By Muhammad Nabil

“My body is ready,” I said as I got into my boss’s car to get ready to go to a food tasting event at V E Hotel and Residence in Bangsar South. My boss scoffed at me. Whatever.

V E Hotel was previewing their Straits and Arabian Buffet for their Ramadhan event and naturally, I was excited to spend the afternoon to stuffing myself with delicious food offerings.

The hotel is located in the heart of Bangsar South, with the restaurant offering pristine views of the sun as it is falling. As such, the stage was set for an evening of utter indulgence.

We were greeted promptly by Chef, who took us on a tour of what was on offer on the tables. I was astounded by the selections on offer, highlighting plenty of Middle Eastern cuisine as well as Turkish dishes that were extremely savoury on the palate.

First on the menu was Harira soup. I have been biased due to my hunger, but wow. Even if the soup has its roots deep in Moroccan cuisine, it oddly tasted much like home, much to my pleasant surprise. Chunky lamb cubes and peas gave me something to work on while the tomato base engulfs and enhances the taste of the lamb. It was pure ecstasy to wet the tastebuds in for the next dish. (Author apologises for not taking a picture of the soup. It was gone before he knew it.)

Next on the list was ‘Kambing Golek’, a firm favourite of everyone who has ever attended a Malay weddin. A bit to my disappointment, the mutton was not as soft as initially thought, but was brought to life by the sauces on offer. Other than the traditional black pepper sauce, the chef has also remixed the mint sauce, which proved to be the perfect compliment to the mutton, as the mint was not overpowering the taste of the meat, nor was the viscosity of the sauce thick enough to ruin the chewiness of the mutton. The black pepper sauce too was mixed just nice; the black pepper adding only a tinge of spiciness at the tip of the tongue.

All while I was wolfing tasting the dishes, I was accompanied by healthy servings of Moroccan mint tea. I wasn’t really a fan of mint teas, usually because the tea is too sweet for my liking, or the mint encompasses everything and starts tasting like tea flavoured mint toothpaste. Again however, my expectations were exceeded. The tea was on point (forgive me for using that phrase), the mint only tinging the tea slightly, enough to leave a refreshing aftertaste after sipping on the drink to clear a bit of my palette.

At this point, I was moderately full, but then came a behemoth of a plate in the form of the buffet special, sampling 6 of the finest dishes the buffet has to offer. Briyani rice, accompanied by pieces of fried chicken, butter prawns, lamb curry, sambal squid and kangkung masak lemak. Starting with the rice, so fluffy and flavourful that eating it on its own is a treat by itself. The fried chicken too was a joy to my senses. Expertly fried, retaining juicy insides with a crispy outer skin. Next was the butter prawn. The sauce was reduced to further concentrate the flavours basted onto the prawns, which beautifully translates to an orgasmic experience in the mouth. The crunchy shell coupled with prawn meat that was not rubbery (read: overcooked) complemented the rice in ways that humble words are not able to describe.

Onto the lamb curry. The curry was cooked for such a long time that the mutton literally falls off the bone. I wished that I had more of it, but unfortunately, only little slivers were left as most of the meat disintegrated and melted into the sauce. The squid too was nicely paired with the sauce. Not too chewy, it proved to be a satisfying dish to munch on and adds more texture when paired with the rice.

Lastly and oddly, the kangkung masak lemak was the only spicy serving on the dish. Nevertheless, it didn’t overpower the rest of the dishes but proved to be a satisfying tie-in that elevates the rest of the meats when paired together with the rice. Yes, this all sounds salivating, but unfortunately I had eaten quite a good portion of it before I remembered to snap a picture. (Sorry)

I was nearing a food coma at this point, but there’s always room for dessert. One of a few notable highlights that I quite thoroughly enjoyed was the baklava. The pastry wasn’t flaky, partly because of the honey holding it altogether, but it was crunchy without the baklava making a mess in my mouth. I took another 4 of those.

The lychee crumble too proved to be another tasty offering; the fruit mixing well with the pastry, and the juiciness of the lychee offsets the flakiness of the pastry coating.

A good 2 hours into the buffet, and I fell into a food coma, never to awaken from this culinary paradise. Overall, the experience was a hearty one. The selection of dishes the chef has come up with are more than enough to twirl the tastebuds through the four quadrants taste. I could definitely see myself coming here again, and for RM98 per pax, honestly who wouldn’t?

All bookings can be made at the V E Hotel & Residence website.

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