Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dining Out @ The Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Hotel, Kuala Lumpur


Oyster on ice

I first caught wind of the Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Hotel's new cafe at last year's Food Bloggers gathering from Riz of Fried Chillies fame. Oozing praises for the new concept, he made it sound so tempting, I wanted to abandon the gathering and bolt straight away for the cafe. The magic word, he kept repeating was "Teppanyaki Ice Cream". Hold on, my brain was working out, "one can't fry ice cream on a teppan since it will melt right???"


Prawns

My curiosity was piqued hence, when I received an invitation to dine with Paprika, Lyrical Lemongrass and Cheryl Lum (thanks so much, Cheryl!), the PR director of Le Meridien Hotel, I said " Yes" very eagerly.


Sushi galore

Come Monday night, I'm fighting through the Federal Highway traffic to get to the hotel. I guess the gods must be feeling kind that night since I arrived way before my appointment time. A good sign I reckon, plus I found parking quickly, even though the hotel was packed for a function.


Test tube dressings?

Once you enter the cafe, you will find it is an unusual round shape as the middle portion is taken over by the hanging glass mosiac. Unlike the traditional hotel buffets, here you find open kitchens with busy chefs behind yellow glass lit panels. Just above each counter is a lit panel depicting the type of cuisine - for instance, the Chinese counter had a picture of a junk in full sail while the Japanese counter had the snow topped Fuji Mountain and cherry blossoms. You'll find Malay, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Western delights in their open kitchens. Opposite the open kitchens, you'll find the salad bar, seafood on ice, glass shelves filled with teeny weeny tapas appetizers and desserts, two chocolate fountains (the white chocolate one was out of commission that day), a dessert spread and their signature Teppanyaki ice cream bar (more on that later on).


My salad

Being an avid Japanese food fan, I zoomed in on the Japanese counter. A selection of sushi, makis and sashimi is laid out for all to pick from. Soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi was also available on the same counter. Since I was saving tummy space for other tempting delights, I only tried the sashimi - maguro, salmon, octopus and butterfish. The sashimi was fresh but I didn't quite like how they sliced the fish - in small pieces, which made it so difficult to pick up with tongs. What I did like was the Teppanyaki counter next to it. You select from an array of beef, chicken, prawns and scallops for the chef to cook on the hot teppan. He adds a peppery sauce for the beef and a creamy sauce for the seafood, which was super delicious. Thumbs up for the tender beef cubes and the springy prawns with the delish sauce. My only gripe is they tend to under cook the scallops. You can also get garlic fried rice here, cooked on the teppan. Cooked vegetables are also available and kept in a slow cooker to keep them warm.


Delish Teppanyaki Beef

Next was the local Malay seafood barbeque. Choose from stingray, prawn, squid, bamboo clams and etc with your choice of sambal and dressings to be grilled on the spot. At one point, it got quite smoky with the grill producing seafood non stop. We had the grilled stingray wrapped in banana leaf and bamboo clams. Unfortunately, I found the fish to be dry while the bamboo clams had a slight sandy texture.


Psychedelic coloured dim sum

The Chinese counter had a variety of noodles served with mee bandung, cantonese, curry mee gravy. However, we only managed to try the Shanghai Noodles. I really liked this as it reminded me of Loh Mee albeit less starchy. Served with thin noodles, the slightly starchy broth is filled with fresh seafood. There's also chicken rice (steamed and roasted) and an array of steamed dim sum items. Although the siu mai was quite tasty, we did encounter a bad one in the form of sausages wrapped in har kau skin.



The awesome Northern Indian collection


The western section has a pasta counter - pick which type you like and the sauce you want them to cook it in. We asked for the chef's special and it was light tasting- squid ink fettucine served with aglio olio and squid rings, beef bacon, garlic and onions. A carvery with roasts and side dishes are also available.


Tempting tapas desserts


My absolute favourite was the Indian counter. Rows of various curries and vegetables were laid out in gleaming brass pots. There is also a selection of pappadums, all tasting great. Briyani rice, tandoori items, chutneys, yoghurt mixed with vegetables were also available. My favourites were the pea curry, the eggplants and the melt in the mouth lamb curry. The food tends to be quite spicy, so drizzle it with yoghurt, if you prefer a less fiery effect on your stomach. Right at the end is the soup section with bread. That night we dined here it was Sup Tulang, which finished so quickly we didn't even get a chance to try it.


Oh mighty chocolate!

The array of food here is endless. Opposite the open kitchens, you get fresh seafood on the ice - oysters, prawns, crabs and mussels. Just pick your choice, drizzled with lemon juice or tabasco. Cooked local dishes are also available at one side. I loved the salad bar as it had a selection of salad dressings in test tubes. Pre-mixed by the kitchen, you take one from the tray and shake it well before drizzling on your choice of vegetables. If that doesn't satisfy you, mix your own from their selection of flavoured olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine vinegars.


Juicy strawberries


There's a slight confusion on one end - shelves filled with tapas items. Some are savoury while the others are desserts. Since they look similar, one must be careful what you choose. Although they looked pretty, they didn't taste so great. A bit too experimental for my tastebuds for instance, creamy lassi with olives.


Belgian waffles

If you prefer, you can just have desserts for buffet at RM38++. Definitely a great deal especially if you have a sweet tooth since they put up a good spread of desserts. Waffles are available on the counter, just help yourself and choose from a variety of toppings - raspberry jam, peanut butter, mango, chocolate and raspberry sauce.


Candy box

It wouldn't be a hotel buffet without a chocolate fountain. At Latest Recipe, you have a choice of two - milk and dark chocolate. Originally 3 fountains, the white chocolate one was not working that day. I loved the items given for dipping - big juicy strawberries, marshmallows with fillings (chocolate, lime, strawberry and etc) and brownies.


Select your temptation

There's also a selection of local and western desserts like madelines, mousses and puddings and local desserts on one counter, so take your pick.


Toppings of all choices

Last but not least, is the teppanyaki ice cream. Instead of a hot teppan, ice cream is placed on an icy cold plate. Select from the ice cream flavours - vanilla, chocolate, green tea and choose from the candy bar, your preferred filling. There's a variety of sweet treats - candies, marshmallows, wafers and etc.



Teppanyaki ice cream


The chef will add the filling on the ice cream and using a special teppanyaki flat steel scraper, he will "cook" it on the ice cold plate i.e. mixing it around quickly. As the temperature does not drop quickly, this quick motion mixes the filling thoroughly. Once completed, he will scrape the mixed ice cream in a glass cup and add a topping you want - ground nuts, almond flakes, chocolate rice and etc. We had the green tea ice cream with coco crunch. It nice with the crunchy bits but the green tea taste of the ice cream was not strong enough, making it a bit dissapointing.

Overall, I thought the buffet served a wide variety of items with some hits and misses. The choices were mind boggling especially since we didn't have so much tummy space. The hits for me was their teppanyaki items especially the seafood items served with the sauce. Just remember to ask them to cook the scallops a bit more as they tend to undercook it. I really liked the salads with the interesting dressings, flavoured oils and vinegar. Brings a new dimension to salad leaves.

I liked the Shanghai Noodles and would not mind having a second helping. Also good is their pasta dishes cooked a la minute with your choice of pasta and sauce. My absolute favourite was the Northern Indian food - so utterly delish, authentic (Lyrical Lemongrass gave it the stamp of approval) and worthy of a few helpings. However not everything was good on the buffet line like the Malay section with their seafood barbeque and the scary looking colourful dim sum, which tasted oily.

For desserts, I liked the chocolate fountain especially the marshmallows with fillings, which you dip in the luscious chocolate. I found the Teppanyaki ice cream to be quite unusual and definitely a new concept. However, it was a slight let down as the green ice cream should have had a stronger flavour.

Buffets are often difficult to review because everyone have their own preferences. I personally think the buffet at Latest Recipe offered a good deal for the price you're paying, since it is a wide variety of items even though it had a few misses. It will be great for a place to hang out with family and friends, as the selection of food here can definitely keep every one busy for a few hours. Even though it was a weekday night when we dined here, the place was packed with people checking out the place. Service is efficient but I wish they adopt a better system for making sure our cutlery does not go missing. Maybe a side plate is needed for them to ensure the cutlery is placed at one side, while the clear the plates.

Latest Recipe
Level 5, Le Meridien Hotel
Sentral
Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03 - 2263 7434

(Halal. Buffet available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices are RM68++ for lunch and RM78++ for dinner. During weekends, it is RM78++ for lunch and RM88++ for dinner. Breakfast serves freshly squeezed fruit juices in the morning. Dessert buffet is RM38++. The place can get packed during dinnertime during weekdays and weekends so call and book ahead.)

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26 comments:

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

definitely looks good to me.. haha now i knw where to indulge after work on a friday nite..so nearby!

daphne said...

haha.. i'm reading lyrical lemongrass post at the same time. Drool worthy food! We have "cold rock" in Perth which has the same concept with the teppanyaki ice-cream.

Nic (KHKL) said...

i've always thought that the best buffet spread was from shangri-la. perhaps will try this out during cny. so, cold teppanyaki is just mere mixing and not cooking, huh? haha!

Precious Pea said...

OMG!!! LOOK AT THE CANDY BARR!!!!

adrian said...

I went there for a company dinner last month. Seriously i'm a bit disappointed with the foods. I was told have 150 varieties of foods but i don't see there are. Each cuisines just have few choices of dished other than pasta and indian cuisine. The taste is just fine. I like the most is the nicely arranged appetizer and beef teppanyaki. While for the ice cream... is near to melt.

After that i sent them a email regarding that and they sounded that like i'm the first person that gave the negative comment.

Another thing is the parking will cost a bomb. I parked for 2 hour n 40 minutes it cost me RM 14.

ling239 said...

3 chocolate fountains ??
must find time to go d... tks! ^_^

yammylicious said...

colourful oyster shoot! lovely~ Teppanyaki ice cream!! omg thats look so icy-licious~ and i definitely will go here for try!!! GREAT~

myCoffee said...

What a spread! Going to KIV. Good chance to try it out while my discount privilege is still valid.

aredcardigan said...

In the US, we have Cold Stone Creamery which uses the same idea like the teppanyaki ice-cream you tried.

Christy said...

This is really NICE!!!
AWESOME!!
Reminds me of the Spice Kitchen in Rasa Sayang now...
AWWWW....I am longing to go there now...

wmw said...

Knowing my "pickiness", I'll probably spend my entire time here filling my bowls,plates and cups at the dessert section! :o)

JOjo said...

Desserts!!!
But lassi and olives just don't sound right.
When will i get the chance of indulging myself with this? *longing*

wushu_kid said...

mmmmhh, now I know where to go when I visit KL. Food all in one place... Alas no mention of my favorite satay ;-( Do they have it?
Gong xi fa cai to you and all. Wish you post even more great stuff!

michelleho said...

I was there last night for a company function. But had a bad experience with the Assistant Manager's professionalism and some of us including me ended up not eating there. Still feeling a tad upset about it. Note sure about the buffet but from the feedback of my bosses, the Ala Carte were not very great.

Hazza said...

THis is the second time I see someone blog on this amazing buffet in a week! It does seem pricey... even here in UK, I pay no more than ukp10 for a good buffet .. but this does seem extra special. I may just make this place a top priority on my next visit. Maybe I should starve myself for a week to make the most of it!

Jackson said...

wow....what a good deal!

KawaYvonne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KawaYvonne said...

My husband and I had the priviledge dining at Latest Recipe twice and the other restaurants @ Le Meridien KL -- Prime (steak house) and Al Nourafah (Middle East/Arabic restaurant).

Both of us have fair comments about the overall culinary experiences at these restaurants. Latest Recipe, being the newly renovated restaurant (previously known as One on One) has shifted the paradigm of the gastronomic scenes in Malaysia with its wide variety and state-of-the-art chocolate fountains and candy bars.

While the restaurant hypes its rave reviews, we both felt that the restaurant does not quite deliver the quality of food and service the other restraunts.

Like you said, there are few hits and misses here and there, but the dessert bar is definitely a sweet escape for those who crave for instant sugar therapy, it is also my favorite station.

It is an overall fine dining experience for both of us @ Latest Recipe, but we are still raving about the steaks @ Prime. As of now, we are still saving $$ for our next visit to Prime. Yes, it is on the up-scale and pricey side, but the experience worths every single penny of yours.

c'est la vie said...

sounds great, how do you compare it to Jogoya ?

irresistible said...

wah!!!!!

~T@!ra~

Lannae said...

What a fancy buffet! The seafood looks good, the ice cream looks very fun, and the little bites of sushi and dim sum look fun too! I think my favorite was the beautiful salad you had.

Camemberu said...

Oh my, looks fantastic! I gotta try this when I'm in KL next!

william (wN) Ng | Remaining Humble said...

Fortunately for those who craves to dine in Latest Recipe @ Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur can always seek my assistance and dine with me as I'm an employee in Le Meridien myself.

Discounts? Yeah, perhaps & I can bring up to 6 ppl at once including myself. But not always. If not, I will go broke.

Cheers,
William

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Jope said...

Let me update all of you.
I went there for dinner June 2011.
Standard is not the same as what you described.

Teppan not looking attractive.

Indian food, few touched them despite full house that night.
All the indian gravy had congel.

Only one chocolate fountain left.

Fruits were rockmelon, watermelon and rambutans. The rambutans with shell were unripe, flesh still stuck to seed.

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