Avillion Port Dickson,
3rd Mile, Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson.
Tel: 06-647 6688
Business hours: Opens 24 hours, daily.

Port Dickson restaurant offers a tantalising spread bursting with taste.

THIS Ramadan, the kitchen team at Avillion Port Dickson has rolled out a menu featuring several special fusion dishes to whet the appetite of diners.

Straying from the tried and true, executive chef Chan Seng Hock played with different flavour combinations to create a winning blend of dishes that hints at the traditional but offers more complex tastes.

Avillion Port Dickson executive chef Chan with the fusion dishes he concocted for the hotel's buka puasa buffet.

Avillion Port Dickson executive chef Chan with the fusion dishes he concocted for the hotel’s buka puasa buffet.

The five unique dishes are for the weekend break fast buffet at the hotel, to be held every Friday and Saturday until July 26.
“I spent a month working on the dishes until I got the flavours right and the thumbs up from the staff who sampled my creations.

“Although we have a rotating menu of over 100 dishes for the buffet every weekend, these five items would be served during the promotional period,” said Chan.

Mussels cooked in a chili and tamarind sauce accompanied with grilled eggplant.

Mussels cooked in a chili and tamarind sauce accompanied with grilled eggplant.

The unique dishes are Itik Golek Masak Lemak Kari (Roast Duck in Creamy Curry), Sotong Goreng ala Sambal Tomato (Deep Fried Baby Octopus served with a tomato-based sambal), Assam Sambal Hijau Kupang dengan Terung Panggang (Mussels in Green Chilli Sambal with grilled eggplant), Kambing Golek Serai (Roast Lamb Marinated in Herb and Spice Blend) and Sungkai Ekor Assam Pedas (Spicy Ox-tail Stew).

Sitting down to a pre-Ramadan meal with the chef recently, I had the chance to sample his creations.

First up was the roast duck masak lemak (creamy turmeric-based curry), a seemingly incredulous combination on paper, but a pleasant surprise in the taste department.

The combination was good enough to tempt me to have a second helping. A fact worth noting is that duck is not something I usually enjoy.

The duck was seasoned with Chinese five spice powder and oven-roasted at a low temperature to ensure the meat retained its juices before being finished off in the creamy and spicy curry.

The five spice powder did not overpower the dish rather it lent a subtle fragrance. The light curry made with a blend of fresh turmeric, chillies and onions was light and likeable.

These tender and juicy morsels of baby octopus are big on taste and texture.

These tender and juicy morsels of baby octopus are big on taste and texture.

Next on the menu was deep fried baby octopus, deceptively simple but big in flavour and crunch.

One bite of the tender, juicy morsels, seasoned simply with salt and pepper, revealed a superior taste compared to the usual batter-fried squid.

The deep-fried octopus was served with a sourish-spicy sambal made with fresh tomatoes, tamarind, dried shrimp paste, freshly ground chilli paste and Thai Basil.

Chef Chan said he opted for baby octopus because it was more flavourful and had a texture ideal for deep frying.

“It is more expensive but definitely worth it as it tastes so much better.

“Unlike other hotels, our Ramadan buffet is only offered on weekends so we really wanted to give our guests the best,” he said.

The baby octopus was followed with another seafood treat – New Zealand mussels cooked in a unique sauce made with a combination of green and bird eye chillies, tamarind juice and yoghurt with grilled eggplants on the side.

The different elements – Malay-style sambal tempered with yoghurt, a first for me, went well with the perfectly cooked mussels.

Chef Chan emphasised the use of quality produce and freshly ground spice and herb pastes, which he said was crucial to produce flavourful dishes.

“We prefer not to use store-bought powders and paste as fresh is certainly best.

“Also, blending our own pastes allows us to experiment with different ingredients and use herbs that are in season,” he added.

Herb and spice pastes were also used in the marinade for the Kambing Golek Serai – an oven-roasted lamb loin (top pic) marinated for an entire day, infusing the meat with flavour.

Chef Chan's rendition of ox-tail stew.

Chef Chan’s rendition of ox-tail stew.

Last but not least, was Chan’s rendition of ox-tail stew – a kampung-style dish flavoured with fresh herbs and spices.

Throughout the promotional period, diners are able to sample these dishes and traditional specialities including Rendang Nangka (Curried Jackfruit), Telor Itik Masak Lemak (Duck Egg in Creamy Curry), Batang Keladi Masak Assam (Yam Stem in Spicy-sour Sauce) among others.

Chan hoped that diners would be a little more adventurous and sample the unique dishes while enjoying the traditional flavours.

Stalls serving up bubur lambukasam laksa, grilled meats, whole-roasted lamb and a variety of sweet treats would also be set up at the hotel’s poolside Village Court Restaurant. Diners will also be entertained by a cak lempong troupe during their dinner.

The buka puasa buffet is priced at RM98++ (per adult) and RM40++ (per child) and is available from 7pm to 10.30pm.

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

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