Just a little beyond the border in Kuala Lumpur resides Nadodi, a discreet restaurant specializing in contemporary South Indian cuisine. Since 2017, the restaurant has garnered a reputation for presenting authentic flavors using a myriad of spices that are sourced from specific parts of the region. The result is an 11-course degustation menu that takes one on a culinary trek through Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka, led by the young Executive Chef Sricharan Venkatesh.
Starting from the amuse-bouche, each course is thoughtfully interpreted to deliver both flavor and meaning to its tribute of traditional dishes. Pannagam, a drink made from a mix of jaggery, cardamom, and water, undergoes a molecular gastronomical transformation where the liquid is fashioned into a cardamom gel that becomes a literal burst of flavor when consumed. Beetroot is done four ways in the “Red Kari” dish, where it transforms into curry, sorbet, pickle and edible decorative shards to create a cognitive mix of textures in monochrome. At course number seven, the palette calms down with the introduction of “Humble Broth”, a light soup that is reminiscent of classic South Indian rasam, a blend of tamarind, tomatoes, chili pepper, and cumin. The dish is finished off with quinoa grains for a contrasting crunch. The process is likened to a consommé but without the intention of manipulating the dish’s clarity and being a simple bowl of rich flavors. Yet, this is not the last we’ll see of the concoctive blend.
Nadodi’s bar is led by Head of Beverage Programme Akshar Chalwadi. Various aromatic blends of spice mixes, such as the flavorful rasam used in the broth, are recycled by sealing them in a tight bag and prepared sous vide for flavor extraction where it is recreated into a cocktail. The ingenuity of preserving these flavors has led to the creation of arguably the world’s first smoked salmon gin with bird's eye chili oil, and even something as bold as turmeric gin. When the lids of these experimental jars are lifted, the aromas are anything but subtle, and while the spirit is flavorful to have it on its own, Chawlwadi would whip out bottles of homemade flavored tonic water, from watermelon to passion fruit, to add a little fizz.
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