Recently I had the privilege of attending a very special event. Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Kuala Lumpur and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program announced a mix of new culinary benefits at over 500 restaurants and bars for SPG members globally to enjoy at home. In conjunction with this announcement, SPG launched a new website:
where SPG members can take advantage of these exclusive discounts at more than 500 restaurants and bars worldwide, including Prime, Favola and Latest Recipe at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, Villa Danieli, Celestial Court and Essence at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur as well as Prego, Splash, FiveSen5es, The Living Room, Qba Latin Grill & Bar at The Westin Kuala Lumpur.
At the exclusive casual lunch event, Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice-President for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in South East Asia said “We are thrilled to present a platform that showcases our award-winning portfolio of restaurants and chefs from around the world”. Just to prove that point, the few selected media guests that were present were treated to a gorgeous array of signature appetizers prepared by chefs from Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, The Westin Kuala Lumpur and Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur. These were served right before lunch as guests mingled with the good people from Starwood.
iPads were provided for us to browse through the new SPG.com/restaurantsandbars website. Fingers were kept busy sliding on the iPads. You can see that the website features an opportunity to register and win an around-the-world VIP culinary journey with an SPG Member-Only Sweepstakes “Around the World in 5 Meals”. Members can earn Starpoints for these dining experiences and turn a night out into a weekend getaway! Through the SPG Moments program, SPG members will have access to VIP culinary experiences with world-renowned chefs such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Masaharu Morimoto. Currently this is available for members residing or travelling to North America, exciting culinary moments in nearby cities around Asia Pacific will be announced later.
To get a taste of the culinary magic created by Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ chefs in Kuala Lumpur, our lunch showcased dishes created by chefs from 3 different properties.
Starter: Prawns, Haloumi & Watermelon Salad
Served with a signature mocktail “Solel” from the award-winning Qba bar team
Our above starter was prepared by Chef Garth Welsh who is the Director of Kitchens @ The Westin Kuala Lumpur. This was a very generous portion indeed… when it was served, we were wondering if that’s the Main Course! There were 3 huge prawns sandwiched between 3 pretty thick slices of grilled haloumi (semi-hard unripened brined goat/sheep cheese) and 3 juciy slices of watermelon. Sprinkled all over were pomegranate and more grated cheese. There’s no way I could finish off everything on that plate… I only managed to eat the prawns (super fresh), watermelon and pomegranate! The flavours of the starter were fresh, simple and uncomplicated and this is clearly the cooking philosophy of Chef Garth. He explained “Keep it simple and let the ingredients do all the talking. I try not to overcomplicate things as you usually end up confusing the flavours and ultimately the diner anyway!” This charming chef has just joined The Westin KL for 6 months and he totally believes that “you are only as good as the ingredients you use and the team that’s working with you“. Very wise words indeed.
Mains: Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Served with Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva
This amazing main course by Chef Antoine Rodriguez, Executive Chef of Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur actually showcased beef cooked in 3 ways, all served on the same platter. Provencal crust with crushed pink peppercorn, clear beef jus, poached oyster blade in rich beef consomme (served in that little shot glass), braised beef cheeks stuffed in a hollowed-out carrot trunk, fresh goat cheese and pistachio in beetroot jelly tube and apricot chutney. Oh, and that Yukon gold and orange sweet potatoes cake, with garlic & chives cream sauce. Chef Antoine, ever-smiling, has done a superb job with this gorgeous mains. Nothing can be faulted here – the pink tenderloin was gloriously tender and juicy, the beef consomme was sublime with bovine richness and the poached oyster blade swimming in it… too good to describe as it slid down my throat. Fresh from being awarded “Executive Chef of the Year” and “King of the Kitchen” where he defeated 16 other high calibre nominees in the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2011-2013 Regional Series recently, Chef Antoine’s delivery of this dish is testament of his talented creativity. Since joining the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur in 2004 as Executive Chef, his venues and catering department have been receiving many accolades.
For Desserts, we were pampered by not one, but four from Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur…
Desserts: Tiramisu (from Villa Danieli), Chilled Mango Cream with Pearl Sago, Pomelo & Vanilla Icecream (from Celestial Court), Chocolate Madagascar topped with Poached Vanilla-scented Apricot (from Essence) & Black Sesame Macaron (from Toastina).
Served with Torbreck The Bothie, Barossa Valley
Helmed by the boyish-looking Executive Chef Rajesh Kanna, the 4 restaurants from Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur each showcased a signature dessert. I can’t say which was my favourite as all of them are so different! What a lovely diversified end to a memorable lunch 🙂
And here are the chefs who prepared the awesome canapes and lunch…
Left to right: Executive Chef Rajesh Kanna, Executive Antoine Rodriguez & Chef Garth Welsh
Here they are again, without their chef hats…
SPG Members will have the opportunity to explore new restaurants an bars as well as discover new venues around the world. In Kuala Lumpur, SPG members can receive 15% discounts at Prime, Favola, Latest Recipe, Villa Danieli, Celestial Court, Essence, Prego, Splash, The Living Room, Five5enses and Qba Latin Grill & Bar as well as over 300 participating restaurants and bars in Asia Pacific. Not only that, they continue to earn Starpoints on all eligibile food & beverage spend to get even closer to their next dream vacation. As part of SPG’s continued commitment to provide one-of-a-kind experiences for members, SPG.com/restaurantsandbars will also feature chef cooking classes and videos with SPG chefs demonstrating how to create their signature dishes!
There are lots of features included in the website, like access to venue event calendars, menus and exclusive SPG member promotions, videos and more. To learn more about this exciting program, please visit:
oooo, discounts! that’s music to my ears, especially when it comes to hotel restaurants, where the dishes can really hit our wallets 😀 mmm, lusting after that thick juicy piece of tenderloin now..
Ooh yeah, that’s one lustable tenderloin alrite!