Essence, the Sheraton’s all-day-dining and buffet restaurant, will be transformed during Ramadhan to give a regal welcome to guests at their Santapan de Raja or Royal Fiesta. Essence has always offered a wide choice of delectable treats, but for this unique feast, buffet counters, decorated with royal yellow, will spill out towards the lobby, tempting visitors as they enter and offering more options than ever before. When I arrived to preview this special buffet, my taste buds were tingling before I was seated, and I was primed to take a tiny taste of as many dishes as I could manage.
Royal Fiesta by Polly Szantor
The buffet is led by the hotel’s three experienced Malay chefs, Chef Jamsari, Chef Kamaruddin and Chef Razak, who have designed a menu that cannot fail to delight discerning diners. They have chosen specialities from the nine states of Malaysia, featuring authentic and traditional cuisine favoured by the royal palaces. There are often interesting stories to explain how certain dishes came to be chosen by rajas past and present, and the friendly chefs will be on hand to share them with you.
I was intrigued by the food I passed as I entered, so I began in that area. There was white rice, tomato Biryani or Lemang, coconut rice cooked in bamboo accompanied by Serunding (chicken and beef floss). The Serunding was some of the best I’ve tried, sweet, spicy and imbued with coconut milk. Next I sampled the very tasty Daging Masak Hitam, beef in black soya sauce, enjoyed by the Sultans of Kedah since 1546, and Ayam Madu, a chicken dish using distinctive honey from the Tualang tree, originally prepared as lunch for the Princes and Sultans of Pahang when hunting. It was lovely, and I should have asked for the recipe so that I could make it at home. I’ll leave the rest of the stories for the chefs to share, but other royal dishes included Ikan Bakar, grilled fish from Selangor, Whole Roast Lamb from Johor, and Pais Ikan, marinated fish from Kuantan. There was a fried section with delicious Tenggiri (Spanish mackerel), Prawns, Chicken, Sotong (squid) and various tempura vegetables. The selection of Keropok (crackers) was the largest I’ve seen, and I found it hard to resist these crispy nibbles.
In another area of the restaurant there was a large interactive area devoted to Melaka Assam Pedas, a favourite of Sultan Mansur Shah. Patrons can choose their own proportions of meat, fish, prawns, crab and vegetables, which are cooked for them individually in a highly spiced sauce, soured with tamarind. There were a few too many chillies for my taste, but several Malaysian diners declared that it was very much to their liking. The nearby Noodle cooking station allows diners to pick their noodles, meat, fish and veggies, which are served in chicken broth or in a Curry Laksa sauce. In addition, there are pasta options and Dim Sum. In case this is not enough, there are numerous large, hot casseroles in the Asian Stand and Indian Corner, and an area for sushi and steamboat. Customers can also watch the preparation of Roti Canai, Murtabak and Roti John.
Particular mention must be given to the salad section. The presentation was beautiful with various Kerabu, Malay marinated salads, as well as Western options. I tried the Wing Bean Salad, which was bursting with flavour, and it would have been possible to compile a complete meal from this section alone.
Finally I came to the dessert table, laden with at least 50 varieties of Malay Kuih and cakes. There were rarely seen items such as Kuih Gandus, along with Kuih Bengkang, Jala Emas, Onde-Onde, Cheesecake, Chocolate Pudding, Dodol and Sago Gula Melaka to name just a few. There were also fruit selections, ABC and homemade ice cream. This Royal Fiesta was accompanied by a choice of hot and cold beverages including Teh Tarik, Nescafe Tarik, Milo, juices, cordials and syrups.
The buffet is priced at RM108.00++ per person and is available for dinner only from 23 July to 17 August 2012. For groups of 9 or more there will be a complimentary seat for the 9th guest and there will be a 30% discount from 23 to 29 July 2012 and from 13 to 17 August 2012. Additionally, each visitor will receive a gift of a golden chocolate egg in an organza bag. The Sheraton’s famous Biryani Rice is offered for takeaway at Toastina Café & Bar from 16 July to 19 August at RM10 nett per person, and is available from 4pm until 6pm.
Reason to Visit: the special Ramadhan dishes, the fresh, tasty salads and the HUGE variety of food.
For bookings, please call 03 2717 9933, email: [email protected] or book online: www.eatdrinkandmore.com/sheratonimperialkualalumpur
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 03 2717 9900