A meal at Nadodi is meant to be an odyssey, traversing the rice paddies of Tamil Nadu, the coastal fisheries of Kerala & the crop fields of the Jaffna Peninsula - this is a restaurant of ambition & adventure, named for the Malayalam word for 'wanderer,' rooted in an intrinsically Indian heritage but restlessly forging a fresh path that's set to spark a wave of culinary chatter in KL.
The Nadodi experience is called The 10-Mile Journey, showcasing a 10-course tasting menu by head chef Johnson Ebenezer (formerly based in Chennai) & his team. Piquant papadum built with rice & curd paves the path for the opening salvo, a creamy compression of rice cooked with coconut milk, recalling Sri Lanka's kiribath rice pudding, sandwiching sambol that's simultaneously savoury & spicy, with hints of monkfish to round out the umami richness. Fowl play follows, with mousse-like egg kalaki to be spooned from its shell, complemented by a cracker whose marination evokes the classic Chicken 65 recipe.
What we appreciate most are the stories of India's culture & customs with which Nadodi's crew presents nearly every course: You'll hear about trade routes, monsoon floods, gastronomic myths & more, bringing a sharper focus to combinations like scallops with tamarind foam & a vegetarian deconstruction of lentils & millets with yoghurt, channeling robust, forceful flavours.
Through it all, the kitchen strives to juggle skilled precision with a sense of playfulness, embodied in a warming, tomato-rich rasam that's brewed with 21st-century panache, served in custom-made Malaysian tableware that bears a cute 'lipstick stain.' Poached snapper sheathed with a sheet of moringa leaves & succulent sous-vide lamb with curry leaf ash provide the protein.
Chicken biryani, constructed with Tamil Nadu-cultivated starchy short grains, ensures that no one leaves peckish, served with tossed onions topped with a Gaggan-inspired spheroid that bursts open with yoghurt, plus aubergine in peanut masala gravy. Desserts conjure impressions of chocolate & chamomile, peppermint & Earl Grey, with a final flourish of a concoction of coconut & its byproducts with cane sugar. This tasting costs RM320++, with a possible pairing of five wines for RM299++.
Come for cocktails: Mixologist Akshar Chalwadi has designed several visually winning ones that sparkle with creativity & complexity - the Cocktail With No Name is an egg-in-the-nest vehicle for gin steeped for 48 hours with truffles, with sweet & sour nuances, sprayed with a truffle perfume for a memorable potion (RM60). You'll also want to shell out for the Magizchi (Tamil for happiness), a tribute to the sights of Chennai's beaches, bringing together cardamom-infused vodka with saffron & a preserve of rose petals mixed with betel leaves (RM60). And in the end, the Madras Central pays homage to how coffee is commonly served on the streets of the Bay of Bengal, partnering slow-drip filter coffee with vodka & cream foam (RM50).
Nadodi Kuala Lumpur
First Floor, The Mayang, 183, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2181-4334
Currently open by reservation for dinner; closed Sundays. Walk-in service expected to commence after mid-March.
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