Monday, May 29, 2017

BUKA PUASA UNDER THE STARS AT TREAT



Dark, sweetish and slightly drier than curry, the Daging Masak Hitam Johor is a befitting dish that lends shine to the newly launched Dining Under The Stars buffet at TrEat Restaurant & Bar, Oakwood Hotel & Residence KL.
Unlike Perak's famed rendang tok which is completely dry and enriched with kerisik (fried grated coconut), this speciality remains moist with deep-seated spice accents permeating the cubes of beef. Delicious.
The dinner promotion coincides with the fasting month and new Chef de Cuisine Addy Dzulfadzly Abdullah takes pride in serving a modest but sedap spread of 222 local delicacies for buka pausa from 29 May until 24 June.

Slake your thirst after the day-long fast with chilled drinks: soya bean, mata kucing, sirap selasih and teh tarik before you proceed to sample the variety of dishes laid out. Assorted kerabu and fresh ulam resonates with me especially the crunchy and zingy Kerabu Pucuk Paku tossed in sambal, shredded Kerabu Mangga, Thai-style Glass Noodle Kerabu and Pineapple Kerabu; each distinctly holding their own with varying degrees of hotness and textural interest.
Plain rice is a compelling 'must have' when it comes to relishing the piquant Rendang Ayam Pedas and my fave, Patin with Tempoyak Curry. The former should please spice fiends who like hot and spicy dishes whilst the latter is an acquired offering best suited for palates that find pungent fermented food appealing. Honestly, the version here is rather muted but packs enough 'oomph' to satisfy fans.
Don't miss the stalls set up by the Poolside where fresh off the grill items are served. The chef's signature percik sauce lifts the Roast Lamb to raveworthy new heights, imbuing the mildly gamey meat with bright spice nuances and rich, nutty santan creaminess. Even the Beef Satay deserves mention alongside traditional festive eats like Ketupat and Lemang complemented by Beef and Chicken Serunding. 
 

Back at the main spread, appetisers such as Cold Soba Noodles & Squid Salad and Tuna & Mixed Veges Salad are refreshing choices to savour before diving into the heftier dishes. Both starters are light yet delightfully apt to counter a day's worth of sweltering heat.
Despite its unappetising appearance, we recommend the Mussels with Black Pepper Sauce which are surprisingly on-point; their inherent fresh sweetness and springy succulence inviting enough to leave you asking for more.
One unusual dish we haven't seen elsewhere is Duck Egg Curry, a cheery yellow-tinged masak lemak curry with partially poached and fried duck's eggs. Intriguing but worth trying as it is most scrumptious.



Despite the modest spread, we reckon there are more than enough specialities to leave you spoiled for choice. Fresh lettuce and salad greens are part of the line-up as is Sayur Masak Jawa, Bubur Lambuk, Nasi Briyani, Assorted Chilled Seafood and a chef on duty to dish up Pasta upon request.
Even the sweet array of dessert ticks the requisite boxes, from colourful Malay Kuih and hot broths like Bubur Cha Cha to Continental Cakes, Bread & Butter Pudding and Fresh Fruits. Trying to fit everything in would be unthinkable so be selective and choose your indulgences carefully.

Priced at RM77+ per adult and RM39+ per child, the promotion is available from 6.30pm to 10.30pm based on rotational menus.
Opened in November last year, the 251-unit Oakwood Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur is part of the international Oakwood group which has properties in 20 cities across 11 Asia-Pacific countries.
For reservations at TrEat Restaurant & Bar, call tel: 03-2710 9180. Address: Ground Level, Oakwood Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur is located at 222, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, May 26, 2017

TEN FESTIVE DISHES AT FEAST VILLAGE


Buka puasa, the breaking of fast period marks an opportune time for Malaysians to join their Muslim friends for cordial makan sessions. During the holy fasting month, typical Malay fare especially home-style dishes and rare kampung specialities from other states rule supreme and this scenario is rife at food bazaars and buffet spreads.
Anyone with a penchant for rich, spice-laden eats will find irresistible choice eats aplenty at Feast Village, prepared by the JW Marriott KL team. From the sneak preview, these 10 dishes rank highly in my list:

1. KARI KAMBING
As with most curries, this goat meat curry don’t look appealing at first sight. Dig into the fiery-red, creamy gravy and let the warm accents of cloves and cardamoms among other spices spread onto your tastebuds. Presto! The bursts of bright, robust flavours shall win you over.

2. AYAM GORENG BEREMPAH
What’s not to like when there’s crispy fried chicken thoroughly suffused with its marinade of turmeric and assorted spices? I challenge you to restrain yourself and eat just one piece...

3. IKAN PATIN MASAK TEMPOYAK
A whiff of tempoyak (fermented durian) from this classic Pahang dish either makes you gag in despair or gasp with delight. I belong to the latter and would go sniffing for this speciality every fasting month. Call me weird but I thoroughly relish the fishy odour mingled with odious tempoyak aroma along with the tart bite of the tangy gravy and the fish’s lustrous firmness with gusto. Perhaps you would too?

4. MEEHOON SUP UTARA
This soupy noodle dish from the northern states is kinda like soto, only the spices perfuming the broth are several notches subtler but no less aromatic. Beware of the stealthy chilli heat that lingers behind, leaving you a little hot under the collar.

5. AYAM MASAK BERLADA
Somewhat familiar yet different, this speciality is comparable to ayam masak merah albeit with more prominent chilli overtones. The well-rounded chilli paste has enough zing to light up the palate and stimulate the appetite. A surefire winner.



6. IKAN MASIN TALANG MASAK LEMAK NENAS
Robust, strong flavours notable enough to leave ikan masin fans raving with enthusiasm. Excellent for dousing onto plain rice as the rich coconut milk and spice gravy tempers the briny edge of the chunks of salted fish.

7. KAMBING KURMA

Warm, inviting spice accents amplified by santan-rich gravy make this thick meaty curry with onion and potato a most compelling crowd-pleaser. A viable option for those who cannot stand the heat of chilli-hot offerings but if you're trying to avoid card-loading, sample this at your own peril.

8. SATAY
A perennial buka puasa fave that cuts across age and race barriers. Both the skewers of marinated chicken and beef are grilled on the spot so they're delectable. Personally, I'd recommend the beef satay for the meat's pleasing gaminess and tender texture.


9. SAMBAL UDANG MASAK PETAI
Prices of petai or stink beans have skyrocketed as more people learn the inherent goodness of this humble vegetable. Prepared in a sweetish onion sambal with prawns, this piquant speciality should leave many a city dweller yearning fervently for their kampung halaman.


10. CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Bewitchingly dark, moist and rich, a small serving is enough to leave you up in chocolatey heaven. Voluptuous nuances of buttery cocoa coat the tongue, leaving a big impression on the palate. Worth ditching the diet for. Yours truly was so smitten, no pix was taken before the decadent serving got wiped out. ;p

As with any buffet, there are hits and misses. For instance, the Pajeri Nenas was a tad too soft but still okay for whetting the appetite. A selection of fresh ulam and kerabu makes for healthier eating when faced with an impossible array of heavy dishes. There's also fruit rojak which passes muster even though the sauce lacks the strong, savoury otak udang (treacly prawn paste) taste.

If you don't fancy Roast Lamb - the primary centrepiece of every buka puasa buffet - head over to the Ikan Bakar section for your fill of grilled fish rubbed with spice and chilli paste. Assorted dips are available to complement the piping hot offerings.
 
Dessert choices are extensive with the sweet selection running the gamut from Jellies and Puddings to Fresh Fruits and Local Kuih: Sago Gula Melaka, Onde-onde and Kuih Ketayap among others.
Priced at RM98 nett per person, the JW Marriott KL Kampong Festive Dining Experience buffet is available from 27 May to 24 June from 7pm to 10.30pm. For reservations, please call Feast Village, tel: 03-2782 9099.