Fabulous kampung-style buffet at Vistana
KUALA LUMPUR, JULY 28 ― The “Masak Lemak Nenas Ikan Masin” was hot, sour and sweet, with a salty lift from the fried salted fish in it. I also liked the “Ikan Sembilang Masak Tempoyak”, a light curry with faint hints of the fermented durian, and chunks of catfish in it.
“Ikan patin” is supposed to be the fish for this curry but supply is hard to come by, said chef Irizun Ahmad of Vistana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. I love the “masak tempoyak” style of cooking with catfish, which is from Perak, and the chef is from Parit Buntar.
The hotel probably has the cheapest hotel Ramadan buffet in Kuala Lumpur, priced at just RM50 net, and it’s also where you can find good kampung Malay food. It has a dedicated corner just for this.
It has the scenic setting of stalls lined up around the pool on the third floor of the hotel, and a large, colourfully decorated function room opens out to this.
So I had my taste of the delicious “Pajeri Terong”, eggplant smothered in a red chilli and spice sauce. I also liked the lovely “Sambal Ikan Bilis with Tempe.” I guess it shows when the chef does not stray from the original kampung style of cooking.
I picked up some “Pucuk Paku Masak Lemak” and “Ayam Masak Merah” as well. There were also “Paru Paru Goreng Berlada”, “Rendang Tok” and “Ayam Percik.”
I spied cockles being dunked in boiling water and served at a stall. You can then pick up a Thai sauce or a “sambal” to eat with them, from the “ulam” stall nearby. “Where I come from, we eat these with a peanut sauce,” said the chef.
The beef and chicken satay were scrumptious. The marinade for the meats was a fine balance of sweet and salty, leaning towards the latter, and the satay sauce was an appetizing reddish one of more chilli and some roasted peanuts than the usual sweet dark sauce loaded with peanuts and gula Melaka.
There was a long queue at the roast lamb which is perhaps the most popular item in the buffet. “The special marination of the lamb is done by my head chef,” said Irizun.
There is a “roti jala” station with a very good chicken curry and “dalcar”, and next to these are “nasi bryani”, “nasi kandar” and “kentang varuval.” The potatoes done Indian style were well spiced and flavourful.
I always like the “ulam” section and here there are six types of “sambal” at this one, including my favourite “sambal tempoyak”, the traditional “ulam” vegetables and fruits. Three types of salted fish are laid out here, including one called “bulu ayam”, the thought of which makes your mouth water, said the chef.
I had the “gado gado”, which I liked, and Thai papaya salad. We tried some fried kwayteow too.
There is a station that serves pasta a la minute, a noodle stall and an “ikan bakar” one as well. “Ling chee kang”, ice kacang, assorted cakes, kuih and jellies, even a bread and butter pudding, make up the sweet side of the Ramadan buffet. I had the orange crème caramel which turned out soft, smooth and not too sweet.
Altogether there are 120 dishes on offer at this buffet. We were a little late for the buka puasa, and missed out on some dishes I would have loved to try. While it’s RM50 flat for adults, it’s RM33 for children aged six to 12.
Call 03-4042 8000 for reservations.