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When it comes to hotel restaurants, Shangri-La must be the gold standard, I’ve been to a number of corporate events, attended wedding dinners, and been to a few restaurants under Shangri-La group. The experience has always been a positive one, so when I received the invitation for the reopening of Lemon Garden at Shangri-La KL, I knew having to brace the traffic would be worth it.

Shangri-La KL Lemon Garden re-opening
Shangri-La KL Lemon Garden re-opening

My prediction was correct, the food and dining experience was great, and traffic was thoroughly atrocious thanks to the light drizzle on a Friday evening. Alas, most of the invited guests and members of media managed to show up on time to witness the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, the all important event that was in the way of us getting our dinner.

love the new seafood station
love the new seafood station

First and perhaps most importantly, here are the prices:

International Lunch Buffet
Monday – Friday (12noon – 2.30pm)
RM 128 nett (adult), RM 64 nett (child)
Saturday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 148 nett (adult), RM 74 nett (child)

International Sunday Brunch
Sunday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 168 nett (adult), RM 84 nett (child)

International Dinner Buffet
Sunday – Thursday (6.30pm – 10.30pm)
RM 158 nett (adult), RM 79 nett (child)

Seafood Dinner Buffet
Friday – Saturday (6.30pm – 10.30pm)
RM 208 nett (adult), RM104 nett (child)

Sunday Champagne Brunch (inclusive of 1 bottle of Veuve Cliquot per person)
Sunday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 488 nett (adult)

good selection of sushi and sashimi
good selection of sushi and sashimi

The newly face lifted Lemon Garden is designed by Bond Studio Inc from Japan and took four months to renovate, the result is an ambiance that is rather elegant, sophisticated, yet very welcoming. The restaurant now also has an alfresco dining area at the garden terrace offering a scenic view by the koi pond.

Personally though, I think the indoor tables are just great for buffet dinners as you are that much closer to the humongous selection of food.

ample selection of traditional Chinese dishes
ample selection of traditional Chinese dishes

I can safely say that the selection of dishes at Lemon Garden is the most impressive I’ve seen so far, and I’ve been to quite a number of buffets ever since the inception of this blog.

Let’s start with the new seafood station. There’s snow crabs, fresh oysters, scallops, crabs, spanner crabs, prawns, clams, mussels, crayfish, as well as sushi and sashimi. All these dishes are either boiled or raw, and with almost no seasoning, the taste is entirely up to the quality of raw ingredients, particularly on the freshness of these seafood.

In that sense, it did not disappoint at all, I had two plates entirely filled with seafood for dinner.

cold cuts & salad
cold cuts & salad bar

The Chinese section has dimsum, double boiled soup, chicken rice, a noodle station, as well as plenty of dishes you may find at wedding dinners, including steamed fish, mushroom with brocolli, sea cucumber, and mantis prawn with  salted egg yolk.

tandoori chicken, poached chicken, or roast chicken rice?
tandoori chicken, poached chicken, or roast chicken rice?

Then there’s the Asian station. Here you’d find tandoori chicken, naan, satay, murtabak, chicken tikka, roti canai, and others. There are also other local signature dishes such as Nyonya laksa, curry, and more.

Italian & Spanish cuisines are part of the line up too, as with selection of cheese
Italian & Spanish cuisines are part of the line up too, as with selection of cheese

Moving to the West, you’ll find several types of pizza, a selection of bread, cheese, pasta, huge selection of salad, and my favorite – roast beef and lamb rack. The pizza here is made in the traditional wood burning stove too.

red meat includes roast beef, lamb rack
red meat includes roast beef, lamb rack

Then of course, for those with sweet tooth, the dessert pavilion offers a dazzling display of both local and international desserts. You can find ice kacang, waffles, crepes, chocolate fountains, an assortment of cakes, tarts, ice creams, and various traditional Malay and Nyonoya kuih.

dessert includes Western & traditional Malaysian kuih muih
dessert includes Western & traditional Malaysian kuih muih

So next time if your significant others can’t decide what he/she wants to eat, bring them here and you can be quite sure that there’ll be something that will satisfy even the most choosy diner.

dinner was made even better with media friends
dinner was made even better with media friends

Map to Shangri-la Hotel, KL

Address:
Lemon Garden
Shangri-la Hotel
Jalan Sultan Ismail
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.152139, 101.709419
Tel: 03-2074 3904

We Malaysians love buffets, but more often than not, most buffets around Klang Valley offers a variety of many different cuisines, much like the cultural make up of the country, which allows us to sample many varying dishes at the same time. Now that’s not a bad thing, but sometimes, you just want to concentrate on (mostly) one single cuisine, and you want it buffet style.

If that’s your calling and your choice of cuisine happens to be Japanese food, then Tatsu’s Saturday dinner buffet may just be something you want to check out.

Authentic Japanese Buffet at Tatsu
Authentic Japanese Buffet at Tatsu

The Saturday dinner buffet featuring authentic Japanese cuisine started at on the 6th of August and will run through 26 November 2016. We were among the few fortunate invitees to be sampling the spread on the first day of its offering at Intercontinental Hotel.

The all-you-can-eat deal is priced at RM 118 nett per adult and RM 69 nett for children between age 5-11 years.

Sushi or Sashimi anyone?
Sushi or Sashimi anyone?

The spread is concocted by Assistant Chef Tommy Kuan and comprises of some 75 items, and obviously, we got the night started at the raw bar with some sushi & sashimi.

Here you find a selection of salmon, tuna, and butter fish sashimi in pretty generous cuts. There’s ebi, tamago, inari, sake, and maguro sushi as well as some sushi rolls to pick from. Quality are more than decent, though lacking some of the more premium ingredients like amaebi or otoro, this is to be expected at this price point I suppose.

onsen egg, baby octopus, and other small dishes
onsen egg, baby octopus, and other small dishes

Other dishes from the “appetizer” bar includes those perfectly prepared Onsen eggs, salad, baby octopus, and a selection of small Japanese vegetable dishes which I really enjoy.

some pre-cooked Japanese dishes too
some pre-cooked Japanese dishes too

For those who likes pre-cooked items, there are a few selections too. Udon, soup, chawamushi, edamame, spicy tofu, miso soup, and even Japanese curry. To be honest, these aren’t my usual dishes to go for in a buffet such as this, because what I really enjoy more is up next…

made to order teppanyaki dishes
made to order teppanyaki dishes

The live teppanyaki cooking!

Here you pick the ingredients (salmon, prawns, squid, butter fish, chicken, beef, mushroom, vege etc) and have the chef cook on the spot. They’re usually ready in 5-10 minutes and then you can enjoy the piping hot teppanyaki dishes. I thought their chicken teppanyaki was particularly delicious.

"ala minute" dishes - ebi tempura, saba, kaki furai, sawara teriyaki
“ala minute” dishes – ebi tempura, saba, kaki furai, sawara teriyaki

In addition to teppanyaki, there are also a selection of “ala minute” dishes you can order to be served to your table. These includes ebi tempura hand roll, California hand roll, salmon teriyaki, saba shioyaki, sanma shioyaki, chicken teriyaki, sawara teriyaki, tempura moraiwase, and kaki furai.

Some of these dishes tend to get tepid & tired looking on a buffet spread if they’ve been left there for a while, so having them freshly made to order is a great idea.

beautifully crafted desserts
beautifully crafted desserts

Then of course, there’s Japanese desserts such as shiratama zenzai (red bean soup with mochi), manju (traditional Japanese confection), and assortments of ice cream, including one of my favorites – black sesame flavor.

fruits, black sesame ice cream, onsen eggs, Haze & KY
fresh fruits, black sesame ice cream, onsen eggs, Haze & KY

I really enjoyed the buffet spread, and though it offers pretty decent value for the price at a up class hotel restaurant in the heart of KL. If you’re up to some authentic Japanese buffet, do not that the last day to enjoy this at Tatsu is at the end of November 2016, don’t miss out.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Tatsu Japanese Cuisine
Intercontinental Hotel

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

A few weeks ago we went back to Penang and instead of staying at home at mom’s place, it was a short staycation at Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, a place with fond memories from my teenage years as I used to work there as a casual workers (as mentioned on the entry on their Spice Market buffet). It was a like a 20 years fantasy come true of sort.

Rasa Sayang at Batu Feringghi, Penang
Rasa Sayang at Batu Feringghi, Penang

Rasa Sayang has always been one of the best hotels from the Shangri-La group. Situated at the East side of Batu Ferringhi beach, it is some 20 minutes drive from Geogetown, the capital city of Penang.

In addition to the access to sandy beach and all the fun beach activities such as parasailing, banana boats and such, the hotel also spot a huge garden with some of the oldest and biggest trees you can find. The landscape is simply amazing, and from someone who’s just started to work on a bit of a green patch at home, I can only begin to imagine amount of effort required to upkeep this huge garden.

our Rasa Premier Wing, as big as some apartments
our Rasa Premier Wing, as big as some apartments, with mom!

Rasa Sayang is separated into two different wings – Garden Wing & Rasa Wing.

Rasa Wing is catered more towards couples and adults while Garden Wing welcomes family oriented holiday goers. Each wing has its own swimming pool, with Rasa Wing pool allowing only 16 year olds and older and the Garden Wing main pool accessible to all.

there's a huge outdoor bathtub at the balcony
there’s a huge outdoor soaking tub at the balcony

Rasa Wing guests also enjoy several additional privileges, such as a balcony with private soaking tub, complimentary high tea, semi buffet breakfast at Feringgi Grill, and in-room express check-in and check out.

The service is definitely more exclusive and personal for Rasa Wing guests.

the gym at Rasa Sayang is rather well equipped
the gym at Rasa Sayang is rather well equipped

Other recreational facilities at Rasa Sayang includes a par-3 pitch & putt golf course, a tennis court, an adventure zone, and a rather well equipped gym which we made full use of on our 2-night stay.

Rasa Wing guests get to have breakfast at Feringgi Grill
Rasa Wing guests get to have breakfast at Feringgi Grill

Ferringi Grill has won awards an often regarded as one of the best restaurants on the island, so when we had the opportunity to sample the breakfast buffet as a staying guest on Rasa Wing, it was a no brainer.

The breakfast is served as a semi-buffet style, with a rather decent selection of pastry, cheese, and other breakfast dishes in addition to several main dishes you can order. Haze had fresh waffles with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, berry compote and pistachio powder, while I opted for roasted sea bass with spinach and mushrooms. They were quite delightful, a class above ordinary buffet for sure.

there's complimentary afternoon tea at Rasa Lounge
there’s complimentary afternoon tea at Rasa Lounge

We also took advantage of the complimentary afternoon tea at Rasa Lounge, again available for free to Rasa Wing guests. I had a cup of coffee while Haze opted for tea to go with scones, sandwich, and other carefully crafted pastries. I particularly enjoyed the little sandwich with grilled capsicum & onion, simple and exquisite.

Was our stay at Rasa Sayang as good as I thought it’ll be 20 years ago when I was serving the guests? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t say no to retiring at this place.

map to rasa sayang

Do check out some of the offers from Rasa Sayang if you’re planning a trip to Penang by clicking the links below.

Address:
Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa by Shangril-La 
Batu Ferringhi Main Road,
Kampung Tanjung Huma,
11100 Batu Feringgi, Pulau Pinang
GPS5.478865, 100.254181
Tel+604-888 8888

It’s two more weeks to Mid Autumn festival, a time where Chinese everywhere light up lantern, look at the fullest moon of the year, and gives each other mooncakes while attending those parties for the sake of their kids. Well, at least this is what traditional families in small towns do, in KL, maybe slightly less so.

Anyway, a week or so ago we went to Prince Hotel to sample their mooncakes for 2013 as well as some of their pork free dimsum. The mooncakes will be available now till 19th September, 2013.

Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL
Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL

Behind the Chinese restaurant at Prince Hotel KL, Tai Zi Heen is a chef who was trained both in traditional Chinese cuisine as well as Western cooking method. Thus, many of the dishes, including dimsum and mooncakes, are created with a bit of influence from the west.

While some might readily dismiss them as gimmicky or not “pure”, I always applaud chefs who dare to push the limit and create something out of the ordinary. After all, how would any cuisine improves if you only stick to what’s taught?

four types of steamed dimsum
four types of steamed dimsum 

We sampled four types of steamed dimsum.

My favorite being the purple spinach dumplings topped with Mexican clam, the taste of seafood and texture of those clam (something like in between lala & scallops) were really fantastic.

The prawn dumpling with crab meat and dried scallop as well as crystal yam dumpling with chicken and mushroom were both pretty good as well, with the latter come in a beautiful flowery shape.

The meatless choice of crystal vegetable and mushroom dumpling though, was a bit too bland for me, but perhaps those who are vegetarian would enjoy it more.

crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, crispy salmon & cheese roulade
crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives,
crispy salmon & cheese roulade

I enjoyed the fried dimsum here more than their steamed counterparts. Crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, as well as the crispy salmon & cheese roulade were all pretty creative and carry a taste that isn’t very typical of traditional fried dimsum, but in a good way.

I felt that ingredients such as cheese and salmon gave the dishes an extra edge and really went will the those soft crispy pastry.

shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks
shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks

The “xiao long bao” alternative here comes in a small bowl, and is definitely not “xiao” (small). Stuffed with crab meat and those sweet, savory broth, it was quite a treat.

The beef patties with leeks, mayo and teriyaki sauce seems like something out of a Japanese restaurant, and tasted as such as well. I was happy to have a bit of beef after the mostly fish and chicken dishes sampled above.

2013 mooncakes from Tai Zi Heen
2013 Tai Zi Heen mooncake collection

Then there’s the mooncakes, Tai Zi Heen’s mooncakes were all handmade in house, we sampled eight different varieties and just about the only problem I have is that they don’t have a version with double salted egg yolk! gahh.

Here are the flavors:

  • baked five variety of nuts, rum & raisin (with alcohol)
  • mini snow skin chocolate and whisky (with alcohol)
  • baked white lotus paste and single egg yolk
  • baked low-sugar white lotus paste with sunflower seeds
  • baked pandan paste with melon seeds
  • baked with red bean paste
  • mini snow skinw ith red bean paste
  • mini snow skin with pandan lotus paste and mung bean paste
  • baked premium durian lotus paste
  • mini snow skin with passion fruit cheese cake

Of all these flavors, I find the passion fruit cheese cake version to be most interesting and out of the ordinary. It tasted like a mix between really good sorbet and snowskin mooncake, in a good way. This is a must try if you’re adventurous. The traditional lotus paste with egg yolk version holds up with some of the bests I’ve tried as well.

KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah
KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah

A word of caution for Muslim friends, while the food is pork free, some of the mooncakes do come with small amount of alcohol; and as far as pork free dimsum goes, the dishes we sampled here were of pretty high standard and for sure, worthy of the dishes. I like the creativity and the different ingredients used as well.

For weekends and public holidays, they also run an ala carte buffet dimsum for RM 45++ which features 45 types of their best selling dimsum dishes.

map to Prince Hotel KL

Address:
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
GPS: 3.15041, 101.71467
Tel 03-2170 8888
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily

After sampling Dorsett Grand Subang‘s Sunday (and public) dimsum buffet spread, we returned for another review session to check out some of Emperor restaurant’s signature dishes as well as their mooncakes offerings for the Mid Autumn festival happening a month from now.

wok-fried egg noodles and fresh water prawn "Cantonese" style
wok-fried egg noodles and fresh water prawn “Cantonese” style

Emporer Chinese Restaurant is a pork free restaurant, and the mooncake they prepare should be safe for those who don’t consume pork as well. Something to think about if you would want to use mooncake as cross-cultural gifts.

As with any proper Chinese dinner, we started with soup. The double boiled fish maw soup with bamboo pith & vegetable (RM 55) is perfect to warm the stomach and prepare the our palate for what’s to come.

The big ticket item was Wok-fried egg noodles and fresh water prawn “Cantonese” style (RM 60 regular), a dish that’s executed rather well with really massive fresh water prawn that’s packed with the roe, providing it with that extra jolt of savory taste. Certainly a good version of Sang Har Mee.

deep fried crispy spring chicken, braised homemade spinach beancurd, stir fry mix vege and fresh scallop
deep fried crispy spring chicken, braised homemade spinach beancurd,
stir fry mix vege and fresh scallop

I initially thought that the deep fried crispy spring chicken (RM 30) was pigeons at first, and to be honest, it provides little difference other than packing more meat. I find it just a tad dry and lacking fats, but I am also one who dislike kampung chicken, so your mileage may vary.

Braised home-made spinach beancurd with shimiji mushroom (RM 60) was one of my favorite dishes. The freshly made tofu was soft and I really liked how the addition of spinach gives it a different dimension.

The stir fry mix vegetable and fresh scallop in “Teow Chew” style (RM 60) came with quite a different selection of vegetables, including mushroom, lotus roots, asparagus, carrot, celery, and more; forming a cacophony of taste & texture in your mouth. Of course, the presence of scallops definitely help.

wok fried peeled prawn with homemade butter sauce
wok fried peeled prawn with homemade butter sauce

Lastly, the wok-fried peeled prawn with home made butter sauce (RM 52 regular) looks a little bit like the more familiar egg yolk version, but coated with butter and light breading instead. I like that the prawns are shelled for easy consumption.

Dessert came in the form of chilled mango puree with fresh mix fruit & sago (30), cold and refreshing.

classic and crystal skin mooncake, pandan, lotus paste, egg yolk etc
classic and crystal skin mooncake, pandan, lotus paste, egg yolk etc

The mooncakes from Dorsett Grand Subang are priced from RM 15++ to RM 20++ per piece, and as stated, they are pork free.

Mooncake came a long way since its existence  over a thousand years ago. You can now find a huge variety of fillings and different skins, it’s now easier than ever to find one that you like.

Some of the mooncakes offered here are:

  • pandan lotus paste with egg yolok
  • pure red bean paste with single egg yolk
  • white lotus paste with double egg yolk
  • crystal skin pandan lotus paste with egg yolk
  • red bean, sweet potato with egg yolk
  • green tea lotus paste with single egg yolk
  • pure sweet potato paste with single egg yolk
  • white lotus paste with single egg yolk and pure white lotus paste

I’m a simple man when it comes to mooncake though, give me anything with egg yolk (especially double egg yolk) and I’m happy.

eat all the mooncakes!
eat all the mooncakes! Chef Chong Foo Tuck – dimsum chef

If you buy 10 boxes of mooncake (4 pieces per box) at Dorsett Grand Subang, they will throw in two dining voucher for the Sunday dimsum branch. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Additionally, CIMB credit card holders & Enrich members get 15%, with Dorsett Prestige members enjoying 20% off at The Emperor.

Happy dining!

map to Grand Dorsett hotel, Subang Jaya

Address:
The Emperor
Dorsett Grand Subang
Jalan SS12/1,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.079211, 101.595999
Tel03-5031 6060 ext 1954
HoursSundays & Public Holidays 10 am – 2:30 pm