Taman Sari

This article is part of my Ramadan 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur is one of the most prestigious hotels in the national capital. Located in Bukit Bintang, this 5-star hotel has more than 480 guestrooms within its 23 floors. Taman Sari Brasserie is the hotel's all-day dining restaurant.
This year, Taman Sari's Ramadan buffet dinner is themed "Santapan Selera Ramadan". A long corridor of food stalls at the courtyard serves Malaysian favorites from all across the country. Dishes from other cuisines are also covered, reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the hotel.
Salmon Head Curry is Hotel Istana's signature dish. Fish heads are cooked with red curry which is rich in coconut milk and spices. Presented in a kawah (Malay wok), the dish is garnished with okra (lady's fingers), onions and chili peppers.
Nasi Kerabu is a classic rice dish from the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Rice is steamed with bunga telang (butterfly-pea flowers), causing it to turn blue in the process. Nasi Kerabu is typically eaten with grilled beef, kerisik (toasted coconut), bean sprouts, salted eggs and pickles.
Nasi Lemak Kukus is well received too. In this case, rice is steamed with coconut milk, and then wrapped in banana leaves to infuse distinctive aroma. Several types of sambal (chili paste) are prepared: sambal bawang (onion chili paste), sambal udang (prawn chili paste), sambal sotong (cuttlefish chili paste) and sambal ikan bilis petai (anchovy & stink bean chili paste).
Fried food items that go well with Nasi Lemak Kukus are ayam goreng berempah (spiced fried chicken), tempeh goreng (deep-fried tempeh) and paru goreng (deep-fried beef lungs). Each piece is coated with spiced batter to give a scrumptious crunch in the mouth.
Ulam-ulaman consist of local produce like yardlong beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. These vegetables are customarily eaten raw with condiments like sambal belacan (chili shrimp paste), air asam (tamarind sauce), budu (fermented anchovies), cincalok (fermented shrimps) and tempoyak (fermented durian paste).
The laksa station allows diners to savour laksa dishes from several states. Notable variants are Asam Laksa, Laksa Terengganu and Laksa Johor. Laksa Johor is known for using spaghetti instead of Asian noodles.
Roti John is a popular street food. The snack consists of minced meat, eggs and onions sandwiched in a baguette-like bread. Vegetables and mayonnaise are added too.
Pakistani cuisine is represented by delectable dishes like Chicken Butter Masala, Okra Masala, Lamb Keema, Chicken Tikka and Butter Naan. Most of these recipes require authentic spices from South Asia.
As for Arabic fare, Mandi Rice is cooked with chicken stock, eggplant, chili peppers and spices. This rice dish originated in Yemen but is now widely served across the Arabian Peninsula. Other crowd favorites include Beef Dawood Basha, Lamb Kabsa and Chicken Shawarma.
At the pasta station, diners may request for à la minute pasta dishes like bolognese, carbonara and aglio olio. Fresh ingredients for pasta include prawns, mushrooms and capsicum. If you enjoy seafood, there is another station where wok-fried seafood is cooked to order.
Be sure to leave some room in your stomach for desserts. This is because the buffet offers mouthwatering choices like Banana Cheese Fritters, Onde-Onde, Grilled Doughnut Ice Cream, Durian Ais Kacang and Durian Cendol.
My favorite dessert this evening is Serawa Durian. The thick soup is prepared from coconut milk, gula melaka (palm sugar) and durians. Sweet and rich in taste, Serawa Durian is typically enjoyed with glutinous rice. Speaking of durians, Durian Crêpes are highly recommended too.
Taman Sari presents the widest selection of traditional Malay kuih that I ever saw in a Ramadan buffet dinner. There are more than 30 different types. Popular ones are lepat ubi, lapis jagung, talam keladi, talam cendol, talam pulut, cara manis, cara berlauk, kuih tako, kuih kochi and cucur keria just to name a few.
Western pastries include carrot cake, hazelnut cake, vanilla butter cake, cheesecake, mango mousse cake, black forest cake, red velvet cake, chocolate tart and more. There are also coconut pudding, mango pudding, tiramisu and blackcurrant jelly in miniature glasses.
Hotel Istana's Ramadan buffet dinner is served daily from 8 May 2019 to 4 June 2019. The buffet price is RM158.00 net per person. Kindly note that Taman Sari is a halal-certified restaurant.

Name: Taman Sari Brasserie
Address: 73, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2141-9988
Business hours: 6:00am-10:30pm
Website: https://www.hotelistana.com.my/en/dining/restaurants-bars
Coordinates: 3.14945 N, 101.70992 E
Directions: Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur is located at the intersection of Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Nagasari. Taman Sari is the all-day dining restaurant next to the hotel lobby. Hotel Istana has parking spaces at its basement levels.

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