The Johor Laksa caught my eye, and that was a satisfying start to my Ramadan buffet dinner at the Kitchen Art Brasserie at the Empire Hotel Subang. The thick fish curry for the laksa was steaming hot, delivering all the right spicy notes and flavours.
I went on to the dark, tender knobs of spiced beef in the Rendang Tok , with pulut kukus, and the excellent serunding daging with the lemang. I spied the Gulai Ikan Tongkol at the same table, but the nasi dagang had finished. I didn’t want to wait for a refill and had the light, creamy gulai with the pieces of tuna that were well soaked in it. That was delicious.
The Kari Kepala Ikan with ladies fingers was hot and sour enough, and loaded with chilli and spices, producing a fiery red curry.
I liked the Kai Lan with Ikan Masin, which still stayed green and crunchy, with the aroma and taste of fried salted fish in it.
I had a chunk of the Ekor Lembu Masak Ketumbar which was smothered in a gravy spiced with coriander, and the meat fell off the bone. This was good too.
Sup Gearbox or beef shank broth cooked with spices and Rendang Udang Galah had been brought to the table as soon as we sat down. The freshwater prawns, well spiced and scented with lemongrass, turmeric and turmeric leaves would have tasted better if they had been served hot, likewise the Sup Gearbox, which had straw for you to slurp up the bone marrow.
The Seenak Sajian Tradisi Desa, as this buffet is called, has 12 stalls outside on the terrace serving ever popular Roast Lamb, Ikan Bakar, Beef and Chicken Satay, Murtabak and Roti Canai, Claypot Yee Mee, Lok Lok, Ice Kacang and more.
I had also spotted the Goreng stall outside, and it had my favourite fried cempedak, and kuih kodok. Then I went to the dessert table and was offered some pulut hitam by a waiter who wanted to put vanilla ice cream into it for me. I stopped him. It was nice on its own, with a touch of salt in it.
I shared some Akok, a soft, eggy dessert from Kelantan and Lipat Pisang with a friend. At the dessert table too was a selection of kuih and cookies, tapai pulut and ubi kayu, pastries and cakes. A more brilliant sweet ending were the mangosteens placed on a block of ice at the buffet table. They had been chilled right through, and I couldn’t stop eating them.
I was pleased with the traditional food on this buffet of more than 50 dishes. It is priced at RM98++ for adults and RM78 ++ for children from age six to 12, and senior citizens (above 55).
A ghazal band plays throughout the evening, delivering some contemporary numbers, as well as a Cantonese song or two.
Kitchen Art Brasserie is located on Level 2 of the Empire Hotel Subang, tel: 03-5565 1233. – July 30, 2013.