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Meal for Two: S’mores, Bangsar South

The Moomin’s eye doctor is located at Nexus Bangsar South, so I’ve been hanging around the neighbourhood a lot lately (her eye is much better now, but we’ve been doing follow-ups regularly because it wasn’t healing as quickly as it should due to age).

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On one of these follow-ups, we checked into S’mores for lunch. The place has been around since Nexus opened and touts itself as a “friendly neighbourhood bistro that promises the coldest beers” and “the most authentic charcoal and wood fire cooked western delights”. It was a weekday and the restaurant was packed with office workers, but service was still fast, attentive and friendly. The resto has a nice, chill vibe, a large bar and an al-fresco dining area.

The menu is mostly Western (think pastas, pizzas, ribs and burgers), with some Asian favourites thrown in (nasi lemak, laksa, meehoon). The Moomins and I ordered set lunches (RM16.90++) which came with a drink.

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Smores looks like a great place for a beer or two with colleagues after work
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The Moomin’s Spaghetti Bolognese. Portions were very generous.
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My carbonara spaghetti came in a huge serving, topped with heaps of Parmesan cheese. The pasta was cooked al dente, and it was creamy without being cloying (to me, at least), with generous bits of bacon. Solid dish, no complaints. Those who don’t like rich flavours might want to give it a pass though.

S’MORES

Nexus, Bangsar South, Unit G7, Ground Floor, Jalan Kerinchi, 59200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11AM – 12AM (daily)

smores.com.my

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Walking Tour: Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur

Bordering the fringes of the Kuala Lumpur city centre, Bangsar South is perhaps best known as a modern business hub, home to multi-story office towers, luxury condos and chic retail outlets. The commercial area is nicely landscaped with parks, plenty of greenery and wide, paved roads, and the three main buildings – The Sphere, The Nexus and The Vertical – are all connected via convenient pedestrian bridges.

I was in the neighborhood recently and decided to walk around to take in the sights – here are some photos.

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I like how the area has been designed to incorporate lots of public green spaces, like this park with water features, sandwiched between towering offices. A perfect respite for office workers during lunch break.
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The iconic TM Tower, designed to resemble the shape of a bamboo shoot. It also looks remarkably like Stark Tower. When the Avengers premiered in Malaysia, the Avengers logo was projected onto the tower, as part of TM’s collaboration with Marvel Malaysia.
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One thing the Bangsar South neighbourhood has no shortage of: beautiful, modern architecture.
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Aside from offices, Bangsar South also boasts a repertoire of chic restaurants, cafes and eateries as well. Some of them are pretty famous; like Botanica + Co, SOULed Out, and The Farm Foodcraft. There’s also a branch of my favourite tonkatsu place, Tonkatsu by Ma Maison, here.
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Bridge connecting The Vertical, The Sphere and Nexus.

I’ve been watching a lot of walking tours on Youtube lately, so here’s my attempt at one! I don’t have a gymbal or anything so it might be shaky at times.

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Botanica Deli, The Vertical Bangsar South

Taking up a corner space on the ground floor of The Vertical in Bangsar South, Botanica Deli is as chic as cafes come. Spacious, bright and cheerful, tall glass windows allow plenty of natural sunlight to filter in, while the earth hues and wood interiors are accentuated by touches of green, to fit the deli’s greenhouse theme. Part of the Botanica + Co brand (you might have dined at the renowned Alila Bangsar outlet), the deli specialises in light meals and fuss-free meals with a gourmet twist, the likes of sandwiches, salads, soups, pastries, and of course, coffee and kombucha. Just across the shop is the Bangsar South branch of Bo+Co.

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Orders are made at the counter, where there is a selection of sandwiches/cakes/breads on display.
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You can purchase Botanica Deli’s house-made specialties, which include items such as olive oil infusions (red chilli, green chilli, Pahang Vanilla), spice condiments like garam masala and Togarashi, as well as fresh pestos and pastes.
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The deli also stocks ready-to-drink kombuchas and kombucha brewing kits from homegrown artisanal brand Wild.

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Went for a quick pick-me-up while waiting for the Moomins to finish her surgery: comprising a hot cup of cappucino (RM12) and salmon gravlax bagel (RM18). The coffee was a solid cup of joe; perfect ratio of milk vs coffee, frothy, not too bitter or strong.

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You can request for the staff to heat up your breads/pastries. I had my salmon gravlax bagel cold. The bagel was chock full of ingredients; featuring cucumber slices on one side and salmon gravlax on the other, a generous cream cheese spread, and capers to add a salty/tangy dimension. The bagel had a good texture as well. For small eaters, I think this is good enough as a light brunch/lunch meal.

Botanica Deli caters mostly to the office lunch crowd. Prices range average around RM15-RM20++ for most of the mains.

BOTANICA DELI

No, 8, GA3 Podium, The Vertical, Bangsar South City, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 8AM – 9PM (Mon-Fri), 8AM – 3PM (Sat), closed on Sundays

botanica.com.my

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Review: Alila Bangsar – A Zen-Like Oasis in The Heart Of The City

Tucked in a quiet corner of the Brickfields neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur, Alila Bangsar is a relatively new boutique hotel by Singapore-based luxury hotel and resort chain Alila; the brand’s first in Malaysia. The hotel has been gaining a steady clientele, mainly business folks and couples looking for a chill place to relax within the city, but still close enough to business and entertainment hubs.

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N and I checked in for a weekend staycation, and I was very impressed by the hotel’s distinctive look and design. Modern and zen-like, the lobby on Level 41 was decorated with lots of greenery, and there were floor to ceiling windows which allowed for plenty of sunlight to filter in + offered great views of the surrounding skyline.

We checked into a King Bed Studio Room with Balcony, which was extremely spacious at 38 square metres. The design followed the same vein as the rest of the hotel spaces, with lots of wood, as well as calming, subtle white and beige tones with darker accents.

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Among all the places I’ve stayed at, I think this has got to be my favourite hotel room by far! I’d be happy to come home to a studio apartment like this, to be honest. 🙂

I liked how areas such as the bathroom and the ‘balcony’ (essentially a small living room/work space) were partitioned, but still very open so as to give a sense of added space. Everything was also neatly tucked away, like the fridge and tea/coffee making facilities in the cupboard next to the TV. The warm, ambient lighting added to the overall cosiness.

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A very Instagrammable workspace

 

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Large bathroom with not one but two lighted mirrors!

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I liked the fact that the rain shower and the toilet were separate. No bathtubs since they’re big on being sustainable/environmentally-conscious here. Which means you don’t get the tiny bottles of shampoo and whatnot, but instead refillable pump bottles. They also don’t use plastic bottles, so you pour water from a glass bottle when needed.

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The King-sized bed was so massive I think four thin people could have fit on it! Pillows were soft and fluffy, as was the duvet although it was a tad too warm even when the room temperature was set to 20 degrees. In-room facilities were good too, with many channels to choose from and plenty of plug points for charging, ironing board, weighing scale, laundry bag, bathrobes, etc.

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Guests will find an Alila bag in the room. If you have any items you’d like to leave behind such as clothes, you can put it in the bag and place it into a receptacle/bin on the ground floor. The clothes will then be recycled or donated. The bag can also be purchased for RM35.

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After checking out our room, we made a beeline for the pool, which is located on the 40th floor surrounded by a stunning three-storey atrium. This is one of the hotel’s prettiest spaces, surrounded by loungers and decorative plants to evoke a resort-like vibe, with sky-high views of the neighbourhood. The pool is not covered so you will not be able to swim when it rains (exactly what happened to us after about half an hour in the water).

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Night view.

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Dinner that night was at Botanica + Co, the restaurant downstairs which serves Western and Asian fare. Our order of a seafood pizza was ginormous:  loaded with shrimp, mussel, squid and cheese. Quite tasty.

Unfortunately we did not manage to visit the bars. For those who would like a sip or two, Alila Bangsar has two very nice bars; Pacific Standard on Level 41, and Lido on the rooftop.

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Woke up early the next morning refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Time to hit the gym! The hotel has a small gym. Not exactly state-of-the-art, but adequate, with mostly cardio equipment.

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Okay, we know the real reason we worked out was so we could eat more at breakfast! Morning meals are served at Entier, which doubles as a French semi-fine dining restaurant for lunch and dinner. The chef used to work at a 2-star Michelin restaurant under world-renowned celebrity chef Joel Robuchon, so he has some serious chops.

Entier offers breakfast set meals and a small buffet selection; which I think is great as it reduces wastage.

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Buffet consists of typical breakfast items: cold cuts, pastries and breads with jams, cereal, cookie, salad and fresh fruits.

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Loved the cold cuts ! Especially the smoked duck and the salami.

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N had the Western / Continental set which consisted of scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, beef bacon and potatoes with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, baked beans and a pancake with strawberry jam. I had the Asian set of congee with fried crullers, mihun goreng, soft boiled egg and chicken dumplings. Tastewise, not particularly impressive but pretty tasty.

All in all, there are a couple of things that I think they could improve on, but it was still a very enjoyable stay. If you’re looking for a calming, resort-like setting that is still close to the city, then Alila Bangsar ticks all the boxes.

What I Liked: Amazing design, contemporary spaces, the whole ‘sustainable’ vibe, very comfortable bed

What I think they can improve on: Service; staff are eager to please but seem a little inexperienced. Also I don’t think this is something they can ‘improve’ on but the lifts are pretty troublesome. There is a lift from the carpark to the ground floor, then one from there to the lobby, and then guests have to take another lift from the lobby to their rooms. So a total of 3 lifts just to get to my car or out of the hotel to the nearby LRT station.

Shuttle services are available to places such as Mid Valley and KL Sentral.

Rooms start from RM430++ per night.

ALILA BANGSAR 

58, Jalan Ang Seng, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reservations: alilahotels.com/bangsar

 

 

Review: RAGE Bangsar – Where Coffee, Tech and Communities Meet

Good news for coffee lovers!

There’s a new cafe in town, and it’s more than just your typical Instagrammable spot. Setting itself apart from the typical copy-and-paste coffee chains, RAGE Bangsar aims to reinvent the scene with a refreshing new cafe concept that combines technology, coffee and the local community.

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At the official launching at their outlet in Menara UOA Bangsar, which I was privileged to attend! 🙂

The community aspect of the cafe is reflected in the cafe’s interior, with communal long tables (there’s one that’s actually converted from a ping pong table) as well as a ‘RAGE room’ where you can let out some steam after a stressful day at work (complete with actual punching bag and boxing gloves!). Wood and ambient lighting create a cosy atmosphere, while the raw concrete and exposed ceiling lends it an industrial chic vibe.

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“Most relationships start over a drink and very often that happens to be a caffeinated beverage. It can be as easy as ‘Hey, let’s go and grab a cup of coffee’,” says co-founder, Jevin Singh. “We want everyone to walk into any RAGE outlet and feel the close-knit communal spirit that we aspire to create across all outlets. Even the interior is built with a focus on Relationships-First.”

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Meanwhile, the tech aspect comes into play via their mobile application called DrinkRage, which allows members or ‘RAGERs’ to pre-order their drinks and even get them delivered. Delivery areas are currently targeted at high density office areas such as KL Sentral and the Bangsar LRT station, so you can get your caffeine fix in just a few taps, without having to leave the office. Talk about convenience!

With our hectic lifestyles in the city, time is of the essence, and RAGE aspires to help make the experience of offering coffee a smooth and efficient one. Upon placing an order, RAGERs can expect their coffee to be ready for pickup when they arrive or delivered within 20 minutes by an assigned runner. Great for groggy mornings when you need a caffeine booster to get the day started!

Beyond just selling coffee, the app also aims to deliver inspiration on demand. Within the app, there is also a specific community tab which allows fellow RAGERs to sign up for events and build relationships with people who enjoy the same cup of coffee.

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Quirky names and descriptions. Also RM8 for a cup of coffee in KL is a very reasonable price !

Their specialties include items with localised ingredients, such as Milo-spresso Dino, Matcha My Asam and Matcha Gula Melaka. For vegans/vegetarians and the health conscious / lactose intolerant , choose from several milk options such as oat, coconut, soy or regular dairy.

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Tried their “Dirty Chai”, which was pretty strong. The frothiness of the milk helped to cut through the spice and slightly tart bitterness. 

RAGE Bangsar also offers food on their menu, including full breakfasts and substantial meals like sambal aglio olio, rice bowls and mala chilli pan mee.

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The brand is also heavily invested in curating workshops in hopes to support aspiring individuals and tie the working community closer together. From movie nights to personal branding and motivational talks, RAGE has curated a fascinating lineup of interactive activities in store for all its members.Just stay updated on the app and join in on the convo!

RAGE is a strong proponent of working with other local businesses. Collaborating with eco friendly beauty brand ‘The Mineraw’, RAGE’s coffee waste is the star and vital component in their body, face and lip scrub produced by these ethical connoisseurs. You can get these items in store too.

RAGE BANGSAR 

Menara Uoa Bangsar, Unit LGF-3A, No 5, Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 7.45AM – 8PM (Mons- Fris), 8AM – 2.45PM (Sat). Closed Sundays.

drinkrage.com

*Images not watermarked courtesy of RAGE/SuppagoodPR 

 

Review: Upperhouse Kitchen & Dessert Bar, Bangsar

**I actually came here ages ago (by ages I mean like 3 months but that’s forever in blog time), but couldn’t write about it until the article was published for work, so… here you go! 

Hey guys!

So the Ed and I were invited to Upperhouse Kitchen & Dessert Bar in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur for a food review recently. The place, which started off as a cafe that only served desserts, has been around for just over year, and they’ve since expanded their menu to include more substantial meals such as pastas, Western food and the like.

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Brightly lit space, with a small ‘playground’ at the back to keep the little ones occupied.

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Nicely done wall mural decorates one side of the wall.

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They brew their own Kombucha here!

Kombucha is essentially fermented black or green tea drinks purported for their health benefits.

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Some drinks to kick off the session: Ed’s pretty in pink Earl Grey rose latte. 

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Hot chocolate, served with a side of nostalgia (ie, the crunchy wafer rolls everyone loved to snack on as kids). I liked the fact that the drink was 70% dark chocolate so it had just a hint of sweetness and was richer in cocoa.

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Initially thought this was a foamy drink of some kind, but it turned out to be lobster bisque served inone of those traditional porcelain tea cups we often see at local kopitiams.  The bisque was creamy and frothy with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and I could discern the rich flavour of lobster roe in the blend.

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One of my favourites was the Lamb Stew, served with homemade sour dough bread. The bite-sized lamb chunks so tender they practically melted on the tongue and had a nice balance of lean and fat, while the carrots and peas created a mash-like consistency that was both hearty and comforting. Could easily sop up a few more slices of bread with this!

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Moving on to the mains, there was Chicken Aglio Olio – a gigantic breaded chicken chop accompanied by aglio olio pasta with mushrooms, chilli, garlic, black pepper and cherry tomatoes. It was a solid plate of pasta and protein, as the chicken was tender and had a nice flavour, while the pasta was al dente. Wouldn’t call it outstanding though.

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The Chicken Schnitzel was very similar to the chicken in the aglio olio, except that it was drizzled in cheese sauce and served with a side of salad with strawberry vinaigrette,  Mediterranean-style tomato stew and caramlised apples.

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As Upperhouse started off as a dessert bar, it’s no wonder that sweets are where it shines. One of its signatures is the Burnt Cheesecake. Unlike most cheesecakes, the version here is less dense but still rich and creamy, complemented by a dollop of fresh cream.

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Another signature, the almond cookie Mille Feuille looks almost too pretty to be eaten. Layered with orange milk chocolate mousse, the base is delightfully crumbly and marries various textures in each bite. Served on the side is hay ice cream on a bed of Oreo-like cookies.

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Crepe Suzette, flambed on the spot and swimming in a sweet and tangy orange sauce, was as much a joy to watch as it was to eat. Prepped expertly by staff on a skillet, the thin crepes were are lit on fire right before the diners eyes and served topped with orange confit, bluepea flower petals and whipped cream. Now that’s a feast for the senses!

UPPERHOUSE BANGSAR 

27-A, Jalan Telawi 3,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : 011-2872 0083

Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-10m; Sat-Sun, 9am-10pm

 

 

Malaysia Day Special – Lobster Burger @ Pince and Pints, Bangsar KL

I love burgers. I also love lobsters. So when I heard that Pince & Pints – the lobster experts over at Bangsar, KL – is coming up with a special dish combining both, in conjunction with Malaysia Day, there was no way I could say no.

There aren’t too many places in KL that serve fresh, affordable lobster, so when the Singaporean franchise made its way to KL last year, the crowd just showed up in droves; to the point that it was nearly impossible to get a seat without a reservation. While the hype has died down slightly, the chic resto remains a top choice for KL-ites carving for the succulent crustaceans.

The space’s cosy-looking interior has a touch of edgy industrial chic, as evidenced through the metallic grids lining the walls, complemented by brick accents and warm wooden tones over at the bar area.

The menu is slightly more extensive than the recently opened Burger and Lobster in Genting (review: here), with classics such as Live Whole Lobster and The Lobster Roll going along with Lobster Noodles, Lobster Thermidor and Chilli Lobster. They use Maine lobsters that are wild-caught and air-flown from the Atlantic Coast, so guests can be rest assured of freshness and taste!

For drinks, I opted for a ‘Runaway Train’ mocktail, made from apple juice, homemade pandan syrup, breakfast tea and condensed milk. The result was a refreshing concoction with a fruity aftertaste to balance out the creaminess of the milk and tea. Pince & Pints also serves alcoholic drinks including beers, ciders, cocktails and wine.

After a short wait, we finally got our Lobster Burger platter! Served on a flat wooden platter, the serving included a humongous burger, with the patty made from ONE WHOLE fresh lobster, sandwiched between lightly buttered/toasted potato buns, as well as sides of classic coleslaw, sweet potato fries and three house-made dipping sauces of wasabi mayo, garlic sauce and spicy tomato.

Tried to get a nice pic as fast as I could coz I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into that gorgeous burger..

Just look at the sheer size of the thing! That is one whole lobster there, folks.

I happily tucked into my first bite and didn’t come away disappointed. Just look at the chunky bits of sweet, juicy lobster meat jam packed into that patty! The breaded crust also lent it a crunchy, crispy texture, and it was well-flavoured throughout. It IS slightly dry, but still tasty, especially with the dipping sauces. Personally I loved the garlic sauce, which was strong, fragrant and garlicky, as well as the spicy tomato which was very refreshing, like salsa. Not a big fan of the wasabi mayo, but then again, I’ve never liked wasabi.

Another awesome thing was their sweet potato fries. Crunchy and addictive, I could go on eating those forever: the beautiful combination of sweet and salty complemented the burger perfectly.

The Lobster Burger @ Pince and Pints is available throughout August & September, to mark Merdeka and Malaysia Day, priced at RM148++.

PINCE & PINTS

32, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Business hours (dinner – daily) (lunch: Weekends only) 11.30AM – 11.30PM.

Phone: +603 22013233 

 

Ramadhan Buffet @ The Straits Estate, V E Hotel &Residences Kuala Lumpur

One good thing about living in Malaysia ? We have so many holidays for the many different races/religions that live here that it’s like a never-ending celebration throughout the year ! 😀 Christmas and New Year’s is followed by Chinese New Year, then there’s Easter, Diwali, and of course Eid-al-Fitr or Hari Raya, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan. People used to make home cooked meals, but these days, many are opting to treat themselves and their families to buffets at hotel.

Recently I got to try the buffet at V E Hotel & Residences in Bangsar, which opened last year. This will be the second time that their all-day dining restaurant, The Straits Estate, is running a Ramadhan buffet, and the theme for this year is ‘Straits & Arabian Bazaar’ – featuring an assortment of Arabian and local favourites!

The ulam-ulam section (Malay style salad) – assorted greens with sauces, pickles and tempe (fermented bean curd).


Keropok lekor, aka crispy fried fish crackers – although these were a bit soggy from being left out in the open for too long.

Chef ladling piping hot spoonfuls of Malacca-style Kawah Kari Kepala Ikan (fish head curry in a wok) into smaller bowls. Traditionally during Ramadhan in Malay villages, folks would have a celebratory feast prepared by the villagers, where everyone chips in with food + manpower. To cater to the large number of guests, they would serve the food directly from the kawah (wok).

Arabian/Mediterranean inspired pastries and hearty appetisers such as Hummus, Fattoush Salad, Babaganoush and flat breads, to name a few.

Assorted Malay favourites and must haves every Raya: rendang, curry, serunding ayam & daging.

Succulent Ayam Percik Terengganu (roast chicken) marinated with a blend of herbs and spices.

Not sure what the black rice was but it was goooood.

At the outdoor patio, next to the water feature, chefs grill seafood to order. Choose from ikan pari (stingray), ikan tenggiri, ikan tongkol, ikan cincaru and more. My pari was excellently done and had none of the fishy smell commonly associated with the fish.

Kebab meat roasting on a rotating spitoon.

Whole fried fish.

Possibly one of the best dishes of the day; the Lamb Shank Tagine which was tender and juicy, complemented by well flavoured sauces of black pepper and mint.

Looking at the spread of food made us rambang mata (unable to pick what to eat!). The hotel staff were kind and accommodating enough to serve us individual dishes so that we could have a bit of everything. The mee goreng (left, fried noodles) packed a punch of spice and flavour, while the assorted seafood and meat platter comprised of mutton, shrimp, mussel and squid.

Tongue on fire; quenched thirst with a variety of drinks. The Sado Water had chillies floating in it. After tasting it, the other writers and I agreed that it tasted like liquified wafer biscuits x__x. Not unpleasant, but somehow strange.

Nostalgic brands that every Malaysian should be familiar with.

Moving on to the kuih muih, there was pandan cake, kuih cara, kuih lapis, tapioca cake and peanut crackers. Although the savoury items up until then were all good, the desserts were a tad disappointing.

Thank god for their chocolate fountain – chocolate never disappoints anyone.
Red Velvet cake. 

Too pretty to eat cake.

I will now regale you with professional photography after my slew of noob photos 😀

Photos below are courtesy of V E Hotel & Residences. 

To enjoy early bird savings, dine in between 29 May and 5 June and pay only RM98 nett per person! That’s super value for money, seeing that most hotels in KL charge RM100 and above. The regular price for their promo is at RM128 nett per pax between June 6 and June 23. Book and pay before 15 May to enjoy 20% off.

For enquiries and reservations, call +603 2246 2888 or email to dine@vehotel.co.