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Tag / ramadan

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

Most of us know Alicafe as the tongkat ali infused canned coffee drinks. In fact, it is my favorite driving companion to keep me awake whenever I’m on one of those balik kampung drives on the highway.

There’s more than just drinks when it comes to this brand, now there’s an Alicafe TigaRasa restaurant. I was one of the lucky few who was invited to get a taste of what they have to offer just a few days ago.

Alicafe Tiga Rasa restaurant, at USJ Taipan
Alicafe Tiga Rasa restaurant, at USJ Taipan

Located at USJ Taipan, Alicafe TigaRasa restaurant offers Malay cuisine in a contemporary setting and pretty good range of menu. The restaurant is tastefully decorated, giving it a bit of a kampung feel, but of course, dining area’s air conditioned.

The kitchen area is separated by glass, you can actually see your food being cooked (side effect: they always have to keep the place spotlessly clean).

here's the tiga rasa secret - sambal lemak, gulai lemak, and hebi-hiam
here’s the TigaRasa secret – sambal lemak, gulai lemak, and hebi-hiam

Now here’s how this restaurant got it’s name, tiga sara (three flavors) – from the three different traditional Malay sauces:

  • Gulai Lemak – the creamy coconut based sauce with kunyit, sambal, and lemongrass. Rich and flavorful
  • Sambal Lemak – a classic with plenty of chili, garlic, some coconut milk, and other spices
  • Sambal Hebi-Hiam – now this one is interesting, hebi means dried shrimp and hiam translate to spicy in Hokkien. So yah, this is  inspired by Nyonya cuisine and prepared with dried shrimps, curry leaves, onions, garlic, and more.

ikan pari, grilled lamb, and grilled chicken in different sambal, vegetable too
ikan pari, grilled lamb, and grilled chicken in different sambal, vegetable

You can then mix and match the three sauces with ikan pari (stingray) or ikan selar (yellowtail scad), grilled lamb chop, grilled chicken, mixed grill, or mixed vegetables. For those who like it even hotter, you can always customize the order with added chili padi too.

I tried the three sauces with pari, mixed vegetable, and lamb, and it is pretty difficult to pick a favorite. Each one offers a different experience, but they share the same characteristic of being rich and flavorful. I like the fact that terung (brinjal) and other vegetable is added onto the meat/seafood dish too. Goes well with steamed rice.

siakap tomyam, curry fish head, and fried chicken
siakap tomyam, curry fish head, and fried chicken

Other than dishes prepared from those three sauces, Alicafe TigaRasa offers dishes such as siakap tomyam, curry fish head, fried chicken and more.

Saikap tomyam (barramundi) is deep fried but served with spicy tomyam sauce, and the curry fish head reminds me of my mom’s style of cooking, the Nyonya version of curry that is slightly milder (unlike some Indian style would) yet plenty delicious.

The fried chicken has a hint of belacan to it, a very different style from some of those “KFC copycats”, and definitely a taste that I’m familiar of from the mixture of Nyonya-Chinese style of food we get in Penang.

this whole set for 4 can be had for RM 69.90
this whole set for 4 can be had for RM 69.90

To be honest, I’m quite impressed with the food at Alicafe TigaRasa, they do fill a niche by offering mostly traditional Malay cuisine with some mixture of other tastes that is still very close to home.

For the puasa month, there’s special promotional set that starts from RM 10.90 that includes a drink, kurma dates, a main course, and Hokkaido cake as dessert. For family of four (or 5), a RM 69.90 set gets you siakap fish, fried chicken, scrambled egg, TigaRasa mix grilled vegetable, Hokkaido cakes, kurma dates, and Alicafe’s homemade Pati Kurma Madu drinks.

the desserts, and the leng lui is of course, Hanis
the desserts, and the leng lui is of course, Hanis

I can’t wait for  them to have more branches!

map to Alicafe tiga rasa restaurant

Address:
Alicafe TigaRasa Restaurant
No.8, Jalan USJ 10/1H,
Subang Business Centre,
47620 Selangor
GPS: 3.04817, 101.68677
Tel: 03-8011 9412

Alicafe TigaRasa

The month of Ramadan is just a little more than a week away, and for many of us in the corporate world, it is also a time where companies will host buka puasa dinners, giving employees a chance to break fast together and mingle a little.

It is also a time where hotels and restaurants get busy with Ramadan buffet offerings, and lucky me, I already got to sample what JW Marriott at Bukit Bintang has to offer for this holy month in Muslim Calendar.

buka puasa dinner at JW Marriott
buka puasa dinner at JW Marriott

The buffet at JW Marriott will feature 108 of the best Malaysian delicacies from various states of the country, gearing towards “preserving heritage”. From the dishes we sampled, it definitely seems like they are doing what is claimed.

Case in point – sambal tempoyak (fermented durian) is available!

you'll definitely love it if you like it spicy
you’ll definitely love it if you like it spicy

Other traditional kampung dishes includes tongkeng ayam (bishop’s nose), goreng bercili, daging salai masak lemak dengan bachang and kupang masak rampai too are on offer.

Of course, ulam, satey, soup tulang, ikan bakar, roast lamb, keropok ikan, various kuih muih, fruits, and assortment of curry and vegetable dishes are to be expected as well. The preview only showcased a portion of what’s to be offered on the actual buffet, and we are already spoilt for choices.

two of my favorite things - tempoyak and paku
two of my favorite things – sambal tempoyak and paku

As for the dining areas, the pool side at 6th floor and the Starhill conference centre on the 4th floor will be transformed to a Ramadan bazaar to replicate the kampung ambiance.

fruits, traditional kuih, and more
fruits, traditional kuih, and more

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how much this feast will cost?

  • RM 60++ per person at Conference center
  • RM 70++ per person at poolside area

Certainly a very competitive pricing considering the 5 star setting and the rather stellar offering in terms of dish choices. I sampled quite a few dishes from the spread, and most everything was top notch and “ori”, except perhaps for the ikan bakar pari which I thought was a bit too chewy (hopefully this gets fixed). The roast lamb, tempoyak, and prawn with petai were particularly outstanding.

For reservations, call 03-2719 8666 or e-mail bukapuasa@ytl hotels.com.my

cheng yi, shah, ciki, and I definitely had a great time
cheng yi, shah, ciki, and I definitely had a great time

Now I gotta wonder how other hotels within the area will respond.

map to JW Marriot KL

Address:
JW Marriot
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.14765, 101.71372
Tel03-2715 9000

First of all, Selamat Berpuasa to all my Muslim friends.

Remember the free dinner at Le Meriden contest I was running a while ago? Well, it’s over with and the winners all claimed their prizes already – a sumptuous Santapan Ramadan Buffet dinner at Le Meridien KL’s Latest Recipe.

Haze and Ciki at Le Meridien's Latest Recipe
Haze and Ciki at Le Meridien’s Latest Recipe

The four winners and their partners all showed up, and together with Ciki, Josen, Haze, and I, we had a plenty good time while sampling the Ramadan buffet spread.

oysters, shrimps, mussels, salmon, and more
oysters, shrimps, mussels, salmon, and more

The spread for Santapan Ramadan buffet is even bigger than the usual offerings at Latest Recipe.

There’s the standard dishes – salmon and various cold cuts, shrimps, mussle, crab, and of course, oysters too. These are the items I usually kick off my buffet dinner with, it is usually a good idea to keep the stronger tasting stuff later as to not over saturate your taste buds.

traditional Malay food too, I love the beef curry
traditional Malay food too, I love the beef curry

Quite a lot of traditional Malaysian dishes found their way on the line up too. Otak-otak (though I didn’t find their version to be very good), whole roast lamb, begedil, and different types of gulai & curry. The beef curry was very good!

Chef Antoine and his two helpers
Chef Antoine and his two side kicks at Latest Recipe

There are also made to order dishes you can get. Chef Antoine was there to man the pasta counter and we got him to prepare a mean plate of piping hot carbonara for us.

many more dishes, including cold cuts at Satapan buffet
many more dishes, including cold cuts and kuih at Satapan buffet

Traditional kuih muih were also available, and this is one of the few buffets where you can choose drinks other than just ice water too. Don’t you hate it when you are already paying decent sum for buffet and all they give you is plain water? I know I do.

Oh, the sugar cane juice is superb, reminds me of when McDonald’s used to serve it.

pasta was made by chef Antoine, and those Belgium waffles were awesome!
pasta was made by chef Antoine, and those Belgium waffles were awesome!

Above all, the dish I love most at Latest Recipe is their Belgium waffles. Yes, it is a bit odd to be indulging on mere waffles looking at the huge buffet spread, but do give it a try when you are there, it is simply the lightest, yummiest waffle I’ve ever had.

the contest winners with Ciki & myself flanking :D
the contest winners with Ciki & myself flanking :D

Prices of the buffet:

  • Sun-Thurs: RM118 (adult) / RM59 (child)
  • Fri,Sat: RM128 (adult) / RM64 (child)
  • Time: 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Again, congratulations to Chen Mee Kuan, Jennifer Amelia Clement, Joel Tan Tyan Min, and Norazalia Musa. I hope all of you had a good time. Cheers!

map to Le Meridien

Address:
Latest Recipe
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470

GPS: 3.135631,101.686476
Tel: 03-2263 7888

 

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