Sunday High Tea at Pendas Cafe


I’m at Pendas Café, situated adjacent to the infinity swimming pools on Level One of Sunway Bigbox Hotel and through its floor-to-ceiling glass walls, I can enjoy a panoramic view of guests in the pools to shoppers heading into Sunway Big Box and beyond to Iskandar Puteri in the horizon.


Entrance to the Pendas Cafe on Level One
of Sunday Bigbox Hotel, Iskandar Puteri

I remember it was back in September 2019 when I had the privilege to be part of an exciting event in Sunway Big Box which introduced the Key Partners in this retail hybrid park that was being developed in Sunway Iskandar.

I was impressed to learn that Sunway Big Box was Malaysia’s first retail hybrid park, the seventh retail development in the Sunway Malls projects, that will be integrated with a hotel, an office tower and linked to an extreme sports park.


It was still early in its development but I could visualise how Sunway Big Box would eventually be bustling with a mix of 13 large format stores and regular retail outlets set within a green space, planned with an open-air-warehouse concept.


Facade of the Sunway Bigbox
Hotel in Iskandar Puteri, Johor

It was also my privilege to witness the opening of NSK Trade City and was among its first shoppers. I was there similarly for the opening of BookXcess in February 2020, followed by Sports Direct which opened its doors in September 2020.


Meanwhile construction of the Sunway Bigbox Hotel continued in gradual progress and in 2021, the hotel was ready to open its doors to welcome guests.


The hotel had made good use of the time to prepare for the economy’s reopening and on this sunny Sunday in November, I was on my first visit to Sunway Bigbox Hotel, invited to enjoy a leisurely High Tea buffet at Pendas Café with my foodie friends.


I liked how Sunway paid homage to the nearby Pendas River, home to our very important mangrove forests, and named this all-day dining café after it along with a logo that featured the distinctive breathing roots of these mangrove trees.


The central isle of the buffet in Pendas Cafe

While I explored the buffet lines to see the food choices served, I was greeted by Executive Chef Djohan Mohd Radzi, who was putting the finishing touches to the buffet set-up.


He paused in his task to introduce himself, pointing out that he’s Johan with a silent “D” and continued with his rounds to ensure that the buffet was ready to serve.


I smiled when I saw mini yu char kway, a variety of deep-fried Chinese pastries in sweet and savoury choices. I was pleased that they were made in cute, miniature sizes, just right for serving in a High Tea buffet spread.


The Johor way of enjoying deep-fried slices
of banana, sweet potato and tapioca is
by eating it with a spicy dark sauce!

Inside a bamboo steaming tray, there was a variety of dim sum and in a nearby warming tray, I spotted deep-fried slices of banana, sweet potatoes and tapioca sticks served with a side of spicy dark sauce, in a typically Johor way of enjoying this popular local snack.


At the hot buffet, my eyes zeroed in on the mini murtabak, squares of roti pastry filled with minced beef, served with a vegetable dhal or lentils gravy.


There was also a choice of meat, fish and chicken and the all-time favourite of satay – skewers of grilled beef and chicken – served with small cubes of ketupat or rice cakes, and chunks of raw onions and cucumber to savour with a spicy peanut dip sauce.


Mini murtabak served with vegetable dhal gravy

It was good to see local favourites served along with finger food like bruschetta topped with tuna melt and a slice of olive.


More importantly, the small portions were just right to let diners savour a wider variety of items from the buffet spread.


There was also a choice of rice and noodles – stir-fried and in soup – as well as fragrant Chicken Rice served with Roast Chicken pieces along with it three important condiments of minced chili sauce, minced ginger and dark soya sauce.


The Chicken Rice was served complete with slices of fresh cucumber and a warm, clear Chicken Soup filled with vegetables.


My choice of linguini in cream sauce ...

For fans of pasta, a live-cooking station will toss up your favourite plate of freshly-made pasta with your choice of pasta, flavour and ingredients.


To strike a balance with the meat and carb items, there was also a range of fresh salad greens with complementing sauces as well as fresh fruits to enjoy.


The High Tea will not be complete without a range of delightful desserts to savour with freshly brewed tea and coffee so an entire section was dedicated to the sweets.


... prepared from a live-cooking station

It was good to see a choice of local kueh and black glutinous rice broth along with small slices of baked cakes and puddings including small cups of Crème Brulee and Sago Gula Melaka.


A section was dedicated to the kids where they could enjoy Do-It-Yourself chocolate-dipping fun for their pick of sliced strawberries, globes of grapes, marshmallows or fish-shaped crackers to dip into melted chocolate.


But I thought they would probably need a bit of help in using the machine provided to create a cloud of cotton candy twirled onto a stick.


A choice of sweet treats to dip in melted
chocolate at the chocolate-dipping station

After discovering the fair balance between local and international dishes in this High Tea spread, it was time to help myself from the buffet.


It was good that many items were served in mini portions and I would have a tiny portion each just to sample a little of everything.


After all, the pleasure of enjoying a buffet spread was to return to the buffet as often as we liked to help ourselves to the items we enjoyed.


There were really no rules about eating from a buffet but to take small portions and not to waste food, but I always started with the savoury before ending with the sweet.


So, by the time I reached the sweet section to pick my choice of desserts, I was disappointed to discover that the Crème Brulee was so popular that it was all gone.


Chef Djohan,served me two
flavours of Creme Brulee!

I felt even more sad when my friends who had already tasted it, confirmed that the Crème Brulee was rather good.


Holding onto hope, I approached a serving staff member to check if there was any more Crème Brulee in the kitchen and if they were about to replenish the buffet.


My patience paid off when the staff returned to say that the kitchen was preparing to serve it again.


And when they did, I was delighted that it was Chef Djohan who personally served me, not one but two flavours of Crème Brulee – Original and Pandan – in the tiny portions I preferred.


Mmm…this certainly made the sweet ending to my leisurely High Tea on a Sunday afternoon, even sweeter.


High Tea at Pendas Café is served on Sundays from 12pm to 3.30pm with a choice of food, snacks, desserts and hot drinks. Priced at only RM55 nett per adult and RM35 nett per child aged four to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.


Add RM50 nett per adult for day-use of room inclusive of using swimming pools and fitness centre from 12pm to 5pm. Upon request at the High Tea in Pendas Café and subject to room availability.


Pendas Café, open for all-day dining, is located on Level One of Sunway Bigbox Hotel at Persiaran Medini 5, Sunway City Iskandar Puteri, 79250 Iskandar Puteri, Johor. Tel: +607 533 6688.


For more info, visit Facebook: @sunwayhotelbigbox or webpage:

No comments:

Post a Comment