Monash Annual Ball 2013 prep: The Food

IMG_7799By Lestari Hairul

“Oooh fancy!”

We’d just rolled into the driveway of the Majestic Hotel and were treated to a sight seldom seen on the KL streets. Doormen and valets, all dressed up in colonial livery, were greeting the owners of the expensive cars driving up just ahead of us. Since we are but broke Uni students, we passed on the valet parking and headed to the more proletariat-appropriate basement parking.

In a show of earning my place at the food-tasting table, I’d whipped out the Editors’ camera upon arrival in the company made up of the Monash Annual Ball committee members. There were many things to take photos of; the hotel is a very grand place befitting its name. Alas, under strict orders from the Activities Chairpersons Aina and Dexter, I am unable to share any photographic evidence of the opulent surroundings. But I do have to say, I am deeply jealous of the MUSA President for he will be sitting with the VIPs in the gorgeous Drawing Room during cocktail hour on the night of the Ball.

While waiting for the Hotel Event Sales Manager, Ms Kristel Joseph, most of the party couldn’t resist checking out (and hanging out for a bit) at the gorgeous washrooms and indeed, this seemed to be one of the running motifs of the afternoon as some time was spent in each available toilet prompting one of the group to remark “EH why you never invite me?” when the other boys had apparently gone to a loo in the old wing of the hotel. I suspect there will be many washrooms shots on the 22nd.



We were served mocktails first, a drink called the Blue Lagoon that is sure to leave a lot of people sugar-high and ready to party the night away. Who needs alcohol, am I right? The bread platter came after; you can have your choice from a delectable variety ranging from soft rolls to multi-grained ones. The warm rolls generated much hilarious confusion over which utensil to use in the fine dining setting. When in doubt, make a ring with your index finger and thumb; the ‘d’ indicates your drink to the right and the ‘b’ is your bread to your left!

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For the first course, we had the classic Caesar salad. The leaves were crisp; the dressing with its touch of anchovy offered a delicious briny contrast and the large crouton slice, once crumbled all over the salad, is delightfully crunchy. Everyone at the table felt especially healthy at that point and if the salad brought most at the table within sniffing distance of vegetarianism (just disregard the anchovy), the vegetarian main course certainly got everyone flirting with the idea of going herbivorous just for the night.

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The chef had made a special plate of cannelloni to taste. A revamped Italian classic, this dish consists of baked cylindrical pasta with a filling of spinach and mushroom. The different flavours, the green wholesomeness of the spinach and the near-meatiness of the mushrooms, blended well with the creaminess of the Mornay sauce smothered on top and the tanginess of the tomato sauce at its base. It was gone too soon, we mourned, even as we tasted the other main course.

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IMG_7844 editedRoasted Chicken with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Noisette Potato

Carnivores despair not, for the roast chicken is meaty and thick; the sole bone on the dish is but 2-3 inches at most and is more of an anchor that pulls the dish together than a viable part of the chicken anatomy. This more classically French dish has the carb option of a baked potato, noisette is basically a fancy way of saying ‘shaped potato’, a polite garnishing of sprouts and it all melds well with the mushroom stew. The wild mushrooms here are not meaty enough to detract you away from the fabulousness of the proper meat, rest assured. This dish is sure to leave you stuffed enough to consider turning your nose up at the dessert…

dessert 2Chocolate Crunchy with Berries Coulis

….But I hope you won’t because as you can see, the dessert is a thing of beauty that’s meant to be in your tummy. With a spot of tea or coffee (hold the sugar) to balance the sweetness, this chocolate dessert is crunchy at first bite before sinking into the soft chocolate mousse nestled in the centre. The dark chocolate stick adds a bit of cocoa bitterness to balance and the tart berries rounds up this dessert holistically.

dessert 1Here, have another shot of the dessert

After a bit more talk of business, we adjourned to the ballroom to have a sneak peek. Seeing the place up-close, I was able to imagine the possibilities of the night: where to dance madly for one (no dance-floor but lush carpeting that will cushion your heels), and the spots where the pole dancers will do their sophisticated act.

IMG_7947 copyWill you be the lucky winner?

Personally, I can’t wait to see what the MAB 2013 committee has in store for us, as what I have seen that day were only teasers, if you will, to the actual event. But short of badgering the committee further, I will be in the same boat as the rest of you; we’ll just have to wait till the evening of the 22nd to feast our senses on the sumptuous spread they’ve been working so hard on. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, do so now because ticket sales close on Wednesday!

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