Located on a secluded hill in Ampang in the greenery of the forest is a temple like surrounding, with a façade that is unmistakably Thai sits Tamarind Springs Restaurant, an Indochinese restaurant in the middle of paradise. Not only is the surrounding marvellous for its serene setting, the intercultural Indochinese cuisine from Thai, Cambodian, Laos and Vietnamese cuisine gives it that South East Asian touch that is a breath of fresh air.
As you walk the length of the long and winding walkway, a sense of calm washes over you as you are greeted by the turtle pond before the entrance into the restaurant. The theme of the restaurant is rustic yet refined. With an open view facing the jungle, you are made to feel like you were in the deep jungles of Cambodia. The ambience of the restaurant is perfect for a nice family dinner or a romantic getaway for a wedding proposal.
The kitchen at Tamarind Springs is helmed by executive chef Somjuhan Wandee, who hails from Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. Unlike most chefs from fine dining restaurants, Thai chefs are infamous for being from humble backgrounds with family history of flavours, the best you can honestly get. Chef Somjuhan found inspiration from her grandmother, who once served the King of Siam, where she began cultivating her skills under the tutelage of her mother. Her delectable culinary creations are made using only the freshest and most authentic ingredients, both local and imported, and never compromising on quality. Chef Somkuhan has played a key role in winning acclaim and prestigious local awards for Tamarind Springs over the past 10 years. When asked what her philosophy was and what her favourite dishes were, she said: –
“I want to provide the best of Indochinese cuisine to all my diners. I think they are all good, but if I had to choose I would recommend the Laotian Deep-Fried Perch in Tamarind Spring’s Spicy Sauce, the Vietnamese Barbecue Lemongrass White Prawns, the Phnom-Penh Wagyu Beef Loc Lak with Lime & Black Pepper, and the Laotian Chicken Curry with Wild Bananas. I love many of the dishes on the menu and I love using all types of ingredients. I don’t have any specific ingredient that I favour, but only the freshest ingredients in the market which are used to produce the dishes in Tamarind Springs” — Somjuhan Wandee, Executive Chef of Tamarind Springs.
The unique ingredient about Tamarind Springs is that it does not just serve Thai cuisine, but a mixture of other Indochinese fare, from Cambodian classics to Laotian favourites. With their serene dining location, the food pairs well with the theme of the restaurant, perfect for enjoying Asian cuisine in a most exquisite environment.
The first dish served, the hors d’ouevres, were the Tamarind Springs Symphony of Starters. This dish consisted of Prawns with Lemongrass, Steam Fish Cakes, Grilled Sugarcane Chicken, Minced Chicken on Cucumber, Fresh Shrimp Crystal Roll served with a peanut sauce, watercress sauce and Thai barbecue sauce. The flavours are from all over the Indochinese continent, from the Thai prawns with lemongrass and fishcakes, to the Vietnamese fresh shrimp crystal summer roll. The selection of appetisers were pleasant, but only the sauces stood out, especially the piquant watercress sauce.
The second dish served, a salad, was the Pan Seared Scallops and Strawberry Salad, was quite stunning. This dish had the sweetness from the seared scallops, layered with the tang from the strawberry. The sauce is heavy laced with fish sauce and fried shallots giving it a nice savoury and sharp bite.
The third dish served, a salad, was the Laotian Chicken and Prawn Watermelon Salad, also another stand-out. This dish was a unique play on the palate with the sugary sweetness from the watermelon, the briny sweetness from the prawns, and gentle sweetness from the chicken. The strong fish sauce and fried shallot dressing highlights the flavours into a harmonious fragrant burst. Another must try.
The fourth dish served, a seafood course, was the Prawn in Tamarind Sauce. This prawns were deep fried and coated in a rich sweet and savoury tamarind sauce. Nice flavours highlighting a northern Thai speciality.
The fifth dish served, a seafood course, was the Pan Fried Cod with Sweet and Sour Mango Sauce. The cod falls apart with a pull of the fork and goes surprisingly well with the sweet and spicy mango sauce. An unusual fish for a Thai dish, cod really elevates any existing sauce readily available. Quite unique, not a bad dish.
The sixth dish served, a meat course, was the Laotian Chicken Curry with Wild Bananas. Laotian curries are similar to Thai curries, but milder in flavour. The standout of this dish wasn’t the chicken, but the wild bananas use. They raw bananas gave it a texture like no other, almost similar to plantains.
The seventh dish, a meat course, was the Phnom Penh Beef Loc Lak with Lime and Black Pepper. This French inspired dish is made with fine cut beef, slow cooked under a low flame to ensure the tenderness of the beef. The key to a good loc lak is the special black pepper used, also called kampot pepper which is grown in quartz rich soil, that adds a nice spicy kick to the dish. This is easily the star of the courses.
The eighth dish served, a vegetable course, was the Stir Fried Asparagus and Prawns in Tom Yam Sauce. Young asparagus shoots are used in this dish ensuring a nice and not overpowering asparagus taste, mixed in a nice tom yum sauce.
The ninth course, a dessert course, was the Chocolate and Lemongrass Mousse. This dessert has copious amounts of chocolate mousse at the bottom topped with a meringue of lemongrass, giving a nice fragrant subtle flavour to the dish.
The Tamarind Springs Experience
If you’re looking for something more exotic than just Thai cuisine, Tamarind Springs offer a plethora of different choices, especially if you like milder and less spicy dishes. You can have a look at Tamarind Springs’ Menu to understand their cuisine better as Indochinese cuisine emphasises more on the freshness of the herbs delivering a different experience. When asked what Tamarind Springs’ philosophy to customer service was, she replied: –
Definitely worth a visit for its ambience for a nice romantic dinner or just to savour the delights of what the finest of asian cuisine has to offer.
Jalan 1, Taman Tun Abdul Razak,
+603 – 4256 9300
12.00 pm to 3.00 pm
6.00 pm to 11.00 pm
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG & SAMADHI RETREATS | WEBSITE: TAMARIND SPRINGS |