Weekends are meant to be lazy decadent breaks so we feel charged up to hit Monday with a vengeance. One place to enjoy the good life is at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur. Dining may be limited to few choices here but when it comes to making things count, the people at The Ritz-Carlton definitely know how to put on a masterpiece of a meal, making you dream up plans to spend the whole weekend here.
Located just on the ground floor is the Lobby Lounge where you get to break the monotony of the daily life (except Sundays) with their afternoon tea break from 3-5pm. It's a great place to relax and chill out especially if you rather take a quieter approach. Imagine soothing harp music, tinkling teacups, and catching up with the gossip at this cosy setting. Definitely the grand life that makes you wanna break out in song and sing...Summertime by George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess...."summertime, and the living is easy..."
Unlike the more bustling Sunday Roast Lunch, teatime here is a quieter affair. Once you sink down in your comfy highback chairs (or the sofa), you get to select your choice of tea from a trolley. There's about 40 choices from the fine tea-merchant Ronnefeldt - fruit, green, black and even herbal ones. Splashie Boy is partial towards the more aromatic fruit teas hence his choice is a ladylike pink Raspberry fruit tea while mine is a robust vanilla black tea, a favourite of mine ever since I discovered this in Mauritius (they're crazy about vanilla there and even the airline serves it).
The tea is brewed in individual Narumi bone china teapots that are placed on top of a warmer. You can ask for the tea to be topped up with hot water that is placed in a tea samovar at the front of the restaurant. After waiting a while, you get served a three tier stand full of goodies.
Work your way down like Hansel and Gretel following a bread path from the savouries, scones and ending with the sweet chocolate treats at the end. It is the best ever food discovery. The scones are freshly baked and gorgeously light. You're served with shot glasses of spun white clouds of whipped cream (it's too soft to be the heavy dense clotted cream I used to get in Devon) for you to slather on your scones. There is also a choice of three mini jams from Bonne Maman - raspberry and strawberry preserves plus bitter orange marmalade. I love the savoury treats too - the wafer thin cucumber slices pressed between white bread, the decadent smoked salmon pieces artfully curled on the piece of bread, the discreet dab of chutney on the brie and ham bites, beef bacon quiches with a light airy crust. However my favourite childhood moment were the mini chicken pies. Topped with a puff pastry hat, these teeny weeny pies had a creamy chicken filling with mixed vegetables, just like those gigantic ones we used to get at Jaya Supermarket's bakery.
Reaching the third layer was a slow and steady trail, I wasn't too enthusiastic about the fruit tartlets even though they look so pretty with the edible gold leaf since the tart crust was a wee bit too hard. Neither was I game for the bright pink strawberry cream piped within my chocolate eclairs but I loved the light as air mango cheesecake. Surrounded by dark chocolate pieces, I savoured each bite of the cheesecake on top of each bittersweet chocolate piece. I left the brownie till the end as it looked dense but a bite at the bottom revealed a surprise find - pecans! A little on the sweet side, it was still very good especially with the raspberry mousse topping. For more pictures on the afternoon tea, see the Flickr set.
If afternoon tea is not your cuppa of choice, make way instead for their Sunday Roast Lunch that is filled with all the good things in life. There's of course, the customary Prime Rib - a huge hunk of meat that is sliced and served with very traditional Yorkshire pudding and of course, lashings of gravy. Various choices like roast lamb and a lovely salmon kedgeree en croute (wrapped in puff pastry) is also available.
The selection of items here may be smaller than other hotel buffets. However, the Ritz-Carlton emphasises on quality ingredients hence you will find everything is exquisite right down to your ala-minute tossed Caesar Salad. It's a deluxe version as not only is it tossed in a scraped Parmesan cheese wheel, they grate bottarga (cured fish roe) and adorn your dressed greens with black truffles.
There's also artisan French Echire butter, ranked as one of the best butters in France, fin de Claire oysters shucked for you upon request and the list continues. I liked how the food is artfully presented especially the main appetisers - all tucked in beautiful jewellery boxes. Even the various terrines come with landscapes of their own crafted from gelatine, pink peppercorns, star anise and micro herbs. Incidentally, the terrines are also divine - the salmon one has a black caviar heart, there are some with a scallop one, filled with rich umami-tasting mushrooms and etc. One more item you should not miss on the appetizer table is this discreet looking foie gras, portobello mushroom and rocket ensemble - melts in the mouth with a burst of flavours balanced out with the slightly peppery rocket leaf.
You also get a selection of Japanese appetisers on the side. There's an assorted sashimi, various types of makis and sushis. There's even deep fried fish and a colourful selection of fish eggs. Adjacent to the Japanese table, you will find a whole smoked salmon with all the tangy dips.
Leave room for desserts as they are all divine too. A magnificent tower of profiteroles in a form of a croquembouche take center stage here in front of an amazing wall of colourful macarons and cookies.
There are even chocolate displays to tempt you with beautifully formed truffles, chocolate bars and a chocolate fountain. Dip the fresh fruits, marshamallows in the flowing chocolate or if you prefer there are even pre-dipped strawberries on the side, all prepped ahead for you.
I love the chocolate tart shaped like a boat that is filled with juicy fresh fruits. They're given an added elegance with edible gold foil. The lemon meringue pie comes with a tall fluffy meringue crown that balances out the slightly tart lemony taste.
Cheese lovers can zoom in on their cheese table filled with a good variety of hard and soft cheeses - bries, bleu cheese, camemberts, cheddar, goats cheese and etc. Dried fruits and fresh grapes are also available on the side for you to enjoy your cheese.
Just a word on the mains, you have a choice that to pick from roast beef, roast lamb or the salmon en croute dish that will be served to your table. The salmon en croute is a magnificent looking dish in its delicate puff pastry shell with the soft yellow rice mixed with hard boiled eggs as the salmon was cooked perfectly.
You will find yourself spoiled for choices here. There's also a trio of musicians to entertain the guests. For a whole lot more pictures, see my Flickr set.
Ah, weekends...aren't they wonderful? Two days of utter bliss to do whatever you please....eat wherever you fancy. So how do you indulge during the weekend? Cook at home or just eat out at the places you wish to try. Do share your experiences.
The Lobby Lounge
The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur
168, Jalan Imbi
Tel: 03-2142 8000
(Pork free. Afternoon tea is available daily from 3-5pm except Sundays for RM68++ per person. Champagne afternoon tea is also available where you will be served a flute of Laurent-Perrier Champagne with the three-tier selection and tea for RM150++ per person. Sunday Roast Lunch is available from 11.30am to 3pm, every Sunday. It is priced at RM130++. For more pictures on The Ritz-Carlton's other dining offers, see my collection of pictures.)
*Notice: The reviewer declares that the Sunday Roast lunch review was by invitation from the restaurant. The afternoon tea was paid for by the reviewer.