This Ramadan, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur’s all-day dining restaurant – Essence, is serving delightful Melakan specialities, including several Peranakan favourites. Essence of Melaka showcases Melaka-born Chef Jamsari Mohammad’s childhood memories of delicious cuisines. Together with Chef Kabir and Chef Kamaruddin, Chef Jamsari is dishing out platters of traditional Melakan delicacies with authentic Malay nuances.
Asam Pedas is a dish close to Chef Jamsari’s heart as he believes this is THE dish Melaka is best known for. Personally, the Asam Pedas was the favourite item for me that evening. There’s this stall with a wide array of vegetables and seafood and beef including oxtail, which you pick and choose for yourself and then pass your platter to the attending chefs and they’ll cook them in little claypots with the asam pedas soup. The spices and tamarind in the asam pedas were in perfect balance, resulting in a steaming pot of the most fragrant, tangy and mouth-watering asam pedas I’ve tasted in a long time. In addition to the regular asam pedas sauce, there’s also Asam Pedas Daging Tetel - a true Melakan recipe.
Walking towards the appetizers section, I was totally bewildered by the huge spread of sambals, ulams, pickles, keropok (crackers), kerabus and western-style salads.
Pickled local fruits like “buah kedondong”, “buah kelubi” and traditional favourites like “tempeyek”, “keropok malinja” jostled for space amongst countless platters of appetizers, raw salads and their dressings.
Then you have the curries and spicy delicacies… ranging from Nyonya Fish Head Curry, “Rendang Daging Sg Melaka”, “Pajeri Nenas Peranakan”, “Sambal Udang Petai”, “Gulai Lemak Daging Kerbau dengan Belimbing Buluh” to Indian favourites like Lamb Vindaloo, served with plain and garlic naans. Under the “Ikan Bakar” section, you can choose from various types of freshwater fish like catfish, tilapia, patin, baung and lampam and accompanying dips like “air asam” and “chilli kicap”.
Walk over to the section by the main entrance and you will be entranced with the “Kambing Panggang Masjid Tanah“… a whole roast lamb with nyonya marination with roasted potatoes and vegetables and a huge metal wok serving fluffy Nasi Ulam nyonya-style.
Right across the aisle, more stalls were set up and the 2 popular ones were the Chicken Rice and Grilled Oysters. Done Hainanese-style, the fragrant chicken rice was rolled into balls and I must say the chefs here had got the recipe and techniques done well – the poached chicken was smooth and tender and the chilli sauce had the right mix of chillies, garlic and lime. If you don’t fancy eating raw oysters, you can opt to have them grilled and choose from either cincaluk or sambal belacan topping…yes, pretty “acquired” tastes, those… I still prefer raw ones with a squeeze of lemon and a shake of tabasco!
The buffet spread covers a lot more than what I can possibly show here. At the “Jonker Walk” counter, there were Hokkien Mee, Bubur Lambuk, Steamed Dory and Beef Medallion; under the umbrella of “Santapan Puteri Hang Li Po” there were pots of Black Pepper Crabs, Nyonya Chap Chai and Pongteh Chicken. Chinese bites were available at the “Santapan Laksamana Zheng Ho” corner – BBQ Chicken Buns, Har Kow, Siew Mai and Red Bean Buns. The satay of “Kampung Jawa” were good – some kind soul had brought a plate of chicken and beef to our table and they were very tasty. I didn’t try any of the Japanese offerings … there were freshly sliced sashimi and a selection of sushi and handrolls tempting Japanese fans at one corner.
Fresh fruits are a healthy feature of the Desserts spread. They occupy the main dessert section, together with Ice Kacang, Chendol,fruit salads and sweet “buburs”. Local fruits stole the limelight here…
The Red Room … a special room housing all kinds of local and western-style desserts beckons all sweets lovers!
Just peering at all the goodies placed on the shelves in this Red Room made my head spin… the range and variety of sweet stuff displayed were amazing. Traditional local nyonya kuihs stood side by side with popular western-style cakes, jellies and puddings. OMG… it was indulgence and more indulgence here!
The buffet is priced at RM108++ per person and is available for dinner only from 3 August 2011 till 27 August 2011. This is one promotion you would want to take advantage as the hotel is giving away 2 complimentary seats for every 10 paying guests. There will also be nightly lucky draws and slices of date cakes for diners to take home.
@ Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur