Fine Dining Kuala Lumpur

Coconut Chronicles – New Menu at Nadodi KL

Coconut Chronicles – New Menu at Nadodi KL

Words: Jacob Weber
Photos: Monica Tindall

Close your eyes and picture a typical Indian restaurant.

Nadodi looks nothing like that.

After all, it’s one of Malaysia’s most highly acclaimed restaurants, even getting a coveted place on Asia’s Best 100 list.

It’s all style and sophistication with a few subtle sub-continental touches. The spotless white tablecloths look even brighter against the dark wood-panelled walls; elegant fittings in warm bronze-and-gold colours give the space some extra glamour. Large canvas photographs depicting a traditional way of life in India and Sri Lanka add character—quite literally. 

Coconut Chronicles

We’re here to try out the new tasting menu, “Coconut Chronicles” (RM730++ per pax.), which celebrates the massive role that this ubiquitous tropical fruit plays in the livelihoods and culinary traditions of South Asia (and far beyond).

We settle down in an intimate private booth tucked away by the massive windows looking out directly over KLCC Park and the sparkling city skyline. If you’re making a reservation, be sure to secure one of these tables.

The tasting journey begins with a Welcome Trio: Chettinad Spring Chicken, a ‘Cylindrical Symphony’, and Tropical Pol, to be eaten in that order. The chicken comes with a delightful cashew and coriander chutney; it’s a generous mouthful for a one-biter, silky smooth with a very gentle warmth from the spices.

The ‘Cylindrical Symphony’ is, in fact, Keralan tapioca wrapped in French pastry. I told myself I’d never use the word ‘mouthfeel’ in a write-up, but I couldn’t think of anything else when I tried this. The delicate pastry immediately gives way to the smooth and creamy tapioca, which is heavy on the coconut and practically foaming in the mouth.

Tropical Pol combines spicy coconut sambol (freshly scraped coconut with chillies and shallots) with passionfruit for an intriguing, sweet-sour-spicy-and-savoury way to finish the opening dish. Palates opened, curiosity piqued, and we look forward to the next one immediately.

Fine Dining Kuala Lumpur
Coconut Chronicles – Welcome Trio

The second dish, Prawnstar, is a modern take on a traditional recipe: spiced prawns in a soft and chewy rice flour casing with a delicious thakkali (tomato) chutney that brings a sharp, sweet acidity. Yuzu bubbles add a luxurious touch of citrus.

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL

Heart of Hearts is “inspired by forgotten recipes from Southern India and Sri Lanka”. Well, it’s a good thing these recipes weren’t entirely forgotten because Nadodi’s version is outstanding. Roselle stems cream sauce is poured over tender banana blossom, which falls apart in soft, tender flakes. Crispy rice puffs soak up the rich and flavourful sauce, transforming this dish into a bowl of ancient comfort food. On the side, a perfectly baked banana chip adds a satisfying crunch. 

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL
Heart of Hearts

The Lobster Taco is one of my favourites. The ‘soft-shell taco’ is made with uttapam (fermented rice) and generously filled with juicy chunks of fresh lobster. Every mouthful has a medley of flavour; peanut and mint chutneys mingle with a tart pineapple gel, topped with some raw coriander for an extra herbal kick. Depth, texture, a subtle warmth; everything is beautifully balanced.

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL
Coconut Chronicles – Lobster Taco

The Alfonsino!!! — yes, with three exclamation points, which I’m not a huge fan of — is a very well-executed dish. Sorghum, which is more traditionally used in Asia than rice, is boiled and tempered with mustard seed and turmeric. The delicious, sweet alfonsino fish is served in a thin curry of roselle puli saaru, which is delightfully sour and brings everything together beautifully. The textures and contrasts and flavours are irresistible, finished with a heat that stays and lingers and ebbs and flows. It’s not the done thing in a restaurant like this, but I’m scraping my bowl clean. Probably a little too loudly. 

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL
The Alfonsino!!!

Next up is one of the more unique palate cleansers I’ve ever had, and certainly among the tastiest. Rustic Toddy Dreams combines toddy gel (made from coconut palm) and elaneer sorbet (made with tender coconut water and flesh) with a coconut crumble, finished with more toddy in the form of a ‘veil’. It’s sweet, light, and silky, grounded slightly by the crumble but still lighter than air, with a sharp citrus tang from the sorbet recipe. Very refreshing.

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL
Rustic Toddy Dreams

The following course departs briefly from the Asian subcontinent. Pigeon Prestige is a French pigeon breast, dry-aged for 48 hours and cooked on the crown with fresh black truffle and three-hour salt-baked beetroot. And it tastes as luxurious as it sounds. The pigeon is rich and gamey, the apricot pickle is sweet and tart, the truffle is earthy and savoury, and the salt-baked beetroot is … well, salty. Everything comes together very nicely, indeed.

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL
Pigeon Prestige

Lamb Legacy is an equally complex dish. Lamb neck is braised with spices and served with chukka (mutton) masala, pumpkin puree, thuna paha (a Sri Lankan curry powder) cooked with bone marrow for extra depth, and lamb’s brain. This course takes things up a gear after the lighter and more fragrant dishes; the tender lamb neck gives way easily to my fork, the pumpkin puree is vibrant and sweet, and the brain is rich and creamy (too much so for me, I’ll admit).

Coconuts Chronicles - New Menu at Nadodi KL
Coconut Chronicles – Lamb Legacy

The Nomad’s Globe is the last savoury course of the evening, and it’s worth the wait. As the most filling of the mains, it’s timed to perfection. It’s a curious variety of tastes and textures; fresh kiwi salad with yoghurt, Japanese melon, and sakura leaves is a light and bright contrast to the chicken biryani, cooked to an authentic recipe. Vegetable samosas swimming in a tangy green sauce offer some ballast.

Fine Dining Kuala Lumpur
Nomad’s Globe

Lastly, the Moringa Magic is a delicious demonstration of culinary skill on show at Nadodi. Moringa is a traditionally savoury ingredient, and this dish explores its sweeter side. Coconut is back to the fore, used to create a parfait with the moringa; a triumphant return indeed, complete with Dutch stroopwafels—a shout-out to Sri Lanka’s colonial heritage. The textures are fascinating, with the velvety smooth ice cream, the crispy sweet middle, and the gelatinous sothi (made with coconut milk) at the bottom.

Fine Dining Kuala Lumpur

Two types of Petit Fours are used to polish things off. The first is a coconut cake (of course) with a light coconut dusting (of course); the sponge is light and fluffy, and the sweet coconut makes it even lighter. The second is a ‘tomato toffee’, which is very interesting. We all know the saying about wisdom and knowledge and tomatoes and fruit salads — but maybe true wisdom is using tomatoes to make toffee? It’s dark and rich, growing in sweetness once you get past the unmistakable tomato aroma.

One last lingering glance over the park, twinkling in the evening light, and it’s time to head home.

Reasons to try the Coconut Chronicles menu at Nadodi: authentic, traditional Indian and Sri Lankan recipes expertly interpreted with modern culinary flair; exciting combinations of regional favourites and premium international ingredients; a well-balanced tasting menu with plenty of protein varieties (and there’s a vegetarian menu, too); excellent and attentive service, with beaming waiters happy to explain the origins and concept of every course; a beautiful ambience in a stylish setting overlooking the heart of KL.

Coconut Chronicles Menu at Nadodi
Level 7A, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Ampang, City Centre,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 17 296 9520

Nadodi KL Opening Hours
Daily 6-10 pm (Closed Sundays)

Find more restaurants for special occasions in Kuala Lumpur here and stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here and here.

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