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As someone who was born on an island, I just can’t say no to good seafood. This is the reason why I went back to InterContinental Hotel’s Serena Brasserie for their seafood buffet review this year as I remember how good was last year’s spread.

Fresh Seafood Promotion at InterContinental Hotel, KL
Fresh Seafood Promotion at InterContinental Hotel, KL

Before we get started on the food, lets look at the important bits of this buffet:

  • available every Friday and Saturday nights
  • RM 120++ for adults
  • upgrade to W.O.W (Wine of the Week) package for RM 180++ which includes a bottle of red or white wine

Additionally, Halloween ‘Scream for Seafood” promotion is priced the same on 31st Oct 2014 with best dressed male and female for the night taking away vouchers of award-winning restaurant, Tao Chinese cuisine and Tatsu Japanese cuisine.

tuna, crabs, octopus, oyster, mussel, slipper lobster, crayfish, and more
tuna, crabs, octopus, oyster, mussel, slipper lobster, crayfish, and more

The most important line of this buffet spread is the chilled seafood bar, it is the most impressive I’ve seen yet on any buffet.

On the bed of ice you can find premium cuts of tuna, butterfish, Pacific prawn, New Zealand green lip mussels, crayfish, slipper lobster, octopus, Fine de Claire oysters, Australian yabbies, spanner crab, mud crab, and Harvey Bar half shell scallops.

These are either raw or boiled, the minimal preparation method retains the original sweetness of the seafood to be enjoyed as is or with the variety of condiments available.

live Australian yabbies stir fried, grilled, or eaten sashimi style
live Australian yabbies stir fried, grilled, or eaten sashimi style

A unique selling point at this buffet spread is the availability of live Australian yabbies, a type of freshwater crayfish. These yabbies are fished out of the pond in the restaurant and prepared fresh in several ways of your choosing – stir fried, grilled, or even eaten raw sashimi style.

A word of caution – the raw yabby may twitch when you pour some tabasco sauce on it!

seafood and other dishes on the buffet spread, with cute Halloween deco
seafood and other dishes on the buffet spread, with cute Halloween deco

There’s also an outdoor portion of the restaurant that prepares freshly grilled seafood of your choosing, this includes crabs, slipper lobster, prawn, cuttlefish, yabbies, fish filet, and more. Additionally, they also serve beef and chicken satey.

a good selection of traditional dishes on the buffet spread too
a good selection of traditional dishes on the buffet spread too

Of course, in addition to fresh and grilled seafood, there’s plenty of traditional dishes to choose from on the buffet spread. Beef rendang, bok choy, briyani rice, crab curry, roast meat, and more are among the many ready-to-eat cooked dishes to choose from.

Halloween themed desserts fancy you?
Halloween themed desserts fancy you?

For the dessert lovers, a pretty decent selection of mostly Western style desserts is available for your picking. Cakes, bread and butter puddings, and many more are available. The chef also showcase his talent in some pretty interesting looking Halloween themed desserts too.

fresh and grilled seafood were my choice, Li Vian joined me at Serena Brasserie
fresh and grilled seafood were my choice, Li Vian joined me at Serena Brasserie

We thoroughly enjoyed the buffet spread at Serena Brasserie. Executive chef Sam Kung certainly know what he’s doing, upgrading the already very good spread from last year to the excellent selection this year. If you’re looking for a good seafood buffet, this is one that you shouldn’t miss.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Serena Brasserie
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

This is the 6th review on this buka puasa buffet 2014 series, and this time we check out the Balik Kampung Buffet at Grand Hyatt KL’s JP Teres restaurant right here in the heart of the city.

at JP Teres, Grand Hyatt KL with Rizal & Shabana
at JP Teres, Grand Hyatt KL with Rizal & Shabana

Grand Hyatt is located right between Mandarin Oriental and the KLCC Convention Centre right on Jalan Pinang. In fact, you can walk from KLCC to the hotel within a few minutes.

While the lobby and flagship restaurant is located on the top floors of the hotel, JP Teres, the restaurant that specialize in local cuisine is on the ground floor to the right as you walk into Grand Hyatt KL.

a variety of kurma, ulam, acar, and salad
a variety of kurma, ulam, acar, and salad

Like the whole of Grand Hyatt, JP Teres is a pretty classy and beautifully decorated restaurant. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with several open concept show kitchens not unlike the arrangement at Thirty8.

The Balik Kampung buffet, priced at RM 148++ for adults and RM 74++ for children, is available from 30th June  to 25th July 2014.

Malay kuih, ice cream roti, kek lapis Sarawak, and the all important tapai
Malay kuih, ice cream roti, kek lapis Sarawak, and the all important tapai

While many hotels try to have a mix of Western and even Japanese cuisine in their buffet spread, JP Teres concentrate solely only local delights.

I personally love this idea and believe that this is the direction that will help keep our traditional food culture in Malaysia alive. If you have friends from outside Malaysia and wish to bring them for some local cuisine in a classy place, JP Teres should be pretty high on the list.

dhal, nasi, lamb curry, chicken tikka masala, paneer makhani, bhindi, do pyaza, sambal,  chicken curry
dhal tadka, nasi, lamb curry, chicken tikka masala,
paneer makhani, bhindi, do pyaza, sambal,  chicken curry

For the Balik Kampung buffet, there are hundreds of dishes to choose from.

Starting from the cold selection you’ll find rojak buah, ulam-ulam, acar, kerabu daging, kerabu udang, kachumbar salad, tofu salad, and more.

To go with the ulam, there’s sambal balacan, cincacluk, air asam, cili kicap, budu, sambal kelapa, and chutney. The only thing missing is tempoyak.

ikan bakar, roast lamb, otak otak, and freshly made pohpiah
ikan bakar, roast lamb, otak otak, and freshly made pohpiah

Like most every respectable buffet for this holiday season, there’s roast lamb. In addition to that, JP Teres also serve very delicious chicken rice (strongly recommend), freshly made pohpiah, ikan bakar, nasi briyani, satey ayam & daging, and even otak otak (which I don’t quite recommend).

daging masak cili padi, labu masak lemak, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo, meehun goreng, kepah berlada, sambal telur itik, sup ekor, bubur lambok
daging masak cili padi, labu masak lemak, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo,
meehun goreng,
kepah berlada, sambal telur itik, sup ekor, bubur lambok

The main dishes here are separated into three sections – with Malay, Indian, and Chinese hot sections.

Here you find dishes such as ayam goreng berempah, ikan merah greng berlada, kepah masak lada hitam, sayur lodeh kering, ayam masak ros in Malay hot section.

Lamb curry, fish amritsary, chicken tikka masala, vindi do pyaza, dhal tadka, paneer makhani (this is a must try!), and nasi briyani can be expected from Indian hot section.

At the Chinese hot section, there’s ayam mayonnaise with Thai sauce, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo, sotong masak oat, kailan ikan masin, meehun goreng, and so forth.

In addition, there’s also a Tandoori station serving roti india, ayam tandoori, udang tandoori, shish kebabs, and talapia merah.

more dishes from Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine
more dishes from Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine

Apart from the hot stations, there are a number of stalls located at both indoor and outdoor dining area at JP Teres that offers anything from lemang, ketupat, makanan laut, gulai kawah, asam laksa Johor, curry laksa, prawn mee, roti canai, yong tau foo, and even murtabak.

In fact, they cover most everything you can expect from local cuisine, with most of the dishes being of very high quality. I enjoyed them.

there are also various cooking stations, including rojak buah at JP Teres
there are also various cooking stations, including rojak buah at JP Teres

The dessert area is perhaps the only place where a few Western pastries and a few selection of Japanese mochee creep into this otherwise 100% local spread. There’s Malay kuih, ais krim roti, fruits, Malay biscuits. roti jala, cendol pulut, sago gula Melaka, and more to be expected.

If you’re looking for local delights in a classy place in town, this is definitely a place to check out.

grand hyatt kuala lumpur map

Address:
JP Teres
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.15381, 101.71234
Tel03-2182 1234 ext. 2333

Fifth review on this buka puasa buffet 2014 series is the Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet dinner at Empire Hotel’s Kitchen Art Brasserie.

Located at Subang Jaya right next to the iconic Subang Parade, the hotel can be access directly via Empire Mall with the two sharing the same parking arrangements. Not having to pay more just because you’re in a hotel instead of the mall is surely a minor bonus.

Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet at Empire Hotel
Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet at Empire Hotel

Kitchen Art Brasserie is located at hotel’s level 2, which somehow translate to just a floor above the top floor of Empire Mall.

I like the whole set up, with a glass walls by two sides overseeing the ever busy Federal Highway and tastefully done interior decoration.

ulam, cold seafood, fruits, salad, salted duck egg
ulam, cold seafood, fruits, salad, salted duck egg

The Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet dinner is priced at RM 108++ for adults, RM 88++ for children and senior citizens. The buffet is available from 28th June to 29th July, 2014.

Interestingly, diners will also standa a chance to win a Hermes watch worth about RM 12k by taking part in a contest during this ramadan period.

traditional main dishes from different states in Malaysia
traditional main dishes from different states in Malaysia

The buffet spread at Empire Hotel celebrates each of the 13 states in Malaysia and features more than 60 different main dishes in addition to starters such as ulam, prawns, mussels, salted duck egg, clams, salads, and even cendol and rojak.

There’s also a Ghazal band performing nightly, in line with the whole local theme.

cucur udang, ikan bakar, nangka, and of course - roast lamb
cucur udang, ikan bakar, nangka, and of course – roast lamb

To make things simple, here are the list of 13 traditional flavors from the different states:

  • sup gear box (beef shank broth with spices) – Utara Kedah
  • briyani ayam dengan kismis (braised chicken with golden raisin – Johor
  • daging masak lemak dengan nangka muda (beef cooked in turmeric gravey with young jackfruit) – Negeri Sembilan
  • terong goreng berlada dengan ikan bilis (fried eggplant with chilli and anchovies) – Selangor
  • ikan masak asam pedas bunga kantan (braised fish in tamarind gravy with ginger flower) – Melaka
  • gulai kawah Terengganu dengan kantang (beef curry with potato) – Terengganu
  • ikan patin masak lemak tempoyak (fish cooked with spicy durian gravy) – Pahang
  • ayam bakar berempah (roasted chicken with Malay spices) – Kelantan
  • briyani kambing (mutton cooked in local spices) – Pulau Pinang
  • hivana roe fish – Sabah
  • braised chicken in bamboo – Sarawak
  • bubur gandum – Perlis
  • rendang tok – Perak

Pinky and I absolutely loved the sup gearbox, check out how huge it is
Pinky and I absolutely loved the sup gearbox, check out how huge it is

Of the various offerings, I particularly enjoy the sup gear box the most. The serving was huge, with the bone neatly saw off at one end and a straw provided so that you can suck out the marrow, absolutely fantastic!

The roast lamb here, as with the other buffet spread I tried so far, did not disappoint. I also really enjoyed the fish gravey with bunga kantan and of course, ulam with intoxicating sambal.

selection of western desserts and traditional kuih, including tapai
selection of western desserts and traditional kuih, including tapai

As for desserts, there’s a rather wide selection of local kuih as well as a selection of Western desserts. I picked tapai ubi and was obviously not disappointed. For those who fancy the traditional sweet drinks popular during Ramadan, there’s more than half a dozen colorful cold drinks to choose from, as well as teh tarik, of course.

Empire Mall map

Address:
Kitchen Art Brasserie, Level 2,
Empire Hotel, Jalan SS16/1,
Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
Tel03-5565 1228

For the forth article of the buka puasa buffet 2014 series, lets go to Jalan Yap Kwan Seng for a positively meaty Ramadan buffet at Las Vacas meat shop.

For those who aren’t familiar with Las Vacas, they have several branches in Klang Valley, including one at Kelana Jaya and another at Mont Kiara that even serves breakfast.

Las Vacas Meat Shop at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
Las Vacas Meat Shop at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng

The branch at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng is Las Vacas’ latest and biggest, so naturally it is most suited as a location to offer their buffet dinner for this fasting month. Parking is plenty and free, while the location is quite suitable for those who work in the city and decide to buka puasa before heading home.

The buffet is priced at RM100++ for adults and RM50++ for children aged 12 years and under, and served from 6.30pm – 10.00pm, 8th July 2014 to 27th July 2014.

canapes, salad, kuih, salad, and drinks
canapes, salad, kuih, salad, and drinks

If you compared to the offerings from hotels, the buffet spread here isn’t particularly impressive in terms of size, tho there are certainly enough variety to provide a more than balanced meal. However, you don’t come to Las Vacas to have 300 different dishes, you come here because of the meat.

Anyway, starting with appetizers and desserts, there a selection of canapes and salads, including smoked beef with mustadard, tuna mayo egg, teriyaki, black olive tapenade, chicken with creamy pesto, smoked turkey salad with balsamic, salad with beef strips, girlled begetables and red cabbage slaws and so forth.

There are also some traditional kuih as well.

nasi hujan panas, ayam masak merah, spaghetti with mushroom, tempura, sayur campur masak lemak putih
nasi hujan panas, ayam masak merah, spaghetti with mushroom,
tempura, sayur campur masak lemak putih

For main, you can find classics such as nasi hujan panas (the version here was very good!), nasi minyak, nasi tomato, beef rendang, ayam masak merah, ikan bakar, ayam pedas, and more.

Australian steaks, New Zealand lamb, burger patties, and sausages
Australian steaks, New Zealand lamb, burger patties, and sausages

Then, we get to the real reason why you would come to Las Vacas for buka puasa – the all-you-can-eat Australian steaks and New Zealand lamb! There’s also burger patties and sausages too if you prefer a little bit of variety.

be sure to ask for how well you want the meat to be done
be sure to ask for how well you want the meat to be done

For someone who likes my steak medium rare, I find the preparation served here slightly too cooked, perhaps it is to cater for the general public. Luckily, you can always tell the chefs to prepare the beef at your preferred “doneness” and they’ll be more than happy to comply.

Las Vacas also stock some pretty delicious French and whole grain mustard that goes very well with the meat.

Haze, Suan, Horng, & KY at Las Vacas Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
Haze, Suan, Horng, & KY at Las Vacas Jalan Yap Kwan Seng

On Friday and Saturda, there will also be traditional Malay performances to compliment your meal. As with many other places, imported dates from Middle East is available to provide a “proper” way to break fast. The restaurant also have an in-house surau for your convenience.

All other ala-carte menu item will still be available for order as usual during this period.

direction to Las Vacas meat shop, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng

Address:
Las Vacas Meat Shop
No. 33, Lot 5, Ground Floor,
Wisma Winbond,
Jalan Yap Kwan Seng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.162898, 101.714842
Tel03-2181 5586

Continuing with the buka puasa buffet 2014 series, today we look at the buffet offering at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton hotel. This year, the restaurant is headed by executive chef Ridzuan Malek, who has over 20 years of culinary experience to present a buffet spread of local specialities in unique ‘kampung-style’ stalls and live cooking stations.

The spread here is impressive, and definitely the largest of the lot that I’ve sampled in 2014 with over 300 local delicacies to choose from. You can come back here half a dozen times and not taste the same dish twice.

roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton

The Ramadan buffet promotion runs from 7pm to 10pm daily and are priced at RM 139++ per adult and RM 79++for children. For the last five days of Ramadan (July 23 – July 27, 2014), the same spread is priced at RM 119++ per adult.

For the selection you get here, it is worth what you’re paying. On top of the food, there’s also entertainment from a local traditional music group from Bale Bale Entertainment to add to the festivity.

mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak
mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak

Now lets talk about what you’ll find at the buffet spread, I make no attempt to list down all the dishes, but you should get an idea of what they offer.

Pretty much everything you can find at any Ramadan buffet spread, you can find here.

Starting from appetizer, you have Thai beef salad, Vietnamese chicken salad, gado-gado, rojak, over half a dozen types of kerabu (ikan, ayam, kerabu jantung pisang, mangga muda, nangka, perut, pucuk paku, etc).

There’s also a huge selection of ulam to go with sambal belacan, cencalok, budu, sambal gesek, sambal nenas, sambal mangga, and my personal favorite – tempoyak chilli.

If you like the even more traditional appertizer, you can find ikan masin goreng belada, sambal hijau, telur masin, kacang tanah goreng berlada, petai, paru lembu, pedal ayam, hati ayam, and bergedil. These are definitely closer to kampung than the city, I love it.

chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style
chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style

Main dishes too is represented by classics from various states and even international cuisines. There’s fish head curry, rendang tok, ikan bakar melaka, whole roasted lamb Malay style, serawa durian and pulut, kerabu gamat and apam balik.

There’s also Chinese style mushroom and vegetable, curry prawn, asam prawn, nasi briyani, roast chicken, and more.

there's also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food
there’s also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food

I would guess that perhaps about 70% of the dishes available here at Paya Serai consists local cuisine originated from Malacca, Penang, Perak, Kedah, and Johor, with the remaining 30% Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Western, and other origins.

The team of 13 chefs definitely managed to impress.

satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too
satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too

Of the various live cooking stations, I was most impressed with the Mongolian BBQ (not that I actually managed to try all of them, to be honest). Here you basically choose one or many main ingredients such as beef, chicken, or seafood, and the chef will cook it up with an assortment of vegetable such as carrot, celery, mushroom, bell peppers and so forth.

It was a dish that I consumed on regular basis while working for a Chinese restaurant in US, this brought back the memory, and the execution was spot on.

KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night
KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night

To end your buka puasa session for the night, there’s an assortment of fresh fruits, air batu campur (ABC), cendol, a variety of traditional kuih, custards, mini pastries, hot desserts, cendol santan kepala muda, and last but not least – durian!

Yes, they serve durian at buka puasa, which was just brilliant.

If you’re looking for one of the biggest Ramadan buffet spread in town, check out PJ Hilton’s Paya Serai.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Paya Serai Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122 (ext 4260)