I couldn’t even begin to count the number of items on the buffet for the inaugural Festive Feast in the Cobalt Room at the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur. But someone did, and it’s 138! I could well believe it, with signature dishes from the 13 States in Malaysia, side by side with Middle Eastern specialities.
We are familiar with Rendang Tok from Perak, Ikan Patin Tempoyak from Pahang, Mee Goreng Mamak from Penang, Sayur Lodeh from Johor, Ayam Percik from Kelantan, Umai from Sarawak – the list goes on.
Now add to that Kambing Panggang or Roast Lamb, the centrepiece of the buffet, which had diners lining up for it. In a blink of an eye, it was all gone. And no, I didn’t get to try it. But no matter. I had Shawarma, both lamb and chicken shaved off a spit and served with pita bread, yoghurt sauce and onions. That was delicious.
Before that it was Rojak, Umai, Kerabu Kacang Botol and Mango Salad at the Ulam counter for a perky start. There are also western salads like Pasta Salad, Coleslaw and Greek Salad for those who are so inclined. You could also have your fill of the pickles, prawn keropok, keropok lekor and belinjau.
I liked very much the Sayur Manis Perlis in coconut cream, Sayur Lodeh as well as the Nasi Kerabu Terengganu. The Ikan Patin Tempoyak could do better with more of the tempoyak. I do like a stronger whiff and flavour of it.
Then this really nice service staff who’s on an internship from Chittagong, Bangladesh, said I should have the Oxtail Soup. “It’s really good,” he said. And he was right. It was hot and aromatic with spices, and I enjoyed this flavourful soup, with tender chunks of oxtail in it.
The lemang and beef serunding were irresistible, so was the Sotong Masak Hitam, Sambal Petai Udang and Pajeri Nenas. Black squid is a Johor speciality, and there’s squid ink in it, besides other condiments like lemongrass, ginger, garlic and tamarind. I tasted some of the Mee Mamak Penang and I had to have a taste of the Gulai Ikan Tongkol. Pity there was no nasi dagang to go with it.
Another counter was filled with satay, and different kinds of ikan bakar — from ikan keli to cencaru and tilapia merah. The noodle station offered Curry Laksa Kedah and Meehoon Sup Utara Perlis.
Desserts are eye-catching here, from the light green Kuih Lopes drizzled with gula Melaka to kek lapis from Sarawak, Talam Pandan from Sabah and Cik Mek Molek from Kelantan. Of course there is cendol and ais kacang, the various sweet bubur and western desserts, including a tempting array in the chiller.
The Festive Feast is being held in the elegant and sumptuous Cobalt Room on Level 1, Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur, from now till June 24. It’s RM118 per adult and RM59 for children under 12. Call to book at 60 3 2782 9099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.