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UTARA COFFEE HOUSE,
Armada Petaling Jaya, Lot 6,
Lorong Utara C, Section 52,
Petaling Jaya.

(Tel: 03-7954 6888 ext 4557/email armada@armada.com.my)

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SITTING down for a buffet meal may not be the norm when celebrating Chinese New Year but at Armada Petaling Jaya, there is the option to do just that or opt for conventional dinner sets.

This season, the hotel’s Utara Coffee House features Chinese banquet requisites, such as braised sea cucumber with greens and mushrooms, lotus leaf rice, white and roasted chickens on its buffet-line.

Also on the spread is the Cantonese pun choy, consisting primarily of seafood, alongside some less traditional items such as sashimi and sushi.

Nonetheless, for those wishing to indulge in a traditional sit-down meal, executive chef Chew Teik Chye and his kitchen do not disappoint with three prosperity set menus, each with its own set of dishes.

For this review, the focus was on the Blissful Longevity set (RM988++), which comes with seven dishes and two desserts.

Chef Chew, a kitchen veteran of more than 30 years, is something of a traditionalist, but he is also not afraid to tryout new ingredients and styles.

For example, in the traditional yee sang, where rather than salmon or carp, chef Chew opted instead for abalone slices and baby octopus, which make for a more chewy yet satisfying experience.

Soup is the Braised Seafood Mentaiko, where mentaiko, also known as seasoned fish roe, alongside other stock-contributing ingredients such as Mexican and razor clams, prawns, crabmeat and mushroom are combined for a rich taste and mouthfeel.

This is also helped by the fact that chef Chew has thrown in old chicken and dried scallops to enrich the stock.

By contrast, Pei Pah Chicken in Orange Salsa Sauce comes garnished with strawberries, cucumber and orange cubes on the side.

The thick, tangy sauce consisting of orange, citrus juice, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and bird’s eye chilli is a nice counterpoint to the earlier dish.

Chef Chew also demonstrates his flair for food artistry with the Deep-fried Sea Garoupa in Spicy Sesame Sauce, where chunks of boneless flesh have been cut off the fish and fried.

The fish itself is artistically placed as if it is leaping out of the water, while the sauce, sesame aside, is flavoured with ginger, shallots kaffir lime leaves and garlic.

Prawns are a requisite for Chinese dining. The firm, light sweetness of the tiger prawn serves as a tasty backdrop for heaps of fragant-smelling ginger fried with garlic and doused with lime.

For the vegetable course, one has braised tau kan (dried beancurd) with mushrooms and black moss (fatt choy) sauce.

“You do not really need a lot of fatt choy, because although the quantity looks very little when dry, once you soak the moss it begins expanding,” said chef Chew.

The last of the savoury dishes was fried rice, day-old rice fried with mixed vegetables, prawns and surprise, surprise…pineapple!

The end result is a fragrant yet light fried rice dish, complemented by the tangy, sweet taste of the fruit.

Dessert comprised sweet Red Bean Cream with Snow Sago and Shanghai Pancake.

Instead of this set, one can also opt for Everlasting Success (RM1088++) or Bountiful Treasures (RM1188++), each for a minimum of 10 persons per table.

Meanwhile, the reunion buffet is priced at RM70++ for adults, RM49++ for senior citizens and RM35++ per child.

Both offerings are until Feb 14.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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