Hi folks, commencing this week I will be starting a new blog category called Food Reviews. Since hubby and I love to try out new eating places, I thought it would be fun to share about our discoveries and swap feedback with all of you. It's always good to know about more eating places yes? ;)
Both my dad and my sister's birthdays are just two days apart, so this year we took the opportunity to celebrate both with a high tea buffet at Sheraton Imperial, KL. It was also a good opportunity for us to use our Starwood voucher at 50% off the total bill.
Essence Restaurant is the Sheraton's all day dining venue, featuring international buffets on normal weekdays and high teas on weekends and public holidays. The normal rate for the weekend high tea is RM78++ for adults, and half price for children 4-12 yo. The good thing is, you get a whopping 4 hours to enjoy your meal, as it starts from 12 till 4pm. Yea, start with lunch and practically finish it off with tea!
We reached the restaurant at about 12.40pm, and surprisingly it was rather quiet, with only about 4 tables occupied. The venue is fairly spacious and the food sections spread out at different corners. The ambience is rustic Asian bold red, tempered down with neutral brown tones. You sit under towering ceilings and chandeliers. Nice.
|Huge red chandelier at the dessert station|
|An entire section totally empty..|
My tummy was growling by then (as we came straight from a session at the gym - better have a good workout before another "work-out"!), but I decided to "survey" first before diving into the first item i see :P At first glance, the spread was quite limited, which was disappointing for such an established, reputable hotel.
There is the usual hot section, which starts with the noodle station at the far left, the burger section, grill lamb and a small selection of italian entres. A smattering of indian spread was next, which include chicken tikka, roti jala, potato curry and make-your-own pasembor. The chinese selection was equally limited, with yang chow fried rice, hot dumplings, sweet corn soup, lo hon chai and a VERY small selection of dim sum (I think I saw only about 4 items, two of which were coloured pau). Unfortunately, most of these hot items looked either kinda dry (with a dried crust on top) or soggy.
|The hot mains section|
|Roast lamb (REALLY good!), chargrilled veg (very bland), crab meat slaw (so-so), guacamole, mushroom sauce and my favourite kalamata olives|
|The roast lamb was gorgeous - I asked for both the medium cooked cuts, and also the semi fatty cuts - and the chef smilingly complied.|
|Hubby said the crackling was good too|
My main grouse with the lamb was they didn't have any mint sauce to go with it. The mushroom sauce totally didn't do justice to the lamb. In the end, I decided to just enjoy the meat on its own, forget about the forgettable sauce.
|I tried their curry laksa - it was pretty good. I had two bowls :) |
And those super crunchy, decent size prawns - yum!
|The burger man - freshly grilled beef patties upon request. |
|The burger was awesome! It was definitely one of the best ones we've had. |
The patty was full of robust flavour, just cooked and juicy.
|Are you tempted?|
|From left : Make-your-own rojak (very nice sauce), pan fried dumplings (soggy), chicken tikka, I think (flavourful, but a bit tough and kinda dry).|
|Overcooked pea sprouts|
|My sister is a big lover of breads, so she had like two plates of these...|
the charcoal bread was pretty good, and apparently so
were the cheese sticks. I am going to find out how to make homemade
charcoal bread :)
The cold section had a very limited selection of fresh salads, make-your-own rojak, some cheeses and cold cuts. Very average items.
|Not-so-fresh fruits..oxidising and turning limp...sigh|
Finally there was the dessert section, which again had the usual spread of suspects - local kuih muihs, bubur, and a variety of western cakes and pastries.
|Dessert counter - western pastries and some kuih muih. Nothing very captivating..|
I didn't even try a single item from the local sweet side.
|From top : red velvet cake, salted caramel popcorn, chocolate (and something) mousse|
|An odd color combination, but was really delicious, especially the chocolate and cheese mousse - very smooth, with just the right level of sweetness.|
|Chocolate verrine - I only liked the black sesame crisp.|
|Red velvet cake, it was rather dry. |
|These were really good though! Can't stop munching these salted |
|My son asked for some icrecream - they only had four flavours : chocolate, vanilla (this one), |
green tea and strawberry.
|A small scoop of icrecream with choc chips and sprinkles for a small boy|
During the whole time we were there, the restaurant was not even half full. If you dislike any sort of crowd, this is the place. No queues, no need to rush or wait for any particular refills. However, I suspect this also meant that much of the food (especially the slow moving items) were not replenished with a fresh batch even though it had turned soggy/dried/etc.
I appreciated the service though. Used plates were efficiently replaced with clean ones. Our requests for refills of coffee and tea were promptly attended to. My dad and I have a particular preference for "cham" - mixing coffee and tea ;P. They served us each with a cup filled with 1/3 espresso and a whole pot of tea for us to help ourselves, which I thought was really thoughtful. In most places, they would have mixed it for me, and I always find it to be too much coffee.
|A big pot of hot tea - more than enough for four servings. You can see my reflection, taking the photo.|
Remember I said earlier that I regretted not visiting the smaller cold section? Well, this is why...
|We almost missed out on the freshest, beautifully chilled, perfectly fatty cuts of sashimi salmon!|
|VERY VERY nice|
Towards the end of the meal, when we were all feeling totally stuffed, hubby came back with a small plate of something, with a Cheshire grin on his face. He put down this plate of gorgeous sashimi salmon and said "Eat!". Mum and I both took a piece and almost melted. I asked him how come I didn't see any sashimi, he said it was not displayed on the counter. He only knew about it when he saw a lady asking the chef manning the small cold section about it, and he (the chef) proceeded to take out a slab from the chiller under the counter. This item was only available upon request by those in the know!
Now you know ;P
Unfortunately, by this time all we could manage was a further two pieces each. My mum remarked that when one is full, one would not be tempted by even the finest of gourmet cuisine. How true.
Overall, the buffet was mostly a hit and miss affair, with more misses than hits. I think I bypassed about 80% of the items.
Verdict : Mostly an average spread and quality, with a handful of really good items that stood out. I probably wouldn't come back again unless their quality and selection of food is significantly improved.
Get the restaurant staff to stamp your parking ticket and you pay only a flat rate of RM5.