Swez Brasserie

Special thanks to Eastin Hotel Penang for extending this food review invitation.

With a strategic location next to Queensbay Mall, Eastin Hotel Penang is a popular choice for expatriates and business travelers. Furnished with 328 hotel rooms, this 4-star hotel is the sister property of Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
Swez Brasserie is the primary restaurant in Eastin Hotel Penang. In the spirit of upcoming Chinese New Year, the spacious dining area is decorated with mock cherry blossom trees, ang pao (红包) and red paper lanterns (灯笼). Today, Swez Brasserie offers a glimpse of its Chinese New Year buffet meals. In fact, this is my first review event at Eastin Hotel.
Chinese New Year is incomplete without the "mandatory" yee sang-tossing ceremony. Everyone around the table participates by "tossing" yee sang in the air with chopsticks. It is believed that the higher one tosses yee sang, the higher one accomplishes in the coming year. Swez Brasserie's Fortune Yee Sang (发财鱼生) is presented in the image of a rooster, which is befitting as the Chinese community will be welcoming the Year of the Rooster soon.
While the actual ingredients vary from restaurant to restaurant, Swez Brasserie's Fortune Yee Sang is comprises of fresh salmon, jellyfish, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, crackers, shredded daikon, carrot, cucumber and more. Five spice powder (五香粉) and plum sauce (苏梅酱) are also used. Each ingredient symbolizes an auspicious trait. For instance, fish (鱼) is often used to represent "abundance" (余).

Also served is a popular Cantonese dish called Poon Choi (盆菜). While the traditional dish is served in a deep pot. Swez Brasserie presents Poon Choi on a flat tray instead. Poon Choi is an ensemble of delicacies such as scallops (带子), Pacific clams (蛤蜊), razor clams (竹蚶), oysters (牡蛎), sea cucumber (海参), fish maw (鱼鳔), shiitake mushrooms (香菇), daikon (白萝卜) and carrots (胡萝卜) and fat choy (发菜). Thick savory gravy is used to assimilate all ingredients together.
Yook Poon (肉盘) is a collection of meats, making it the antithesis of a vegetarian dish. Chicken, duck and lamb are all included in this meaty platter. Each type of meat is covered with a different type of sauce as dressing.
As for the Baked Whole Fish, barramundi (鲈鱼) is the fish of choice. With light crisp on its skin, the fish remains reasonably firm and flavorful. Thai king sauce is provided as condiment.
Lobster Wok is a curry dish which contains attractive pieces of lobsters. The curry is moderately spicy but is blessed with savoriness of lobsters. Tomatoes, red chili peppers and peppermint are used as garnish.
Next on the buffet menu is 8 Treasure Duck (八宝鸭). The duck is stuffed with eight different ingredients such as lotus seeds, button mushrooms, daikon and onion. The whole duck is then braised to allow natural juices to mix thoroughly. Unfortunately, I am not able to taste this dish by myself as there is only a limited amount prepared for today's preview.
Fatt Choi Scallop Meat Yee Foo Noodles (发财带子伊府面) is one of my favorite dishes this evening. The centerpiece is fatt choy (发菜), a blackish moss which is considered auspicious because its Chinese name is phonetically similar to "striking rich" (发财). Seafood ingredients include scallops, shrimps and squid. Deep-fried egg noodle and all other ingredients are brought together by thick gravy made from tapioca flour and beaten eggs.
Golden Fried Rice (黄金炒饭) is cooked with shrimps, scallion and egg. The rice is literally garnished with pieces of gold leaf; consuming gold is harmless to the human body. As far as the taste is concerned, I am impressed with the sweet crunchiness of shrimps and lovely fragrance of jasmine rice.
Chinese Emperor Seafood Chowder (皇帝海鲜羹) is a savory soup which really warms the mouth and draws appetite. It is advisable to start with a small bowl as the thick soup is quite surfeiting.
Meanwhile, the seafood on ice section consists of 5 creatures from the marine kingdom: oysters, brown crabs (肉蟹), shrimps, scallops and lobsters. Lemon wedges and creamy dressings are provided to go with chilled seafood.
Salads with Asian elements are Japanese Seaweed Salad (中華ワカメ), Chinese Jelly Fish Salad (中華クラゲ) and Thai Spicy Beef Salad (ยำเนื้อย่าง). Assorted sushi (寿司) and sashimi (刺身) are also available.
Chinese New Year cookies (过年饼) are also an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebration. Swez Brasserie provides an assortment of popular ones such as kuih loyang (蜂窝饼), kuih bangkit (番婆饼), kuih kapit (鸡蛋卷), almond cookies (杏仁饼), shrimp rolls (虾米卷) and pineapple tarts (黄梨酥).
The pastry section also includes several types of Nyonya kuih. They include red tortoise cake (红龟粿), jian dui (煎堆), steamed layer cake (九层糕) and kuih bingka (木薯糕). In addition, more conventional cakes such as Carrot Walnut Cake and Berries Cheese Cake are also prepared.
Bite-sized sweet treats consist of Cupcakes, Cranberry Tiramisu, Green Tea Brule and Wolfberry With Aloe Vera Jelly. Some of these desserts are quite sweet, so go easy on them.
Chocolate lovers will be thrilled with the presentation of assorted chocolate candies on a marble slab. I feel that white chocolate is too sweet for my liking, but dark chocolate is my cup of tea. Scattered around the buffet table are "gold coin" chocolates and fortune cookies (签语饼). There is also a chocolate fountain for diners with an affinity for cocoa.
Many of these sweet desserts are considered "heaty", which is why the presence of Dried Longan With Wolfberry (龙眼枸杞糖水) is welcomed. This "tong shui" (汤水) is served chilled and helps to cleanse the palate at the conclusion of a large meal.
Swez Brasserie has several buffet sessions during Chinese New Year season. The grandest session is the Family Reunion Buffet Dinner (RM138.00 net), where entertainment activities such as Chinese orchestra and dragon beard's candy (龙须糖) keep the Chinese New Year spirit alive. Senior citizens and children (6 to 11 years old) enjoy 15% and 50% discount respectively. As a halal-certified hotel, Eastin Hotel Penang is suitable for people from all walks of life.
Name: Swez Brasserie
Address: 1, Solok Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-612-1111
Business hours: 6:00am-12:00am
Website: http://www.eastin.com/penang/dining
Coordinates: 5.33629 N, 100.30632 E
Directions: Eastin Hotel Penang is located along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu) and is conveniently next to Queensbay Mall. Swez Brasserie an eatery next to the hotel lobby. There are parking spaces at the basement levels of the hotel.

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