Grand Gem Ramadan Spread

Watch the chef spinning the dough as he cooks
Romalli Roti in a live cooking station
Break your fast with a difference this year at the Grand Gem restaurant and enjoy a buffet spread of North and South Indian specialties prepared by chefs who are hand-picked from Kolkata, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.  The Grand Gem, located within the Grand Bluewave Hotel Johor Baru, has been pleasing connoisseurs of Indian cuisine and gaining a loyal clientele who are coming back regularly for this authentic taste.  This Ramadan you can savour a daily changing menu of dishes with soup, appetizers, salads, bread, rice, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and desserts on a culinary journey into another realm where aromas, colours and flavours come alive!

If you like to break your fast sweetly, select from the dessert buffet of Indian and local sweets in a menu of traditional Rava Kesari, a popular South Indian dessert made from semolina, local cakes or kueh, ladoo, gulab jamum, jelly and of course, juicy dates and fresh fruits.  For a change, try the ladoo, ball-shaped South Indian sweets made from wheat flour and sugar and gulab jamun, spongy milky balls soaked in rose scented syrup.  Look out for kheer (North Indian name) or payasam (South Indian name), a creamy rice pudding usually made with wheat or vermicelli, milk and sugar and flavoured with cardamom, raisins, cashew nuts, pistachios and almonds. 

Whet your appetite with crispy masala papadam and a
mint sauce dip
After you have sweetened your palate, warm your stomach with a little soup.  The choice of soup at the Grand Gem changes daily so you may savour popular choices like spicy chicken rasam, mutton soup and mild chicken sweet-corn soup. 
Nibble on crispy Masala Papadum dipped in mint sauce to whet your appetite and start with plump rings of Chicken Vadai and other Starter items like crispy Chicken-65, Onion Pakoda, Vegetable Pakoda, chicken wings, vegetable spring rolls and Malabar fried fish in various daily menus. 

Plump rings of chicken vadai are among the starter items
You will have choices of North and South Indian breads like roti canai, pudina paratha, garlic and butter naan, kulcha, rotti and idiyappam (string hoppers) to eat with the gravies. 
Besides the daily serving of Briyani Rice, there are also popular local fried rice and noodles like nasi goreng kampong, mee goreng mamak, nasi goreng and mee goreng as well as satay – grilled skewers of chicken or mutton with spicy peanut sauce dip.  Their rotating buffet menus even include fried meehoon (vermicelli) and kway teow (flat rice noodles).

A choice of garlic and butter naan to enjoy with [clockwise]
chicken noorjahani, mutton dhal and bhuna gosh (mutton)
One of the exciting experiences at this Ramadan buffet must be the live-cooking station where chefs will make and serve piping hot Romalli Roti. 
It’s interesting that the bread will be cooked over the saline covered underside of a heated wok.  Then watch as the chefs skillfully spin the dough in the air before swinging them down to cook on the heated wok and deftly fold the Romalli Roti into squares for you to savour with delicious gravies!

The Grand Gem Ramadan buffet offers a range of vegetable dishes like Aloo Channa, cauliflower Manchurian, vegetables Szechuan, Bhindi Pitley and Kumbli Broccoli Delite, a delightful dish of broccoli and mushrooms cooked with kadai masala and cashew nuts, to meet the tastes of vegetarian diners. 
Pav Baji vegetarian burgers!
Besides fresh vegetable salads, freshly prepared Pav Baji vegetarian burgers, made with toasted buns filled with potato and tomato patties, are also served.  Depending on the daily menu, the chefs at the live-cooking station will also make fresh mini murtabak, roti jala and even kueh dadar dessert!
Non-vegetarian diners can pick from rich gravies like Chicken Noorjahani, Mutton Dalcha, Bhuna Gosh (mutton), Kanavai (squid) Perattal, Prawn Vindaloo, Mutton Rogan Josh and chicken Rendang as well as the mixed grill platter. 
Tasty mixed grill platter
These traditional roasted items include tender murgh (chicken) pudina, tandoori chicken, murgh badami and minced lamb seekh kebab.  The buffet comes with free flow of chilled cordial drinks and you can end with hot coffee or tea. 
The Grand Gem Ramadan buffet is at RM70 nett for adult and RM28 nett for child aged below 12; Children below age 5 dine free-of-charge.  Corporate bookings enjoy 50% discount while Grand Bluewave Hotel guests and advance bookings enjoy 35% discount.  For reservations and enquiries, Tel: 607 – 221 0717.  No pork products or lard is used.  For more info, visit website:
A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Streets Johor on 24 July 2014

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