Warming up to cosy hotpot meal

Yee sang in the shape of an ox at Nook, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral. — Photos: MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

CHINESE New Year reunion dinner will be different this year mostly because of the Covid-19 pandemic and in keeping with physical distancing.

Suffice to say, it does not look like the festivities will be a big affair but it is still possible to gather for a lovely meal, thanks to the various packages designed by restaurants.

Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral’s private hotpot dining experience allows diners the chance to enjoy a hearty meal in each other’s company while maintaining distance.

Chef Emmanuel Chang has created three new flavourful set menus along with an a la carte selection to enrich your hotpot meal that will be served in Aloft’s private dining rooms for lunch and dinner.

Each set comes with two soup choices, fresh premium meat, seafood and vegetables.

To elevate the hotpot experience, Chang is presenting five different soups, including Aloft’s signature Sarawak laksa and asam pedas.

Tomato broth, tom yam and soothing Chinese cabbage with winter melon broth are the other selections.

We started off the meal with the essential yee sang toss, and the appetiser arrived in a whimsical shape of an ox to signify the Year of the Ox.

Before diving into the hotpot, we whet our taste buds with some of the a la carte offerings.

The Loh Duck, a slow-cooked whole duck in soy sauce and Chinese herbs, Beijing Duck Roll and Wok-fried Ipoh Chilli Crabs proved to be favourites.

The Marinated Jellyfish and Oriental Apple salad with its refreshing, tangy flavours did the trick to balance out the fattiness in the duck.

Anticipation building, we feasted our eyes on the fresh seafood and meat at the hotpot table, just waiting to be added to the flavoursome soup choices.

The Sarawak laksa broth and winter melon soup, both of which contrasted like yin and yang, were interesting, flavour-wise.

The laksa broth was hearty and satisfying, especially if you are a laksa fan. The winter melon soup was light and soothing.

It went with the restaurant’s specially made fish balls and prawn paste, together with the fresh vegetable choices and beancurd skin.

A good hotpot experience is not complete without dipping sauces and condiments to give the meal some oomph.

Here, the chefs present sweet Thai chilli sauce, spicy marinated dried chilli oil, ginger-infused chilli, roasted sambal belacan, in-house-grown cili padi, crispy fried garlic, freshly cut spring onions and coriander leaves.

The three hotpot sets come with two types of broth and a mixed vegetable platter, Chinese white tofu and eggs, and serve four diners per table.

The Happening set (RM55nett per person) has sirloin beef, chicken and salmon fillet, brisket shabu-shabu, cuttlefish balls, signature fish balls with roe and shrimp dumplings.

The Hearty set (RM70nett per person) is decked with Angus beef, lamb cutlets, chicken fillet, shrimp dumplings and shrimp paste while the Heavenly set (RM80nett) is ideal for seafood lovers, as this has Norwegian salmon, grouper whole fish, sapak clams, tiger prawns, signature prawn balls and fish balls with roe.

Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral general manager Michael Grimmer said the team wanted to create something exclusive for Chinese New Year.

“Everyone is tired of being cooped up at home, so our seating arrangement, despite the restrictions on the number of diners per table, can still provide a family-style dining experience.

“I also think this is one of the important takeaways, people connecting safely, ” he said.

To cool off the hotpot sensation, dessert comprises Chilled Oolong Tea with Aloe Vera, Chilled Longan with Sea Coconut and Gingko, or a refreshing fruit platter -– all available on the a la carte menu.

The hotpot menus will be launched on Jan 7 and will be available from Thursday to Saturday for lunch from noon to 3pm and dinner, from 6pm to 9pm.

As seats are limited, reservations must be made 48 hours in advance to guarantee the availability and freshness of the items. All bookings must be made for a minimum of four people.

ALOFT'S PRIVATE DINING ROOMS, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2723 1154). Business hours: Lunch, noon-3pm (Thurs-Sat); dinner, 6pm-9pm (Thurs-Sat).

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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