Ramadan Review: Jom Makan @ Paya Serai, Hilton Petaling Jaya

The holy month of Ramadan begins this week, and hotels around the Klang Valley will be busy with festive dinner offerings. At Hilton PJ, the theme this year is ‘Jom Makan’ – inviting everyone to the hotel’s Paya Serai Restaurant to partake in a delicious spread of local and international flavours.

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Kick the meal off with some colourful thirst quenchers – refreshing mango and fruit cordials, soya bean and milk tea.

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Seafood on ice always makes for popular appetisers, and Paya Serai has shrimp, crab and mussels on the menu.

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Alternatively, pick out your favourite ulam and kerabu (salad) mixes.

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If cold seafood is not your thing, opt to have the chefs at the grilling station cook them over a fire, and enjoy with various curries, sauces and dips.

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Those craving for Indian flavours can head to the Indian food station, complete with murtabak (spiced meat stuffed in bread), roti canai, curries and fresh-off-the-grill satay.

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No Ramadan buffet would be complete without chicken or beef satay, eaten with peanut gravy and a side of ketupat (rice wrapped in woven palm leaf). The version at Paya Serai is flavourful and juicy, with a nice ratio of lean and fat.

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Gotta have them carbs! The noodle station lets patrons customise the ingredients they’d like in their bowl of soupy goodness.

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Eating shellfish can be messy but oh-so-satisfying: you’ll find plenty of variety here, such as the spicy balitong (left) that needs to be sucked out of the shell, as well as curried crab.

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Whole roasted lamb, prepared Mediterranean style and stuffed with rice.

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Chef grilling meat on the teppanyaki hotplate.

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Western dishes like beef in brown sauce.

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For the adventurous, here’s something you don’t see very often – a whole ox tongue, marinated and sliced. It was spicy and had a slightly rubbery texture, which I quite enjoyed! No doubt some will find it off putting. 😛

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A nice variety of local and Western desserts: cakes, kuih, tarts, puddings, fried banana fritters.

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Tau Foo Fah (soybean curd)

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My favourite was of course the chocolate fountain! 🙂

Throughout Ramadan, the hotel will play host to several food trucks outside the restaurant, so guests can wander around and taste local street food, in addition to the buffet.

The Jom Makan buffet is available from 15 May until 14 June. It is priced from RM169 nett on 15 – 17 May, RM189 nett from 18 May onwards, and RM169 nett from 11 June til 14 June.

For reservations, call +03 7955 9122 or visit zestPJ.com

Ramadan Review: Buffet Aneka Selera @ Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

The holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner. Aside from being a special time of the year for Muslims to observe self-reflection, you know what that means – delicious food! With hotels around KL gearing up with their festive spreads, I got to try the Buffet Aneka Selera at Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

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One of the more affordable Ramadan buffets in KL, RCBB’s spread stays true to the theme ‘Aneka Selera’ – which means everyone can taste a variety of scrumptious main dishes and desserts. Served in a cosy and spacious setting, the warm hues and wooden accents and decorations that replicate a Minangkabau house will make diners feel right at home.

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The selection is decidedly traditional, and features firm favourites commonly found during Ramadan. RCBB Executive chef Raja Kamaroszaman recommends a few specialties not to be missed, including the Rendang Itik, Nasi Arab, Gulai Kawah and Bubur Lambuk.

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One of my favourites was the whole roasted lamb, served with sides of mushroom sauce and fragrant Arab rice. The meat was tender and done just right, complemented by the savoury sauce.

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Various ulam (traditional Malay salads).

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Strong flavours such as Sambal Tempoyak (fermented spicy paste), telur masin (salted egg) and sambal belacan will remind diners of good old-fashioned Malay village cooking.

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To cut down on the heaviness, there is a nice selection of fresh fruits.

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End the meal on a sweet note with a mix of local and Western pastries and desserts, such as sago pudding with gula melaka, fruit tarts, creme caramel pudding, cakes, kuih, and more.

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The Buffet Aneka Selera is available daily from 7PM – 10PM from 16 May 2018 to 14 June 2018. It is priced at only RM98 nett for adults and RM60 nett for children and senior citizens. For added convenience, comfortable prayer rooms or Surau will be available for guests to observe their prayers.

In the spirit of Ramadan, the hotel will also be organising a charity campaign called Ketupat Card for the underprivileged children of a chosen charity home, Rumah Anak Yatim Shifa. Diners can help by sponsoring a Ketupat Card at RM10, with proceeds going to the orphanage.

For reservations, call 03-2147 9898.

SUNFLOWERS BRASSERIE, ROYALE CHULAN BUKIT BINTANG 

17-21, Bukit Bintang Street, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

 

Review: Christmas Lunch @ Cinnamon Coffee House, One World Hotel Bandar Utama

My company has an annual tradition of having a Christmas lunch before everyone goes off for the holidays. Last year it was at MamaSan, where everyone got to order their favourite dishes, but this year the boss decided to take us to a buffet at One World Hotel Bandar Utama. Some of my colleagues who have been with the company for longer says they’ve had several Christmas lunches and events here and the food was pretty decent, so I was looking forward to it! 🙂

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One World Hotel’s Cinnamon Coffee House was looking very festive, with lots of Christmas-y decorations. We arrived around 1PM, so the place was already packed with people, mostly office workers.

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The coffee house was really large! I think it could easily seat 200 covers or more.

The main buffet table with a selection of fresh salads and local/international dishes such as fried fish fillet in cream sauce, curry, beef rendang, fragrant briyani rice and more.

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Pasta station where they prepare your dish fresh to order. The line was really long though so I gave this a skip.

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The sushi/sashimi counter was a hot favourite, with a long line snaking down the aisle. They took a long time to replenish the section, but I managed to grab a few precious pieces of salmon and tuna. The cuts were quite fresh.

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Alcohol corner.

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Roast chicken rice corner.

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Fresh seafood counter, which also ran out within minutes of being replenished.

Here’s a trend I noticed at buffets: Malaysians will always go for things they perceive as ‘expensive’ – oysters, seafood, sushi, etc. These items run out faster than anything else.

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Fresh-off-the-grill satay, cooked over a charcoal fire. The chicken was nice, tender and juicy but the beef was a bit too chewy for my liking. The accompanying peanut sauce was decent.

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Plate 1: A bit of everything! My favourite was the fish fillet in creamy curried sauce and the fish maw balls with brocolli, although the latter’s sauce was a tad too starchy. The rack of lamb finished quickly and was not replenished so I only got to taste a little, but it was excellent.

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Satay, potato wedges, more fish fillets and assorted goodies. Overall I was satisfied with the quality of the food as everything tasted fresh and yummy – a feat that many buffets fail to achieve.

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Moving on to the dessert section, I made a beeline for the chocolate fondue fountain. The way they skewered the marshmallows made it difficult to eat without getting chocolate all over my face, but it was worth it. Chocolate is always worth it 😀

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The panna cotta served in shallow dishes was rich, sweet and creamy without being cloying. True to the Christmas theme, there were more Western desserts than local ones, but they were all well done.

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All in all, a satisfying lunch with a relatively decent variety. The buffet price is RM97++ per pax. 

CINNAMON COFFEE HOUSE 

Level 1, One World Hotel Bandar Utama, Lebuh Bandar Utama,  47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Business hours: 6AM – 1AM (daily)

Reservations: 03-7681 1157

 

 

 

 

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.

Classic Afternoon Tea @ Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

Oh, hello darlings. What lovely weather we have today, don’t we?  

….*ahem* 

Sorry.  It’s just that when I think of afternoon tea, I imagine small British ladies in color-coordinated dresses and matching top hats. Ha.

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I am not British, and I went dressed in T-shirt and jeans – but I did get to enjoy a scrumptious Classic Afternoon Tea at Sheraton Imperial Hotel Kuala Lumpur. At RM84++ per pax, the meal came with a 3-tier set laden with snacks, pastries and tea-time goodies, a pot of TWG tea, and a selection from the mini buffet.

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TWG is well known for its fine teas sourced from all over the world.

Expensive teas are lost on me because I can’t tell the difference. I could feel my editor rolling her eyes at me when I went for the most ‘common’ one I could find on the menu, namely Earl Grey.

Well, the tea was certainly fragrant and had a soft, velvety feeling on the tongue.

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The first tier had fluffy lemon meringue tarts, raspberry tarts and sweet macaroons. Big thumbs up to the pastry chefs at Sheraton because the tarts had amazing texture, and the flavours weren’t too sweet.

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I like desserts, but savoury is more my thing – and I loved these refreshing salmon and egg sandwiches. The salmon was fresh and rolled with just a dollop of mayonnaise and caviar for that slight saltiness. Fresh lettuce and tomato pulled everything together.

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Nothing like Scones with raspberry jam, marmalade and fresh cream to go with an afternoon tea. I almost stuck my pinky out while holding the cup.

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The tier was already quite filling, but they also have a mini buffet of cakes, tarts, cupcakes and all sorts of sweet things – how could I miss out?

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Went back repeatedly for marshmallows with the chocolate fountain.

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Some of these look too pretty to be eaten.

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The cosy Pavilion Lounge. While you’re enjoying the tea, a pianist plays some soothing tunes.

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Had some savory chicken pies, mushroom tarts and fried veggie balls to go with my chocolate cake.

Considering that most hotels charge Rm100 and upwards for hi-tea, the offer at Sheraton is a steal. Food is yummy and there’s a good selection of desserts too.

Sheraton Imperial Hotel KL Afternoon Tea is available daily from 2PM -5PM at RM84 nett per person. Reservations are recommended by calling  03- 2717 9027
Pavilion Lounge
Mezzanine Floor,
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Malaysia

Food Review: Breaking Fast At Parkroyal’s Ramadhan Buffet

It’s the month of Ramadhan, when our Muslim friends fast for 30 days before celebrating Eid-al-Fitr, or Hari Raya Aidilfitri as it is known in Malaysia. During the fasting period, they have a meal at 5-ish in the morning and will not drink or eat until 7-ish in the evening. Many hotels would offer buka puasa (breaking of fast) spreads throughout this time. For a review from the newspaper I work at, I was invited to write about the one at Chatz Brasserie, Parkroyal KL. So I decided to put it up here as well. 😀 (For the actual article, read here)

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Themed around traditional kampung (village) -style cooking, patrons can expect some good-ol dishes served just like mom/grandma made them such as various ulam and kerabu (Malay salads), curries, rendang, as well as local noodles and rice dishes.

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Fresh seafood selections on a bed of ice; oysters and shrimp.

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Pasembur, a Malaysian Indian salad made of shredded cucumber, potatoes, beancurd, turnip, taugeh (beansprouts) and prawn fritters, topped over with a spicy peanut-like sauce. The good thing is that you can adjust ingredients yourself to suit your tastes.

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Some spicy curry dishes. I find Malay food a little too heavy coz everything is so creamy and spicy, so I can only have it once in awhile. (Right) Ikan masin masak tempoyak (spicy fermented salted fish)

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This was the first time I tried Rendang Paru & Hati. It was really good! Easily one of my favourite dishes at the buffet. Rendang originates from Indonesia but is popular in other countries where there is a big Malay/Indonesian population such as Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; made with a blend of different spices and herbs such as galangal, turmeric, chilli, coconut milk and lemongrass. The paru and hati (lung and liver) was chewy and the creamy sauce clung to it with a smooth consistency. Lovely to go with white rice. A teensy bit too spicy  – my ear drums were hurting after a few servings lol.

Soup. They’re actually quite substantial, I’d call them ‘broth’. There’s chicken (left) and oxtail (right). The oxtail soup has a nice layer of oil on the top, thanks to hours of flavourful boiling. Patrons can opt to add-on condiments to their soup, such as fried prawn fritters, beef trimmings, fried shallots and chopped spring onions. It is actually quite similar to French Onion soup. One can also dip bread spread over with thick creamy butter to go along with it.

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Gulai Kawah is a traditional Malay curry cooked at festivals in the village, whereby everyone gathers and pitches in to prepare a feast, hence the large wok to accomodate a big number of people. It is often served straight from the wok. The ones at Parkroyal were made from local tuna and beef trimmings. I liked the latter because of the chewy fat and lean meat which literally melts in your mouth.

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Traditional Malay kuih (cakes?). There’s kuih lapis (layer cake), kuih bakar Pandan (pandan baked cake) and many more. I like the Pandan cake (left) which has a slightly crumbly crust and thick, sweet Pandan flavoured jam on the inside. Sorry, the closest English word I could think of is Jam. In reality it has more of a doughy texture.

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Fresh seafood grilled to order by the chefs. (Below) Ayam percik is a grilled marinated chicken basted with a spiced coconut milk gravy. It’s also one of the hotel’s specialties.

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Another one of their signature dishes, which in my opinion was pretty good: Nasi Briyani Daging Tanam. Briyani rice originates from the ancient Persian cuisine and was brought to South East Asia by Muslim traders. The version here is topped with tender, juicy beef that just falls apart in soft juicy strips.

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Kuih cara berlauk is made up of flour, egg, coconut milk and turmeric with a filling of spiced beef or chicken, so it’s savoury-sweet.

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Kerabu ayam (chicken salad)

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Chef preparing cuts of beef.

The Juadah Kampung buffet is priced at RM125 nett per adult and RM62.50 nett per child, is available until July 27. The buffet is from 6.30pm to 10.30pm at Chatz Brasserie, Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

For reservations, call 03-2147 0088 ext 6350.