Having to live in the East Coast when I was a child, I wasn’t particularly impressed with both Kelantan and Terengganu. Being somewhat traditional Islamic states, rules and regulations in school was pretty much rigid and even the non-Muslims would have to adhere to the dress codes; which is to wear cover up clothing. Students are generally expected to be quiet and obey whatever the teachers say. I was a recalcitrant and free spirited child and was never fond of such things and I considered that time of my life one of the most miserable one I had to endure, but other than that, both states have plenty to offer in term of tourism and food.
When it comes to Malay cuisine, there is no denial that Malaysia’s East Coast serves one of the best. This June, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur teams up with a Malaysian Celebrity Chef Zamzani Abdul Wahab otherwise fondly known as Chef Zam to bring local cuisine experience to the next level, and my family and I have been privileged enough to sample what they have to offer during their media preview. I was grinning from ear to ear. Not having to travel to the East Coast but will be able to enjoy authentic East Coast cuisine? I’ll never say no to that. :p
Chef Zam has specially crafted a rotational menu to ensure excellent variety and great tastes. Again, as this is a buffet spread and I can’t possibly eat everything that they are offering, I’ll just highlight what’s good in the buffet.
The tantalising selection starts with warm and hearty soups like Malay ox tail or sup tulang, then to refreshing appetisers featuring pulut cawan gaul kelapa dan ikan masin, akok berlauk, rojak betik, kerabu taugeh and jantung pisang.
Kerabu Counter where you can scoop up kerabu of your choice go go with your rice. A few all time favourite Kerabu can easily be spotted here at the buffet spread.
Kerabu Mangga. I took a scoop of this, but it was a tad too spicy for me.
Acar Timun&Nanas was very tangy, fruity and definitely refreshing.
Kerabu Tauge. I gave this a miss as I have intolerance towards bean sprouts.
Kerabu Daging Rebus was nice, but just like the Kerabu Mangga, this is also borders on the spicy side.
Also spotted at the Kerabu and Ulam Ulaman section, is ingredients for you to assemble your very own Pecal.
An unlikely guest at the Kerabu section, the irresistible Ketupat Daun Palas. These are rather boring if they are to be taken on their own, but if you’re to pair these with a side of Rendang Tok, then it’s another story altogether and they make pretty much a sensational pair.
The traditional Bubur Lambuk is also offered here in the buffet spread.
Dishing this out from the pot and into my bowl, I discovered that the Bubur Lambuk Terengganu is not the variant that I’m familiar with. The one that I’m familiar with is usually cooked with spiced chicken or beef, but this have not only spiced chicken bits in it but also fish meat, and it is surprisingly leafy too. Quite a put off for my somewhat ‘carnivorous’ son, but I love this to bits. I approve this as a break-fasting dish as it is not only packed with essential nutrients and energy, but great for digestion too with all the extra fibre from the veggies. Somewhat a ‘banned’ item for my fussy son but I have no doubt that the Bubur Lambuk Terengganu will be the crowd’s favourite it has the flavour of home cooked food.
There is also delightful dishes such as gulai udang, kerutuk daging, singang sotong hitam, gulai telur itik, ayam percik and ketupat sotong. Cooked to perfection with freshest of ingredients, the aromatic dish will most definitely entice guests to a second helping.
Gulai Telur Itik
Hati Ayam Masak Kicap
Sambal Tumis Kacang Bendi
Stir-fry Asparagus in premium soya sauce.
Keep your eyes peeled for the action counter that dishes out Mee Rebus Terengganu.
Being a Penangite, I was expecting a noodle dish served with thick, reddish and gooey soup made from tapioca and chilli paste, topped with crunchy prawn fritters and keropok, but clearly, I am not familiar enough with Terengganu cuisine as instead of getting what I was expecting, I get the noodle dish served with clear soup and topped with beef balls instead. It was definitely different on the palate but it was enjoyable nevertheless. The soup may be the clear kind, but it packs quite a punch. Fully flavoured and quite rich, so I’d advice you to go easy on it if you I intend to sample more things in the buffet.
The feasting journey moves on to a different beat with ‘celup-celup’ live station.
Here, fresh fish, squid, prawns, crab of your choosing is prepared for dipping in piping hot batter and served with sweet chilli sauce and condiments.
This was what’s on my plate. Chef Zam fried these for me and he promised me that I’ll like it a lot and I’ll take a second helping. Well, you know what? Chef Zam lied about just having a second helping. 🙁 I took four helpings of this after the first one and was in the terrible danger of taking my fifth plate of the seafood Celup Celup Goreng. :p Yes. It was that good! Such cholesterol fest, but I have no regrets. It was wonderful and sensational and it makes me a very happy woman. :p
No visit to a Terengganu feast would be complete with having a taste of their signature Keropok Lekor, and so I stole some of these from the Celup Celup action stall, and was pleasantly surprised that it was authentically fishy instead of floury.
Apart from the sumptuous East Coast spread, Serena Brasserie also aims to please those with international palate. A selection of International food can also be enjoyed here.
Fresh seafood on ice features baby lobster, Australian Spanner Crab, Blue Swimmer Crab, Green Lipped New Zealand Mussels, Scallops, Alaskan King Crab, Pacific Prawns, US and Fin de Clair Oyster and many more.
Sushi and Sashimi
What I had that day was Pink Pepper Macadamia Crusted Australian Beef with a side of Yorkshire Pudding and trio roasted potato and rustic vegetable and drowned with homemade Hickory Barbeque Sauce. Sometimes, I’m amazed with my own capacity to tank on food. Despite of being full, I still managed two helpings of this. It was one of the best meat carving I’ve ever had.
Gourmet cheese and fruits
A selection of Artisan Bread
Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup
Discover the sweeter essence of the East coast in the dessert section featuring traditional medley of bengkang telur manis, serikaya telur, penganan labu, hati kesuma, terembas, puteri mandi, cik abas demam, and wajid durian.
Dessert section also offers the chocolate fountain where you can delightfully make skewers of biscuits or dried fruits chocolate dip.
Fresh local fruits to cleanse your palate.
And if you prefer to end your meal with a sweet note, do keep an eye on their homemade ice creams and sorbet.
I gave it a try and did not just stop at just two scoops. It was deliciously refreshing.
The ‘Selera Pantai Timur bersama Chef Zamzani’ is available from 8 to 17 June 2015
‘The journey of Malaysian East Coast Flavours’ will continue to be featured during Serena Brasserie’s Berbuka Puasa buffet from 18 June to 15 July 2015. Dinner buffet is priced at RM139nett per adult on the first and fourth week of the month of Ramadan, and RM152nett per adult on the second and third week of Ramadan. Spacious prayer room located at Level 5 is available for the convenience of Muslim guests with separate male and female prayer rooms.
For more dining reservations or for more information on Serena Brasserie, call +603 2782 6000 / +603 2782 6228 or email [email protected] or visit www.intercontinental-kl.com.my. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @intercontinental.kualalumpur and Twitter @ interconkl.