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.
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.
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.
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.