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SurF tHis SitE RaNdoMly

Review: Southern BBQ, Impiana KLCC Hotel

>> Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Date: 17 July 2010, Saturday
Venue: Tonka Bean Cafe, Impiana KLCC Hotel
Occasion: Exclusive food review - Southern BBQ Buffet Dinner
Overall comment: Impressive barbecue, especially in fragrance, taste, & the variety of meat was good enough. The friendliness of Impiana KLCC's employees is also commendable ;) Keep up the excellent job!

Halal: Yes

PerutBesi@The Ruthless Eater was invited to an exclusive food review by Impiana KLCC Hotel (formerly known as Impiana KLCC Hotel & Spa) quite recently.

It was a pleasant surprise & I was honoured to receive the invitation from Miss Sharifah, a Marketing Communications Executive with the hotel. It was rather unfortunate that I am unable to meet her in person as she had another appointment on the evening that I was available for the review, but I was warmly welcomed by her colleague, Jihan, instead. We had a great evening of getting-to-know-you as well as a lovely night to experience the array of food that the Tonka Bean Cafe has to offer.

I had a choice of reviewing one of the many buffets that Tonka Bean Cafe offers:
  • Guilty Pleasures Dinner Buffet (Mondays to Thursdays)
  • Southern Barbecue Dinner Buffet: Surf's Up (Fridays & Saturdays)
  • Carvery Dinner Buffet (Sundays only)
  • Weekend High Tea with Baskin's (Saturdays & Sundays)

After looking through what each buffet offers & checking my personal schedule, I decided on the the Southern BBQ Buffet, only available on Fridays & Saturdays for RM78++/pax. The price sounds slightly high, but if you actually get to sink your teeth into the barbecued ribs, lamb, beef, seafood, & meats of sorts, you'll find that it's worth paying the price for what you're offered!


"PerutBesi?? Who's that?"

"If that blogger is PerutBesi, then I'm Perut Platinum!!"

"Why PerutBesi? Iron stomach...she eats everything?? She can eat a lot??"

The above were portions of conversations at Impiana KLCC on the week where I was to drop by for the review (as told by Jihan to me when she hosted us). Apparently, the kitchen staffs at Tonka Bean Cafe, plus some of the hotel staff who got to know that PerutBesi is visiting got over-excited, & were all wondering who this blogger is & how he/she looks like. Hahaha...oh boy, weren't they surprised to see a medium-sized girl as PerutBesi...they were expecting some big-sized person!

The hotel's customer-service was impressive. Since Impiana KLCC's basement car park is closed for renovations, we were requested to park at the KL Convention Centre's basement car park instead, where a Proton Exora will pick all hotel guests to the hotel from the basement itself. I was accompanied by Aaron that evening, so Aaron had a nice time chit-chatting with the driver & the hotel staff all through the whole evening.

Upon arrival at the Tonka Bean Cafe, we were escorted to the table reserved for us, & Jihan, a Marketing Communications Executive at Impiana KLCC Hotel was our lovely host for the evening. She is a very friendly and fun person to have with us, & it was our pleasure to have her showing us around the cafe. We also spent an hour plus talking with the Head of Tonka Bean Cafe, Tawfeeq Steven Seow, an Executive Chef with Impiana KLCC Hotel, on the food served at Tonka Bean, as well as to listen to his sharing on his work experiences. It was loads of information & packed with excitement! :D

Interior of Tonka Bean Cafe
I was at Impiana a few months ago, but I've never stepped foot into the Tonka Bean Cafe. The interior is quite amazing, though the lighting is certainly challenging for a foodie who owns a compact camera...hahaha...

The Southern BBQ Buffet offers more than just the barbecued meat. It also offers the usual variety of cooked dishes, rice, cakes, salads, fruits, and fresh/cold meat. One is really spoiled for choice!

Chocolate Fountain/Fondue
I was quite fascinated with the arrangement of the fruits & snacks for the chocolate fondue. So far, this is the only hotel where I noticed its sticks of fruits are not stacked in a bowl, but are stuck into designated holes on a tile-mat that resembles a chess board. Nice :)

Rainbow of Desserts
There were at least 15-20 types of cakes, pies, tarts, & desserts of all sorts at the buffet dinner spread. If you're sweet-tooth diabetic or a dessert-lover, you'll really have to refrain yourself from entering this section of the buffet, else you'll end up over-indulging on the sweet assortment! The cakes that I've tried were slightly too sweet for my liking (I've quite low tolerance towards sweet food) & they were slightly dry as well, but taste-wise, it's still alright :)

I just love the design & arrangement...looks "classy"...

Fresh Cold Seafood
When I say it's "fresh", I really mean it's fresh! Tonka Bean Cafe is doing a good job in ensuring the freshness of its food :) *thumbs up* Oh ya, the cold, young coconuts were REALLY refreshing! Bottomless, baby! I practically balanced my sizzling hot barbecue dinner with the cool coconut drink! *slurp*

Tonka Bean Cafe's Southern BBQ Buffet is special in its ways. For one, the BBQ is the authentic charcoal fire barbecue! I was wondering how the hotel will serve their barbecued meat. All along, I thought that the meat will just be barbecued & served in those large trays in the cafe itself, but oh, Tonka Bean Cafe gave me a pleasant surprise! The BBQ is outside - "open air" BBQ just like how you'll have it at your house!

I was also wondering why "Southern BBQ". Chef Tawfeeq then shared that out of the many types of BBQs (e.g. Korean BBQ, Malay-kampung-style BBQ, Chinese BBQ...etc), the Southern US BBQ is rarely found here, & it's the hotel's initiative to offer a different type of barbecue to Malaysia!

It's certainly "hot" out there near the grills, with the noisy cars, bikes, & trucks passing by (during peak hours only...apart from such hours, that road is relatively quiet), but if you want some REAL barbecue, you'll get it at Tonka Bean Cafe, no doubts!

Barbecue Chef for the night
This was the chef who barbecued the meat to perfection for us. There were some pre-barbecued/grilled meat as well as fresh meat of your choice, ready to be barbecued.

Fresh Meat/Seafood ready to sizzle-wizzle on the grill
I found it rather strange that the meat were "fresh" & "un-marinated". But I was told by Chef Tawfeeq that the meat were all not marinated because they were all cut into thinner slices. Having them marinated for a several hours will cause the flavour of the meat to be over-powered by seasoning & spices, thus spoiling the natural taste of the meat. Unless the meat is cut into thick slices like steaks, then the meat will have to be marinated before cooking. Interesting! I never knew that. Chinese just love marinating their meat for hours/a day to ensure that the meat (thin-cuts or thick-cuts) are soaked with flavour!

Awesome Mussels!
I had so many of those mussels...it was just awesome! Simple, fragrant, fresh - yums! The BBQ-ed lamb with BBQ sauce (no mint sauce for that night...boohoo) were lovely too :)

Ribs (Beef) is a MUST HAVE!
For RM78++, if you manage to get those juicy BBQ-ed ribs (even though the ribs weren't marinated prior to landing on the grill, the ribs were "wow"! The chef seasoned the meat when he grilled them! *salutes*), oh, you'll really find your dinner a truly enjoyable one...yes, yes, more mussels for me! By the way, the grilled chicken (kebab pieces) we slightly dry & I didn't really like it. The lamb & beef is a must try though....

Back in the cafe...

Jihan insisted that I try out the Caesar Salad at Tonka Bean Cafe. She said that it's "the best" Caesar Salad that I'll ever get (in comparison to other hotels). She's not a fan of greens, but after trying the salad from Tonka Bean's salad bar, she find herself indulging into the healthy dish without second thoughts.

I like the Mixing Bowl!
It's not some wooden bowl, nor is it stone/porcelain. It's some heavy, 'wax-like' dish that gives you the added fun in mixing your own Caesar Salad ;) The cafe offered a good variety of fresh vegetables, condiments (e.g. raisins, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, croƻton, olives, ...etc), and 2 common types of dressing for the night - Thousand Island & Mayonnaise. I wish they had more salad dressings!

My Caesar Salad - Time to Toss!

PerutBesi's Own-Tossed Caesar Salad
Not too bad...Aaron said I picked a good mix of the veggie & condiments, plus the dressing went well with the salad ;)
(photo taken with flash...so sad the lighting wasn't good for photography)

There were many unique cooked dishes as well. One of our favourites was the Baked Prawns. The other dish, where I didn't manage to take a photo of was the Beef with Star Fruit in Coconut Milk. That dish was really interesting! Instead of using the usual asam skin/vinegar/pineapples (or whatever else that will give a dish some sourish taste), Tonka Bean Cafe used the small star fruits (called "Belimbing Buluh" or "Belimbing Asam" in Malay) to give the "gulai" (type of stew) dish a twist/unique taste. We loved it!

Baked Prawns
You won't expect it, but you'll actually find BAKED CHEESE in this pot alongside the prawns! Oh, wonderful...I thought baked prawns will come as a dry dish, but hey, this baked prawns with gravy tastes delicious!

Wok-Stirred Vegetables
Tonka Bean Cafe has a small section for wok-stirred vegetables as well. I had some stir-fried veggie + mushrooms, but I felt that it was too salty! The chef who cooked my veggie didn't manage to adjust the seasoning proportionately :( Much room for improvement...

My Stir-Fried Leek, "Tau Miu", & Fresh Black Mushrooms

Boccocini Mix
I never knew what Boccocini is 'til Chef Tawfeeq gave us an interesting lesson on this type of CHEESE! Yes, it's actually PREMIUM Mozzarella cheese that comes in ping-pong ball size! Boccocini is simply "not so matured" Mozzarella cheese that is slightly chewy, spongy, & very mild in cheese smell (so mild that I didn't know it's cheese 'til I was told!). We were even told that Boccocini is VERY expensive and is usually only enjoyed by Westerners who are more willing to spend on such cheese as their snack! *fuh* This dish was just slightly cooked with olive oil & some herbs :) We loved Boccocini!!!

Pizza & Pasta
Tonka Bean's pizza & pasta weren't too bad as well. I prefer their pasta to the pizza...it's not excellent, but good enough to pass.

Last, but not least, to end the night, Tonka Bean Cafe assures that you'll end it nice & sweet with their pride & joy - Baskin Robbin's Ice Cream! Now, which restaurant offers you BR ice cream...or even proper ice cream??

Baskin Robbin's Ice Cream with Assorted Toppings
We spent SO much time on the BBQ & main dishes, plus LOADS of time chit-chatting with Chef Tawfeeq & Jihan 'til we didn't have much time for dessert! :'( By the time we started on the ice-cream, it was 10.30p.m. already! The cafe was supposed to close at 10:30p.m. & there we were still talking & eating through the night...hahaha...

It was just such a lovely evening - one that was absolutely worth spending. I'm very thankful to Impiana KLCC Hotel & the Tonka Bean Cafe for the warm hospitality & the scrumptious Southern BBQ Buffet. It was one evening that I felt like some VIP at the hotel...hahaha...especially when the front desk staff found out that I was there for a food review - they were somehow extra "cautious". They even rushed the driver, & paced up & down to ensure that I got attended to *in awe* I'm in disbelieve...hey, I'm just a blogger....hahaha...

To all my dear readers, save up some cash (if you don't have any spare for the moment) & splurge on this one buffet where you'll find yourself enjoying the juicy ribs & extensive variety of cooked food, desserts, & not to be missed - the free-flow of Baskin Robbins ice cream!

Thank you for the wonderful evening at Impiana KLCC!
My experience there that night is certainly a memorable one ;)

Tonka Bean Cafe
Impiana KLCC Hotel
13 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2147 1111
Business hours: 6:30am to 10:30pm, daily
Website: www.impiana.com


Presentation: * * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * * 1/2
Taste: * * * 1/2
Service: * * * *


- Ruth


thule a.k.a leo July 29, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

I've stopped eating buffet long time ago due to my expanding waistline :P but I still have 2 coupon for free buffet meal in Sheraton & Le Meridien! Sigh...

PerutBesi July 29, 2010 at 7:58 PM  

->leo: I should give u an award for being one of PerutBesi's most faithful reader/commenter! :D Thanks for your continuous support, leo...i can't eat much at buffets these days :( somehow i don't have such a ginormous appetite as i used to have years back...plus, as your case, my waistline is expanding too & it's not a very proud thing for a girl!! U can treat your loved ones to those free buffet meals ;) I'm sure it'll make their day!

rokh August 2, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

i actually went for their weekdays buffet, now you make me wanna go for the bbq one. and yes i love the freeflow baskin robbins! let's go again together :D

PerutBesi August 2, 2010 at 9:44 PM  

->rokh: Can can! I'm thinking of going for their Ramadan buffet since I was invited, but I couldn't make it during lunch time...I haven't tried their weekdays buffet...how's it? Good? We MUST MEET!!!

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