Priced at RM88 nett per person, you get a stunning array of food offerings from around the world
By HAZATUL SYIMA HARON & FARAH HYZAH ZAKARIA / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI
I WAS running late for my lunch date with my best friend from school (the car won’t start, boss can I get an increment?). What else to do but Grab as she texted me saying that she was seated right at the entrance of the Nipah Restaurant at the newly opened EQ Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Upon arrival, the dear woman had three plates of food already on the table and was doing some damage to the pizza. I had some ways to catch up, but couldn’t manage it due to a slight fever, so I’ll give this round’s eating crown to her instead.
If the name EQ seems familiar, it’s because the site it’s built on used to house Hotel Equatorial. The original Hotel Equatorial opened in 1973, but closed its doors in 2012. Re-branded as EQ, the improved successor is housed in a new 52-storey tower as the centrepiece of the new Equatorial Plaza.
As part of its ongoing Nipah Delight dining promotion, the hotel is offering buffet lunch at a steal. Priced at RM88 nett per person, you get a satisfying array of food offerings from around the world, including freshly-shucked succulent oysters, exuberant live-carving station, local favourites and more. I, for one, found it worth the money if you’re going for a buffet.
Here’s our honest opinions (unsponsored, of course) of the offerings.
FH: Greeted by a tasty, fat, juicy, mouthwatering stick of beef satay is how I started my experience at Nipah — the all-day dining eatery on the ground floor of this modern barcode façade in the heart of the capital.
Next, came a beautiful thin crust pizza with a generous amount of cheese and herbs. You’d think they were serving us because they were trying to butter us up for a pretty write up. But they weren’t. It’s all part of keeping the food fresh when it reaches the guests — chafing dishes have a tendency to dry out food when left for long periods of time.
HS: The beef satay was juicy and tender, that I went back and got seconds despite my aching tooth. I liked the fact that the pizza is prepared to order as it keeps it crispy and cheesy, without it being cloying. Besides the pizza, the steak is also cut only upon request to preserve the juices.
FH: My rounds started off with their nasi lemak daun lemuni, served up with the usual accompaniments and a tender, flavoursome helping of rendang tok. My companion had both — the rendang tok and the rendang ayam. They certainly weren’t stingy with their ingredients.
We then savoured fresh rock oysters, chilled boiled shrimps and mussels, which did not require much dressing given their freshness.
HS: The rendang tok is certainly the best in town. Again, tender, fragrant, flavourful, the only rendang I’ve tasted better is my mom’s. The rendang ayam was a bit dry, probably due to being in the claypot for hours. My all-time favourite shrimps are so fresh and juicy.
FH: EQ certainly offers a pan-Asian spread at this modern contemporary dining space. There is a bit of everything to tickle everyone’s taste buds. Depending on what your appetite craves on the day, you could start off your main course with a beautifully seared skirt steak. Thinly sliced, the steak on its own bursting with flavours with every mouthful. It needs no gravy or mustard. Just steak. You’d want seconds after. There is no denying it.
I had the steak first then only discovered the mushroom velouté afterwards. I was meant to share it with my companion, but it was just too good to share — I ended up polishing off the entire bowl! Pardon me dear, please excuse my manners.
HS: Well, she certainly has to take me back to Nipah Restaurant because she polished off quite a few things without me having a taste! Haha. But I can’t blame her, the steak was fabulous. My favourite steak is currently at Atlas, but this might take second place.
FH: If your tummy is a bottomless pit, graciously move on to the Malaysian spread. Start off with a bowl of piping hot kambing mamak soup and ease towards the nasi tomato and all the dishes that go with it — pajeri nenas, kurma daging, fish tandoori, dalca and fish curry. Or, if you prefer, you could have a combination of white rice, ikan singgang, ayam percik and braised beancurd with crab meat, and choose from an array of lip-smacking kerabu of sorts — whatever your palate fancies!
EQ chicken rice — a generous portion indeed. And the prawn mee, as pointed out by my companion — we forgot to try. As bottomless as it may have seemed, our tummies were already bursting at the seams. Whatever space we had left, we had to save it up for dessert.
HS: I skipped the above, I blame it on the fever. The chicken rice was okay, but yes, I forgot about the prawn mee.
FH: Desserts were a little bit of a disappointment to be honest. First impressions were impressive, but as I tucked into a piece of kuih lompang and worked my way through their onde-onde, kuih koci and angku — I was left a little disheartened. Brought in, or made at EQ’s spanking new kitchens, food and beverage (F&B) will need to take a closer look at this. I would expect a softer, wobblier kuih on my next visit.
I’d like to think that I spent enough time in Europe to be able to appreciate European desserts. One in particular is the French tarte tatin. Tarte tatin is an upside-down apple tart. A good tarte tatin would have a golden, buttery, flaky base with caramelised apples on top. On this occasion, the apples were tart and the pastry would have benefitted from some extra time in the oven.
The pièce de résistance of all the desserts though was the bread and butter pudding. My companion would describe its sublimity here.
HS: I’m not a fan of desserts, too sweet. But, I make exceptions for certain dishes like my alltime favourite bread and butter pudding. It certainly did not disappoint with its luscious custard and decadent pudding that it certainly rivals the exquisite one at Mandarin Oriental’s Mosaic. I had seconds. (Their lime sorbet was excellent, too.)
However, the delicious looking kuihs were pretty disappointing. Most were not wobbly enough (my dad says kuih lompang kena bergoyang), some were too hard, too sweet etc. I’d say their kuih was the one letdown. But we had a good chat with the F&B manager and gave our feedback. Hopefully, improvements will be made.
FH: As with all buffets, the menu will vary from day-to-day, week-to-week, accordingly. What is described here may not be available on the day that you choose to visit. As for my eating companion, we have companions for different occasions. On this occasion, mine was a friend whose friendship has spanned over 30 years. There are dishes which our opinions may differ, but most of the time we concur.
HS: Book early and choose seats inside, which are cosier and more comfortable. Our seats were heavily trafficked as it was at the entrance. They don’t have that many seats, like say Impiana KLCC, so do book early.