Spice Brasserie

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

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

This evening, The Light Hotel is giving a sneak peek of its upcoming Good Fortune CNY Reunion Buffet Dinner. The preview event is held at Spice Brasserie, while the actual dinner will be held in The Light Grand Ballroom. Erected in the lobby is the hotel's Lunar New Year centerpiece: Garden of Cherry Blossom. This festive backdrop is decorated with charming Chinese lanterns.
Diners are first greeted by an elaborate presentation of appetizers. Chicken salad and smoked duck salad start the meal off on the right foot. Meanwhile, fried finger foods include money bags (福袋), squid balls and crab claws. The top tray has a sign that spells "The Light Hotel" in Chinese characters (莱特酒店).
Pun Choy (盆菜) is a Cantonese delicacy that is traditionally served in a large wooden basin. Since Pun Choy is typically reserved for major celebrations, the dish comprises of premium ingredients such as oysters, abalones, razor clams, sea cucumber, prawns, roast duck and shiitake mushrooms. An auspicious ingredient, fat choy (发菜), is also included.
Roasted Lamb Leg and Beef Tenderloin are sliced at the carvery station. The red meats are served with orange, mushroom and rosemary sauces. As for poultry, Crispy Roasted Chicken and Thai-Style Roasted Duck are available. The accompanying chili sauce is particularly spicy.
Chicken Shawarma is cooked on a rotating vertical spit. In the spirit of Chinese New Year, the rotisserie chicken comes in three different flavors: cheese, mint and tandoori. When combined, the chicken's taste is pretty pungent.
H'ng Chili Crabs are named after Chinese Sous Chef H'ng, who is responsible for crafting many of the Chinese dishes this evening. While this dish is obviously inspired by Singapore Chili Crabs, Chef H'ng also takes some creative license to present it in his own style.
The wok-fried Chili Prawns are well received too. The plump shrimps present a feeling of crunchiness that is truly satisfying. The prawns are seasoned with sweet chili sauce.
Still in the realm of seafood, Steamed Sea Bass is one of the more popular dishes this evening. The fish's exquisite texture is complemented by flavorful Nyonya sauce.
Braised Pak Choy is cooked with egg white sauce. The combination of bok choy (小白菜) and wood ear fungus (黑木耳) is garnished with ginger slivers and wolfberries (枸杞).
Spice Brasserie is famous for its nasi kandar fare. Around 6 dishes are served this evening. For Nasi Briyani, diners have a choice of either chicken or vegetarian versions. In both cases, rice is cooked with ghee and spices, and then garnished with raisins and cashew nuts.
Other nasi kandar dishes are Mutton Curry, Onion Chicken, Fish Kurma and Egg Dalcha. Most of these dishes come with gravies. A popular style of serving nasi kandar is "banjir", in which rice is flooded with a mixture of curries.
As for diners who enjoy chilled seafood, today's fresh choices include slipper lobsters, prawns, flower crabs, scallops and green-lipped mussels.
The salad bar prepares fresh vegetables and dressings for diners to assemble their own salad plates. However, I prefer to go for exquisite delicacies like smoked salmon, seasoned jellyfish and seasoned baby octopus.
Next, the confectionery section presents a plethora of Western pastries and festive cookies. Popular Chinese New Year cookies are peanut cookies (花生饼), beehive cookies (蜂窝饼) and bahulu (鸡蛋糕).
Tangyuan (汤圆) is a warm dessert of glutinous rice balls in ginger-flavored syrup. The glutinous rice balls come in several colors. The larger ones have fillings like peanut paste and black sesame paste.
Tiger Skin Sponge Cake is the pastry chef's signature recipe. This unusual Swiss roll has wavy patterns that resemble tiger stripes. I like the sweet kaya (coconut jam) inside the cake.
Another highlight at the pastry counter is Homemade Milk Pudding. This specialty from Taiwan has a rather soft and fluffy texture. Meanwhile, the outer surface of Milk Pudding is coated with grated coconut.
Good Fortune CNY Reunion Buffet Dinner will be held at The Light Grand Ballroom on 4 February 2019 from 6:30pm to 10:00pm. Throughout the evening, diners are entertained by a dramatic performance by a 3-piece Chinese band. The band uses traditional Chinese musical instruments, namely guzheng (古筝), erhu (二胡) and dizi (笛子).
As for people who are unable to visit on that day, Spice Brasserie serves high tea and dinner in buffet settings for the next 2 days.
Meanwhile, diners who prefer a more formal setting can opt for the 8-course dinner at Flavour@3. The course dinner is available daily from 3 January 2019 to 21 February 2019.
Yee sang (鱼生) can be ordered à la carte. The Light Hotel offers 3 versions: Sliced Abalone Yee Sang (RM168.00+), Salmon Fillet Yee Sang (RM128.00+) and Fresh Fruits Yee Sang (RM108.00+). Each set is meant for 10 persons.
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: 5.39422 N, 100.39872 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.

Sukkah

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to Olive Tree Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Today, Olive Tree Hotel is offering a sneak peek of its upcoming Lunar New Year Buffet Lunch. There will be two buffet sessions this year: 5 February 2019 and 6 February 2019. Like the actual lunches, today's preview event is held at Sukkah Coffee House.
Tossing yee sang (鱼生) is a long-standing tradition during Chinese New Year. It is believed that the higher one tosses, the greater success one achieves in the new year. The Olive Tree Salmon Yee Sang is a combination of colorful ingredients like raw salmon, carrots, daikon, crackers, jellyfish, peanuts and more. Interestingly, corn flakes are included too.
Hailing from Beijing, the Peking Duck (北京烤鸭) is prized for its crispy skin that is extremely flavorful. The roast duck is typically cut into thin slices and wrapped in steamed pancakes (春饼). The delicacy is also filled with cucumber, scallions and sweet bean sauce (甜面酱).
Lok Lok is a popular street food in Penang. The snack features skewered items like prawns, squid, chicken, crab sticks, fish balls and tofu skin. Food is blanched by dipping the skewers in boiling water. Several sauces are prepared to go with Lok Lok.
Wok-Fried Prawns are cooked with garlic and chili, producing an aroma that is truly tantalizing. The pungent seasoning also strikes a chord with my palate.
The Vegetarian Chai Pah has alternating slices of vegetarian meat (素肉) and taro (芋头). The dish is also garnished with shimeji mushrooms (白玉菇) and bok choy (小白菜). Despite its meatless nature, the Vegetarian Chai Pah is surprisingly delectable.
The next dish, Braised Black Mushrooms, highlights the juiciness of shiitake mushrooms (香菇). Accompanying the mushrooms are dried oysters (蚝干), broccoli and fat choy (发菜). Fat choy is thought to be auspicious because its Chinese name sounds similar to "striking rich" (发财).
If spicy food is your cup of tea, I am sure that you will be impressed with the Siamese-Style Squid. Flavored with Thai-style seasoning, the calamari rings are capable of burning a hole through your tongue!
As for something more Western, go for Roasted Country Potato With Smoked Chicken Meatloaf. Capsicum, cucumber and chives serve as garnishing.
The Oven Baked Lamb allows diners to experience North African fare. Succulent slices of lamb are served with Moroccan-style couscous and sweet red dates. Couscous is made from semolina and has a starchy texture reminiscent of rice.
Taking a detour to the salad counter, there are several interesting choices that delight one's taste buds. My personal picks are seasoned baby octopus, Szechuan black fungus and century eggs.
Assorted Chinese New Year cookies like butter cookies, peanut cookies, almond crisps and kuih bangkit (tapioca cookies) are elegantly presented in a tray. Meanwhile, strawberry puddings and fruit jellies are prepared in miniature glasses. Soupy desserts include Bee Koe Moy (黑糯米粥) and Tau Foo Fah (豆腐花). Tikoy (年糕) and egg tarts (蛋挞) are well received too.
The pastry section presents bakers' confections like Carrot Cake, Cheese Cake, Praline Cake and Chocolate Fudge Cake. The cakes are meticulously decorated in Chinese New Year colors. For instance, the Carrot Cake has the Chinese character for "prosperity" (福) written in cocoa powder. Speaking of cocoa, most children will be fascinated by the white chocolate fountain.
Olive Tree Hotel's Lunar New Year Buffet Lunch is priced at RM128.00+ per adult and RM68.00+ per child or senior citizen. The hotel offers 20% discount for confirmed bookings by 27 January 2019. In addition, the Festive Buffet Dinner is served every Saturday from 26 January 2019 to 16 February 2019. For every 3 paying adults, the 4th person's meal is on the house.
As for customers who prefer to dine in a more formal setting, the Lunar New Year Set Menu is available daily from 7 January 2019 to 28 February 2019. On Chinese New Year's Eve (4 February 2019), dinner will be held en masse in the Grand Ballroom. Olive Tree Hotel has arranged a series of traditional performances for the entire evening.
For the 8-course dinner, there are two menus to choose from: RM939.00+ and RM1,099.00+. There is a 10% surcharge from 4 February 2019 to 6 February 2019. For both menus, the first dish is the ubiquitous yee sang. In fact, the Olive Tree Salmon Yee Sang is can also be purchased separately for RM108.00+ each.
Signature dishes on the RM939.00+ menu are Steamed Meat Dumpling & Scallop In Soup (上汤带子灌汤饺), Curry Chicken Wrapped In Crispy Bun (香浓咖哩面包鸡) and Hokkien Fried Rice In Seafood & Abalone Sauce (鲍汁福建烩香饭).
Meanwhile, notable highlights on the RM1,099.00+ menu are Eight Treasure Seafood Chowder (八宝鱼唇羹), Honey Barbecue Chicken In Chef's Special Sauce (香煎蜜汁叉烧鸡排) and Steamed Tiger Garoupa With Ginger & Black Bean Sauce (姜豉蒸虎斑).
Name: Sukkah Coffee House
Address: 76, Jalan Mahsuri, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-637-7856
Business hours: 6:00am-10:00pm
Website: http://olivetreehotel.com.my/dining/sukkah
Coordinates: 5.32692 N, 100.27932 E
Directions: Olive Tree Hotel is located at Bayan Baru, just across the street from SPICE Arena. Sukkah is located at Level 1, just above a flight of elevator from the lobby. The hotel's multi-storey parking charges RM3.00 for the first hour, then RM1.00 for each subsequent hour.

Roselle

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to Lexis Suites Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Lexis Suites Penang is a 4-star hotel in Teluk Kumbar. Roselle Coffee House is the all-day dining restaurant here. For this evening's Chinese New Year buffet preview, the dining area is decorated with ornaments like cherry blossoms, ceramic koi fish, yuanbao (元宝), Chinese lanterns and mandarin oranges.
For appetizers, many people start with seafood on ice. Today's choices are scallops, bay mussels, shrimps and yabbies. Lexis Suites is known for serving exceptionally fresh seafood.
Presented over banana leaves, Baked Whole Fish is flavored with Thai-style sweet-and-spicy sauce. Sea bass is a good choice of fish as its texture is reasonably firm. The only downside to sea bass is the prevalence of fine bones.
Meanwhile for Steamed Fish Fillet, the choice of fish is grouper. The fish is served with Japanese soy sauce (醬油). The sharp taste of soy sauce accentuates the scrumptious taste of fish.
Ostrich With Spring Onion, Ginger & Szechuan Sauce is one of the more unusual dishes this evening. The meat of ostrich is firmer than chicken's, but it is succulent nevertheless. The dish is wok-fried with dried chili peppers for the fiery aroma.
Japanese dishes in today's buffet are likely inspired by the menu at Umi Japanese Restaurant downstairs. For instance, Negi Stew (ねぎ汁) is cooked with salmon head, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, soft tofu, carrots and green onions (ねぎ). Meanwhile, Oden (おでん) is a pot of dashi broth with assorted fishcakes and hard-boiled eggs.
Baozi (包子), mantou (馒头) and dim sum (点心) are kept warm in steamer baskets. For baozi, there are different fillings such as char siew (叉烧), salted egg yolk (流沙) and red bean paste (豆沙).
Moving to salads, popular choices are Chinese Jelly Fish Salad, Thai Spicy Beef Salad, Japanese Seaweed Salad, Baby Octopus Salad, Honeydew & Sausage Salad and Rojak Buah (fruit salad). There are also fresh vegetables and dressings for diners who prefer to mix their own salads.
Of course, Chinese New Year is also a great opportunity to savor all sorts of festive tidbits. Kuih kapit (love letters), kuih bangkit (tapioca cookies) and biskut kacang (peanut cookies) are presented in glass jars. Other popular delicacies are kuih bakul (年糕), kacang tumbuk (贡糖), walnuts, chocolate coins and pumpkin seeds. As for soupy desserts, Dried Longan With Peach Gum Soup (龙眼桃胶糖水) is recommended.
Mandarin oranges are pleasant gifts during Chinese New Year because the Chinese word for mandarin oranges (柑) sounds like "sweet" (甘). Other fruits that are prepared today are pineapples, honeydew and watermelon.
Lexis Suites' Chinese New Year Reunion Buffet Dinner is served on 4 February 2019. Throughout the evening, there are a series of stage performances and lucky draws to keep the crowd entertained. To encourage early birds, the hotel is offering 20% discount off the adult price for confirmed bookings by 28 January 2019.
For customers who prefer to spend more time around the dining table, the Prosperous Steamboat Set Dinner is an alternative choice. There are 3 serving sizes: 4 pax (RM360.00), 6 pax (RM500.00), 10 pax (RM988.00). Each option comes with complimentary yee sang.
For the steamboat, customers can choose among 4 types of soup: clear chicken broth, creamy fish stock, Chinese herbal soup and tom yam soup. Steamboat ingredients include fresh seafood, meats, mushrooms, vegetables and noodles.
Lexis Suites also serves 9-course set dinner from 4 February 2019 to 19 February 2019. There are 3 menus to choose from: RM888.00, RM1,088.00 and RM1,388.00 per table of 10 people. In each case, the first course is yee sang (鱼生).
Yee sang is a colorful mixture of ingredients such as crackers, carrots, daikon and jellyfish. The dish also comes with delectable slices of salmon. Fish (鱼) is believed to be auspicious because it is a homonym for "abundance" (余).
The Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang is available for take-away too. Each set is priced at RM108.00 net. Available dates are between 4 February 2019 and 19 February 2019.
Name: Roselle Coffee House
Address: 28, Jalan Teluk Kumbar, 11920 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-628-2888
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm
Website: https://www.lexissuitespenang.com/en/dining/overview/roselle-coffee-house
Coordinates: 5.28691 N, 100.23244 E
Directions: From Bayan Lepas, drive along Jalan Teluk Kumbar towards the intersection with Jalan Gertak Sanggul. Lexis Suites Penang is the tall building on the left just before the intersection. As the only building more than 3 floors in Teluk Kumbar, it is impossible to overlook this hotel. Roselle is located at the Mezzanine Floor, just above the lobby atrium.