Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside: An Evening In Eden

August 4, 2018

Families frolic in an infinity pool an hour before sunset, overlooking an attap-roofed pier that stretches over a sprawling lake. As we stroll beside the waters, a lone jogger overtakes us, barely breaking a sweat in the cool calm of the evening. A few young men glide past a nearby gazebo on hoverboards, amid lushly manicured gardens brimming with calamansi trees and local herbs.

Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside is beautifully idyllic, a much-needed retreat from the chaos and cares of urban life. Depending on where you live or work, the hotel - set to soon celebrate a full decade in existence - might be well within a half-hour's drive. Nestled in our nation's administrative capital, it's effortlessly accessible by expressways from the heart of KL, but it feels soulfully like a world away, capable of refreshing both body and spirit. 

It's that rare resort in the Klang Valley that lets you truly breathe and savour a sense of space. A clock tower in the courtyard, aglow in colourfully gleaming lights as night falls, proclaims that "our world is your playground," a promise that Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside means to keep.

This month, we returned to Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside for the first time since 2009 - it's evolved tremendously since then, improving with age in everything from its ambiance to its F&B offerings. If you're seeking a distinctive venue for a getaway with your loved ones, complete with friendly charm and character, comfort and convenience, this is a recommendation to remember.

It's easy to become engrossed in exploring the resort, which showcases separately themed wings with intriguing fittings that represent Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous Borneo inspirations. By the time we step into B's, the bright, stylish all-day-dining restaurant is bustling with dinnertime conversation.

The ideal introduction to B's is its buffet selection, which illustrates the collaborative talents of both veteran and young Malaysian chefs. Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside's kitchens are helmed by chef Ken Yeong, whose experience extends back to the mid-1980s, when he enlisted in the kitchen of one of KL's first five-star hotels. Executive sous chef Zam Zaini Hussin ensures everything is up to par, particularly the pastries (Zam Zaini was trained in the craft of confectioneries by Swiss chocolate production company Max Felchlin AG).

There are numerous nods to classic and contemporary Malaysian cuisine throughout the buffet - potential highlights span ayam masak kari hijau, telur masak sambal and pucuk paku masak lemak to fried kway teow, bean curd with soy sauce and lamb keema masala. But what impressed us the most was an attention to detail that's uncommon in buffets, encompassing even the condiments - there's even budu, the fermented fish sauce of Kelantan and Terengganu.

The spread travels far beyond our borders too - no surprise, especially since Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside's F&B Director Benjamin Pons hails from southwestern France, while the hotel's General Manager Roberts Ejubs is Australian, making for a melting pot of gastronomic diversity. 

Hoki fish is heartily cooked with spinach cream, while lamb leg is tenderly roasted and sliced in chunky portions; B's team members also stand ready to prepare pastas to order and whip out pizzas from a scorching oven.

Another thoughtful touch: Each dish is labelled with its exact caloric content, so you'll know that 100 grams of the marinated chicken tandoori with avocado salad are 363.6 calories, while a similar serving of the crabs on ice is 83 calories. Perfect for knowing how much to indulge in before checking out the dessert counter, bursting with chocolate fondue, honeydew pudding, gelato and pineapple upside-down cake, plus traditional temptations like ais kacang, cendol and bubur pulut hitam.

B's a la carte repertoire is equally extensive, bridging the gap between club sandwiches and congee, Atlantic cod fillet and Sungai Pahang jumbo prawns. The kitchen is adept at also taking requests for special occasions - start perhaps with the seafood platter of scallops and Norwegian salmon, juicy and flavoursome, then dig into a shank-filled feast for lamb lovers; the latter is well-paired with a Brunello di Montalcino Castello Banfi 2004. The wine, produced in the Tuscan province of Siena, is yet another surprise - one might not expect to find respectable wines in Putrajaya, but Pullman once again surpassed our hopes in this regard. An elegant dessert platter, each serving of cake meticulously conceived, provides the crowning conclusion.

If you're here early enough in the evening, pay a visit to the alfresco poolside lounge, where the high tea proves to be a tiered triumph, layered with open-face sandwiches, eclairs, macarons and marvellously moist cakes. Even the snacks are elevated, with a citrus twist to the popcorn and a herbaceous tang to the olives. Sip on a reinvigorating cocktail or three here, and all will seem right with the world.

Many thanks to Putrajaya Pullman Lakeside for this luscious slice of paradise.

Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside

No.2, Jalan P5/5, Presint 5, 62200 Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia

Tel. +603-8890-0000 

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