi’s location can be a little shady especially at night. My recommendation is to arrange your transportation instead of walking at night.
Will I Return Again? At MYR490++ for the most expensive 11-course dinner, prices are on a par even with some of the fine dining restaurants in Singapore. That said, I really enjoy my dining experience at Nadodi and to me, it is a destination dining for Singaporeans given the close flight proximity. To return again? I say, why not?
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
First floor (above ground)
183 Jalan Mayang
off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
Kuala Lumpur 50450
Tel: +60 17390 0792/+60 17367 0200
Monday to Saturday: 6.00pm to 11.00pm
Closed on Sunday
Tel: +60 17390 0792/+60 17367 0200
Ranted by The Ranter