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Tag / ramadan

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

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

Ramadan is just around the corner so lets continue with the second instalment of buka puasa buffet 2014 review, this at The Saujana KL hotel’s new Charcoal restaurant, remodelled, redecorate, and definitely an improved version of the old Suria Cafe.

Charcoal is a new open-grill concept restaurant that was opened on the 6th of June, 2014, but a review of what the restaurant has to offer will come later, this post is solely about the Ramadan buffet, and this one is served under the stars by the poolside.

Ramadan buffet 2014 at The Saujana KL's Charcoal restaurant
Ramadan buffet 2014 at The Saujana KL’s Charcoal restaurant

The Saujana is located near Subang airport, offering ample outdoor parking space free of charge. Situated directly next to the golf course and hotel swimming pool, the restaurant also enjoys a tranquil and beautiful view.

I was told that the spread we sampled represent only about a quarter to a third of what will be served during the fasting month.

The buffet is priced at RM 115++ per person.

Asian appetizer - kerabu hati ayam, kerabu mangga muda, kerabu kacang botol etc
Asian appetizer – kerabu hati ayam, kerabu mangga muda, kerabu kacang botol etc

Ramadan buffet at Saujana offers quite a variety of Asian appetizers that will surely please Malay food lovers. There’s kerabu hati ayam (chicken liver), kerabu mangga muda (young mango), kerabu kacang botol (long bean), kerabu nanas (pineapple), kerabu nangka, and even gado gado. These offer some intense sourish and spicy taste that opens up the appetite real well.

For those who wants to veer a bit towards the West, there’s a selection of Western dishes such as grilled asparagus with roast beef, chickpea with roasted pumpkin salad, and shredded salmon with zucchini julienne and wasabe mayo as well.

bazaar Malay and bakar stalls offering ayam percik, ikan bakar, and more
bazaar Malay and bakar stalls offering ayam percik, ikan bakar, and more

Like many ramadan buffets in town, the concept of food stalls is implemented here as well.

The bazaar Malay and bakar stalls offer nasi kerabu (the blue rice above), ikan bakar (grilled fish), sotong bakar (squid), ayam percik, as well as other classics such as otak otak.

grilled lamb, ulam ulam, soup, satey
grilled lamb, ulam ulam, soup, satey

Grilled lamb is also available here (basically at every Ramadan buffet I’ve been), and the version here did not disappoint either, the meat was tender and goes well with mint sauce.

If you like ulam like me, they have quite a selection with the accompanying sambal that includes my favorite – tempoyak, or fermented durian. 😀

There’s also an Indian stall that serves putu mayam, tossai, masala vadai, coconut chutney, dal curry and more.

KY & Haze, with various main dishes including vegetable, meat, rice, curry, and seafood
KY & Haze, with various main dishes including vegetable, meat, rice, curry, and seafood

When it’s time to fill up your stomach, main dishes such as ayam redang, nasi minyak, udang masak tomato (prawn), terung hijau (eggplant, one of my favorites!), danging kicap berempah (beef with dark sauce), gulai masam tenggiri (mackeral curry), and more are available. I find the taste true generally stays true to classic Malay cuisine.

fruits, desserts, and drinks
fruits, desserts, traditional kuih, and drinks

Desserts is available in the form of various Malay kuih, bubur durian with pulut, pandan cream caramel, assorted French pastries, cheese cake, dodol, and fresh fruits.

Quality of food here is definitely top notch, and I think this would definitely be a place worth checking out for those who stays near this part of Klang Valley, and especailly those who love traditional Malay cuisine.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Charcoal
The Saujana KL,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.108849, 101.578474
Tel03-7843 1234
emailinfo@thesaujana.com