A tasty Ramadan with Citarasa Malam Samudera

I’m reading the theme of the Ramadan buffet at Olla Restaurant again, Citarasa Malam Samudera and wonder what it means in English. For a moment, Malam Samudera sounds rather romantic…
Preparing to toss ingredients into a salad at the Salad Station
“Where have I come across that word, Samudera?” I ask myself while mulling over this familiar word. 

Meanwhile my eyes take in the array of dishes displayed indoors in the sections for the hot buffet, noodles, desserts and salads.

It’s difficult to think hard as I’m getting distracted by the colourful spread of fresh fruits and vegetables, to toss into the diners’ own mix of appetizing salads.

As I look at the ingredients that should go into making typical salads like Malaysian rojak, Indonesian bumbu and Thai som tam, it strikes me that these salads have their origin in three different South East Asian nations.

A selection of kerabu and sambal sauces for ulam-ulaman
I soon figure out that this Ramadan buffet is in fact, inspired by the cuisines from these three countries which are collectively known as Samudera!

Executive Chef Zaim Abdullah and his team of talented chefs have designed six menus that will be served in rotation, to take diners on a culinary journey through the region and beyond.

Besides Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai, the dishes in the buffet spread include popular food items from Indian, Arabian and European menus.

In the tradition of buka puasa, there is a selection of appetizing kerabu, fresh garden greens as well as ulam-ulaman that are complemented by a choice of local sambals and Western dressings, to whet the appetite for more food.

A choice of ingredients to add to your hot noodles
Besides a choice of soupy noodles and dim sum (kept warm in a multi-level steamer!), there is a range of hot food to enjoy with steamed white rice.

At the Noodles Station, the daily choice of noodles with gravy will rotate among selections like Laksa Johor, Laksa Penang, Laksa Nyonya Melaka and Indonesian Bakso.

The Citarasa Malam Samudera theme continues with Baked Whole Fish and Roasted Leg of Lamb that are marinated in Indonesian recipe flavours.

I recognise mouthwatering favourites like Asam Pedas Ayam Asam Keping, Hati Ayam Kari Berlada, Ikan Masak Kical Daun Serai and Lamb Keema among other local dishes.

A section of guests at the hot buffet
I’m quite impressed to see yet another Ramadan buffet that serves duck, this time in the Peking Duck recipe to enjoy with Nasi Lemak!

In the dessert section, there is a variety of warm, traditional sweet broths served in charming earthen pots, and a range of local kueh, cakes, pastries, puddings and jellies.

Through a glass wall, I spy a row of stalls in the outdoor section where chefs are busy at the live-cooking stations.

As I watch the steam rising from freshly cooked food, I appreciate how this wall is keeping the air fresh and cool within the restaurant.

Check out those traditional earthen pots!
When I step outside to have a closer look at what the stalls are serving, I’m literally walking into a cloud of warm and appetizing aromas…

There are hot and comforting soups on the stove as well as Bubur Lambuk, a traditional broth for Ramadan, to warm the stomach after a day of fasting.

Here the hot grills are barbecuing whole fish topped with fragrant sambal and on another grill, I see a whole roasted lamb – ready to be served.

Nearby a chef is kneading dough to make paratha and murtabak.

Shawarma [Right] will go into the freshly made bread!
Another exciting item at the buffet is Chicken Shawarma – meat grilled Middle-Eastern style – but here, it’s a different experience when the Shawarma is stuffed in bread or when Shawarma is a topping on pan pizza!

Everyone enjoys the fried stuff so there is a stall for freshly fried fritters made with bananas and sweet potatoes, and popular snacks like keropok lekor and cucur udang, among other fried favourites.

A variety of fresh fruits are offered from a separate stall and while I can spot various local fruits, I cannot see durian but I can smell it. I follow my nose and discover why:

Durian serawa is served kawah style!
Nearby, a chef is preparing durian serawa, kawah-style!

Durian lovers will enjoy this traditional durian broth as it is or drizzled over steamed glutinous rice or with chunks of bread. Whichever way, I’m sure it will go down well!

Early bird special deals for the buffet from now till May 16 are priced at RM79 nett per adult and RM49 nett per child aged from four to 11 years.

The sumptuous spread for Citarasa Malam Samudera Buffet at Olla Restaurant will be served from May 21 to June 12, priced at RM99 nett per adult and RM59 nett per child aged from four to 11 years.

Olla Restaurant is at the lobby level of Hotel Granada Johor Baru, located at 55, Jalan Indah 15/2, Bukit Indah, 81200 Johor Baru, Johor.

For enquiries and reservations, Tel: +607 – 231 8805 or +6016 – 772 7352.

For more info, visit website: www.careluxuryhotels.com/hotel-granada.

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