Coffee House

Special thanks to The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences for extending this food review invitation.

Apart from the adjoining Coffee Bean outlet, I have not really visited The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences before. This is no longer true this evening, as I have been invited by the hotel to participate in its first Ramadan buffet dinner this year.
The hotel's sole eatery, Coffee House, is located on Level 1. From the lobby, it is just a short flight of stairs to the coffeehouse. Patrons who arrive from the parking garage can reach Coffee House directly via elevator.
Coffee House has 5 sets of menu for its Ramadan buffet. This gives customers a different dining experience during each visit. The buffet focuses on traditional kampung-style fares with emphasis on lauk (cooked dishes) and gulai (curry).
The buffet also provides a sense of Arabic touch through Shawarma Ayam. To prepare this delicacy, marinated chicken is roasted on a vertical rotisserie that is rotated from time to time. As the outer layer becomes cooked, the flesh is shaved layer by layer and then inserted into pockets of pita bread. Fresh vegetables and dressing are used to provide more flavoring.
As for carvery, Kambing Panggang (roasted lamb) is on the menu today. Cooked to perfection, the mutton is reasonably tender and flavorful. Barbecue sauce, black pepper sauce and mushroom sauce are provided to go with mutton. I think barbecue sauce best appeals to my palate.
As for seafood, the action station features several kinds of Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) such as pari (ray) and kembung (mackerel). The marinated fishes are cooked on an iron griddle.
Ramadan buffets are never held without Bubur Lambuk. Coffee House is no exception. Although the porridge has agreeable consistency, I think it deserves more savory excitement. The same can be said for Sup Ayam Berempah (spicy chicken soup); more liberal use of spices can really do wonders.
Nasi Tomato is made from basmati long-grain rice and is cooked with tomato-based sauce. Basmati rice has characteristically loose consistency and is therefore very easy on the mouth. This is ideal to satiate hunger after a long day of fasting.
Mee Mamak is a ubiquitous dish in many Indian-Muslim restaurants. This popular dish uses yellow noodle that is stir-fried until it turns soft. Sweet-spicy flavoring is provided through the use of tomato ketchup, soy sauce and chili peppers. Also included are potatoes and bean curd.
Meanwhile, Ikan Bawal Masak Lemak is often served in many Malay food stalls. Pomfret is deep-fried first, then cooked in creamy gravy made from coconut milk. While the creaminess of the gravy is welcoming, I prefer the saltiness to be toned down substantially.
Ayam Masak Ros is a common way to prepare chicken especially in northern states like Penang. In this dish, chicken is cooked with tomato sauce and various spices including cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise. Another related dish is Ayam Masak Kicap, where chicken is stir-fried with sweet soy sauce.
Wok-Fried Squid is served with various vegetables such as celery, baby corn, broccoli and carrot. If the squid were prepared tenderer, its texture would have been ideal.
Sweet & Sour Fish is made from tilapia, a costlier fish whose flesh is considerably firmer than dory's. Bite-size fillets are cooked with tangy sauce that is not too intense. This allows the fish to take command over the overall enjoyment of this dish.

As for vegetables, Fried Okra is one of the more attractive ones tonight. Okra is cooked with sambal belacan (spicy fermented shrimps) to draw out savory flavors.
A separate counter offers different types of kerabu (Malay salad) such as Acar Jelatah (pineapple and cucumber salad), Acar Timun (cucumber salad), Kerabu Bilis (spicy anchovies salad) and Kerabu Tanghoon (glass noodle salad).
Also included are ulam (raw vegetables) with accompanying condiments like cincalok (fermented shrimps) and budu (fermented anchovies).

As for Rojak (fruit salad), available items are pineapples, rose apples (jambu air), unripe mangoes, cucumbers and jicama (sengkuang). The fruits are usually brought together using sweet-spicy peanut sauce.
There are also a number of jeruk (pickled fruits) such as mango, nutmeg and papaya.

Meanwhile, the desserts section features a decent variety of Malay kuih such as Kuih Lapis, Kuih Talam and Cucur Badak. Guests who prefer Western-style desserts can also help themselves to a handful of sponge cakes, tarts and custards.
In the spirit of giving during the holy month of Ramadan, approximately 20 children from a local orphanage are invited to enjoy dinner together. This is also part of the hotel's corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Coffee House's Ramadan dinner is offered from 10 June 2016 to 2 July 2016. Dinner starts around 6:30pm and runs till 10:00pm. The buffet is priced at RM68.00 net per adult and RM35.00 net per child.

Name: Coffee House
Address: 18, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-370-7000
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm
Coordinates: 5.43016 N, 100.31937 E
Directions: The Gurney is located at the eastern end of Gurney Drive (Persiaran Gurney), near Evergreen Laurel Hotel. Coffee House is located at Level 1, right above the lobby. The Gurney provides multi-storey parking for RM6.00 per entry. Alternatively, street parking is also available along Gurney Drive.

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