I’ve always had strong reservations about Western fine dining outlets in Malaysia, whether they be French, Italian, Spanish … or any Western cuisine for that matter. Culinary standards in KL or anywhere in Malaysia when it comes to Western cuisine had always been disappointing, whilst the service, if friendly, is often unpolished and verged on the servile. So, it was with some trepidation that I was by a colleague asked to try out Sunway Resort’s relatively new restaurant, New Orleans, today.
Anyhoo, I agreed more out of curiosity about how Cajun-Creole spicing would be localized to suit Malaysian tastes, with their predilection for chilies & strong spices. For what it’s worth, we tried the following:
- Crabcakes: blandly-spiced, hardly any crab flavors, nor any interesting texture.
- Southern Fried Chicken: Not authentic at all. The presentation’s not too bad: boneless chicken dark meat (Malaysians have an aversion towards drier white meat) served skewered, accompanied by a fresh leafy salad.
- Shrimp Etouffee: the tastiest dish we had for this meal – very fresh shrimps, suitably rich & creamy, more Creole than Cajun sauce. It’s not quite the thick stewy sort here, but I enjoyed it all the same.
- Jambalaya: sticky, well-cooked version, but lacked the underlying spice kick that I expect from a good jambalaya. Also, beef sausages were used in place of pork Andouille sausages, as F&B outlets in Malaysian hotels tend to be pork-less or “halal”, i.e. suitable for Muslims.
Dessert: Bananas Foster – no tableside flambéing here, nor any rum or liqueur taste detected. Definitely a far cry from the *real* version I had at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
I guess New Orleans at Sunway Hotel was a decent attempt by a Malaysian resort to introduce Cajun-Creole cuisine to the local populace, despite inherent problems in achieving authenticity – for example, Andouille sausages (which are usually made using pork) won’t pass the “halal” or “pork-less” certification here – the jambalaya we had used beef sausages, imparting a different flavor altogether.
One consolation: the bread basket was wonderful, served warm - best I'd had in KL.
Service was very friendly and efficient – we really liked our waiter, who was unobtrusive, yet ever-attentive. Didn’t get to see who the maître d’ nor his deputy were – which is not a surprise since Malaysia is a place where only well-connected VIPs & personages (e.g. those carrying a “Datuk” title) receive attention & special treatment from a restaurant or hotel ‘s senior staff, not the “normal” masses. Malaysia has a loooong way to go before they achieve the international standards of service in F&B, so do temper your expectations accordingly.
New Orleans Bar & Grill
Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa
Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7492 8000 Ext. 3176
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