Grand Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
72 Jalan Pahang,
Tel: 03-2697 8888 ext. 8819
Business Hours: 6.30am to 1.00am, daily.
WHILE on the way to sample Seasons Cafe’s Thai buffet promotion at Grand Seasons Hotel, my first thought was “I forgot to bring a face towel” to mop up the foreseeable rivers of perspiration which accompanies my spicy cuisine eating experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy Thai cuisine as much as the next man, and one of my happiest culinary memories is happily perspiring through a full plate of clear tom yam steamed fish with family members at a Thai restaurant in Tanjung Bungah, Penang. This, however, was work and I still needed the shirt for the next assignment later.
Happily, the dishes were not as fiery as initially feared, and I didn’t leave a copious amount of wet tissues at the end of the sampling.
With over 20 ‘core’ Thai dishes, sous chef Ahmad Fauzi and the cafe’s kitchen struck a happy balance in juggling the spicy taste with other flavours, such sweet, salty or sourness for a complex taste.
Ahmad Fauzi, who has been working kitchens for 20-odd years and been with Grand Seasons Hotel for the past eight, specialises in South-East Asian cuisine, particularly Thai and Indonesian.
“We have more than 20 authentic Thai dishes, with a few local and Western dishes to cater for those who aren’t into Thai cuisine, but they’ll be rotated through 10 menus or so,” said Ahmad Fauzi.
I was informed that Seasons Cafe has often collaborated with Thai chefs and restaurants in the past, such as last year when Grand Seasons hosted four Thai chefs. This, however, will be the first time Seasons Cafe is launching a Thai cuisine promotion led by a Malaysian chef.
The Thai Food Extravagant Promotion runs throughout June, with a buffet lunch and dinner component. As mentioned earlier, the core Thai dishes are rotated daily, although some requisite dishes, such as Tom Yam Kung (prawn tom yam), Kaeng Khiao Wan (green curry chicken) and Som Tam (papaya salad) are served for both lunch and dinner.
Spices such as fresh-ground tumeric, kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut), chillies and Thai basil feature heavily in the dishes prepared by Ahmad Fauzi and Seasons Cafe’s kitchen. But as mentioned earlier, the cooking is such that one feels a whole mix of flavours from spicy to sweet or salty, depending on the dish.
Other dishes which diners should look out for include the Nuea Phat Kraphao (Stir-fried beef with Thai basil), the ubiquitous pandan leaf-wrapped chicken as well as the famous Kaeng Matsaman (a Persian-inspired stewed beef curry). The daily lunch menu’s basil-and-garlic strewn stir-fried beef was a surprise for me, as were the yellow curry prawns, just piquant enough and still firm without being overcooked.
Something which diners should not overlook during their visit are the appetiser stalls. Besides being done up with stylised Thai styrofoam carvings, they feature some pretty interesting finger food.
Besides papaya salad, diners can check out the Thai spring rolls, which are also wrapped in transparent rice flour sheets and lighter than the Vietnamese counterpart. More interesting, however, is the leaf-wrapped appetiser known as mieng kum.
The leaf, which comes from a relative of the betel and pepper plants, is wrapped around a filling which consists of sliced cili padi, peanuts, shallots, garlic, ginger and lime. It takes a while for the taste to hit, but the sensation, while overwhelming, is also momentary and I ate two in quick succession literally without breaking a sweat.
To round off a meal of such complex tastes, one can go the whole nine yards with a rich dessert like Thai Durian Cendol. Too heavy? How about the well-known khao niao mamuang (sliced mango with glutinous rice)? Too rich? For the health-conscious, there’s a wide assortment of fresh-cut fruits. And for those with a pastry-based sweet tooth, there is a wide assortment of cakes, local kuih and puffs to fill up those last little corners.
While Seasons Cafe has a seating capacity of 200 guests and operating hours from 6.30am to 1am, guests are advised to make reservations. The buffet lunch is priced at RM55++ per pax, while the buffet dinner will cost RM75++ per pax. The promotion runs till June 30.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.