Starz Diner

Special thanks to Hard Rock Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Hard Rock Hotel is one of the more popular resorts along the Batu Ferringhi beach. Starting from a rock and roll-themed restaurant in London, Hard Rock Cafe has evolved from mere restaurants to trendy hotels across the globe.
Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Ferringhi is one of the most family-oriented resorts. Facing the beach is a mini water park where children can enjoy countless hours of watery fun.
Although Hard Rock Cafe is the flagship restaurant of Hard Rock Hotel Penang, there are several other eateries in this hotel, namely Starz Diner and Pizzeria.
Starz Diner is the place where hotel guests enjoy breakfast. In the evening, it is a casual dining restaurant with an à la carte menu of Western food and elements of local cuisine.
My trip this evening is to witness the preview of Starz Diner's Seafood On The Rocks. Every Saturday evening starting April 2016, this seafood-theme buffet dinner will replace the Barefoot BBQ Buffet at Pizzeria.
One of the more prominent appetizers is Smoked Salmon Salad With Avocado. While the salty appeal of smoked salmon is certainly enjoyable, I also enjoy the complementing buttery texture taste of avocado.
Elements of Japanese cuisine are also present during tonight's buffet. Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) is an egg custard with several ingredients such as unagi (うなぎ, freshwater eel) and ginkgo nuts. Steamed in teacups, the custard is garnished with bright shrimp roes (えびこ). Nevertheless, I feel that the preparation of Chawanmushi deserves more improvement.
Staying faithful to its seafood theme, tonight's soup is Prawn & Shellfish Bisque. Although I am starting to appreciate the role of saltier soup in inducing appetite, I think the amount of salt should be toned down a little.
Next to the bisque is a basket of assorted bread. Butter is also provided.
There are also several sauces and condiments to go with bread. Tapenade is a French recipe of chopped olives, olive oil and capers. Pesto is an Italian sauce made from basil. Meanwhile, sun-dried tomatoes provide tanginess that go quite well with bread.
Seafood on ice includes oysters, scallops, mussels, razor clams and shrimps. Tabasco sauce, lemon wedges, cocktail dressing and shallot vinaigrette are prepared to serve as condiments.
The sushi (寿司) platter features a decent number of maki (巻き) rolls. California Roll (カリフォルニアロール) is one of my favorites as it contains avocado. Kappa maki (河童巻き) contains cucumber at the core and is coated with seaweed (海苔).
Aburi salmon (炙りサーモン) and aburi tuna (炙りまぐろ) are made from partially-cooked fish slices, using a blowtorch just before serving.
As for nigiri (握り) or hand-pressed sushi, salmon (サーモン) is by far the most popular one.
Not far behind are tuna (まぐろ) and tamago (たまご) versions of nigiri sushi.
The sashimi (刺身) platter is well-received too. Served over a cooling bed of grated daikon (大根) are tuna (まぐろ), salmon, mackerel (鯖), octopus (たこ) and narutomaki (鳴門まき).
Of course, sushi and sashimi are best enjoyed with wasabi (山葵), pickled ginger (ガリ).
At the carving station are various types of roasted meat with Chinese sweet-savory marinade (叉烧). Today's meats are Roasted Chicken, Lamb Char Siew and Chicken Char Siew. Chili sauce and sweet soy sauce serve as condiments.
The buffet also includes a teppanyaki (鉄板焼き) station. Cooked on an iron griddle, the food is best enjoyed while still warm.
Among the more exotic ingredients for teppanyaki is slipper lobsters. Wasabi mayonnaise (わさびマヨネーズ) seems to go well with these crustaceans.
For those who take beef, sesame sauce (ゴマ醤油) provides a unique sense of savory and buttery appeal.
For grilled chicken, the recommended condiment is lime mayonnaise (ライムマヨネーズ) with togarashi (唐辛子) to provide mild spiciness.
As for shrimps, the flesh within the shell is naturally sweet and juicy. This is certainly a hallmark of freshness.
A blend of seaweed salsa (海苔サルサ) is specially formulated to go with the shrimps.
Yaki Soba (焼き蕎麦) is stir-fried Japanese buckwheat noodles with vegetables. The texture of buckwheat noodles rougher than noodles made from wheat flour.
Moving on, Yin Yang Fried Rice (鸳鸯炒饭) refers to two main ingredients whose flavors seem to complement each other. The duo is typically shrimps and chicken. Other ingredients are anchovies and chopped scallion.
For something crispy, Deep Fried Prawn With Nestum is a treat indeed. The scrumptious shrimp fritters are delightfully enjoyable with every bite.
In the desserts section, Soya Bean Milk With Glutinous Ball & Gingko Nuts is probably my favorite one among all. Within the glutinous rice balls are sweet sesame paste. As for soy milk, I personally prefer it to be less sweet. However, I understand that this level of sweetness is closer to the mainstream palate.
Served in a shot glass, Red Bean Jelly is topped with whipped cream for better appeal.
Green Tea Cheese Cake is cut into bite-size portions for the convenience of diners.
As for French pastries, one type consists of cream tartlets with chocolate cream and fresh strawberries on top.
Another type of tartlet is covered with whipped cream and a chocolate balls.
Finally for fruits, there are many glasses of assorted fruits that are scattered throughout the buffet table.
Starz Diner also has coffee machines that are very convenient to use. Should you prefer tea, there are also a number of assorted English tea flavors for your enjoyment.
Star Diner's Seafood On The Rocks has two menus on rotation each week. The buffet is priced at RM99.00 per adult and RM59.00 per child between 6 and 12 years old. If seafood is your cup of tea, this buffet should be able to satisfy your craving.

Name: Starz Diner
Address: Hard Rock Hotel, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-886-8057
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00am, 5:30pm-11:00pm
Website: http://penang.hardrockhotels.net/starz-diner
Coordinates: 5.46744 N, 100.24154 E
Directions: From Tanjung Bungah, travel west towards Batu Ferringhi. Hard Rock Hotel is approximately 6 kilometers from Tanjung Bungah's floating mosque, located on the right of the road. Starz Diner is located on the Ground Floor, next to the lobby of the hotel. There are parking spaces in front of the hotel.

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