Written by @Lan (Photos by curiostraveller.com)
Thought of the day-“What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant and colorful.”-Joshua Foer
It’s not one particular restaurant that is mega in size. Here, size does not matter and so is the food quantity. What matter most is the overall quality of food that are presented on the buffet spread. For them, it’s all about Food that are Thoughtfully Sourced and Carefully Served. We wrote this article based on the thoughts of consumers and not writers. That one particular evening, we became that genuine diners, observing and tasting great foods that were served for Buka Puasa/Iftar diners at Tanjung Ria Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. It’s one memorable Iftar mainly because we were able to taste the real flavors in the food that we ate. The great dining experience was about that concoction of Food Quality and Dining Satisfaction.
This year, we have been to some other Ramadan Buffet be it in Hotels or Independent Restaurants. In fact, yesterday evening, we went for an iftar at a newly-opened Hotel in Kota Kinabalu. We went home and the moment we had our casual discussion about that evening Iftar experience, we can’t think of some good words. There’s no good memories, anything whatsoever except for its glittering main lobby. We then discussed about our Iftar experience at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. We came to one strong conclusion; the flavors of the food that we had.
As mentioned earlier, we wrote this article based on our thoughts as genuine diners a.k.a consumers. As diners, the first thing that will definitely please us during dining, is the food. The Iftar experience at one 5 star Hotel yesterday evening was lacking of good memories, simply because the food that we ate were tasteless. It did not describe that particular well-known brand. The Iftar experience at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu was about 3 days ago. We still remember how good the food were. It’s indeed one memorable dining experience.
Tanjung Ria Kitchen is known for its comfort, creativity and functionality. Diners in Kota Kinabalu city are all aware of its subtle textures and mood lighting that eventually gives that unique dining experience. The open kitchens foster interaction between Chefs and diners. One thing that people always leave behind when discussing about this particular eatery is the real taste or flavors of the food being produced here. Different than most diners, we both personally see the ambiance as a secondary factor. Our eyes were on the food. Constantly, all the time.
The Chefs and their diligent assistants are always under constant watch not only by the Executive Chef but by diners as well. Diners are able to see the preparation and cooking process, a factor that makes the Chefs giving their full attention to what they are ‘producing’. The last thing they need is to have the diners coming over to their station and start complaining about some tasteless food. The open kitchen concept somehow ‘force’ the chefs to give the best food for diners, in both taste and presentation. That’s how we see things here.
When it comes to Ramadan Buffet, the Chefs have to work hard at their respective stations to prepare and cook great food in order to please Iftar Diners. Such ‘force’ is the real ‘factor’ that contributes to the high quality of the dishes presented in the buffet spread. Not only the food looks great, all of em’ do have the ‘supposed’ flavors, real flavors as in our ability to sense all that basic ingredients being used in the food.
The Ramadan Buffet at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is not about that grander scale as in some other hotels, but it’s about giving diners great food in both taste and presentation. Food that are memorable. Food that will make diners ably to recall the entire dining experience. It’s not a ‘touch and go’ or one time dining experience, it’s an experience that will make diners coming back for more. Again, the secret is, the ‘authentic’ and supposed taste of the food. That factor alone puts Tanjung Ria Kitchen Ramadan Buffet as the most memorable Iftar experience, at least for us.
One of our dining mates said that we ate a lot that evening. We had to and for as long as we are food writers, we have to. We need to taste each of the popular dishes. The dishes from the Indian Kitchen/station were the best. We had to add that one portion of the legendary Oxtail Asam Pedas on the plate as we needed to taste it as well. Altogether, the elements on the plate were outstanding in taste. The dishes were in its own class. The Lamb Biryani, for us, surpassing all the Nasi Biryani we tried around the globe.
The Lamb Biryani was the star in the Indian Kitchen. In fact, it’s the most conspicuous dish of all in the entire Tanjung Ria Kitchen. There’s generous slices of Lamb meat here and there in the rice itself. The meat was not only tender but it’s tasty. We were able to detect all that spices from cardamom to even the cinnamon, ginger, garlic and many more. That’s the basic ingredients. If one is able to detect the basic ingredients, it means that particular food is cooked with undivided attention, soul and love. Almost everyone can cook Lamb Biryani but only those with passion can produce high quality Lamb Biryani.
That two other dishes, Prawn Kurma and Chicken Capsicum really complement that already amazing Lamb Biryani. It’s so full of great taste, both of the dishes, creamy but not spicy. The spices penetrated right into every single meat in that dishes. It’s far from being bland, it’s in fact two 5 star dishes that will make the Lamb Biryani even more tasty. What about that one single Oxtail Asam Pedas that we mixed on our ‘Biryani’ plate? Though of different origin, that Oxtail Assam Pedas was a perfect match for the other elements on our plate. It’s so tender and delicious!
Our next plate was about that amazing Grilled Chicken (From the BBQ station), Squid Chili Sauce and Prawn Nestum (From the Chinese Kitchen). All dishes were undeniably great as the flavors were beyond our expectation. It probably looks like simple dishes (as in the image above) but believe us, all three dishes deserved that Big WOW.
The Prawn Nestum for example was crunchy and the Chef(s) really incorporated generous amount of Nestum when marinating the Prawns. It’s indeed one real Prawn Nestum dish and far much better from that bland fried Prawns at most eateries. We would have more if we’re not to try the other dishes.
The Roti Naan Cheese was amazing too! The bread was tender, soft and filled with generous amount of cheese. For both of us, it’s not only the best Roti Naan Cheese in Kota Kinabalu city, it’s indeed the best that we’ve ever had in the whole country. There is no need to add anything onto it, it’s perfect already and best eaten right after being cooked. The portion is good for 2 or 3 diners, if one serving is not enough, head to the station again and ask for more!
We were like jovial kids in Disneyland when we found the ‘Bubur Durian’ in one of the counters located at The Residence. Being die-hard fans of Durian, we were of course delighted to had the opportunity to taste that particular ‘Bubur Durian’. While we were disappointed at some other eateries as most use smaller portions of Durian Flesh (some even use powder), the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu’s version of Bubur Durian truly met our standard. Beyond, in fact. It’s creamy but not sweet and full of Durian Flavor.
The Ramadan buffet spread at Tanjung Ria Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is not about that 400-500 dishes. They never claim that they are the grandest of all. They chose to remain to previous year’s setting. The dishes are being arranged pretty much the same as in 2016 setting. However, they can be proud of one certain thing; The real flavors of the food served on buffet counters. Of all 5 star Hotels/Resorts, they are the best in terms of taste, as in the intended or supposed taste. Not a single food that we had, tasteless. All of em’ were rich in taste but at the same time not that overpowering.
We all eat every single day. All of us consume food. As consumers, all of us always expect to eat good food with the right taste. Simply put, we all want our food to have its supposed flavor(s). Presentation alone does not guarantee customers or consumers satisfaction. It all comes down to the taste of the food that we eat. Ambiance or dining atmosphere is just another side factor. Remember the last time you eat street food with that chaotic road side scenes but still you are able to recall how good the food was? It did not require that glittering ambiance nor presentation.
Great food is about that amazing and consistent taste, ably to make you remember the dining experience for quite some time. Price does not matter as long as it’s worth paying for the food. Whether it’s cheap or expensive, the food must meet diners expectation. Salty, extreme sweet or bland dishes will send diners away for eternity. They will not be coming back. Not even once.
The food at Tanjung Ria Kitchen buffet spread have all the needed flavors. That’s already enough to make diners happy. Only when diners are happy with the food then they will look at another X Factors such as dining atmosphere, service and so on. Our Iftar experience at Tanjung Ria Kitchen was an excellent one, simply put, stellar. Each of the dishes we had was great in taste. When they named the Biryani as Lamb Biryani, they really mean it. It’s Biryani as in the supposed Biryani, not one bland rice option as we had yesterday evening.
If you are looking for one great place for your next Iftar, and if you are pretty particular about the taste of your food, then you know now that Tanjung Ria Kitchen is the place to go. They don’t give you one stellar piece of decoration in the center of their hotel’s lobby for you to admire but they will give you food that is truly food, food that are cooked with love and soul, food that are Thoughtfully Sourced and Carefully Served.
The food in their buffet spread are of high quality and will fulfill your cravings. Most importantly, it’s worth paying that RM160. When it comes to the real taste of great food, it’s none other than Tanjung Ria Kitchen @ Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. If you are in search for that high quality food, this is the place for you. One important question, are you looking for a popular place or great food?
The latter? For your next Iftar, opt for: