Nothing conjures up the Yuletide season like a traditional Christmas feast, replete with tantalising roast turkey, chestnut stuffing and potatoes roasted in turkey fat, all served with a generous fruity dollop of cranberry sauce. Quintessentially, one concludes the meal with a decadent hunk of candied Christmas pudding eaten with freshly made, luscious vanilla custard. To please those who prefer a lighter taste, chef Razman Hazizy of Harrods Tea Room at KLCC has reworked this classic but expectedly rich and heavy holiday fare.
Barely three months into his position as chef de cuisine at the local outpost of the famed English establishment, Razman’s modern twist to its time-honoured Christmas and New Year Special menu makes quite an impression. With 29 years of experience working for a gamut of international restaurants, convention centres, hotels and resorts — including a half-decade stint at a five-star luxury resort in Bali — his improvisation of Harrods’ festive menu heralds a change in cooking methods and contemporary plating.
Emphasising innovation and creativity, Razman is naturally proactive as a chef, saying a culinary professional needs to be ahead all the time. “Do not lose touch with the basics but go with modern plating,” he says. “Basic is always the best — I come from the Eighties and early Nineties before the era of fusion cuisine and new generation of chefs. But when it comes to presentation, I go with the times.”
His Christmas repertoire kicks off with the intricately assembled Smoked Salmon Rose with Tiger Prawns on Avocado Timbale. Simple salt and pepper seasoning flavours the salsa-based timbale where creaminess mingles delicately with the subtle tang and freshness of mango, tomato and coriander. Sitting atop it are smoked salmon and warm tiger prawns which bring a nice brininess and natural sweetness to the leafy crisp of arugula, finished with raspberry dressing. In line with Harrods’ British tradition of creamy soups, the piquant and delicious Cream of Butternut Squash boasts an almost-puree consistency and is just as lavish as the best pumpkin soups, but without the latter’s tendency to be slightly cloying at times.
Christmas season often shines the spotlight on turkey but the star of this holiday menu is surprisingly the plainer-looking but scrumptious Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Glaze. Perfectly executed — boneless lamb leg marinated with herbs and spices and rolled up with a butcher’s string and roasted — all three slices of the lamb leg are well seared outside and tender and succulent inside. Even non-lamb eaters like my dining companion would hail the meat’s un-gamey and delectable taste. Lightly buttered garden vegetables and potato cake — a refined, velvety version of potato au gratin — complete the hearty dish whose rosemary garlic glaze makes a nice change from the usual mint jelly.
Should you hanker after turkey, chef Razman’s flavourful (and swanky) version of Turkey Breast Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing, sitting atop a bed of cranberry coulis, will more than satisfy your craving. The quiche-like potato tart that accompanies this dish is encased in what looks like shortcrust pastry, so buttery and baked to a light perfect crisp that it almost overshadows the potato filling within, which is equally tasty but a tad too sweet for my liking. For pescatarians, Pan Seared Salmon Steak with Lemon-Butter Caper Glaze is an option that will not disappoint with its crisp salmon skin and moist, medium-done flesh.
In place of the Classic Harrods Christmas Pudding served with vanilla sauce (not available when we visited), the Warm Chocolate Brownie served à la mode (with ice cream) with vanilla sauce provides a satisfyingly sweet finish to the meal. Edible flowers and tuile (baked wafer) decoration add subtle sophistication to this otherwise common dessert choice. To add visual interest, tuiles of different hues amp up all the dishes on this menu to evoke a feast that is all about celebration, festivity and jubilance.
The Christmas and New Year Special menu is available from Dec 18 to Jan 1 next year between noon and 9pm daily on an à la carte basis. Also available at the Harrods retail store in KLCC are pre-wrapped and custom-ordered Christmas hampers.
Harrods Tea Room, Lot No 137, first floor, Suria KLCC. 03 2166 6000. www.suriaklcc.com.my