Polly Szantor enjoys Christmas fare at the latest Serai Restaurant
It’s pleasant to sit in this newly opened Halal restaurant. Half of the room is an atrium, which allows plenty of light and creates a bright, airy space. Although I was there to sample the special Christmas Set Meal, I had a look at the extensive regular menu, and found plenty of tempting choices. Amongst the interesting salads there’s Roasted Pumpkin and Portobello Mushroom with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Walnuts in a Honey Lemon dressing. A host of seafood options are offered, along with Malaysian, Western, Thai and Italian favourites. There’s beef and chicken sate too, and a tempting variety of desserts and gateaux, the ideal match for a mid-morning cup of coffee.
Sabahan Chef Mohd Najib Abdul Hamid spent 10 years in Melbourne, Australia, and has cooked for many celebrities, including Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery and Kylie Minogue. He has created a special menu for the Christmas holiday season that is designed for a minimum of four people.
Instead of just one main course, there are three: Baked Salmon with Maple Syrup and Thyme, Beef Wellington with Onion Marmalade and Tarragon Butter Chicken stuffed with Smoked Turkey and Tasmanian Double Brie. I didn’t try the Beef Wellington, but I can certainly vouch for the moist, roasted chicken and the delicious salmon.
The mains were accompanied by Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Buttered Brussels Sprouts, and Roasted Tomatoes still on the vine, a nice touch. There was also an interesting trio of Mashed Potatoes. It’s not my favourite style of potatoes, but I went back for seconds of these tasty combinations. They were mashed with garlic, roasted red pepper and pesto. The salmon was served with a Horseradish Cream Sauce and there was Roasted Garlic Jus for the chicken.
Chef Najib shared 3 desserts with us, and I found it difficult to chose my favourite. The Pistachio Gateau with Mousseline Cream and Mixed Berries looked spectacular and was a hit at the table. I didn’t expect to be impressed with the Butter Cake with its white butter icing and sprinkling of coconut, but the flavour was phenomenal and I had to stop myself from reaching for more. I loved the tangy Passion Fruit Pyramids with Mascarpone and Mango too. But my favourite part of the dessert was the garnish…you’ll notice those little Macaroons in the photo below. The pink one, raspberry flavour, was really yummy…sweet on the outside and sour on the inside.
If you’d like turkey at home for Christmas, Serai will cook one for you, Priced at RM350++ for a 3kg + bird, it will be stuffed with chestnuts and comes with Pesto Mash, Roast Capsicum Mash, Cranberry Sauce and Jus.
They’re also roasting Honey Mustard Australian Lamb Legs (2.5kg) and I can vouch for the tastiness and tenderness of this dish. It comes with Orange-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables, Mint Sauce and Parisian Mashed Potatoes all for RM400++. The third takeaway choice is a Seafood Platter, which will serve 3-4 people. For RM450++ you will receive Boston Lobster, Salmon, Prawns, Oysters, Soft Shell Crab and Squid accompanied by Asian Cucumber Salad and Turkish Bread with two dips. Please note that the restaurant needs at least 2 day’s notice in order to fill these orders.
Reason to Visit: For a menu that covers a variety of cuisines, including many popular dishes, and for the excellent gateaux and macaroons.
For reservations, please call (603) 2181-6717. The Christmas menu will be served until December 31, and it is essential to book at least 2 days in advance. It is priced at RM120++ per person with a minimum of 4 people dining and will include 3 main course dishes, Gateau of the day and the Serai Christmas Mocktail.
Serai @ Life Centre
Jalan Sultan Ismail
+ 6 03 2181 6717
+ 6 03 2181 6717