Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / Buffet

The last time I went diving was October 2013 in Maldives, a full 2.5 years passed since I breathed underwater, until last week, when we revisited Tenggol Island. The very island I got my diving certificate more than ten years ago, and also the island I dived the most. How time flies.

Tenggol Coral Beach Resort
Tenggol Coral Beach Resort

The east coast highway is now completed, heading to Dungun took us only 4 hours (excluding the detour to Bentong for breakfast), we left KL at 6 in the morning and got there in time for the 11 am boat transfer to the island. It was also an easier drive than previously when you had to navigate through the old coastal road that can sometimes be congested with big & slow lorries.

As a consequence then, the island is now being visited more than ever, and perhaps lost a bit of its mystic of almost being a deserted island that we used to love.

KY, Haze, Rich, San San at Pulau Tenggol
KY, Haze, Rich, San San at Pulau Tenggol

Anyway, we paid about RM 1.5k each for a twin sharing room with all meals included, boat transfer from Dungun, and 7 boat dives. Slightly more expensive than earlier deals, but it was fair considering the upgrades of the facilities & meals. Will get to that later.

Anyway, I want to document my dive log here as per my usual practice.

Day 1
Dive 1
Site: Coral Garden
20/5/16 3:18 pm, 55 mins, 21.7 meter, 30 Celsius, 124 bar of air
Bumphead, 2 types of nudi, black shrimp on cushion starfish, coral fish

Dive 2
Site: Tanjung Gemuk, evening dive
20/5/16 5:58 pm, 57 mins, 19.4 meter, 31 Celsius, 117 bar of air
Nemo, huge morel eel, trumpet fish, rock hopper wrasse, huge nudi, lovely coral garden
Fish eagle with fish or sea snake captured. Nice slow drifting current

Day 2
Dive 1 – Tokong Laut
21/5/16 9:27 am, 48 mins, 26.6 meter, 29 Celsius, 118 bar of air
Lots of boulders, some swim through which is always one of my favorites.

Dive 2 – Tokong Timur
21/5/16 11:43 am, 60 mins, 20.8 meter, 29 Celsius, 134 bar of air
The other group saw whale shark at other dive site. We didn’t but was a reasonably nice dive too. Warm water of 29-30c too. Rainbow runner, school of fish.

Dive 3 – Turtle Point
21/5/16 3:38 pm, 61 mins, 16.3 meter, 31 Celsius, 113 bar of air
Trying to hunt for whale shark, didn’t find any
Lots of goby with shrimp pairing. Some pvc artificial habitat for the fishes.
Always love the black damsel among corals.

Day 3
Dive 1 – Thai Wreck
22/5/16 9:18 am, 49 mins, 30.2 meter, 28 Celsius, 130 bar of air
Lovely atmospheric dive, took a few pics around the wreck. Deepest dive so far.
Again plenty of goby with shrimp at Sandy bottom.

Dive 2 – Amazing Grace
22/5/16 11:37 am, 61 mins, 18.6 meter, 30 Celsius, 120 bar of air
Last dive of the trip. Also one of the loveliest.
Saw 2 turtles, maybe could have been the same one. Trigger fish. Also saw 3 blue spotted rays.
Big giant garupa. Played with Nemo, catch and release style. Saw jewel garupa too.

Thai Wreck, one of my favorite dives
Thai Wreck, one of my favorite dives

A thing to note for myself is that I have to start checking my equipment at least a couple weeks prior to the trip. I only did so a night prior to this trip and discovered 2 optical cables & my macro lens were missing. The lens lent to a friend but the cables .. well, I may need new cables.

Additionally, we discovered that Haze’s dive computer ran out of battery, with mine being quite low in power as well. We also should have tested the BCD in the swimming pool, cos that would have avoided me discovering that a plastic part had failed right before I was about to go into water for my first dive.

Lessons learned.

food at the resort in Tenggol has since tremendous improvement
food at the resort in Tenggol has since tremendous improvement

One of the best things that happened to having more visitors to Tenggol, at least at Tenggol Coral Beach resort that we went, is that now they serve proper food!

In previous years, you basically “eat to dive” and there were very little enjoyment to be had from those barely edible meals. Now they actually offer fairly decent buffet spread that wouldn’t be out of place in a 2-star hotel in the city.

there was even steamboat dinner on our last night
there was even steamboat dinner on our last night

In fact, on the last night they even prepared steamboat dinner with a hot pot on every table, complete with names of the group all assigned properly.

There’s also now a mini market of sort that you can purchase additional drinks (aka alcohol, soda etc) or snacks to be charged to the room. All in all it is now a much hospitable set up than before, and with 24 hour stable electricity supply & hot water as well. We were pleasantly surprised by this.

our dive guide - Jess
our dive guide – Jess

I have a feeling I would see Tenggol again in future trips, the diving was pretty decent, getting there is now easier than ever, makes for a perfect long weekend getaway.

 

Due to the preparation in moving to new home, my schedule has been crazy, and that has a direct impact on my availability to participate in Ramadan buffet reviews. I’ve only been going to very few of them, but when Intercontinental Hotel came calling, I just know I have to make it there.

the famous seafood spread at Intercontinental KL
the famous seafood spread at Intercontinental KL

The biggest reason this is a must-attend event for me is simple, just look at the seafood on ice spread they have above! US & Finn de Claire oysters, Australian spanner crab, baby lobster, crabs, NZ green lips mussels, pacific prawns, slipper lobsters, Harvey bay half shell scallop, and even Alaskan king crab!

If you’re a fan of minimally prepared super fresh (and also sashimi) seafood, this is a spread you must not miss.

ulam, kuih, rojak, salad, and the all important sambal (including tempoyak)
ulam, kuih, rojak, salad, and the all important sambal (including tempoyak)

Before we continue, the most important information:

Selera Pantai Timur bersama Chef Zamzani is available from 8 to 17 June, 2015. Priced at RM 128 nett per adult & RM 64 nett per child. This is the chance to savor all of East Coast’s delicacies brought to you by the good chef who will be at the restaurant during this period.

Serena Brasserie’s Berbuka Puasa buffet will continue from 18 June to 15 July, 2015. Priced at RM 139 nett per adult on first and forth week or Ramadan, and RM 152 nett per adult on 2nd and third week of Ramadan.

roast beef, bread, cheese, for the Western touch
roast beef, bread, cheese, for the Western touch

Other than seafood, the dishes from the West includes pink pepper macadamia crusted Australian beef, lamb, Yokshire pudding, pastry, a good selection of cheese, bread, mushroom soup, gratin potato with cheese, pasta and so forth.

So you don’t really need to be someone who can eat spicy food to fully enjoy this spread.

okra, ketam berlado, kung pao chicken, gratin potato with trio cheese,  sautee mussel,  chicken tandoori, har lok prawn, asparagus
okra, ketam berlado, kung pao chicken, gratin potato with trio cheese,  
sautee mussel,  chicken tandoori, har lok prawn, sautee asparagus

As for traditional Terengganu cuisine, there’s plenty to choose from. Gulai udang, kerutuk daging, singang sotong hitam, gulai telur itik, ayam percik, and ketupat sotong are among the few. There’s also nasi dagang as well.

Of course, ulam and a selection of sambal (including the all important tempoyak) is available.

rendang ayam, gulai udang, hati ayam kicap, nasi dagang, home made ice cream, sup ekor, sup mushroom
rendang ayam, gulai udang, hati ayam kicap, nasi dagang,
home made ice cream, sup ekor, sup mushroom

Other than the selection of Malay traditional fair, there’s other Asian representative too in sautee asparagus with garlic and soya, har lok prawn, kung po chicken, and chicken tandoori.

Like many other places, there’ll also be “stalls” serving roti, roasted whole lamb, roti canai, roti jala (with durian flavor!), ABC, and celup-celup tepung. If you want noodle, they have mee rebus Terengganu and mee goreng lambak as well.

Pauline, Kerol, & KY having a whale of a time enjoying the Ramadan buffet
Pauline, Kerol, & KY having a whale of a time enjoying the Ramadan buffet

Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite buffet spread. The price is certainly on the high side, but you do get what you pay for, so if you’re looking for something a bit more premium with great ingredients while still retaining a traditional touch, this is the place to check out.

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

Ramadan 2015 on KYspeaks is just around the corner, so it’s about time to review another traditional buffet offering that is fast becoming a popular seasonal event in our country. Together with my colleagues Nik, Razi, & William, we went to JW Marriott last Tuesday to sample what they have to offer.

JW Marriott's "Kampung Dining Experience" by the poolside
JW Marriott’s “Kampung Dining Experience” by the poolside

Lets get the most important details out of the way – the prices:

Poolside (June 17, 2015 onwards)  – RM 95.00 nett per adult and MYR 48.00 nett per child.

4th Floor (June 17, 2015 onwards) – RM 85.00 nett per adult and MYR 43.00 nett per child.

on the menu - roast lamb, ulam ulam, chicken rice
on the menu – roast lamb, ulam ulam, chicken rice

Both locations essentially serves the same 130 (mostly) Malay delicacies from around the country, though you get to save RM10 dining on the 4th floor by sacrificing the pool view and not being able to see the chef expertly carving that beautiful roast lamb.

ulam, salted fish, sayur kubis goreng, satey, kari kambing, ayam goreng berempah
ulam, salted fish, sayur kubis goreng, satey, kari kambing, ayam goreng berempah

The menu didn’t seem to vary much from my last visit a couple years ago, which is a good thing. You don’t really need to change something that’s already good.

The food can be separated in a few categories, and to start with I usually head straight to the ulam station that comes equipped with some half a dozen sambals, including sambal belacan, tempoyak, sambal mangga, sambal nenas, cencaluk, and budu. A spicy and pungent start to a traditional Malay fair is never disappointing.

ayam lemak cili padi, rendang ayam, black pepper beef, ikan masin talang masak lemak, panjeri nanas, paru goreng, nasi briyani, Chinese mix vege
ayam lemak cili padi, rendang ayam, black pepper beef, ikan masin talang masak lemak,
panjeri nanas, paru goreng, nasi briyani, Chinese mix vege

Appertizer consists of jeruk, kacang botol, kerabu mangga & udang, acar buah, ikan masin, telur masin, as well as several types of keropok (including the all important papadom). For those who wants something a little more global, there’s green lettuce with dressing, Thai chicken & glass noodle salad, potato salad, seafood cocktail, potato salad, waldorf salad, and even coleslaw.

After you get your stomach warmed up, there are a few “gerai”, or live cooking stations to check out. Here you find satey, rojak buah, ikan bakar (including pari, keli, kembung), nasi ayam (chicken rice), tandoori, mee (laksa, mee kari, char kuih teow), BBQ (the all important roast lamb!), bubur, and soup (including sup ekor, kambing, and more).

desserts, fresh fruits, and kuih muih
desserts, fresh fruits, and kuih muih

Then of course there’s the all important main dishes such as ayam masak kicap, ayam masak merah, ayam percik kelantan, kari kambing, sambal udang petai, fried chicken with dried chili, daging masak halia, sweet and sour fish, kurma ayam, labu masak lemak pucuk manis, sayur campur, rendang ayam, redang daging, daging kunyit, paru goreng berlada, sotong goreng kunyit and more.

Dessert is offered in the form of quite a few variety of traditional kuih, pudding, sago gula Melaka, some pastries, and the really awesome bread and butter pudding.

William, KY, Razi, Nik, & our host, Natasya
William, KY, Razi, Nik, & our host, Natasya

My two Malay colleagues gave these a thumb up, while William was busy eating to register a response. I personally really like the fact that we are keeping our traditional Malaysian cooking alive via these type of buffets. No longer were the days when hotels only serve fancy Japanese or Western cuisines, we are once again proud of real Malaysian dishes.

Thank you Natasya for the invite.

map to JW Marriot KL

Address:
JW Marriot
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.14765, 101.71372
Tel03-2715 9000

Well, it’s that time again. The holy month of Ramadan starts on the 18th June, 2015, our Muslim friends fast during the daylight as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

As a nation of people who loves our food, many restaurants and hotels also offer Ramadan buffet in this period to allow Muslims and also non-Muslims to enjoy a meal together.

Ramadhan at GTower
Ramadhan at GTower, Anura certainly enjoye

This year, G Tower started early and invited the media to have a sample of their buffet spread more than a month prior. I was happy to be part of the group.

First, the most important bit: the buffet will be held at GTower from 20th June till 14th July 2015 and priced at RM 95 NETT for adults.

traditional kuih muih on the spread
traditional kuih muih on the spread

Like many such buffet offerings, GTower will be serving traditional Malaysian cuisine with quite a few live cooking stations  under the direction of Chef Sherry, who has more than 20 years of experience in the kitchen.

ulam, salted egg, and salted fish
ulam, salted egg, and salted fish

Starting appetizer, there’s assortment of salad, kerabu pucuk paku, sambal, keropok, papadum, telur masin, ikan masin, jeruk, and a pretty good selection of ulam-ulam as well. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of tempoyak, but I’m hopeful they will have it on the actual spread.

traditional dishes that goes well with steamed or briyani rice
traditional dishes that goes well with steamed or briyani rice

Many main dishes are served in clay-pot to keep retain the freshness, and they comprise of rice selections such as nasi briyani, fragrant rice, nasi ulam, and so forth. Ayam panggang berempah, daging masak hitam, and dagang salai masak lemak cili api, sambal udang petai (i love this!), ikan pari, tenggiri masak asam, and more can be found.

The best dish of the night for me was their ayam percik istimewa, and for the fans of roast lamb, kambing bakar enak is available (seemingly every Ramadan buffet places now has roast lamb).

pastry, roast lamb, popiah, and other goodies
pastry, roast lamb, popiah, and other goodies

Not all the live cooking stations were available for this tasting session, but there will be mee rebus, mihun sup, rojak singapura, and popiah basah upon request. The rojak wasn’t something I enjoyed though, as I prefer the Penang version.

Overall, the spread should satisfy anyone who loves Malaysian cuisine, and the pricing seems to be in-line with the location and dishes offered. So if you’re planning a buka puasa event, GTower should be in your consideration.

map to G-Tower, KL

Address:
GTower
199 Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1590, 101.7200
Tel: 03-2168 1919

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