A festive private dining experience at Amaya

“Would you like to host a festive meal with all the frills but without all the sweat?”

My reply (without hesitation!) is a resounding, “Yes!”

A place-card at the table with my name on it!
It will be such fun to be acknowledged as a gracious host while in the background, the experienced team at the Amaya Food Gallery in Amari Johor Baru, are working hard to make me look good.

Amari, a Thai brand in Johor Baru, exudes an inherent gracious charm and hospitality, unique to their reputation established among regulars at this hotel.

At a preview of a custom-designed private festive meal hosted at the Amaya Food Gallery, I’m simply wowed by the experience.

An alcove within the Amaya Food Gallery is transformed into a cosy dining room, complete with Red and Green festive colours, a decorated Christmas tree, as well as tinsel and shiny baubles on the dining table.

A festive dinner setting for Christmas
 dinner at Amaya Food Gallery
I’m charmed by the personal touch with my name handwritten on the place-cards, hung on a thread with one end secured to a gift pack of macaroons placed on the table and the other, tied to a bright Red helium balloon above!

On the sideboard, an impressive buffet spread of selected festive dishes is laid out for us to admire. [Later the serving team will warm up the dishes and serve plated individual portions at the table for our main course.]

Amaya Food Gallery has earned an enviable reputation for its Thai cuisine, prepared by a team of versatile chefs who delight in applying their culinary skills to give traditional dishes a tantalizing twist.

While waiting for the others to arrive, Rosfaizah Hamid, better known as Chef Faiez – Sous Chef for Malay Cuisine – help to prepare and serve Miang Kham – a betel leaf wrap appetizer filled with ingredients like dried shrimps, cashew nuts, shredded coconut, lime, ginger and shallots with a savoury dip.

When all the guests have arrived, we are invited to take our seats (where the place-cards are!) and next to my cutlery, I’m pleased to see a menu that lists the food we are about to enjoy.

Signature Thai dishes like Goong Sam Rod (prawns)
and Miang Kam, an appetizer (background) are in the menu
Then the balloons and gift packs with our names on them, are removed to create more space on the table and to facilitate better conversation among guests.

Our sit-down private dinner kicks off with popular Signature dish: Tom Yam Goong, a classic Thai soup with whole prawns, flavoured with lemongrass, kaffir lime, fish sauce, galangal, coconut milk – charmingly served in a coconut shell.

Another signature Thai dish on the menu is Goong Saam Rod, deep-fried Tiger Prawns topped with spicy tangy sauce, and this will be served as part of the main course.

It’s a pleasant change to be served at the table and I sit back to relish the meal.

Biyani Basmati Rice with Masala Spiced leg of Turkey
Among the Festive food presented on the sideboard is a baked salt crusted Norwegian whole salmon and I watch as Chef Jason Ang – Sous Chef in Western Cuisine – skillfully remove the outer crust of salt to reveal the baked salmon fillet.

I’m looking forward to the main course serving of a portion of this juicy Salmon fillet topped with Citrus Emulsion, along with the slow-roasted Prime Beef Ribs with Black Peppercorn Sauce and the Italian Lamb (shank!) Osso Buco style.

When this platter is served, I’m delighted to see the fish and meat resting on a bed of Roasted Winter Vegetables like new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin wedges and asparagus.

Look at my (first) main course platter (clockwise)
Italian Lamb Osso Buco, Norwegian Salmon Fillet topped
with Citrus Emulsion and slow roasted Prime Beef Ribs
on a bed of Roasted Vegetables
Conversation continues to flow even as we dine because this setting within an alcove gives us the privacy to enjoy the pleasant company while savouring a sumptuous meal together.

After our plates are cleared, the next main course items are served in (thankfully!) smaller portions.

This includes a small cup of Biryani Basmati Rice with a side of Masala Spiced leg of Turkey, sous-vide Turkey Breast Roll in traditional Thai Green Curry, and the Goong Saam Rod or Thai crispy prawn drizzled in spicy tangy sauce.

A glance at the menu reminds me that there are not one but two desserts.

In keeping with Amaya’s Thai traditions, the first dessert is Khao Niew Mamuang or sweet Thai mango with warm sticky rice, topped with coconut cream.

The (second) main course items [Left to Right}
Thai Crispy Prawn, Turkey in Thai Green Curry,
Masala Spiced leg of Turkey and Biryani Basmati Rice 
When this dessert is served, I hear a collective gasp of approval because it is presented within a small clear glass jar covered by another clear bell-shaped glass.

One by one, as the glass covers are removed, I hear more exclamations as we discover the coconut cream provided within a tiny plastic pipette for diners to drizzle the coconut cream onto the mango and sticky rice!

Pastry Chef Louis Heng is proud to personally present our final dessert – a Christmas Tree butter cake – and reminds us that this festive dessert is only available from the Amaya Café during this season.

“Everything can be eaten!” quipped Chef Louis when he sees a guest scrutinizing the gold flakes and shiny beads that decorate the Orange infused Chocolate coated butter cake in the shape of a Christmas Tree with a golden star on top.

Thai dessert: Khao Niew Mamuag 
This elegant private dining experience comes to a comfortable end and each guest leaves happily with a Red balloon tied to a packet of signature macaroons by Chef Louis.

In addition to this charming Christmas Tree butter cake, there is also a menu of traditional Christmas sweets like Stollen, Ginger Bread Man, Marshmallow Pop Sticks, Macaroon, Yule Log Cakes, Chocolate Santa and Mince Pies, available at the Amaya Café.

Festive Buffet Dinners at the Amaya Food Gallery will be served daily from Dec 16 to Jan 4, 2020 (except on Dec 24 and 31) from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. RM118 net per adult and 50% discount for children aged from six to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.

Pastry Chef Louis Heng presents
festive dessert, Christmas Tree butter cake
Some of the festive highlights include Shellfish Paella Rice, Roasted Turkey Breast with Cranberry Sauce, slow-roasted Australian Beef Striploin and Honey Glazed Meatloaf.

The Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner on Dec 24 from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, features a spectacular menu of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thai and western dishes, some of which will be prepared from live cooking stations. RM148 nett per person and 50% off for children aged six to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.

Diners can look forward to tasting Seafood Harvest on Ice, Sushi and Sashimi, Roasted Turkey with all the trimmings, wood-smoked Whole Lamb, Roasted Australian Beef Ribs and Baked Norwegian Salmon.

On Christmas Day, Dec 25, the Buffet Lunch at Amaya Food Gallery from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, is priced at RM118 nett per person and 50% off for children aged six to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.

Then bid farewell to 2019 and welcome the new decade with a sumptuous New Year’s Eve Buffet Dinner on Dec 31 from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, priced at RM128 nett per person and 50% off for children aged six to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.

To enjoy the above buffets at Amaya Food Gallery, reservations are recommended.

To arrange your own private dining event at Amaya Food Gallery, Tel: 607 – 266 8888 or email: amaya.johorbahru@amari.com.

Amari Johor Baru is at No. 82-C Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Baru. 

For more info, visit website: www.amari.com/johor-bahru

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