'Tis the season at DoubleTree by Hilton JB

It’s my pleasure to participate in a preview of the Christmas fare at the Makan Kitchen in DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru this festive season and I arrive on time to see the kitchen team working hard to arrange the roasted turkey for its most flattering display.

DoubleTree by Hilton's signature chocolate chip cookies
are featured in their lobby's festive decorations
The roasted turkey, estimated about 5 kg in weight, shared its tray with traditional stuffing of chestnuts and fruits and I also spied a mouth-watering rack of beef spare ribs which I later learnt, was braised in its own jus for up to 6 hours!
On a separate platter, there were slices of herb-crusted, pan-fried salmon steaks topped with tomato salsa and drizzled with orange butter sauce.  Chef Zul Aman Mohamad Arsad better known as Chef Carlos, helpfully clarified that it was Beurre Blanc (French for white butter sauce).

Fish is being presented as another meat option for diners at the Makan Kitchen’s Christmas and New Year Seafood Buffet Dinner [RM150 nett] on Dec 24, 25 and 31.

A plump roasted turkey to savour with traditional
stuffing and cranberry sauce
A quick look at the festive buffet gave me an idea of how the Makan Kitchen is serving a wider range of salads and appetizers like sliced smoked beef and smoked duck fillets in Special Buffet Dinners [RM100 nett] daily from Dec 1 to 22 (Sunday to Thursday).

Besides a variety of cheeses to savour with crackers and cashew nuts, diners can look forward to freshly made pasta prepared in favourite bolognaise, carbonara or aglio olio sauces.

In food previews, the protocol was for everyone to capture enough photos to their satisfaction, before the featured items may finally be sampled.

Some of the season's featured items at the Makan Kitchen
When everyone was satisfied with their photos, Chef Carlos and his team removed the roasted turkey, beef spare ribs and salmon steaks from the display to carve and warm-up before serving.

The kitchen team certainly took pride in their culinary creations and wanted to be sure that what we sampled was what diners would enjoy when they helped themselves to their fill from the festive buffet spread.

While waiting for the featured items to be ready, I explored the Makan Kitchen to check out the buffet and couldn’t resist helping myself to freshly grilled skewers of satay and some leafy green salad.

Salmon steak, beef spare ribs and roasted turkey!
At the salad bar, Saravana Kumar, a Management Trainee with the hotel, introduced himself and said to call him Sara, the short-form of his name.  

I must confess that it took me a moment to get used to calling a young man, Sara, because the many Sara’s I know, are all ladies!

I learnt that Sara was among the management trainees selected to gain further experience with postings to the various DoubleTree by Hilton properties nationwide before they were appointed to management positions in the hotel chain.

Slices of gingerbread, traditional log cake,
stollen and half a mince pie [hidden!]
Throughout the meal, Sara gave us his attentive service and after we savoured the delicious main course of roasted turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, juicy beef spare ribs and tangy salmon steak, he asked if anyone wished to have coffee or tea.

While he took orders all around, I hesitated simply because although I would enjoy a good coffee after such a sumptuous meal, I knew that even a tiny shot of caffeine would only keep me awake.

After the others received their steaming brews of coffee, Sara noticed that I did not place any beverage order and he graciously enquired with me again.

By this time, dessert was served and I knew that a coffee would perfectly complement it, so I told Sara that if possible, I would like a cup of decaf coffee.

His response was both spontaneous and confident when he not only assured me that I would get my decaf (and much-needed beauty sleep!) but he would also make it a hot cappuccino!

Saravana Kumar, or Sara in short,
serving my decaf coffee!
And I was right.  Mmm… A hot cuppa certainly complemented the delightful dessert of slices of gingerbread, traditional log cake and stollen as well as half a mince pie.

This was just a sample of the festive cookies and Christmas goodies made by Pastry Chef Firdaus and his team that are available from the Food Store during this season.

Makan Kitchen also serves a Seafood Buffet Dinner [RM128 nett] from Dec 26 to 30 and on weekends (Friday and Saturday).

High-Tea Buffet fans can also plan to enjoy a leisurely meal at the Christmas High-Tea Buffet [RM100 nett] from 12.30pm to 4.30pm on Dec 25, and the New Year’s High-Tea [RM90 nett] from 12.30pm to 4pm on Jan 1, 2017.

DoubleTree by Hilton JB is at 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, 80000 Johor Baru. For reservations, Tel: 607 – 268 6868.  For more festive promotion details, visit Facebook DoubleTreeJB.

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