This pop-up at Wabi Sabi promises familiar dishes that still manage to wow with unique flavours

Look forward to an amazing menu from chef Nor Saiful Asrul Bin Saidin, sous chef, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Chef Nor Saiful Asrul Bin Saidin & Dishes at the Pop-Up
Chef Nor Saiful Asrul Bin Saidin & Dishes at the Pop-Up

Can we ever have our fill of authentic flavours from Asia? I think not. With the weather becoming so romantic over the last few days, it was in perfect time that The Oberoi, Bengaluru invited us for a preview of their latest pop-up celebrating gourmet Malay cuisine. With chef Nor Saiful Asrul Bin Saidin, a celebrated Malay sous chef from Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia… helming things, we were looking forward to a journey catered to curious and inquisitive gourmands like us and that’s exactly what we got!

<em>Roti Jala Kari Ayam</em>
Roti Jala Kari Ayam

We settled in at Wabi Sabi, the venue for the pop-up and the ambience perfectly suited the cuisine we were indulging in. In a few minutes the starters arrived and we were presented with Cucur Sayuran Kuah Kacang (crispy fried vegetable fritters with cucumber, turnip and peanut sauce), Lempeng Kelapa Kari Sayuran (coconut pancake with vegetable curry), Otak-Otak Bakar Daun Pisang (baked minced seafood with local spices wrapped in banana leaf), Roti Jala Kari Ayam (net pancakes with chicken curry) and Satay Kandar Kambing (lamb satay with condiments and peanut sauce). Beyond the fact that this was a gustatorial overload that we loved, the diverse flavours also really gave us a wonderful introduction to this often ignored cuisine. We vouch for the baked minced seafood the most and thought it was absolutely delicious even without the accompanying sauce. The starters — over all — however, were a treat and every bite was familiar yet so unique thanks to how similar, yet different, Indian and Malay cooking can be.

<em>Kerabu Mangga & Rendang Kambing Daun Kunyit</em>
Kerabu Mangga & Rendang Kambing Daun Kunyit

It was the salads that came next and the Kerabu Mangga salads (veg and non-veg) doubled up as apt palate cleansers readying us for an avalanche of mains. We started this leg of our tasting with the Udang Masak Lemak Nenas Madu (river prawns in a spicy coconut broth) and the Pajeri Nenas Bersama Terung (pineapple and eggplant curry with grated coconut). Pairing these with steamed rice brought out the exquisite flavours of both these coconutty delicacies and we were left slurping the prawn gravy even as our next dishes arrived on table. Next up, we tried the Tahu Sambal Minang (stir fried bean curd with tomato chilli paste), the Ikan Asam Pedas Berempah (sweet and sour fish with vegetables) and the Rendang Kambing Daun Kunyit, which was an authentic rendang that also left us swooning. The noodle dishes arrived separately and we were kind of thankful that they did, as we might have ignored them completely if they were served alongside the mains. With a Mee Goreng Berhias (yellow noodle) and a Mee Hoon Goreng Siam (vermicelli rice noodle) as the options, we took a few bites, relished the flavours immesnsely but decided instead to reserve some space for dessert. We ended our meal with a generous serving of Bubur Pulut Hitam, sticky black rice porridge that reminded us of our very own Manipuri Chakkhao Kheer and it was wonderfully refreshing and the perfect way to wrap this meal up.

Meal for two: INR 4,000 onwards. For Lunch & Dinner. On till October 15. At MG Road.

X: @elromal

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