Still Waters, Hotel Maya: Saturday Japanese Buffets

May 29, 2019

Platters of sashimi and sushi, freshly prepared to order; kushiyaki-style skewers, grilled before your eyes; oysters, mussels, black cod, squid and prawns, served hot from the kitchen: Still Waters run deep indeed at Hotel Maya Kuala Lumpur's flagship Japanese restaurant, which has launched an all-you-can-eat a la carte buffet that promises substantial value, with more than 78 dishes for RM78 nett per person (or RM40 for children between five to 12 years old). It's a weekly exclusive at Still Waters, currently every Saturday afternoon, 12pm-3pm, at least until the end of June, offering a strong reason to return to a restaurant that has endured for over a decade in the city centre.

Many of the buffet's specialities are assembled or cooked immediately after you order them, curtailing the wastage of typical buffets and ensuring your food reaches your table straight from the kitchen brigade's hands. 

Naturally, sashimi and sushi rank among the highlights of a meal like this, with tender slices of salmon, salmon, tuna and butter fish ensuring that the raw-fish highlights for many Malaysians are accounted for, while nigiri-type sushi draped with shrimp, octopus, crab sticks or tamagoyaki might keep many customers ordering seconds or thirds. Unlimited helpings of hand rolls, stuffed with everything from salmon with mayo to chicken karaage, also hit the spot for the first items to tick off on this buffet.

The ocean's bounty is well-represented, served in multiple styles that span the Japanese cookbook, from tempura to teriyaki. Molluscs muscle their way to the top of our favourites, including mussels striped with mentaiko sauce and oysters in the classic deep-fried kaki furai preparation. Butter prawns are another guilty indulgence; with crustaceans this lusciously plump and richly flavoured, calories shouldn't count for this weekend feast. Fans of fish can order the salt-grilled mackerel, fried shishamo, and black cod in robust batayaki sauce, with some squid in teriyaki sauce to round out this parade of the sea's pleasures. Portions are prudent, so you can order a preliminary sampling to share before choosing whether to have another round of that recipe.

Choices are also abundant for chicken yakitori and other skewered meat, mushrooms and vegetables, charcoal-cooked for that unmistakable smokiness. Round out with the fundamental carbs of Japanese cuisine - our favourite is the garlic fried rice, as aromatic as any, but the mini bara chirashi don raw fish rice bowl and ramen in umami-swathed miso soup merit a mention.

Beyond the buffet's a la carte orders, an extensive spread is available on the counters - with oden increasingly popular in KL, here's a lovely way to savour bowl after bowl of this soulful soy-flavoured stew, brimming with fish cakes, daikon and konjac. Fried fare also seeks the spotlight, spanning staples like meat-packed gyoza and vegetable-based kakiage and yasai tempura.

Chawanmushi, California maki, futomaki, tuna and ebiko sandwiches, Japanese tofu with seasoned baby octopus - the selection seems encyclopedic, with more than enough to ensure everyone leaves satiated at the end of the three hours. Desserts are no less diverse, though our heart will always belong to ice cream, with multiple scoops to call our own.

It's been a long time since we last visited Hotel Maya, but we've consistently relished our experiences here, dating back to more than a decade ago. From top to bottom, the hotel's F&B options remain enticing and engaging, from the sky lounge that supplies a sweeping 13th-floor view of the city skyline from a distinctive perspective, for in-house guests and private events, complete with a cosy mini library and even a boardroom, to the all-day-dining venue Maya Brasserie and Ramah Tamah deli - everything we'd need for a staycation, illustrating why Hotel Maya is popular for that purpose, besides business travellers.

There's much to explore and discover within the hotel, from intriguing architectural flourishes to vibrant open spaces that underscore its reputation as a boutique 'urban resort,' a soothing sanctuary for the soul that's only a short stroll from KLCC.

Many thanks to the Hotel Maya team for having us.

Still Waters

Hotel Maya Kuala Lumpur, 138, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603-2711-8866 ext 260

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