Tuesday, February 01, 2011

HOP IN FOR A BOUNTIFUL CNY BUFFET

Chilli crab to drool over (above) at The Mill (below)
where a load of crabs and delectable stuff are served for your CNY feasting

Fancy feasting on Chilli Crabs, Yee Sang, Smoked Salmon, Poached Seafood and an indulgent array of Japanese, Indian, Italian and Asian specialities this Chinese New Year?

Then hop right into the Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur (GMKL) and eat to your heart's content at The Mill's bountiful buffet. I daresay the spread's anything but run-of-the-mill.

Seating within the spacious, warmly lit outlet is well-spread out and cloistered in the many nooks and corners so you'd never feel claustrophobic when The Mill gets busy. Of course, the centre of attraction here is its elongated open kitchen that enables a dedicated team of chefs to cook up a storm whilst doubling up as a display counter that's laden with the fruits of their labour.

To welcome the Year of the Rabbit and in true muhibbah spirit, executive chef Tan Tik San has wisely conjured up a revamped menu that would appeal to all food-loving Malaysians, regardless of their ethnicity. So you'd find all the requisite condiments to toss up your own Yee Sang, Dim Sum and other Chinese dishes alongside piquant Indian Curries, Satay and assorted Asian specialities in the new line-up.
Satay hot off the grill (top) and Chicken Teriyaki are the perennial sizzling favourites

Now it's a gargantuan feat to try and fit everything into one's tummy so here are some tips I usually stick to when it comes to tackling a buffet:

1. Go slow - survey the offerings available beforehand and let your eyes savour the visual feast. Eat slowly to really appreciate each dish's nuances and the efforts that have gone into making it.

2. Be selective - choose dishes that you usually won't cook at home or those that demand painstaking preparation, rare/seasonal ingredients or the chefs' expertise.

3. Don't bite off more than you can chew - take dainty portions of different specialities for sampling. This way you'd enjoy a greater variety. If you truly like a particular offering then go for additional helpings later.

My choice picks from the salad and appetiser section include Poached Prawns, Fresh Scallop and Oysters served in their half shells; Smoked Duck Breast, Smoked Salmon, Asparagus & Carrot Salad and Mixed Lettuce with French Dressing. The mildly briny duck breast was a good match with the crisp asparagus tips as did the succulent salmon.
Seafood galore (above) & my personal picks off the buffet (below)

From the Japanese section, I sampled a delightful Tuna & Wakame (seaweed) Salad, some rustic Grilled Shiitake Mushroom and delectable Grilled Squid with Butter-Garlic Sauce.
Besides Yee Sang, the Chinese section proffers Steamed and Fried Dim Sum, Fried Rice with Flying Fish Roe and a host of other goodies but I only had eyes for the Braised Sea Cucumber with Mushroom. Spongy yet slightly resistant to the bite, the plump pieces of sea cucumber went down a real treat. The Chicken with Mango & Chilli Sauce is not truly Chinese but hey, the tender meat was amply livened by the sweet-spicy sauce so we've no complaints there.

Having OD on much Indian Muslim fare of late, I decided to forgo the Indian specialities this time around. Honestly, the Naan, Tandoori Chicken and various fiery-hued and well-spiced dishes look ravishing though.

Instead of pizza and pasta, I picked up a dainty bowl of Mushroom and Crab Risotto, Baked Scallop with Cheese and Grilled Spicy Spring Chicken from the Italian kitchen. The last got my thumbs up for its piquant marinade while the first tasted a tad dry and lacked the expectant creaminess that's usually found in this speciality (perhaps the bowls had been sitting too long on the hot plate?)...
Grilled Spring Chicken (top), Baked Fish in Puff Pastry (middle) and Porcini Mushroom & Crab Risotto
The dessert section is a virtual Mad Hatter's tea party as the wonderland of sweet treats range from Panna Cotta, Ice Kacang and Kuihs to Tong Shui, Chocolate Truffle Cake, Cheese Cake and Fruit Tartlets. Resistance is futile so I compromise by going for more fresh grapes and jackfruit, and dipped skewers of fresh strawberries into the flowing chocolate fountain. My other indulgences were a Mini Lemon Tartlet and a Chocolate Eclair.
According to Amanda Teng, GMKL's asst manager of marketing, The Mill is expecting over 100 diners on CNY Eve and the turn-out is expected to rise further come the actual day. But fear not, the restaurant still has room to spare should you decide to join in the merry feasting.

Items featured would be on rotational basis so diners will always find unexpected culinary surprises when they lunch or dine at The Mill from now until February 17. The buffet lunch is priced at RM65++ per adult and buffet dinner is at RM88++.

For reservations, call The Mill, tel: 03-2117 4163/64.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! May the Bunny Year brings success in leaps and bounds, filled with abundant feasting, merry laughter and good health for each and every one!

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