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

Special thanks to Iconic Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Iconic Hotel is a 4-star hotel in Icon City. The hotel's main restaurant, Mezza9, serves international cuisine as well as breakfast for in-house guests. The eatery's name reflects the fact that it is located at the Mezzanine Level.
Iconic Hotel is the first hotel this year to showcase its Chinese New Year meals. Like the actual buffet dinners, today's preview is held at Mezza9. In the festive spirit of the Lunar New Year, the restaurant is decorated with red Chinese lanterns and fancy tassels. Cherry blossoms (樱花) also mark the advent of spring.
Starting with soups, Kiam Chai Ark (咸菜鸭) is a traditional Peranakan (Nyonya) recipe that uses duck and pickled mustard (榨菜). The soup's sour and salty taste makes it an ideal appetizer. Meanwhile, the Braised Seafood Soup is loaded with mouthwatering ingredients such as crab meat.
The buffet also prepares Cantonese-style congee. Unlike other porridges, the Cantonese version is cooked sufficiently long until rice grains have mostly disintegrated into the emulsion. Condiments that go well with congee are fermented tofu (豆腐乳), pickled mustard, boiled peanuts, fried shallots and ginger slivers.
The carvery counter produces fresh cuts of roasted duck (烧鸭), roasted chicken (烧鸡) and char siew chicken (叉烧鸡). Diners can also help themselves to noodle dishes like Prawn Mee Soup (虾面), Koay Teow Soup (粿条汤) and Tom Yam Soup (ต้มยำ).
Crispy Egg Noodle contains shrimps, fishcakes, mushrooms and mixed vegetables. The noodle has been fried beforehand, but is not mixed with seafood sauce until it is ready to be served. This is to prevent the noodle from becoming too soggy.
Roasted Chicken is served with sweet-and-tangy lemon sauce. The crispy chicken cutlet is garnished with shredded vegetables, sliced turnip, raisins and black sesame seeds. Overall, I enjoy the taste and texture of this poultry dish.
Stir-Fried Lotus Roots, Carrots & Ginkgo Nuts is a staple dish in Chinese households. In fact, many Chinese observe vegetarianism during the Lunar New Year. Despite its unassuming appearance, this dish is scrumptious indeed.
As for dim sum (点心), there are 3 types of siew mai (烧卖) and 3 types of baozi (包子). Salted Egg Buns (流沙包) and Lo Mai Kai (糯米鸡) are also prepared today.
Following the success of the Seafood & Wine Buffet Dinner previously, Mezza9 is again offering assorted seafood on ice. The slipper lobsters, spanner crabs, shrimps and mussels are very fresh. However, I feel that the flower crabs do not have the desired tenderness that I am looking for. Furthermore, it would be nice if there were some kind of dipping sauce to go with chilled seafood. Cocktail sauce and garlic aioli are suitable condiments.
Lobster Thermidor is a French delicacy that was originally meant for the wealthy. This is because this dish involves expensive ingredients and a tedious preparation process. To prepare Lobster Thermidor, lobster meat is first mixed with egg yolk and seasoning. Next, the mixture is stuffed back into lobster shells. Finally, the delicacy is baked with an oven-browned cheese crust.
This evening's buffet also includes Japanese elements like seasoned baby octopus (中華イイダコ) and seasoned jelly (中華クラゲ). Given Malaysians' love for raw salmon, I think it would be nice to include sashimi (刺身) too.
Moving on to desserts, the fish-shaped jelly draws the most attention. There are two types: coconut and strawberry. Also included are petits fours (strawberry sponge cake with almonds, orange sponge cake with poppy seeds), tartlets (chocolate, meringue and blueberry) and cream puffs.
Given my love for pastries, I am also fascinated by scrumptious treats such as Black Forest cake, chocolate banana cake, chocolate choux pastry and strudel. As per tradition, bread & butter pudding is served with vanilla sauce.
The chocolate fountain is accompanied by skewered food items such as savoiardi (ladyfinger), marshmallows, strawberries and red grapes. The chocolate fountain is particularly popular among children, but I feel that it may be placed beyond the reach of young ones.
Fresh fruits include honeydew, papaya, pineapples, watermelon, oranges and grapes. Meanwhile for tong sui (糖水) or sweet soups, today's choices are Laici Kang (五味汤) and Red Bean Soup (红豆汤).
Moving on to beverages, there are chilled drinks like longan and orange juices, and hot drinks like teh tarik and hot tea. Need a shot of caffeine? The espresso machine can prepare a nice cup of coffee.
Iconic Hotel's Chinese New Year buffet dinner is offered every Friday and Saturday between 12 January 2018 and 2 March 2018. Dinner is served from 7:00pm to 10:30pm. As expected, the grandest session is held on Chinese New Year's Eve (15 February 2018). Meanwhile, customers who prefer to celebrate Chinese New Year in banquet style can also consider Iconic Hotel's course meal offers.
Name: Mezza9
Address: Iconic Hotel, 71, Jalan Icon City, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-505-9988
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm
Coordinates: 5.34206 N, 100.43287 E
Directions: From the North-South Expressway, take the Bukit Mertajam exit and head east. Turn left just before Petron gas station, then turn right to the front entrance of the 15-floor Iconic Hotel. Mezza9 is located on the Mezzanine Level of the hotel. The hotel provides multistorey parking.

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