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Last week we attended the second buka puasa dinner buffet review session at Armada Hotel’s Utara Cafe, a place Haze and I went  earlier in the year for their Mother’s day promotion buffet and was largely left impressed.

We braved the pre-buka puasa traffic in town (should have taken the LRT) and ended up parking a couple blocks away from the hotel to get there in time to take these photos before they were on everyone else’s plates. Ramadan is a month with fantastic food offerings at the markets and hotels alike, but the traffic.. that part I don’t like nearly as much.

buka puasa at Armada's Utara Cafe - Sinar Ramadhan Al-Mubarak
buka puasa at Armada’s Utara Cafe – Sinar Ramadhan Al-Mubarak

Anyway, themed “Sinar Ramadhan Al-Mubarak“, the buka puasa buffet at Armada features over 100 dishes of traditional delicacies as well as some of the more familiar international offerings that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to those who has been to the Utara Coffee House.

These dishes are the brain child of Executive Chef Chew Teik Chye and his team of chefs.

ulam, kuih, rice, and even western style pastry too
ulam, kuih, rice, and even western style pastries

To start, there are kerabus, lemang, seruding, traditional kuih, and ulam with 4 different types of sambal, but unfortunately no tempoyak. Western style pastries are available as well, and if you are a fan of kerabu, they have kerabu mangga, kerabu sotong, kerabu kacang botol, and kerabu soo hoon.

lamb, beef curry, salad/rojak bar, roti jala, roti canai
lamb, beef curry, salad/rojak bar, roti jala, roti canai

There are also a few dishes from Middle Eastern cuisine that made their way into this buffet line up, you can find  Qara Be Lahm El Ghanam (Pumpkin with lamb and cumin), Dajaj Mehawar (chicken with aromatic onion), Samkeh Harra Bil Kozhara (spicy fish with coriander), Fatet Dajaj (scented chicken with saffron rice), and Bayd Bil Forn (baked egg with spinach)

To be honest, those aren’t food I’m familiar with, but I did try a bit of them and my experience is a positive one.

satey, otak-otak, ikan bakar, roast lamb, nasi briyani, gulai with paku
satey, otak-otak, ikan bakar, roast lamb, nasi briyani, gulai with paku

Classic dishes such as gulai lembu (beef curry), ayam golek, pucuk paku, kambing masak merah, and many more are all present as well. Roti canai, satey, otak-otak, ikan bakar, briyani rice, and whole roast lamb too are some of the other dishes you can find. It is impossible to list them all down.

Oh, there’s also a stall where you can pick your own raw seafood and get the chef to cook it right there and then with the sauce of your choice. My advice is to try not to add bamboo clams into the mix cos the shells sometimes break and you end up having to pick them off the squid/prawns, troublesome!

sweet and sour beef, prawns, mussels, vegetables, and even duck
sweet and sour beef, prawns, mussels, vegetables, and even duck

Other than the more “typical” Middle East and Malay food, there’s also raw oysters, sushi, smoked duck, steamed fish, and an assortment of dishes representing cuisines from all over the world. The 100+ dishes can actually be a little bit intimidating if you are those sort of people who always want to try everything at a buffet.

I took about 4 plates of food (not very full lah!) for dinner, and while not everything was 100% super fantastic, they were generally pretty good, and I particularly like the duck, steamed fish, and beef curry. Oysters were plenty fresh too.

steamed fish, raw oysters, sushi, and dined with some Muslim friends
steamed fish, raw oysters, sushi, and dined with some Muslim friends

This Ramadan feast is priced at RM 85++ per person, and there’s also a 10+1 promotion applicable for voucher purchase (to be redeemed till 31st Oct 2012). There’s also a competition at  www.facebook.com/HotelArmadaPJ that you might want to check out.

map to Armada Hotel

Address:
Utara Coffee House
Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya
Lot 6, Lorong Utara C,
Section 52, 46200 PJ, Selangor
GPS3.104199, 101.640964
Tel03-7954 6888 (ext 4557)

Utara Coffee House

Being a mom has one of the toughest job descriptions ever. In this upcoming Mother’s day over the weekends (see? even their “day” falls on a weekend so they don’t get days off from work), it’s time for a role reversal and cook her dinner instead.

But for those who can’t or otherwise not capable of doing so, bringing mom for a nice meal would be a good alternative.

Utara Cafe at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya
Utara Coffee House at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya

Last weekends a few of us were invited to Armada Hotel’s Utara Coffee House to sample their Mother’s Day promotion – Loveably Mama:

  • Eve of Mother’s  Day (12/5/2012) – 7 pm to 10:30 pm – RM 70++ adult, RM 35++ child/domestic helper
  • Peranakan “Ho Chiak” Buffet Hi-Tea (13/5/2012) – 12 pm to 4 pm – RM 75++ adult, RM 37.50++ child/domestic helper

Mothers also dine for free (subject to 2 moms per group of 10, call for more info). On top of that, the first 10 moms get to have free caricature drawings, plus there are goodie bags, games and prizes too.

the usual buffet spread - fresh oysters and prawns among the dishes
the usual buffet spread – fresh oysters and prawns among the dishes

OK, now on to the food choices at Utara Coffee House.

The buffet spread, while not the biggest I’ve been, does offer pretty decent selections considering its price point.

there are some exquisite entrees too, the girls preparing laksa
there are some exquisite entrees too, the girls preparing laksa

There’s the raw bar with fresh oysters, prawns, as well as sushi and a selection of sashimi (from their Shokudo Japanese restaurant I assume).

There are also those exquisite little salad and prawn thingy served in a shot glass,  cold cuts, satey, and even a noodle bar where you make your own nyonya laksa.

wide variety of food, including many local delights
wide variety of food, including many local delights

For the Peranakan promotion that they are having, you’ll also find otak-otak, nyonya chap chai (mixed vegetable), ayam pong teh (stewed chicken), kiam chai ark (salted vegetable duck soup), jui hu char (fried cuttle fish, or nyonya hokkien sengkuang), loh bak, ayam buah keluak, sambal petai, and so forth.

Desserts include kuih kochi, sago gula melaka, kuih onde-onde, pulut tekan with kaya, ang koo kuih, pasembor, and pulut tai tai.

we tried their duck soup, sashimi, sushi
we tried their duck soup, sashimi, sushi

I had some oysters, salad, and cold cuts from the buffet (normal everyday line up), then for the review, we were served several items that were going to be available for Mother’s Day.

We started out with kiam chai ark (salted vegetable duck soup), and it was as authentic as they come. Slightly spicy and absolutely flavorful, something I’m used to growing up in a Penang Hokkien family where Nyonya food is our staple.

The asam sting ray (wish I took some rice) and jiu hur char (sengkuang with cuttlefish) too tasted very similar to what my mom used to make, I really liked them.

asam stingray, nyonya hokkien sengkuang, pulut kuning and rendang, dessert
asam stingray, nyonya hokkien sengkuang, pulut kuning and rendang, dessert

I enjoyed the pulut kuning too, and while the ayam rendang was good, I must say that I am more used to curry chicken as a companion dish instead. Sushi and sashimi that we had were decent, but as with most buffets, they aren’t exactly going to be those type of offers a life changing experience.

My takeaway from buffet at Armada was that it was genuine, with food true to the origin (Chef is an experience guy originally from Penang and had extensive working experience overseas), and offers very decent value for money.

More photos at facebook page

map to Armada Hotel

Address:
Utara Coffee House
Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya
Lot 6, Lorong Utara C,
Section 52, 46200 PJ, Selangor
GPS3.104199, 101.640964
Tel03-7954 6888 (ext 4557)