PETALING JAYA, May 6 ― It is a truth universally acknowledged that spicy food and a refreshingly smooth beer are a match made in heaven.
Add in a Malaysian Michelin-starred chef to the equation and what you get is a culinary adventure unlike any other.
The Carlsberg Smooth Draught ‘Real Spicy, Real Smooth’ dining exBEERience last Friday saw chef Mano Thevar bring Indian food to new heights with his contemporary and bold reinterpretation of the beloved cuisine.
The Michelin-starred chef who runs Thevar in Singapore collaborated with Carlsberg to curate a menu that not only redefines Indian cuisine but showcases the versatility of beer as an ingredient that was featured throughout the four courses.
Held at Senja in Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the evening kicked off with warm fluffy naan bread and a specially infused butter using Carlsberg Smooth Draught.
The warmth of the curry powder against the salty whipped butter was the perfect way to begin the menu.
Next up, a trio of snacks arrived ― Beetroot Chaat, Maitake Mushroom Samosa and Chettinad Chicken Taco.
The tart shell for the Beetroot Chaat took 48 hours to make and it was filled with beetroot and pomegranate braised with Carlsberg Smooth Draught served with a fermented buttermilk chutney.
Mano said he is used to using wine in his restaurant but not so much beer and the partnership with Carlsberg meant that he was able to experiment and create new flavours.
“Cooking with beer is not a new concept,” said Mano.
“In Western countries, beer is incorporated with a lot of foods – it can be a tenderiser, a brine and even a flavour enhancer.
“When you’re having a heavy meal, beer can help cut through the richness and give an extra dimension of flavour to your food.”
Not your typical samosa, the Maitake Mushroom Samosa was presented in a cone and these treasured mushrooms that are loved for its health and healing benefits were infused with truffle, rice flour and garlic.
The classic Indian dish of Chettinad chicken was given a fun and playful twist in the form of a one-bite flavour bomb taco and for vegetarians, the Vindaloo Jackfruit Taco was a refreshing take on the beloved fiery Goan curry dish.
The appetiser was a seafood lover’s dream featuring Hokkaido scallop and a generous rocher of Oscietra caviar served with a velvety coconut sothi and tart nelika also known as amla or Indian gooseberry.
For mains, diners can choose between a Snapper Coconut Chutney with Bombay butter and biryani risotto, Lamb Burra Kebab with potato masala, herb chutney and pepper-fry lamb belly served bo ssam style or Cauliflower Malabar with Bombay butter and biryani risotto.
The snapper was pan seared with Bombay butter that’s been fermented for 60 days and infused with chilli, spices and Carlsberg Smooth Draught.
The special sauce is Mano’s take on beurre blanc, the classic French sauce that’s usually made with white wine but for this occasion, beer was the alcohol of choice.
The night ended on a sweet note with Rasmalai, Carlsberg Smooth Draught ice-cream and saffron cloud with pistachio, a memorable finale that left guests on dessert cloud nine.
Meet the chef
“The marriage between our amazing Malaysian food, boy don’t we like spicy food in Malaysia, but at the same time we also like enjoying a chilled, smooth beer that goes down so well with the food here,” said Carlsberg Malaysia managing director Stefano Clini.
“When the opportunity came about to collaborate with an internationally recognised chef the likes of Mano Thevar, we felt that this was the perfect occasion to celebrate the successful accomplishments of our own Malaysian talent, who has carved a name for himself in the industry whilst delivering a unique and memorable world-class experience to our consumers.”
The specially curated menu gave diners a glimpse into the food that is served at Mano’s modern Indian restaurant on Singapore’s Keong Saik Road.
Thevar currently has a three-month waiting list.
When it was awarded a Michelin star last September, the news excited our neighbours across the Causeway but the Penangite’s impressive win barely made headlines here in Malaysia.
“My friends and family are all very happy and proud of me for achieving such a feat.
“It feels great to bring back some recognition to my home country and leave a mark in the culinary world bearing the pride of my origins,” he said.
Undoubtedly, the event was a fantastic way of bringing a taste of Mano’s creations to his fellow Malaysians and also marks his first time cooking back home since working abroad for over a decade.
“I want to delight and surprise the palate by bridging the heritage flavours of my Indian culture with modern culinary techniques,” said Mano, who plans to open a restaurant back in his hometown of Penang in the next three or four years.
The shy and soft-spoken chef took 12 years to come up with his concept of contemporary Indian cuisine using European techniques, Japanese produce and tapping into his Malaysian Indian heritage.
That skill of allowing the flavours of the ingredients and punchy spices to come through without needing a fire extinguisher for your palate was showcased in each dish.
The only concoction that evening that was searingly spicy (in the best way possible) came in the form of a hot sauce made with, you guessed it, Carlsberg Smooth Draught that was served with the mains.
Guests were sent home with a bottle of this sensational condiment that takes three weeks to make.
A smooth and spicy experience you can be a part of
The Carlsberg Real Spicy, Real Smooth event was a prelude to an upcoming contest from now until end of May where 100 lucky winners and their partners will be treated to the ultimate dining exBEERience Grand Prize.
The full VIP excursion includes a five-star accommodation, a chauffeur driven ride for the evening and a date with chef Mano who will serve up his signature dishes created for the campaign that’s worth RM2,000.
Beer lovers can increase their chances of winning by frequenting their favourite bars or pubs and purchase 10 half pints, six full pints, two buckets or a tower of Carlsberg Smooth Draught to be in the running to win a coveted spot for two.
You can also win the ultimate dining experience by purchasing two six-can Carlsberg Smooth Draught or one carton of Carlsberg Smooth Draught at participating supermarkets and hypermarkets, 99 Speedmart and official Carlsberg online stores.
Visit here to find out more.