A GOLF green, trees and potted plants make the perfect garden setting this Ramadan, writes TAN BEE HONG.
THE tents are up. The tables are set. The terrace dining section of Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam (KGPA) in Bukit Kiara, Selangor, will be transformed into a garden barbecue and warung setting for Ramadan.
From the 36 warung (action stalls), you hear the sounds of sizzling and bubbling. Manning them are chefs keeping a keen eye on the fire or sharpening their knives to cut and carve. This warung concept is a major attraction at the Citarasa Ramadan buffet at KGPA.
General manager Mazmadi Mohamed says there will be over 200 items daily, including five whole lambs. "Three will be roasted while two will be stuffed with biryani and baked, kuzi style."
Even more irresistible is the price: RM55 (adult) and RM28 (child), making it one of the best deals in the Klang Valley in its class.
Start with a cool drink. There are six to eight types of cold drinks, including sugar cane, lychee, soya bean, air bandung and lime juice as well as hot coffee and teh tarik.
Then nibble on kampung salads such as beansprout and cockles, salted fish and dried chilli, wing beans and ulam-ulam with sambal belacan, budu, cincaluk and tempoyak. Or take your pick of garden greens with a choice of dressing or potato salad.
Refresh your palate with a steaming bowl of chicken soup or nourishing bubur lambuk. Unless, of course, you prefer noodles. My choices are mee rebus and asam laksa. The best part is, you can top the noodles with all your favourite condiments. Char kway teow is served a la minute, dished up hot from the wok.
If you can´t wait, head straight for the hot dishes. Spicy. Mild. Steaming. It´s all there. Chinese-style steamed patin, spicy catfish berlada, ayam percik Kelantan, asam pedas petel beef, masak lemak siput sedut with yam, masak lemak salted fish and pineapples and ayam masak hitam. I enjoy the perfectly poached duck eggs, cooked with belimbing in a creamy turmeric gravy. I love how the yolks have a soft, creamy centre, not hard and crumbly, and the slightly sour edge the belimbing lends to the dish.
Ayam percik is aromatic and full of flavour. Prawn rendang is perfect with white rice. In fact, all the dishes demand a serving of rice, or lemang and ketupat palas if you so prefer. With the latter, try the peanut sauce, chicken rendang or spicy beef and chicken floss.
Oh, don´t forget the vegetables. The chefs have at least 10 types of vegetables daily. It´s a must, they say, to ensure adequate fibre intake during the fasting month. So you get choy tam in oyster sauce, kailan with salted fish, cauliflower with carrots, fried kangkung, fried spinach, mixed vegetables and more. Or you can have rojak mamak, fruit rojak and popiah.
The caramelising at the edges of strips of chicken and beef satay being grilled is tantalising. And you can have as many sticks as you like. The meat is so well marinated I don´t even have to dip them in the peanut sauce.
But this is not all that´s sizzling. At another stall, a chef is busy grilling fish and flower crab on a hot plate. The crabs are lovely and sweet. Isn´t the smell of burning crustacean shell totally decadent? You bet.
Ikan kembung, catfish and stingray are well marinated with a sambal. And you can add lashings of sauce like budu and asam.
The roast lamb corner commands an orderly queue of diners. Carved to order, the meat is moist and tender. There´s brown gravy as well as mint sauce to go with it. If you can´t be bothered to queue, have lamb kuzi instead, stuffed with nasi biryani that has absorbed all the flavours of the meat.
If you cannot resist fritters, you´re in for a treat. One of the warung offers fritters of all varieties - banana, yam, breadfruit, sweet potato and prawn.
For dessert, relish in the various types of Malay pastries - from ondeh-ondeh and kuih lapis to serimuka, bingka and tepung pelita. I love the steamed tapioca, served kampung style, with desiccated coconut and brown sugar or sambal ikan bilis. So rustic.
After this, take a short break over teh tarik and catching up with friends and family before you make your way to trays of delicate French pastries, chocolate cake, cheese cake, pudding and mousse.
The Citarasa Ramadan barbecue garden promotion is from Aug 3-27, 6pm to 10pm.
KGPA GARDEN TERRACE
Off Jalan Damansara, Selangor
Tel: 03-7956 0122