"Suck on it!" exhorts Cumi archly!
I almost fell off my chair.
But of course, the quiet, wry, smirk that was on his face meant that I should extract all the goodness out of the 9" long Spider Crab Claw that was in my eager but saucy hands!
And what a mouthful it was. Rich, buttery, and that amazing, sweet, savoury, coconut milk sauce redolent with all the herbs and spices which make Royal Thai Cuisine what it is.
We had been invited by Andre & Danny, the new owners of Rama V to review their "Chef's Table" menu. Please note, this is a menu for a special occasion so please don't compare the price of this menu to your regular dinner options. This is specifically for that time when you want to celebrate something special, have a great night out with close friends and family, or you just want to splurge.
The following conversation should NOT take place if you wish to have this sumptuous feast. "Honey, what shall we have tonight for dinner?" "Oh, I know, let's just TURN UP at Rama V and have the CHEF'S CHOICE menu."
If that does happen, and I know people who will do this, be prepared to be disappointed!
In this particular instance, this dinner is very French/Italian in it's soul; make sure that your entire evening (from 7pm) is devoted to slowly savouring all the food and wine pairings. You are meant to have time to prepare yourself for this feast. Fast, if you need to, because of the copious amounts - we rolled out of the restaurant. Work your saliva glands to a fever pitch of anticipation. Discuss with the chef, the intricacies of the menu - yes, he'll design it for you. And pair your wines for a leisurely evening of great food, great company, and hopefully for you, great enjoyment.
Rama V (popularly known as "Rama Five" but perhaps more accurately called "Rama The Fifth," in honour of the progressive, modernising King made famous by the movie "The King and I" and his association with his tutor Anna Leonowens) has been around for about 15 years now but has passed through some hands before landing in the tender, loving, gourmand hands of Andre Shum and Danny Jee. One could almost claim that the bungalow concept of dining began with Rama V.
The Salas at the back of the main restaurant are private rooms available to all and sundry. You're able to dine in private and in the luxury of your own space. Danny proudly told me Kings, Princes, and the powers-that-be had come to Rama V before. In total, Rama V is able to hold around 180 people snugly.
As Cumi & Ciki, Nipplesjoe, Chocoholic, Allan, and myself sat down to a very warm welcome the food started to come out. The waiters were helpful, quiet, unobtrusive, and attentive.
Miang Kam (Fragrant, textured, herbaceous, and fresh), Crispy Rice Served with Minced Chicken & Shrimp Sauce(gorgeous texture and crunch, and a surprising creaminess hit with a salty shrimp of the sauce - amazing) Flower Shaped Dumplings stuffed with minced Chicken and Peanuts(beautifully presented, like little petals of a flower - almost too pretty to eat).
Then a traditional Pomelo Salad with Australian Abalones (very much the same as a pomelo salad but those abalones make one feel luxuriously exclusive), shrimp cakes with a sweet thai chili sauce, and a thai version of Ama Ebi, Sweet Prawns marinated and served with a Chili Ginger Sauce (probably my 2nd favourite dish - cool, sweet, fresh prawns, contrasted with a zesty, tangy, lime/ginger sauce with just the right amount of red raw heat from the "priks" in it).
After that amount of food, one would think we're calling it quits.
My tummy was certainly about full. But nooooo...
We still had;
- Tom Yam with Scottish Clams served in a young coconut. The soup was made with the coconut water and so was sweet and had depth to it. The clams were gorgeous tender little pale sausage like things, as succulent as a clam should be.
- Sauteed Spider Crab (which was crawling around 10 minutes before the dish came to table) in a rich, red curry sauce. Omigod. There is a God. Definitely my all time favourite dish of the night.
- Roasted Duck Red Curry with Lychees - this dish has special meaning for me and a very dear friend of mine. Email me if you want to know the story. Rich, meaty duck (the OTHER red meat), paired with fragrant herbs in a red curry sauce as only the Thais' can make, and contrasted with cool freshness from lychees.
- A Steamed "Soon Hock" or Ikan Hantu in Lime Juice and Chillis (very teochew) - very fresh, chunky, almost lobsterish like sweet meat paired with a sour hot clear broth sauce.
- Sauteed New Zealand Lamb with Green pepper aand Basil - I remarked to Andre that I loved the idea of the dish and for our general palate it is good but my preference is for gamier lamb. For those who have more generic palates this dish will be a firecracker favourite. Gentle, subtle heat from the pepper paired with the succulent richness of the lamb with minty, herbaceous overtones from the Basil make it a great accompaniment with hot thai rice.
- A stir fried asparagus with sea snails rounded off the dinner.
- And of course, dessert of Steamed Pumpkin, Tub Thim Grop (Red Rubies), Thai Cendol, Mango Sticky Rice, Steamed Glazed Tapioca with Coconut Sauce, and wine to accompany everything.
On writing this now, I'm still surprised that we managed to get through it all. Now, the million dollar question. How much does all this cost?
For this feast, and 3 bottles of wine for a minimum of 6 pax, it would be RM350 per head. Not a price that you would normally fork out for a night on the town. From what I understand you could also get it for a sight less. Perhaps around RM250 per head but expect the ingredients to be less, shall we say, exotic. But still, the occasion would have to be quite special. However, on balance, with what you get, it is, to me, good value!
Having said that, with a beer or two, and no exotic seafood options, I believe you could get away with paying around RM60++ each for a yummy dinner at Rama V and enjoy the same ambience and service as we did.
Corkage is RM35 per bottle of wine. They do have a good selection of wines which they can pair with the food.
Thanks Andre & Danny for a lovely night and to Cumi & Ciki for thinking of us. :-) Much much appreciated.
Rama V will also have a Buka Puasa buffet for Ramadhan at RM64 per head. Call the number below for more information.
No. 5 Jalan U Thant Off Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur 55000, Kuala Lumpur
p: 603-21432663 f: 603-21432430