Words: Louise Miller Photos: Monica Tindall
For anyone planning to spend the festive season in KL yet reluctant to forego a sumptuous turkey feast, look no further than the ‘Jolly Hot Legs’ menu at the DoubleTree Hilton’s Makan restaurant. What awaits is a buffet banquet befitting foodies who wish to celebrate with a more than traditionally generous spread of delicious offerings whilst delighting in truly Asian flavours reflecting the diversity of Malaysia’s culinary influences.
|Pastry Sous Chef Showcasing Some of the Yuletide Treats|
As the menu’s name suggests, the star attraction is the trio of turkey legs. We began with the Chinese variation: roasted with star anise lacquer, the meat was deliciously succulent, the flavours surprisingly subtle and the skin, perfectly crispy. Second on our plates was the Indian inspired tandoori turkey leg with mint chutney: also delicious, the combination of the meat’s gentle spiciness and the accompanying tangy raita style chutney produced very satisfying mouthfuls. My favourite of the three, however, was the last to be tasted. The truly Malay Percik Turkey leg with galangal and coconut gravy was everything I hoped it would be: meat so delectably tender that it fell away from the bone and a seriously flavoursome coconutty sauce that confirmed rendang’s rightful place in Malaysia’s culinary hall of fame.
|Chinese Style Mahogany Roasted Turkey Leg with Star Anis Lacquer|
|Malay Percik Turkey Leg with Galangal and Coconut Gravy|
Despite the turkey theme of the festive feast, non-enthusiasts of this meat need not fret, the expansive buffet spread offers an array of no fewer than 80 other dishes to tickle your taste buds. Divided into three distinctly Malaysian themed areas (Indian, Chinese and Malay) this banquet provides plenty to please all palates. First of my forays was to the Indian station: beautifully decorated with flower garland bedecked wooden carved elephants and effusive, potted sprays of dried chillies, this area provided many of the evening’s favourites. Most spectacular were the plump pieces of Tandoori Chicken tantalizingly suspended on vertical skewers above an ample range of vibrant chutneys. Equally tasty though were the Parakaai Kuttu (stir fried bitter gourd with yellow dhall), Vazhakkai Poriyal (deep fried young banana) and Venthaya Kuzhambu (mixed vegetables with fenugreek and tamarind). These were mopped up with Naan Kashmiri, which although one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, could quite convincingly have been created especially for the festive season as its flavours of candied fruit and nuts were particularly evocative of Christmas.
|Buffet – Indian Section|
Other Makan signature dishes abounded and continued to please all at our table. Otak-otak made from ground alaskan crab meat proved popular as did the Sarawakian Pansoh Manok featuring chicken and lemongrass cooked in bamboo. The latter brought an instant hush to the proceedings as we devoured mouthful after mouthful of tender meat bathed in a tasty ginger, lemongrass and turmeric infused broth. The Braised Spicy Venison Ribs deserves a special mention too: melt in your mouth meat with perfect discs of al dente lotus root in a star anise flavoured sauce which although spicy, had a delicious underlying sweetness – I would have happily continued to consume much more of this if I hadn’t felt duty bound to leave enough space for the abundance of other dishes still to be sampled.
|Live Satay Cooking Station|
Further explorations of the buffet area revealed stations offering a variety of Satay skewers, Peking Duck Rolls, and desserts aplenty. I tried the Peking Duck Rolls and they didn’t disappoint! Tender duck meat complemented by the rich Hoisin sauce and crunchy vegetables wrapped in perfectly light and chewy pancakes widened the smile of satisfaction of my already very contented face.
The festive desserts we tried consisted of a medley of cakes and biscuits. Monica and I were instantly hooked on the spongy Stollen bread that reminded us of panettone, only denser and more moist: studded with various fruit, and nuggets of buttery sweetness, one slice just wasn’t enough! I then bravely followed Caning’s lead and tucked into a durian cake. This seemed to me like a Malaysian twist on Swiss Roll and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste! The sponge was light and not over-powered by the durian infused cream, which was far more subtle than all reports on this delicacy had led me to believe it would be.
|Christmas Log – Durian Roll|
|Mini Christmas Cakes|
Once again, the buffet area was inspected and as expected, it supplied a selection of supplementary dishes to satisfy even the most staunchly sweet toothed guests. Row upon row of tiny cakes topped with frosting or glistening fruit, sweet coconut infused sticky rice in banana leaf, Malaysian layer cakes and jelly puddings in abundance. What stopped me in my tracks though was the chocolate fountain. Yes – I’ve seen these before but this one was PINK and as a result seemed to awaken my inner child! I ignored the fact that I had long since stopped feeling the remotest bit hungry and delighted in allowing the cascading strawberry chocolate to coat skewers of grapes and marshmallows in its unctuousness. I returned to the table having already destroyed all evidence of my feast’s gluttonous finale!
In addition to all of the incredible dishes we took great pleasure in sampling, those fortunate to be feasting at Makan Kitchen over the festive season will be treated yet further with fresh seafood, sushi and sashimi as well as a carving station with oven-roasted turkey and slow cooked lamb. Desserts will include DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s special Christmas pudding, rhubarb blueberry crumble and Christmas panettone. What are you waiting for? Make your reservation now to benefit from the 20% early bird discount!
The festive buffet is available for the following meals:
Christmas Eve Dinner 6:30 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. at RM125++ per person
Christmas Day High Tea 12:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. at RM92++ per person
Christmas Day Dinner 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. at RM125++ per person
*New Year’s Eve Dinner 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. at RM125++ per person
*New Year’s Day High Tea 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at RM92++ per person
* the trio of ‘Hot Legs’ is not available during these meals
Children below the age of 12 will be charged half price.
Book two weeks in advance (by December 10th) to enjoy a 20% reduction on the prices listed above – unarguably exceptional value for money!
Reasons to visit: The outstanding value for money of course and the incredibly extensive range of fantastic dishes! It’s hard to shortlist from so many but the ‘must try’ list for me includes the Malay Percik Turkey leg with galangal and coconut gravy, Pansoh Manok, Braised Spicy Venison Ribs, Naan Kashmiri, all the delicious vegetable curries, Peking Duck Rolls and Stollen Bread.
Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
348 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2172 7272