Tamarind Hill

Tamarind Hill Exterior - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

As you take a walk up the layered concrete steps laden with bamboo guiding your path and Chinese lanterns over your head, you are overwhelmed with a sense of serenity. You walk continuously towards the top reaching the entrance whilst being greeted with wooden awnings and a pond. This is Tamarind Hill, one of the most exquisite Thai and Burmese cuisine restaurants you will find in Kuala Lumpur.

Tamarind Hill Interior - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

Tamarind Hill has been opened since 1999 with the concept of being out of the city, while in the city. This rustic luxury dining restaurant is an escape from the bustle and instantly feels like you’ve been transported to the depths of a jungle resort in northern Thailand. The ambiance here is reminiscent of a luxury villa where you can spend time with family and loved ones, or as the perfect quiet business meeting venue.

Phiyun Thongyun - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The kitchen at Tamarind Hill is helmed by Executive Chef Phiyun Thongyun and assisted by Assistant Executive Chef Nipaporn Duangjaisantisuk. Chef Phiyun was born and raised in the coastal city of Pattaya, her Indochinese and Laotian background has greatly influenced her cooking techniques, which was later extended by training under Chef Wanthana Nikonsaen of Tamarind Hill Singapore. Chef Piyun’s continuous experimentation with Thai and Laotian cuisine is apparent in her cooking, from her Laotian style laksa and the use of budu, a fermented fish sauce. As Chef Phiyun grew up in her home village, she has always been a believer in sustainable cooking but using local and freshest available ingredients. When asked what flavours are prominent in Northern Thai cuisine, also known as Isan or Mekong cuisine, as compared to Southern Thai cuisine, she stated: –

“Tamarind Hill served Thai and Burmese cuisine, which basic flavours are spicy and sour as keynotes. Everthing else is made from scratch, from our curry pastes to other sauces.” — Phiyun Thongyun, Executive Chef of Tamarind Hill.

Tamarind Hill Bar - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The Dining

As with most South East Asian cuisine, Thai cuisine is made for sharing. Most appetisers come in individual portions, but mains are usually shared. This is a mirror of Asian hospitality, to bring people closer together. Main dishes are commonly cooked in sharing portions and usually are served with a common spoon for serving. Tamarind Hill has chosen to elevate the Asian dining experience, and this can be seen with their approach to cooking. When asked, what are the strongest influences outside of Thai cooking and what profound ingredients are used, Chef Phiyun said: –

“We do incorporate the use of Burmese herbs into our flavour palette and combine them with Thai flavours. Also some of our curry powders are Burmese too. There are a few vital ingredients, and fresh coconut milk is one of them. Also our own blend of curry pastes and Tom Yam pastes are also made from scratch, as well as the use of real raw Thai herbs.”

Tamarind Hill Platter - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The appetisers of the meal was the Tamarind Hill Platter, consisting of four different Thai hors d’oeuvres. This platter consisted of small balls of Mahor, a chicken peanut candy with orange. The unique sweet, savoury and nutty mix has interesting textures and flavours. The Lemongrass Chicken is fried to perfection with the right bouncy texture, drizzled with a sweet chilli sauce. The Fresh Duck Roll, more typical of Indochinese cuisine, has the strong taste of smoked duck which is balanced out by the fresh crisp lettuce and pickled vegetables in a rice roll. The Thai Crispy Prawn is latticed in nest of crispy flour, giving it that extra crunch and dimension that emphasises the naturally sweet prawns.

Tom Yum River Lobster | Tamarind Hill | Food For Thought

The first soup to be served was the Clear Tom Yum with River Lobster, a dish that highlights the river lobster, also known as the Malaysian fresh water prawn. This light clear tom yum soup helps the prawn sing its sweetness while being complimented by sourness and spiciness from the helps and spices. The freshness of the prawns is further emphasised by the delicate flavours of the complimenting sweet vegetables.

Stewed Beef Brisket Soup With Aromatic Thai Herbs - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The second soup served was the Stewed Beef Brisket Soup With Aromatic Thai Herbs. This soup has the deep and earthy flavours of the beef brisket, usually a dish cooked in its own style. The tenderness of the slow cooked beef, which usually cooked in a savoury stock base, is spiced up with aromatic herbs, found with complimenting flavours such as lemongrass, giving it a delicious twist of flavour. This dish is a must try and is highly recommended.

Glass Noodle with Seafood - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The salad dish that was served was Glass Noodles with Seafood, a common Thai salad with many variations. Also known as som tam in Thai, this dish is made with glass noodles, which are made from mung beans. The key ingredients of this dish are squid, prawns, bird’s eye chilli and fish sauce, which are pronounced and balanced well, simple and spicy.

Deep Fried Tiger Prawns With Spicy Chili Sauce - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The first seafood dish was the Deep Fried Tiger Prawns With Spicy Chilli Sauce, another stand out dish. This dish is served with succulent pieces of deep fried prawn in a light batter on a bed of a sweet chilli based relish, giving it a burst of sweet, tangy and spicy flavours.

Fried Squid & Cherry Tomatoes In A Spicy Tamarind Sauce - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The second seafood dish that was served was the Fried Squid & Cherry Tomatoes In A Spicy Tamarind Sauce. For fans of Italian calamari, this is a must try because of the Asian twist. Tamarind is a very common ingredient in Thai cuisine, and Tamarind Hill has managed to elevate the ever-common calamari for this experience. The squid is batter deep fried in a spiced batter, and drizzled with a spicy tamarind sauce. The cherry tomatoes add a sweetness to the dish, complimenting in both texture and flavour.

Deep-Fried White Cod Topped With Red Curry - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The third seafood dish served was the Deep-Fried White Cod Topped With Red Curry. The succulent pieces of cod are deep-fried, giving it a crunchy texture on the outside, whilst still soft and firm on the inside. This dish is complimented by the rich and creamy red coconut curry which balances the dish, giving it that rich creamy and spicy morsels of flavour.

Beef Ribs Served In A Dry Green Curry - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The meat dish that was served was the Beef Ribs Served In A Dry Green Curry, a very unique interpretation of a classical Thai dish. The beef ribs are slow cooked to tender perfection, and served with a modern take on the green curry. This dish, which is usually served in a more runny consistency, is dried out transforming in flavour and texture.

Chili & Roasted Rice - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The rice dish that was served to compliment the mains was the Chilli & Roasted Rice, a Northern Thai style rice which was hot and smoky. This rice dish was very flavourful and could be eaten on its own, but further compliments all the dishes served. The smoky flavour adds a great dimension to a simple dish, definitely a must try.

Tamarind Platter Dessert - Tamarind Hill - Food For Thought

The dessert of the night was the Tamarind Platter, a selection of well known Thai desserts. The iconic Mango Sticky Rice never fails to impress with a generous amount of sweet ripe mango on a bed of glutinous rice and dollops of coconut milk. Siamese Banana Fritters are then fried in a crispy batter complementing the honey sweet banana. The Steamed Pumpkin Custard is made perfectly where the custard flavoured with pandan is set on the inside of slices of pumpkin, ensuring a nice balance of the different types of sweetness, sugary sweetness from the custard and the savoury sweetness from the pumpkin. 

The Tamarind Hill Experience

Tamarind Hill’s philosophy to food is very well thought out, giving diners not merely a meal, but an experience. When asked what their philosophy to dining is, they stated: –

“We serve our authentic cuisine in beautiful surroundings and all this culminates in our guests enjoying our signature Samadhi Experience. Tamarind Hill is a place for our gusts to take ‘a holiday for the night” where they can leave their stress at the entrance and transition to a state of mind where they feel they are somewhere else for a few hours.” — Candice Foong, Public Relations Manager of Tamarind Restaurants and Samadhi Retreats.

For an elevated south east Asian dining experience, do visit Tamarind Hill for your pick of Thai and Burmese fare. The dishes here are quite unique compared to most Thai restaurants, mainly due to its fusion of Burmese cooking and the fact that they chefs continuously explore flavours that are uncommon.  

Tamarind Hill
19, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Bukit Bintang,
50250 Kuala Lumpur.
+60 3-2148 3200
Opening Hours: 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm, 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm

| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG &SAMADHI RETREATS | WEBSITE: TAMARIND HILL |

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Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Managing Director of Black Wolf Digital, a digital marketing agency.

22 Comments

  1. this is definitely a hidden gem in KL! dining under such serene ambiance makes the food taste even better 😉

    • Definitely a must try if you’ve never been before. The food is great in the serene setting.

  2. Thai is common but Burmese cuisine? Thai + Burmese is exceptional. That’s what I would like to try soon.

    • Yeah, burmese cuisine is not as common in Malaysia, that’s why this is quite unique. This is especially true with their soups. My favourite was the Stewed Beef Brisket Soup With Aromatic Thai Herbs. I have not tasted any south east asian soup as tasty as this.

  3. You got nice photos. I like the Clear Tom Yum with River Lobster. It has been a while since my last visit to the Tamarind Hill.

  4. Tamarind Hill Platter looks tempting. Really need to try it myself as all the food here looks delicious.

    • The Tamarind Hill platter is a great selection of a variation of different unique appetisers. The prawns were exceptional.

  5. always wanted to go there, but don’t have the push. now this post is really pushing the boundary over. haha. will visit soon!

    • Haha. Glad I made you interested! It’s really good food. You have to try to appreciate it.

  6. I remember this place well, back then it was used to host MGF 2011 i think lol, quite like the place because it offers a nice private ambiance away from the busy roads below

    • You really wouldn’t expect a place like that in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. Restaurants like this really showcase what Malaysia has to offer in terms of multicultural cuisine.

  7. Yummy yummy. The food so tempting. The chef look young but they able prepare a nice food . But Bukit Bintang is super jam. Need to go early if want to dine at Tamarind

    • It’s near Bukit Bintang, on Jalan Sultan Ismail. I would recommend weekdays, or if you are going on a weekend, make a booking. This place gets quite a lot of bookings.

  8. How does this exist in Bukit Bintang, it looks like a serene resort area, and certainly with amazing dishes there.

    • There are specific family rooms as well so you will be able to enjoy the surrounding with your kids.

  9. Love your photos, look so yummy!! Would love to try this Thai+Burmease combi food! 🙂

  10. have been there a couple of times, and i feel its the perfect romantic dinner spot with loved ones. I actually proposed to my wife at their other outlet in ampang area, deep inside some hutan place.

    • I did not know that! Not surprised that you would. A friend of mine was asking for romantic places where they can propose and I suggested Tamarind Hill. 🙂

  11. Not been to this one but I’ve been to the other location – Tamarind Spring in Ampang. Gorgeous food and a magical setting!

    • Tamarind Springs is equally gorgeous Sak! We should have a meal here the next time you come back from the UK. Hope Edinburgh is treating you well. 🙂

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