Five-course lunch sets make a quick and easy option for diners

The ‘ayam masak merah’ from the Malay tray was especially delicious and mildly sweet when eaten with the nasi tomato.

WHEN the hunger pangs start knocking and you are in the vicinity of Jalan Ampang looking for a lunch venue, 10 Binjai restaurant’s lunch promotion is worth checking out.

The restaurant is now offering a five-course lunch set called the Express Asian Tray.

Priced at RM30 nett, this innovative idea concocted by executive chef Ashar Daud offers diners a hearty meal from different Asian cuisines, each week.

“In my 23 years of cooking, I learned that it is crucial to constantly revolutionise a restaurant’s menu to maintain diners’ interest.

“This particular menu was carefully designed to cater to the needs of our customers who are mainly professionals and tourists.

“The new menu essentially provides customers the opportunity to indulge in some popular dishes from a particular cuisine in one platter,” said the Kelantan-born chef.

He added that each platter would consist of an appetiser, a bowl of soup, rice, a main course dish and dessert.

Some of the cuisines in the promotion can vary from Vietnamese, Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian and Indonesian.

Prior to having our lunch, a rather visually appealing drink called Binjai Sunset, comprising mango and a thin layer of strawberry puree at the bottom was our welcome drink.

This drink is worth trying even if you do not have a sweet tooth as it has a bitter sweet taste.

The Vietnamese, Thai, Malay and Chinese trays arrived within 10 to 15 minutes, thus living up to its name ‘Express’.

The array of colourful dishes and aromatic scent was tempting to our taste buds.

From the Chinese tray, the smoked duck breast which was beautifully seasoned with sesame plum sauce and garnished with shredded vegetables was a delectable appetiser worth trying.

The seafood soup paired well with the traditional Chinese fried rice served, and was very satisfying when eaten steamed sea bass.

For those unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine, the rice paper spring rolls may taste a little bland at first, but when dipped into the plum and coriander sauce, it is simply likeable.

Ashar’s love for spicy food can be observed in his fusion of Thai herbs such as basil leaves in the Vietnamese Wok-fried Chicken.

The same could be seen in the Malay tray with his rendition of Seafood Pindang Soup with Seabass topped by Tamarind Flakes.

Ashar compared the taste and texture of the soup to rasam, a famous south Indian soup.

The popular Ayam Masak Merah dish, which was up to expectations is also served on the Malay tray.

For dessert, the Malay tray served bubur cha cha with coconut milk and palm sugar and Ashar compared the taste and texture to a dry cendol with a flowery taste.

However, if one does not enjoy tangy sensations, the pickled fruit appetiser is not recommended.

The must try items from the Thai tray include the young mango appetiser, Seafood Tom Yam Soup and Green Curry with Chicken.

The young mango is sweet with a slightly spicy after taste which prepares one’s taste buds for the rest of the dishes on the tray.

The green curry dish had a thick texture and was lovely.

However, it would have been a better treat if the chef had provided more of the curry.

One should be careful when trying out the Glutinous Rice mixed with Sweet Mango as it is quite sour. But otherwise, it was satisfying to the palate.

The Express Asian Tray, which is served on Mondays to Thursdays from 1pm to 3pm, is available until March 31.

“So far, we have had an average of 20 to 40 orders of the Express Asian Tray every day,” said Ashar.

“For the next quarter, 10 Binjai will be setting up a Kelantan food corner where we will be serving free range chicken and a couple of gravy dishes alongside about 14 types of ulam.”

10 Binjai, PNB Darby Park Executive Suites, 10, Jalan Binjai, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-03-7490 3838) Business hours: 6.30am to 11pm, daily.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement of Star Metro.

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