I always enjoy walking into the Living Room at The Westin. It has a warm, welcoming atmosphere, which is heightened this Ramadan by the addition of a group of musicians. Wearing traditional Malay dress, and focusing on traditional Malay music and songs, they add an extra soupçon of ambiance to the restaurant. I was wondering what intriguing delights The Westin had in store for this special buka puasa feast, and I was immediately aware that there was more hustle and bustle than usual in the restaurant. This buffet is HUGE! I’ve never seen so many chefs and cooking stations. It was a little bewildering at first, but before eating, photographer Cheryl Hoffmann and I had a wander round and discovered so many fantastic food options we were completely spoiled for choice.
I’m always tempted by seafood, and there were more than enough choices throughout this buffet, especially on the salad table. I made a beeline for the Seafood on Ice with the freshest selection of Oysters, Crab, Mussels, and Prawns.
I added sushi and sashimi and sampled one or two of the numerous varieties of Kerabu - Keli Leleh Sungai Pahang (Smoked Cat Fish with Spiced Coconut Sauce) and Kerabu Pelam Daging Bakar (Spiced Mango with Grilled Beef Salad). Really, there were too many to mention. There were Western salad choices too and I enjoyed the Caesar Salad with shrimp…I’ve never eaten this combination but it’s something I’d like to try at home... and the poached salmon salad was especially delicious. There were also salads from Indonesia and Thailand, truly something for every palate.
Moving on to hot food, there were seven varieties of rice including Westin Lamb Biryani, Pulut Rendang Udang (sticky rice to accompany coconut shrimp curry), Nasi Lemak “Cimput” (steamed coconut rice with condiments) and Nasi Ayam, Hainan Chicken Rice, much of it beautifully presented in gigantic bamboo steamers.
The most important Malay dishes were bubbling away in massive woks, so reminiscent of cooking for special events in the Kampung. There was Gulai Tunjang (braised beef tendon with candle nuts, turmeric and local bay leaf), Ayam Kampong Gulai Nangka (chicken and young jack fruit curry), Tulang Rawan Asam, (braised spiced beef ribs with hot and sour ginger-flower gravy,) Gulai Nenas Ikan Masin (pineapple with salted fish braised in turmeric and coconut) and Rendang Paru (beef lungs braised in lemon, galangal and coconut paste). I tasted each of these (yes, you can be proud of me, I even had a tiny bit of lung), and even to my relatively inexperienced palate they were all fabulous.
The desserts were in the bakery area at the back of the restaurant, which I didn’t visit until the end of my meal, not realising there were two more savoury options amongst the sweet treats. Taco Mania offers Beef, Chicken, Seafood, Cheese or Sweet Tacos, and there’s “Reinvented” Roti Jala, lacy pancakes served with Curry, Mango Chutney and Chicken Floss. How I wished I had room to try them, but I knew I could barely squeeze in a dessert or two, and as you are probably aware, I couldn’t possibly pass on dessert.
Oh, the variety. Everything looked tremendous: Cendol Coconut Pudding, Fudgy Cashew Nut Brownie, Cherry Cheesecake and Chocolate Ganache Cake to name only a few. I was tempted by the Kopi Cream Puff with Milk Chocolate, a delectable choux pastry concoction that disappeared in one bite, the syrupy Baklava and the Mixed Fruit Almond Frangipani Tart, topped with mixed berries, kiwi and mango. There was a wide selection of Fresh Fruit, a Chocolate Fountain, several Indian desserts such as Gulab Jamun and of course all the traditional Malay Kueh. The Westin always has irresistible home-made ice cream, and I can vouch for the Durian flavour and the Red Bean Potong, which were both yummy.
My biggest disappointment was that I was unable to try ALL the food…not even close to everything in fact. Here is just a part of what I missed; I haven’t mentioned the large area for Chinese food, the Indian section, the pasta station, the roast lamb and super scrumptious scalloped potatoes, the soups, every conceivable type of Keropok, and on and on… I believe it will be necessary to visit this buffet at least five times in order to try every dish. My congratulations to Malay Chef Hamdan and his staff for creating a dining experience par excellence.
Reason to visit: To marvel at the incredible variety of food, to sample all your favourites and to try something new like the Shrimp Caesar Salad.
The buffet is priced at RM108++ for adults and RM54++ for children aged 4 to 12. Santapan Ramadan will be open from 7pm until 10:30pm and will run until August 18, 2012. There will be a 20% discount for bookings made 2 weeks or more in advance, and a 10% discount for bookings made one week in advance. There is also a group discount: for every 10 paying guests, one person dines for free. The hotel offers two special Ramadan Event packages catering to groups of 20 or more. Reservations are highly recommended.
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit BIntang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur