16th August 2013.
Passing by Parkroyal Kitchener Road one day, my eyes were fixed on their huge banner introducing their Penang Buffet. Hence, I find it very lucky indeed that just a few days later, I received an invitation from Spice Brasserie of Parkroyal Kitchener Road to try their new menu featuring Penang classics such as the Assam Laksa and Penang-style Char Kway Teow as well as a decadent crab feast with at least 10 kinds of crabs on offer.
Spice Brasserie has always been overlooked in favour of the more popular Plaza Brasserie of Parkroyal on Beach Road or the Lime Restaurant located in the architecturally prominent Parkroyal on Pickering. It is a pity because Spice Brasserie is actually a rather nice restaurant with plenty of space for kids and the elderly and the ambience is great for a casual get together or family gathering. Furthermore with a refreshed menu by the new chef, Frederick Kho, things are looking good.
The new chef is a native Malaysian from Kuala Lumpur who has a rich culinary experience, working in several notable hotels such as Penang’s Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-la and Singapore’s Shangri-la Hotel. He is also a fan of both Penang and Kuala Lumpur cuisine hence the Penang Buffet at Spice Brasserie.
To keep this post short, I will just point out some of the memorable dishes from the buffet. First and foremost, there were the Penang Classics such as Penang Oh Chien (Oyster Omelette), Penang-style Prawn Mee, Assam Laksa and the ubiquitous Penang-style Char Kway Teow. My favourites were the amazing oh chien which has generous chunks of oyster embedded in its creamy egg and pan-fried to perfection with a delicate, smoky crust and served chilli sauce.
The Assam Laksa was another winner. I wasn’t impressed by the Assam Laksa I had in Penang (partly because we had it at the touristy Gurney Drive (Chef Kho advised against visiting it if you want to true Penang food experience). This Assam Laksa wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy like the ones I had before and it has a nice fruity and sweet touch to it from the pineapples. I was also informed that mackerel was used for this Assam Laksa, hence staying true to the Assam Laksa back in Penang. Furthermore, Chef Kho also serve this CNN No.7 most delicious dish with its full range of condiments which include finely sliced cucumber, onions, red chillies, pineapples, lettuce, common mint, daun kesum (laksa mint), pick bunga kantan (torch ginger). This was one of my favourite dishes for the day.
Then you have the crabs, the main feature of their Friday Crazy Crab Dinner where you get to enjoy at least 10 kinds of crabs prepared and different way and tasted different (instead of just being named differently). Sauces aside, I must point out that their crabs are rather fresh. The flesh was still springy and succulent as opposed to the chalky powdery texture I had in a previous crab buffet.
The Singapore Chilli Crab was served with mantous to mop up the gravy, which is very thoughtful of them. My only gripe is that the gravy was almost honey-like sweet. I prefer it to be more spicy but Chef Kho explains that there are diners who complained that it was too spicy and pointed out that if you enjoy something more spicy, you should go for the Nonya Chilli Crab instead.
My favourite item among the crabs is the Braised Crab with Glass Noodles. The noodles have great texture and come thoroughly soaked with the flavours from the crab. The crabs accompanying the glass noodles were pretty good too if you prefer something without gravy and just want to enjoy the sweetness from the crab meat itself.
I didn’t try all of the crabs. I tried the Sarawak Black Pepper Crab which was more spicy than the usual Black Pepper crabs and the Herbal Crab which was one of the other lighter crab dishes but with a herbal infusion with red dates, dangui etc.
Another signature of Spice Brasserie is their Teochew Porridge Buffet which is bound to please my parents. During our visit, they had sweet potato porridge served with a whole range of condiments and sides such as braised chicken and pork belly with mui choy to enjoy with your teochew muay.
Finally, we ended our buffet with some quality ice cream by Kapiti from New Zealand. This is the second restaurant I found Kapiti Ice Cream, 10-at-Claymore has it too! Similar to 10-at-Claymore, Spice Brasserie changes the flavours from time to time. I was told that their ice cream is unavailable on the usual supermarkets (indeed, I don’t see them at Jasons Marketplace or Fairprice Finest). The Kapiti Ice Cream is just one of the many sweets offered on their desserts counter which offers from assort French pastries to traditional desserts like kuehs, cheng teng and Ice Kachang!
All in all, I must really thank Parkroyal on Kitchener Road for the invitation. I have found another place where our family could have a decent buffet meal with plenty of room at wallet-friendly prices. For UOB Cardholders, you get a sweeter deal with their 1-for-1 offer on Mon-Thurs or 1 dines free with every 2 adults on Fri-Sun till 31st October 2013.
And here is a short Chinese write up by our guest, Calvin Ng! :
檳城的風味美食，加上富有本土氣息的家常菜，還有讓所有人垂涎欲滴的螃蟹自助餐 － 座落在吉真路（Kitchener Road) 賓樂雅酒店 (Park Royal Hotel) 的香料法式餐廳 (Spice Brasserie) 新推出的自助餐，應該能滿足一家大小的味蕾吧！
擁有豐富經驗的主廚Frederick Kho師傅獨挑大梁，推出許多經典的檳城美食 － 就包括了酸辣的Assam叻唦，檳城鮮蝦福建面，檳城炒粿條及蠔仔煎。更讓人為之瘋狂的是每週五所推出的螃蟹自助餐 － 有十道不同烹調法的螃蟹任你挑選！有大家愛吃的辣椒螃蟹，娘惹咖喱螃蟹，鹹蛋螃蟹以及米粉螃蟹。選擇多樣化，讓人不知道該從哪裡下手。
餐館的空間寬闊，位子很多，能容納近300位客人。還有特設的貴賓房 － 適合辦生日派對，公司聚會或是大壽等等。一踏進餐館，服務生親切友善，笑臉迎人，非常體貼。用餐的客人以家庭居多。一家負老攜幼來享受本土風味的美食，讓我不禁也想帶自己的爸媽來用餐呢！
值得一提的是自助餐裡有的潮州糜 (Teochew Porridge) 以及隨旁的配菜 － 滷豬腸，滷鳳爪，滷豬腳，也忘不了我愛吃的梅菜扣肉。雖然味道一般，但一定能抓住愛吃潮州糜老一輩的心。
也沒忘記我愛吃的榴蓮美食，榴蓮糯米飯 － 榴蓮肉任你拿！
豐富的配菜 － 也有我愛吃的阿喳（Achar）！
自己動手做Ice Kacang！新西蘭的Kapiti雪糕甜度適中。Blueberry Muffin口味是我的最愛！
總的來說，吉真賓樂雅酒店 － 香料法式餐廳的自助餐的確是個一家人外出用餐的好去處。因為食物選擇多，又有老少都愛吃的本地及檳城美食，加上餐庭環境理想，沒有距離感，是個用餐的好去處。
Do check out these reviews by Food Nomads and Hubsch Jess Baby who were at the session as well.
PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road
181 Kitchener Road
Mondays to Thursday
Lunch | $34 (Adult) $15 (Child)
Dinner | $38 (Adult) $15 (Child)
Crazy Crab Night
Fridays Dinner | $58 (Adult) $25 (Child)
Saturdays Dinner | $58 (Adult) $25 (Child)
Fridays to Sundays Lunch | $34 (Adult) $15 (Child)
Sundays Dinner | $38 (Adult) $15 (Child)
Thank You Cleo from Parkroyal on Kitchener Road for the invitation!