Nook, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral: All-You-Can Eat Lah
July 9, 2020
Sarawak laksa served steaming-hot; salmon that's straight from the teppan; steaks seared sizzlingly to order: Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral has reimagined the hotel buffet experience at its flagship Nook restaurant with an all-you-can-eat selection that's cooked à la minute and sent to your table.
With around 50 dishes whipped up by nine live stations, this is a safe, comfortable way to savour an all-you-can-eat spread, without the queues of a typical buffet.
Eat Lah is available for dinner, 6pm–10pm, Thursday to Saturday, and is currently offered at a ‘Welcome Back’ promotional price of RM98 nett per person (normal price is RM138 nett). Children under 12 receive 50% off this promotional price.
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For the lucky draw, while dining at Eat lah, you’ll be given a form to fill out. Weekly winners will be announced every Saturday to win a free one-night stay. Even if you don’t win the weekly stay, the hotel will award one lucky person a stay at a sister property on the last Saturday of each month, from now until September. Winners will be contacted separately.
For guests who remain vigilant about health precautions, Nook's measures are reassuring, with seating that abides by social distancing regulations. Each table has a maximum of 10 persons; larger groups will be split across separate tables.
All the friendly staff members ensure the food is professionally prepared and hygienically served; Nook also undergoes frequent sanitisation, so you can sit back, relax and relish a worry-free evening.
Ordering is straightforward, using cards and pens provided by Nook - typically, many orders took about five minutes to prepare, so there was minimal waiting. With utensils in clear bags and alcohol wipes provided, we felt completely in secure hands, kicking off our dinner with complimentary canapes that change everyday - tuna with cucumber and potatoes with cucumber offered a refreshing start for our evening.
Longtime fans of Aloft KLS know there are two local favourites that have a firm place in the hotel's heart. Both are beautifully represented in the Eat Lah buffet.
Sarawak laksa has been available here since the beginning (fun fact: the current show-runners of Aloft KLS are Sarawak-born). This is as authentic as what you'd find in Kuching, with the laksa paste sourced from the same Sarawak supplier for more than seven years now. It's rich in santan and spices, offering a lovely kick that'll keep you slurping till the end.
Aloft's 'legendary biryani gam' is another Eat Lah highlight - claypot rice completed with chicken, cashews, boiled eggs, raisins and acar. It's moist, melt-in-the-mouth comfort fare, with savoury and tangy flavours harmoniously complementing each other, balanced by a gentle sweetness from honey that makes this a distinctively marvellous rendition of biryani. A vegetarian version is also available.
From Sarawak to the south of the peninsula: Another Malaysian must-have is the assam pedas Melaka, paying homage to the historic state, braised painstakingly for an hour with ginger, shallots, garlic, chilli paste, daun kesom and bunga kantan.
If you're an assam pedas aficionado, you might notice a bonus in this recipe - belacan, which adds extra depth and dimension to this spicy-sour signature. We had ours with flaky, fleshy sea bass; it's also offered with a choice of salmon, prawns or vegetables.
The assam pedas showcases one of the benefits of Nook's Eat Lah - with everything cooked to order, flavours and textures feel significantly fresher and more satisfying than the average buffet, where food might be sitting in heated chafing dishes for an hour or two.
If protein is your pick, Nook promises fire-fuelled primal pleasure for beef and fish.
Grilled to your preferred doneness (or medium-well by default), seasoned purely with salt and pepper, the Australian grain-fed sirloin is a smooth, succulent minute steak, slicked up with hickory BBQ sauce for extra smokiness, rounded out with a garlic mash for a mini meat-and-potatoes meal. We'd happily have seconds of this (and since this is a buffet, we could have!).
Norwegian salmon surfaces from the teppan, cooked separately with vegetables to ensure both maintain their original nuances, mixed in the end with a sweet, shoyu-based tamari sauce and sprinkled with bonito flakes for unmistakable Japanese flavours. Other teppan offerings include chicken, beef, prawns, squid and vegetables.
Pastas also profit from the cooked-to-order theme, turning out al dente in preparations like prawn aglio e olio, tossed with a fine blend of chopped garlic and sauteed capsicum, showered with parmesan and a choice of protein like prawns. This is a little less oily than conventional aglio olio, perfect if you're looking for a lower-guilt indulgence.
If you're a cheese chaser, order the mac 'n' cheese, luxuriant with mozzarella, cheddar and cream cheese. Surprisingly, it's not cloying at all, a testament to the Nook culinary team's confident capabilities, so you'll probably have no trouble polishing the plate.
There's much, much more to still discover and sample here, from Thai beef salad to steamed dim sum, petite burger-loving sliders to slices of lamb.
Desserts don't disappoint either - aside from chilled temptations like ABC with Milo tabor or teh tarik ice cream, you can also order a platter of three desserts that change daily.
These desserts are beautifully conceived - our centrepiece was a brownie popsicle that resembles a Magnum ice cream bar, made with 70 percent French dark chocolate, flanked by a rainbow-hued sponge cake layered with buttercream on one side, and an irresistible coffee cheesecake with Philadelphia cream cheese and an Oreo crumb base on the other. On other days, the platter might comprise treats like red velvet cake, chocolate mousse, or fruit tartlets.
All in all, Nook's Eat Lah dinner service is a very strong effort by Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, making buffets as enjoyable as ever or even more. Many thanks to the team here for having us.
Eat Lah @ Nook, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
5, Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur. Website: www.aloftkualalumpursentral.com
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