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It’s been a while since I last had a buffet dinner, and almost one year ago since I had my last eat-all-you-can dinner with Shah, so when Saujana Hotel asked for a review their Flavours of Sri Lanka promotion at Suria Cafe, I took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

Suria Cafe at The Saujana Hotel
Suria Cafe at The Saujana Hotel

For those who are unfamiliar with The Saujana Hotel, it is located close to the old Subang Airport. The hotel has a beautiful 18 hole golf course right next to it that provides lush green views from most of its rooms and restaurants, including Suria Cafe.

Unlike most hotels in the city, parking space’s ample at The Saujana, and they are free. The only downside is that traffic along Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance during rush hours due to the LRT extension constructions lately. Something that might not be a problem anymore when you read this.

prawn baduma, lamb black pepper curry, cashew and drumstick meat mitikirata, chicken red curry
prawn baduma, lamb black pepper curry,
cashew and drumstick meat mitikirata, chicken red curry

From the 17 June to 27 June 2013, you can get a taste of Sri Lanka at Suria Cafe as the hotel brought three of the best chefs from Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo to provide their expertise in Sri Lankan cuisine.

Executive sous chef, Chef Clifford, senior sous chef, Chef Wijesiri, and chef Chandana lend a hand at the kitchen of Suria Cafe  are the three Lankan-teers at work for this period. The two sous chefs combined to have over 60 years of cooking experience, so you know you’re not getting your food from any amateurs of the industry.

traditional festive yellow rice, beef curry, fish stew, Sri Lankan desserts
traditional festive yellow rice, beef curry, fish stew, Sri Lankan desserts

While this was the first time I had proper Sri Lankan food, it really did not taste unfamiliar. So far as ingredients and cooking method is concerned, it shows pretty big influence from South Indian cuisine due to geographical proximity and common colonial history.

Festive yellow rice looks similar to briyani but tastes a lot more subtle in flavor due to the lack of meat, it does however, go very well with stronger tasting dishes such as prawn baduma, black pepper lamb curry, or chicken red curry.

chicken and vegetable kottu, plain hoppers with lunu miris
chicken and vegetable kottu, plain hoppers with lunu miris

While many of the dishes has some heat in it, they are generally not overly spicy for those who are already well versed with Malaysian food. One of the noted dish that I find quite unique was the cashew with drumstick curry, drumstick here is the seed pods for Moringa oleifera and not your favorite piece of chicken meat. Soft cashew and the distinct taste of spices brought a new experience to my taste buds.

whole lot of other selections on the buffet bar too
whole lot of other selections on the buffet bar too

Chicken and vegetable kottu is a dish that looks pretty similar to the Nyonya “jiuhu char” but instead of cuttle fish and mengkuang you have shredded roti, vegetables, and chicken. It was pretty good.

My favorite dishes of the evening was the Sri Lankan hoppers, something that looks like our Indian Apom but comes with “lunu miris” – mixed of chili flakes, red onions, sea salt, lime juice, etc. It was like a spicy version of apom/pancake thingy that I wish I could get for breakfast by the streets. You can have hoppers with an egg in the middle as well.

the men behind the food on top, KY & Shah were only there to eat
the men behind the food on top, KY & Shah were only there to eat

In addition to Sri Lankan dishes, the buffet spread at Suria Cafe still includes many of the local favorites and some international dishes such as bread, cheese, apple crumble, soup, cakes, and more.

Flavours of Sri Lanka ends 27th June 2013 and priced at RM 90++ for buffet dinner, RM 70++ for buffet lunch.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Suria Cafe
Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS: 3.108849, 101.578474
Tel: 03-7843 1234
email: info@thesaujana.com

Senja, which means dusk in Malay, is an Italian restaurant at The Saujana that oversees the lush green golf course and enjoys a spectacular sunset view with its alfresco dining deck by the side of the pond. I was invited to sample the MIGF menu created by their new head chef from Sicily – chef Filippo Giunta.

Senja at The Saujana,  classy dining hall
Senja at The Saujana, classy dining hall

The Saujana is a little different from most hotels in Klang Valley. Instead of everything in one giant building, it is spread out amongst the greenery. There are shaded walk ways from the main building to the different restaurants located by various ponds and gardens, giving the place a very relaxing, holiday ambiance.

The resort is fast becoming one of my favorites, stepping into the resort and immediately you’re in a completely different world of the hustle and bustle of KL even though you’re just half an hour away from the city.

bread with olive oil & such, and the amuse-bouche of the day
bread with olive oil & such, and the amuse-bouche of the day

Anyway, lets get back to food. The MIGF menu is priced at RM 110/140/180 for 2/3/4 course dinner, or RM 220/280/360 with wine pairing. The menu is available the whole of October 2012.

We started out the dinner with some freshly baked Italian bread and a pretty tasty amuse-bouche (pre first course bite size food) of the day in the form of a deep fried risotto ball. Crunchy skin with the flavorful filling that carries a hint of mushroom, I liked it.

sparkling water, and Prosecco Cascine 7 NV
sparkling water, and Prosecco Cascine 7 NV

The first course is a choice of Sicilian Brood Bean Soup with Dil and Sun-dried Tomato or Sardine Beccafico Style, Rocket Salad, Fennel and Orange Reduction. The wine with these dishes is a glass of Prosecco Coscine 7 N/V.

first course - sardine beccafico style, or Sicilian brood bean soup
first course – sardine beccafico style, or Sicilian brood bean soup

The sardine is apparently a Sicilian signature dish, the cleaned sardine is rolled up with breadcrumbs, pinoli (pine nuts), passolina, sugar, and lemon juice. It was one of the more interesting dishes I’ve tried lately. The rocket salad gives it a good balance, but the orange reduction did need a bit of getting used to.

This, or the savory brood bean soup, were both quite a big serving for fine dining dishes, I’m not complaining tho.

second dish - risotto with cream of pumpkin, or seabass tortelli with seafood ragout
second dish – risotto with cream of pumpkin, or seabass tortelli with seafood ragout

The second course is a choice between Risotto with Cream of Pumpkin, Burratina Cheese and Fresh Sage, or Seabass Tortelli with Seafood Ragout and Porcini Foam.

The risotto was prepared al dente, which is well, the proper and only way to have risotto that’s sometimes misunderstood as being undercooked by less familiar diners. It was excellent and  just appropriate to have some pumpkin this Halloween season.

The seabass tortelli lets us check off the skills of Chef Filippo in handling pasta, it was another dish we enjoyed throughly and definitely went well with the second glass of wine – Banfi Le Rime IGT 2010, a Pinot Grigio with a nice balance and clean finish.

3rd course - wrapped silver cod with aubergine, veal ossobuco Milanese style (or stuffed chicken breast)
3rd course – wrapped silver cod with aubergine, veal ossobuco Milanese style,
Banfi Le Rime IGT 2010

Moving on to the third course, you get to choose from a choice of the following dishes:

  • Veal Ossobuco Milanese Style, Saffron Risotto and Sicilian Gremolata
  • Wrapped Silver Cod Fish with Aubergine, Onion, Tomato ‘Cipollata’ and Basil Oil
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast with Pistachio and Mint, Sicilian Caponata, Rosemary Roast Baby Potato and Red Wine Reduction
There’s a choice of Vigne Regali Principesse Gavia di Gavi DOCG 2010 or Banfi Chianti DOCG 2010. In another word, white, or red wine.

the huge chunk of bone marrow from the veal was irresistible
the huge chunk of bone marrow from the veal was irresistible 

The fish was prepared impeccably and a work of art. The very thin aubergine gives the cod an extra dimension, and the onion and tomato base sauce offered a perfect compliment.

The veal though, is more of a straight forward meat dish that is bold and flavorful. The explosion of savory taste was a welcoming change of pace, and that chunk of bone marrow? Heaven, which is why it deserves a full size picture by itself. :D

desserts - chef Filippo's Sicilian cassata and orange granita, or Szechuan pepper panna cotta, Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004
desserts – chef Filippo’s Sicilian cassata and orange granita, or Szechuan pepper panna cotta,
Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004

Dessert proved to be another platform for Chef Filippo to showcase his skills. Both choices were beautiful.

Szechuan Pepper Panna Cotta, Chocolate Sauce and Raspberry Sorbet is perhaps one of the most interesting desserts I’ve had all year. The panna cotta carries an undeniable hint of peppery taste that’s not something you’d expect in a dessert, but it does work very well in a, well, very unfamiliar way.

Chef Filippo’s Sicilian Cassata and Orange Granita is more “traditional” sort of dessert but one that’s not shabby either.  The taste is close to ice cream cake, and the icy citrus in the shot glass provided an good cleansing to the palette.

We were served Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004 to end the dinner, a very good dessert wine that is perfect for a sweet ending.

Ee Laine, Azimy from The Saujana, and Chef Filippo Giunta
Ee Laine, Azimy from The Saujana, and Chef Filippo Giunta

If you’re up to some Italian food that’s true to the origin, do give chef Filippo at Senja a try. I’m quite sure this capable chef from Sicily is here to stay.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Senja
Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS3.108849, 101.578474
Tel03-7843 1234
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

Senja Italian Restaurant

Ah… red meat. The “newest” type of meat for me.

When I was growing up as a boy in Penang, I can’t recall an instance when mom cooks beef. Actually, due to her staunch believe in Kwan Yin and everything fantastic in the most confusing religion that is Taoism, she doesn’t even eat beef.

My very first experience in beef was probably that one time when my late dad took me to a beef noodle place (there was probably less than a handful of such stalls in Penang then) when I was in my teens.

Little did I know that years later, I’d have tasted some of the best beef there is. It goes to show that past performance is not indicative of future results… or something.

The Restaurant at The Club, Saujana Resort
The Restaurant at The Club, Saujana Resort

Anyway, lets get back on topic.

I was invited to the somewhat confusingly named restaurant – The Restaurant at the equally curiously named hotel – The Club Saujana Resorts with the promise of Wagyu beef.

Wagyu beef basically refers to several breeds of cattle that is famous for their intense marbling characteristics, in another word, layers of unsaturated fat in the meat that provides very rich flavor. Wagyu is often regarded as some of the finest beef in the world.

The famed Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu beef, but only available within Japan and Macau.

our menu and chef Alexander Waschl
our menu and chef Alexander Waschl

As for the hotel, The Club Suajana Resort is a very classy boutique style hotel that oversees the golf course with its lush greenery. Despite the misleading name, it is open to public (no membership or anything like that is needed.)

The Restaurant too reflects the same classy standard, with tastefully done interior and an alfresco dining area by the pool that provides a really nice ambiance. I felt severely under dressed when I was there in my collared t-shirt and jeans.

Our dinner was the degustation menu prepared by Chef Alexander Waschl from Austria, who was previously the Sous Chef at The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland and was responsible for creation of the menus at the Kronenstubli Gourmet Restaurant which was awarded 16 Gault Millau points, the equivalent of a Michelin Star.

spiced Wagyu beef tartar, Wagyu beef carpaccio
spiced Wagyu beef tartar, Wagyu beef carpaccio

Our first introduction to Chef Alexander’s creation came in the form of spiced Wagyu beef tartar (RM 128, ala carte) with piece of crispy potato roesti and pan-roasted quail’s egg with sour cream. The raw beef was rich and flavorful that the use of raw egg is unnecessary, which is where the quail’s egg filled in perfectly. Crispy potato roesti provided a welcoming change of texture too.

The first dish from the degustation menu was Wagyu beef carpaccio, a generous strip with Parmesan cream, Parmesan shavings, extra virgin oil and aged balsamic. The aged balsamic was wonderful, as with the Parmesan shavings.

The beef however, was a slightly too thick and a little difficult to chew if too big a chunk is fed into your mouth at one go. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good beef and chef explained that they cut it raw instead of frozen, and the serving size was to provide a good value for diners. I thought perhaps two thinner slices of beef would improve this dish a bit.

Wagyu beef cheek consommé
Wagyu beef cheek consommé

Next to come was the Wagyu beef cheek consommé, or in laymen’s term, clear soup that’s made from stock with ground meat and mirepoix (mixture of onion, carrot, & celery), among other things.

The one that was served to us was actually a two in one - consommé with ravioli and vegetable balls, and a saparate ravioli with minced meat in creamy sauce. The former light and subtle, and latter thick, strong, and flavorful. The combination worked pretty well though the essence of Wagyu beef is perhaps less apparent in this dish.

braised Wagyu beef cheeks
braised Wagyu beef cheek

Braised Wagyu beef cheek came next. A fried wantan with beef cheek filling sitting atop a slab of braised Wagyu cheek and oven roast vegetables. While the wantan was an interesting invention, I particularly love the slab of braised beef, it was so soft and smooth you could cut it with a blunt butter knife. Melt in your mouth type of goodness, I am missing it.

This reminds me of the similar dish at Tanzini Upper Deck, but I think executed better here.

Wagyu beef striploin
Wagyu beef striploin

The main course was Wagyu beef striploin with black pepper sauce, garlic beans, horseradish moussline. Contrasting the beef cheek, striploin has a firmer texture but also with a richer taste to it that is released in the process of chewing. The black pepper sauce wasn’t overpowering, and the meat certainly did not disappoint. It was as good as it looked in the photo.

chef Alexander Washi, dessert, the PinkStilettos & Coco Wen (Hotel Manager), Suanie & KY
chef Alexander, dessert, PinkStilettos & Coco Wen (Hotel Manager), Suanie & KY

We concluded the dinner with a serving of very rich chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, and a scoop of raspberry sorbet freshly made with PacoJet (I want one!). The dessert was more than up to task as a conclusion to this dinner, as rich and as sinful as the dishes before it.

The 5 course Wagyu beef promotion at The Club Saujana Resort is available for the entire month of July 2012 and is priced at RM 350++ per person. Ala carte menu available too.

The Club at Saujana Resorts, Shah Alam

Address:
The Restaurant
The Club Saujana Resort,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.10781, 101.57930
Tel03-7806 7000
emaildine@theclubsaujanaresort.com

A couple days ago we were invited to The Saujana Kuala Lumpur to sample the food that they have for Penang Food Festival. – a little thing that this classy hotel near the old Subang Airport is having from 1 – 14 March, 2012.

It was the first time I find myself at Saujana, the traffic heading there was rather agreeable, and parking is ample and free, what a refreshing idea right? It baffles me why most hotels that aren’t located in the city centre still charges exuberant parking fees that pisses many potential guests. Saujana, you are doing it right.

Penang food festival at The Saujana KL
Penang food festival at The Saujana KL

Overseeing a huge lake and lush green golf course, Suria Cafe surely have one of the best ambiance around town, especially if you are the sort that loves alfresco dining.

For the two week period that Penang Food Festival is running at the restaurant, three chefs from my home town (yes, I hail from Penang) are flown here to prepare many traditional Penang hawker delights to be served right along the usual array of buffet dishes. For those who loves to sample different Penang foods all at one go, this is a perfect chance.

Chef Desmond's char kuih teow, original Penang style
Chef Desmond’s char kuih teow, original Penang style

I got the chance to speak with Chef Desmond, who specializes the fine art of Chinese cuisine but at the same time is also well known for his char kuih teow. Of course, we spoke in Hokkien, as this is almost always my litmus test for anyone who claimed to know the art of Penang food, he did not disappoint.

The char kuih teow that he prepared too, was a plate of mean hawker dish that ranks right up there with some of the bests. No small feat considering this is a pork-free version, I finished the whole plate, every single bit.

char kuih teow, poh piah, apom with banana
char kuih teow, poh piah, apom with banana

Together with Chef Badrol and Chef Wafi, who are also from Penang, these three gentlemen oversees these live cooking stalls at Suria Terrace -

  • Char Kiuh Teow
  • Oh Chien (fried oyster)
  • Sar Hor Fun
  • Ee Fu Mee
  • Chee Cheong Fun
  • Lam Mee
  • Prawn Mee
  • Char Kuih Kak
  • ais kacang (ABC)
  • masalah and ginger tea
Of course, all these dishes are of Penang variety, and in most instances, stays pretty true to the style you get off any streets in Penang, tho some of them are a bit too dressed up.

Haze loves the asam laksa, mee goreng, fried oyster and char kuih kak
Haze loves the asam laksa, mee goreng, fried oyster and char kuih kak

I’ll be lying if I said I tried everything, I don’t have a huge stomach and at this .. ahem.. age, I don’t exactly eat like a teenager anymore lest the circumference of my waist be overtaking my manly butt.

Anyway! As mentioned, the char kuih teow was very good. The mee goreng stayed true to Penang style, and while slightly dry for my liking, was pretty decent. Char kuih kak too was again a little dry, but the fried oyster was very agreeable with my taste buds. I really liked the blend of spiciness to the point that I was enjoy the egg even after I’d finished the oysters.

Haze had two bowls of asam laksa, that’s cos she is now a bit of an authoritative figure in asam laksa, being a fanatic and all. She proclaimed that it did not disappoint.

chee cheong fun, ais kacang, kopi tarik
chee cheong fun, ais kacang, kopi tarik

I was also happy that they serve Penang style chee cheong fun at the festival, and got the chef to cut me a portion. I always like my chee cheong fun still wrapped, and with all the accompanying sauces, I was happy.

The ais kacang was pretty decent, but perhaps with slightly too much ingredients? Then again I’m sure you can always ask for less during the preparation stage.

appetizers and desserts on the buffet lines
appetizers and desserts on the buffet lines

Other than those live cooking stalls, there are also prepared Penang food, these includes sotong kankung, pasembur, chicken loh bak, Penang rojak, pohpiah, and so forth.

Then there’s the buffet lines where you find the usual suspects – croutons, turkey bacon, tomatoes with herbs, olive, tomato, cold cuts, various types of cheese, fruits, salad, soup, kuih, and way too many type of cute little cakes and such. Heaven for those who love it sweet.

some of the other dishes - the lamb cutlet was outta this world
some of the other dishes – the lamb cutlet was outta this world

Oh, and how can I forget the lamb cutlets?

The lamb cutlets with herbs and cheese was so tender and awesome that I ate two whole pieces, that is almost a cardinal sin of buffet dining where I usually try to sample as many dishes possible, but the cutlet was worth it, and deserves its own paragraph right here!

Fresh, Lainey, Haze, KY
Fresh, Lainey, Haze, KY

The Penang Food Fest at Saujana runs from 1 – 14 March, 2012 and are priced at RM 68++ for lunch and RM 84++ for dinner.

Bon Appetit!

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Suria Cafe
Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS: 3.108849, 101.578474
Tel: 03-7843 1234
email: info@thesaujana.com

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