Millennium Garden

This article is part of my 2019 Cameron Highlands trip series.

Special thanks to Copthorne Cameron Highlands for extending this food review invitation.

Millennium Garden is a Chinese restaurant in Copthorne Cameron Highlands. The eatery is located at Level 2, which is directly above Coffee Shop and next to Teratak Spa. Arriving customers are greeted by a red-and-gold phoenix emblem at its entrance.
Millennium Garden specializes in authentic Cantonese, Teochew and Sichuan cuisines. The restaurant features an opulent setting with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Alternatively, there several smaller rooms for diners who prefer some privacy.
The cool weather in Cameron Highlands makes steamboat a particularly delightful meal. Two types of soup are typically served at Millennium Garden: clear soup and tom yam soup. The latter is quite spicy, so inform the restaurant if you prefer a less spicy version. Other types of soup can be prepared upon request.
The steamboat meal this evening covers seafood items such as grouper, prawns and scallops. Meanwhile, mushroom varieties include shiitake, shimeji and button mushrooms. Fish balls, crab balls, mushroom balls, fishcake, seafood tofu (海鲜豆腐) and tofu skin (腐皮) are popular items to go with steamboat too.
Millennium Garden serves steamboat in a semi-buffet setting. Besides the abovementioned items, customers can supplement their meals with noodles, seaweed and eggs. This arrangement is great because the restaurant minimizes food wastage as customers only take what they need.
As for greens, diners can help themselves with fresh produce like romaine lettuce, Chinese spinach, pea sprouts, cabbage and watercress. Most of these vegetables are sourced from local farms in Cameron Highlands.
Should customers prefer medicinal flavors, the clear soup can be infused with Chinese herbs such as scented Solomon's seal (玉竹), Chinese yam (山药), wolfberries (枸杞) and Mongolian milkvetch (北芪).
Another vital aspect of steamboat are the dipping sauces. Millennium Garden prepares several condiments like seafood sauce, sweet sauce and steamboat sauce just to name a few. Furthermore, garlic oil greatly enhances the steamboat's aroma.
Spicy Diced Chicken (香辣鸡丁) can be ordered from the à la carte menu. The bite-size chicken chunks are wok-fried with spices, culminating in a gentle hint of pungency. All in all, the chicken is seasoned pretty well. In fact, the dish can be consumed without rice.
On the other hand, Kam Heong Fish Fillet (甘香鱼片) takes on a sweeter tone. The fish is presented on yau mak lettuce (油麦菜) to serve as counterbalance. I can certainly feel the "fiery aroma" (镬气) imparted to this dish.
Hainanese Spring Roll (海南春卷) is a signature dish of Chinese Chef Ong. The snack is made of jicama (sengkuang), mushrooms, carrots and dried cuttlefish. The ingredients are wrapped with pastry skin and then deep-fried to golden perfection.
Yong Chow Fried Rice (扬州炒饭) is cooked with prawns, eggs, green peas and scallions. Fried anchovies are added to provide a crispy mouthfeel. Yong Chow Fried Rice is best enjoyed when it is hot from the wok.
Mini Pudding (迷你布丁) is served at the conclusion of our meal. The dessert is garnished with fresh strawberries. As a matter of fact, Cameron Highlands is famous for its strawberry farms, some of which are just within walking distance from the hotel.
Millennium Garden also serves Chinese course meals in a banquet setting. The dining hall can accommodate around 20 banquet tables, making Millennium Garden the largest Chinese restaurant in Cameron Highlands. This explains why Millennium Garden is very popular among locals.

Name: Millennium Garden
Address: Copthorne Cameron Highlands, Kea Farm, Brinchang, 39100 Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Contact: 05-496-1777
Business hours: 6:30pm-10:30pm
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 4.50525 N, 101.40872 E
Directions: Copthorne Cameron Highlands is located at Kea Farm, a small farming village halfway between Brinchang and Tringkap. Millennium Garden is located at Level 2 of the hotel. Customers may park in the hotel's basement levels.

The Mandarin

Special thanks to The Mandarin for extending this food review invitation.

The Mandarin (甘) is the latest bar to hit George Town's nightlife scene. Barely open for a week, this new drinking establishment occupies a two-floor house at Jalan Irving. The place hides behind an unassuming facade reminiscent of a speakeasy. To attract customers, neon lights and Chinese lanterns will be installed soon.
Past the old-fashioned wooden doors, a chic bar takes up a third of the dining hall. Against the wall are liquor racks supported by steel pipes. The Mandarin serves beer, wine, liquor and a host of cocktails. Manning the bar is a seasoned bartender who constantly pushes the limits of perfection.
The bartender's latest creation is Mandarin Senorita. The cocktail is concocted from Jameson Irish Whiskey laced with lemon and lime juice. Shaken in a mixer, the drink is served on the rocks and then topped with dry ginger ale. A cinnamon stick, charred with a propane torch, is added for the finishing touch. Mandarin Senorita has a fruity tang with a touch of smoky cinnamon.
During Happy Hours (3:00pm-9:00pm daily), customers enjoy special prices for draught beer and bottled beer. Apart from alcoholic beverages, the pub has a decent food menu too. The kitchen is open for lunch from 12:00pm to 3:00pm, and for dinner from 6:00pm to 12:00am.
Two types of soup are served today: Mushroom Soup and Pumpkin Soup. They come with garlic bread and potato wedges respectively. The Mushroom Soup is made of actual mushrooms as evidenced by its grainy consistency. Meanwhile, the Pumpkin Soup leaves a satisfying creaminess on the lips.
As a finger food, the Chicken Cutlet goes especially well with alcoholic beverages. The bite-size chicken bites, seasoned to perfection, are satisfying to the last morsel. Dried chili peppers and curry leaves enhance the overall aroma.
Patrons who desire proper meals can opt for Chicken Chop. The boneless chicken thigh is elegantly marinated and then fried to golden perfection. Enhancing its flavor is a homemade sauce with soothing savoriness. On the side are crinkle-cut fries and fresh rocket with balsamic vinegar.
The Mandarin will be introducing pastries in due time. For the purpose of today's preview, I am given samples of Chocolate Walnut Cake and Baked Cheesecake. Both are delectable indeed.
To maintain freshness, The Mandarin prepares each dish from scratch upon order. Judging from the taste, I can tell that a great deal of effort has been expended in fine-tuning the recipes.

Name: The Mandarin (甘)
Address: 3B, Jalan Irving, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 019-465-8887
Business hours: 12:00pm-1:00am
Website: https://www.facebook.com/The-Mandarin-411207172815898
Coordinates: 5.41332 N, 100.32507 E
Directions: The Mandarin is located at Jalan Irving. When arriving from Jalan Dato Keramat, the bar is one of the first shops on the left. There are parking spaces along Jalan Irving and New Lane (Lorong Baru).

Spice Brasserie

Special thanks to The Light Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

From 1 August 2019 to 30 September 2019, The Light Hotel is serving Khazanah Sajian Nusantara buffet dinner at Spice Brasserie. Inspired by racial harmony that paved the way to the nation's independence, the buffet menu features iconic dishes from all communities in Malaysia. The popularity of many dishes transcend ethnic lines, reflecting fellow Malaysians' common love for good food.
The Khazanah Sajian Nusantara buffet dinner has 3 menus on daily rotation, featuring more than 100 dishes in total. Upon entering Spice Brasserie, diners are greeted by Roast Lamb on a spit. Accompanying condiments are black pepper sauce, barbecue sauce and mushroom sauce.
Next, the poultry station serves Roast Duck, Roast Chicken, Char Siew Chicken and White Sliced Chicken. Malacca-style Chicken Rice Balls and Braised Tofu are prepared too.
As for Middle Eastern fare, Chicken Shawarma is The Light Hotel's signature dish. Other à la minute dishes are Chicken Noodle Soup, Roti Canai and Char Kway Teow.
Nasi Kerabu Sehati is a rice dish from the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The rice is cooked with bunga telang (butterfly-pea flowers) so that it turns blue. Mixed with chopped herbs, nasi kerabu is typically eaten with salted fish and salted eggs.
Nasi Kebuli Sejiwa is an Arabian-influenced rice dish that is more prevalent in southern states like Johor. Meanwhile, Nasi Dagang Murni hails from Kelantan where it is a popular breakfast dish. Nasi dagang uses wild rice which is purple in color.
Originating in Kedah, Nasi Daging Sejati is cooked with broth and a special spice mix. The rice dish comes with succulent slices of beef, and is often eaten with air asam (tamarind sauce).
Penang-style Nasi Biryani Wawasan is prepared in two versions: chicken and lamb. In both cases, the pungent aroma of spices cannot be overstated.
Kari Kepala Ikan (fish head curry) is one of the most popular dishes in The Light Hotel. The spicy dish contains crunchy lady's fingers.
Ketam Masak Mentega is another signature dish of The Light Hotel. The flower crabs are stir-fried with garlic, butter and curry leaves.
Other popular nasi kandar dishes are Sambal Udang and Milagu Podi Sambar. The latter is a South Indian vegetable stew infused with tamarind.
As for Kurma Kambing, the braised mutton is not so spicy but is tasty nevertheless. Meanwhile, Ayam Hitam Manis is cooked in sweet soy sauce.
Daging Rendang Tok is the Perak version of the ubiquitous rendang dish. Compared to rendang recipes from other states, Daging Rendang Tok is much drier and therefore savorier.
Next, Ayam Masak Lemak Warisan is cooked with coconut milk. This makes the dish rather creamy.
Sambal Sotong Petai Makmur is a spicy dish of squids, stink beans, onions and tomatoes. Stink beans are known for their peculiar smell.
Gulai Nangka Muda & Ikan Bilis Abadi is common in northern states like Kedah. Jackfruit is cooked as a vegetable in this dish.
Asam Pedas Ikan Pari Harmoni has a combination of sour and spicy flavors. Sourness is primarily contributed by tamarind.
Kari Ikan Tongkol uses mackerel tuna, a common type of fish in this region. The taste of curry is somewhat heavy because it is meant to go with rice.
Nyonya Otak-Otak is a recipe from the Penang Peranakan community. The spicy fish cake is wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed. This delicacy is best enjoyed while it is piping hot.
Lemon Sauce Deep-Fried Chicken is quite appetizing. Unfortunately, the lemon sauce does not penetrate the chicken chunks thoroughly enough.
As for Western dishes, Baked Mussels are flavored with tomato and basil sauce. The half-shell mussels are also topped with bell peppers, black olives, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. I like the presentation of this dish.
Moving down the buffet line, Seared Salmon is cut into bite-size pieces with the crispy skin intact. This dish is very well received. It is served with homemade mashed potatoes.
Murtabak Lasagna Muhibbah is a Malaysian take on the classic Italian lasagna. The stack has six alternating layers of dough, cheese and chicken murtabak. I find this dish to be quite delectable.
Similarly, thin crust pizzas come with Malaysian-style toppings. Shown here are Jackfruit Cheese Pizza, Nasi Kandar Pizza and Seafood Pizza. I believe thicker crust works better in these instances.
The salad section covers Waldorf Salad, Spicy Chicken Salad, Marinated Mango Salad and Macaroni Salad.
Also prepared are Kerabu Daging Salai (smoked beef salad), Kerabu Suhun Kacang Gajus (glass noodle salad with cashew nuts), Tauhu Sambal Kering Berkacang (tofu with spicy peanut paste) and Tempeh Goreng Sambal (fried fermented soybeans).
Should diners prefer, they can also mix their own salads. A variety of fresh vegetables and dressings are provided. Malay-style condiments like sambal belacan and budu are available too.
The pastry section features a colorful assortment of Malay kuih like kuih talam and kuih ketayap. On the other hand, Western-style cakes include Black Forest Gateau, Carrot Cake and Cheesecake.
Other popular desserts are Bread & Butter Pudding, Bubur Gandum (sweet wheat porridge) and Pengat Durian. Pengat Durian is loaded with durian goodness, making it gratifying indeed.
After a satisfying meal, cleanse your palate by having a bowl of Ais Kacang Setinggi Angkasa. Various toppings like red beans, dried nutmeg and attap chee (nipa palm fruit) are provided.
Khazanah Sajian Nusantara buffet dinner is served every evening except on Fridays and Saturdays. The buffet price is RM116.00 net for adults and RM60.00 net for children. Early bird vouchers are currently on sale for RM80.00 net, so hurry up to take advantage of this special offer!

Name: Spice Brasserie
Address: The Light Hotel, Lebuh Tenggiri 2, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, 13700 Seberang Jaya, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-382-1111
Business hours: 6:00am-11:00pm (Sunday-Thursday), 6:00am-1:00am (Friday-Saturday)
Website: http://thelighthotelpg.com/dining
Coordinates: 5.39434 N, 100.39868 E
Directions: From Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (North-South Expressway), take the Seberang Jaya exit and head west. Turn left just before the pedestrian bridge and drive all the way to the end. When the road splits, keep right. The Light Hotel is the first building on the left. Spice Brasserie is located next to the lobby. There are parking spaces within the hotel's compound. The parking fee is RM4.00 per entry.