Makan Kitchen

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to DoubleTree Resort By Hilton Penang for extending this food review invitation.

After much anticipation, DoubleTree Resort finally opened its doors on New Year's Day. This is Hilton's first foothold in Penang, and also Malaysia's first property to carry the DoubleTree Resort brand. The hotel is roughly halfway between Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi, at a section of the coastline called Miami Beach (Pantai Miami).
As a 4-star hotel, DoubleTree Resort provides a satisfying level of comfort for holidaymakers. Surrounded by palm trees is a swimming pool with fine sand on the sides. Sunloungers and cabanas allow guests to bask in the warm tropical sunlight. Being located at a secluded area of Penang, the hotel affords a unique sense of tranquility.
DoubleTree Resort strives to provide family-oriented hospitality, as evidenced by its Kids' Club. To keep the young ones entertained, the hotel even has a fun-filled splash pad furnished with nozzles sprays and a spilling bucket. Hotel guests can also cross a pedestrian bridge that leads to the scenic beach.
Another family-friendly attraction at DoubleTree Resort is the TeddyVille Museum. Covering 9,000 square feet of floor space, the museum is home to the largest collection of teddy bears in Malaysia. Admission is free for in-house guests until 31 December 2018. This ticketed attraction is also open to the public.
The hotel's on-site restaurant is Makan Kitchen. As the name implies, the eatery focuses on local Penang cuisine as well as culinary specialties in the region. Makan Kitchen also caters breakfast for hotel guests.
The al fresco concept of Makan Kitchen takes advantage of the cooling wind that blows perpetually from the sea. The multiple food stations around the dining area suggest that the restaurant emphasizes on à la minute cooking.
Another section of the coffeehouse is air-conditioned. This multipurpose venue is suitable for private dining for parties up to 100 people.
DoubleTree Resort's recent opening cannot be timelier to coincide with the impending Chinese New Year. Despite having only a soft opening, the hotel is offering Chinese New Year buffet dinners on selected days during this festive period. This evening's preview serves to showcase a subset of the chef's signature dishes.
Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang is an essential element of the Lunar New Year. The word "fish" (鱼) in Chinese is a homonym of "abundance" (余), which is why fish is considered so auspicious. Besides salmon, other ingredients for yee sang (鱼生) are jellyfish, pomelo, crackers, plum sauce, five-spice powder (五香粉) and more. It is customary for all diners to gather around the table and toss the ingredients with chopsticks.
For soup, the Emperor Eight Treasure Chinese Broth is served this evening. The rich stew is made from crab meat, shrimps and shiitake mushrooms (香菇). Thickened with corn starch, every sip of the soup is satisfying indeed. On a side note, all Hilton properties have stopped serving shark fin soup as part of the company's commitment to protect the endangered species.
Slow Braised Duck is the poultry dish today. The frenched duck drumsticks are dressed in spicy Sichuan sauce (麻辣酱). Fortunately, the spiciness level has been substantially reduced to suit the local palate. Served on the side are steamed vegetables like shimeji mushrooms (白玉菇), asparagus and capsicum.
Steamed Fish is one of the main highlights this evening. The grouper is cooked in premium soy sauce, whose role is to accentuate the fish's freshness but not to supplant its natural flavors. Steamed grouper is garnished with coriander and fried ginger slivers. During the actual buffet dinners, fish fillets will be served instead.
Wok-Fried Prawns are coated with salted egg yolk and bread crumbs, resulting in a tantalizing and scrumptious crisp on the surface. Meanwhile, curry leaves enhance the aromatic appeal of the plump shrimps.
The next exquisite dish is Braised Chinese Cabbage, Fresh Mushrooms, Dried Oyster & Sea Moss. The hair-like "fat choy" (发菜) is often served during Chinese New Year because it sounds similar to "striking rich" (发财). Contrary to popular belief, fat choy is not a seaweed. Instead, fat choy is usually harvested from the Mongolian steppes.
Cream Puffs serve as petits fours of the day. Crafted in the likeness of peaches, the lovely puffs are filled with sweet, chilled custard.
As for a more traditional snack, the Chinese Pancake (煎饼) fills this role. Sweet bean paste (豆沙) is sandwiched between layers of flaky pastry. Meanwhile, sesame seeds are sprinkled on the pancake's surface for fragrance.
One of the free-flowing drinks during the actual buffet is Sirap Bandung. This iced drink is a mixture of rose cordial and condensed milk, culminating in an attractive pink color.
DoubleTree Resort's festive buffet dinner is available from 15 to 17 February 2018, and on the following weekend. Dinner is served from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. Brunch buffet is available on selected days too. For every paying adult, one child below the age of 12 dines for free. Early birds who make reservations by 31 January 2018 also enjoy 20% discount on the standard price.
Name: Makan Kitchen
Address: 56, Jalan Low Yat, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-892-8000
Business hours: 6:30am-10:30pm
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.47781 N, 100.26905 E
Directions: DoubleTree Resort By Hilton Penang is located halfway between Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi. The hotel is on the left when driving from the former. Makan Kitchen is located one level below the hotel lobby. Parking is complimentary for customers.

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