Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Jom Makan at Eccucino, Prince Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


All great Malaysian food involves spices - Eccucino's fresh array of spices are certainly enticing


Who Wanna Jom Makan With Me?

Celebrate with Prince Hotel's Festive Buffet Extravaganza


Text by Craig J Selby
Photographs by Christina How / Eccucino


Celebrating food, culture and tradition is the theme at Prince Hotel and Residences, Kuala Lumpur. And I’m now proud to have been indoctrinated into that tradition, having recently enjoyed their Jom Makan experience to the best of my belly’s ability.

Lets make it clear; one thing all Malaysians agree on is that they love their food, and Jom Makan, which literally means “come and eat” is a great expression to bring people of all backgrounds together over the dining table, with some great dishes to boot. So lets Jom Makan together!

Prince Hotel’s Eccucino, located on the ground floor, is offering this amazing buffet experience, combined with a lively bazaar environment, to give tourists and locals the feel of Malaysia, in the comfort of a hotel environment. Forget the dust and heat from outside, sit in air conditioned comfort, and truly enjoy your food. Available 30 June to 25 July, I am sure you will love it as much as I have.

A sampling of Eccucino's authentic street food stalls
As we move into the festive season, the city will explode with popular buffet offerings, and this is definitely one to enjoy, over and over again. A full range of local and international fare is available, prepared by their dedicated chefs, meaning that we, the diners, get a great selection of food.

So, lets get down to the food …. the real reason why I was there.

The biggest problem I have with buffets is where to start. Convention says soup, salad or entrée first, but my line of sight says “OMG roast lamb on a spit! Do not let the others get their hands on that first!” So, it was a bit of an intellectual challenge for me, as I did not wish to appear greedy, but then again … that lamb looked (and tasted) so enticing.

I love lamb! Whole roasted lamb on the spit, available every day at Eccucino
In defiance of my inner-spirit telling me otherwise, I took the sensible route and headed for the salad counter first. I’m currently on a bit of a health blitz, so before I can “indulge”, I should “detox” with some healthy leaves and other “sensible” items. Eccucino’s salad selection offered a decent choice of salad leaves, salads, cold cuts, and even a few surprises. There was a great selection of local salad vegetables too… but I have to admit, this time around I stuck to the familiar – although, next time, I’m certain to delve deeper.

Chilled cauliflower cream soup with truffle essence, served in a shot glass, offered a refreshing start. A cool, creamy soup, engulfed in one gulp (so, I went back for seconds, thirds too – it was good!) was a great intro. My bowl started to bulge as I piled on the pasta salad (nicely accompanied with smoked chicken and a zippy roasted chili dressing), some delightful asparagus spears (always a great cold dish) with a mild mustard seed dressing (elevating the asparagus to about the right level), and roast lamb loin cold cuts (even before I headed for the lamb on a spit) with capsicum relish. This was a good start to a great meal!

Eccucino’s antipasti selection also caught my eye. Roasted red peppers, grilled asparagus (seems I like asparagus), and a generous dose of marinated olives. Add to that a dollop of Caesar salad – crispy fresh baby romaine, and a delightfully tangy balsamic orange dressing. So, yep, I think I achieved my objective of making a healthy start, with a twist of course.

I know by now I should have started with the lamb, as surprisingly, salad is quite filling. However, in the quest for a good story (meal), I shall sacrifice myself and keep eating, until every stone is unturned, and every tempting morsel has been enjoyed.

The Japanese selection offered an arrangement of freshly prepared sushi and sashimi. Thick-sliced red tuna, hot and spicy wasabi (I just love the tingle when wasabi hits the taste buds), and a more subtle, delicate, smoked salmon.

For the mains, a huge selection awaits. With six “carts” – a replication of everyday Malaysian favourites; Eccucino is bringing popular Malaysian street food to the fore in its restaurant. My personal favourites were the Penang Laksa and Johor Laksa – Stall 2. I love a nice creamy laksa, and enjoy not only the combination of flavours, but also the subtle spices that are used to create a unique taste profile. It amazes me how each state has its own variation on this staple dish, and more so how each dish is so similar, yet so different.

Johore Laksa - yummy!
Delicious creamy Laksa, a popular favourite - notice the regional differences? Got to love Malaysian food!
One culinary opportunity worth noting, although honestly not for me, was the roti canai durian special. You either love it or you hate it (and with durian, I am not a lover), but my fellow diners were lapping up this twist on an old favourite. Certainly recommended for those with robust stomachs, or simply for the adventurous who wish to explore the “king of fruit”.

Roti canai durian special - hold your nose.
Eccucino’s signature hot pot soup also deserves a mention. Delicious beef broth with ribs, oxtail (the locals consider this as Gearbox soup), root vegetables and spices; guaranteed to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart.

Signature hot pot soup. What a burst of flavour
In addition to the carts; specialty western and Malay dishes. The tender slow-cooked duck breast was delightful, especially when accompanied by mango chutney and ginger jus. Likewise, add a bit of spice to your vegetables with sautéed baby potatoes with chorizo – a lively way to liven up an everyday vegetable. On the Malay side, a must-try for anyone is Daging Masak Gulai – beef stew in coconut cream. Malay style beef stews are one of my favourites, offering a very creamy texture, rich with flavour, and extremely hearty. One of the nicest ones I’ve had in quite some time. Good work Eccucino.

By the time I had got this far, I truly didn’t have any room left for dessert. But, let me tell you, a huge array of desserts awaits, ranging from fresh fruit, pastries, macaroons, cake, crumble, a chocolate fountain, and a selection of cheese. Did I forget the ice cream? Yes, five different flavours.

Get your sugar fix with a selection of popular Malaysian kuih
As far as buffets go, this is one to try. Every time I head to Prince Hotel and Residences I leave feeling more than satisfied with the culinary experience, and usually a couple of kilo’s heavier too. Priced at RM 108++ for adults; with children 12 years and below RM54++. Value for money, nice ambience, and quality food are my reasons for heading back. What are yours?


Reasons to Visit: Great value for money, city centre, extensive selection, friendly service.

Eccucino
Level 1
Prince Hotel and Residences
Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03 2170 8888
www.princehotelkl.com


1 comment:

  1. OMG, Monica thank you for inviting us to visit this true culinary highlight buffet.
    Only looking at the gorgeous spices makes my mouth water.Definitely I would have the same problem at the buffet - where to start?

    ReplyDelete