Eat to your heart’s content
Food is probably THE most important thing to us Malaysians. Be it a chow down at the local mamak, a plate heaped with nasi kandar (more curry please!), fries at perennial favorite McDonald’s, or a full eight-course meal at a Chinese restaurant. Needless to say, we take our buffets very seriously.
The problem is that as a budget-conscious people, we are often reluctant to shell out exorbitant sums on buffets that only wind up disappointing us. To save you the trouble of hunting for the best deals in the Klang Valley, we’ve compiled a list of 10 best bang-for-your-buck buffets available that hit that sweet spot of cost and food quality.
1. Bring out the caveman in you at Carnaval Churrascaria
True meat lovers will know that one of the best buffet deals out there surely involves a Brazilian churrascaria (that’s meat done in the churrasco style, which is Portuguese for barbeque) fest, with all sorts of meats being served at the table straight from the skewer they were grilled on.
Carnaval Churrascaria in Damansara Jaya serves up just that, with Australian beef steak, lamb shoulder, sausages of all kinds, chicken ham, seafood, and more. Meat connoisseurs can opt for their meat to be medium or medium rare, while those a little more squeamish can ask for theirs to be well done. Diners can also load up at the salad bar or try their awesome grilled pineapple, mint sauce, and Brazilian-style salsa to cut down on the richness of the meats.
Their friendly waiters are also attentive to your every need, always ready to ensure that your plate is never empty for long. The restaurant has a distinctly Brazilian feel to it, with tables decked out in the colors of the Brazil flag. Or maybe it’s the fact that the place has a homey vibe to it, and lets the food do all the talking. Best of all, it really is a place for everybody as no pork is served, so nobody needs feel left out!
Price: RM 88 nett
Address: 77, Jalan SS 22/19, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
2. Everything comes together at [email protected] Mandarin Oriental
Mandarin Oriental Hotel needs no further introduction to KL-ites; nestled among lush greenery in KLCC park beside Suria KLCC, this grand dame hides a gem of a restaurant away from prying eyes. Since its launch in late 2011, Mosaic has been garnering rave reviews not only for its eclectic buffet spread, but also for its sumptuous décor. Think generous spaces with natural light spilling in through ceiling-to-floor windows, Peranakan-inspired décor with pewter hanging lights and live food stations with chefs that show restraint in wielding the tools of their trade.
Mosaic breaks out a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines from all around the world, from Indian and Oriental delights, to Western carving and live pasta stations. They have a wide selection of fresh seafood on ice, as well as an impressive desserts section, the pride of Chef Uwe Faust. While the price may seem a tad steep to those on a budget, Mosaic offers a heady experience to those who can afford to splurge a little, with top-notch food married with an outstanding ambience.
Price: Lunch: RM 108.00 ++ / Adult (11:30 A.M – 2:30 P.M); Dinner: RM 138.00 ++ / Adult (6:00 P.M – 10:30 P.M)
Address: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
3. Gorge yourself on fresh sushi, sashimi, and more at [email protected] Starhill Gallery.
Japanese buffets have taken KL by storm the past few years; the ones most highly-sought after are those with the freshest sashimi and seafood, as well as a spread of side dishes and desserts that can hold their own. Jogoya at Starhill Gallery was one of the original trailblazers upon its inception in 2006, and now prides itself on being the largest buffet restaurant in Malaysia, with seating that can accommodate up to 600 diners at once.
Diners can look forward to a huge selection of fresh sushi and sashimi to rival any fine dining Japanese restaurant, as well as all kinds of non-Japanese cuisine to satisfy those who are squeamish about raw fish; their Chinese section is especially well-known for luxurious morsels such as braised Chilean abalone, teppanyaki-style freshwater yabbies, and steamed fish head. Apart from the buffet line, diners can also order from the a la minute menu, with items promptly served within 5-10 minutes.
Jogoya has long been the go-to choice for many people, as its price is lower than Japanese buffets served at most hotels, and is more than justified by the premium ingredients on offer.
Price: Lunch: RM 98 nett on weekdays, RM 108 nett on weekends and public holidays; Dinner: RM 108 nett on weekdays, RM 118 nett on weekends and public holidays; Supper: RM 98 nett on weekdays, RM 108 nett on weekends and public holidays.
Address: 181, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
4. Go traditional Chinese with the dim sum buffet at Tai Zi Heen
For most Chinese in Malaysia, dim sum evokes fond memories of relatives huddled together at plastic tables at the crack of dawn, chatting and laughing over tasty morsels of succulent prawns, steamed fishballs, fried dumplings, and Chinese tea. Tai Zi Heen at the Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Center Hotel & Residences serves up a healthy dose of memories, sans the steamy environment and sweaty waiters, with its halal (yes, you read that right) dim sum buffet at a price that is a fantastic bargain, considering the opulent surroundings and fresh and tasty dim sum. Diners are given an order chit, on which they tick off the items they fancy, and the dim sum appears fresh and steaming hot from the kitchen in a matter of minutes.
Signature items include their chicken and mushroom siew mai, prawns wrapped in crispy kataifi pastry, and Hong Kong roast duck. Be sure to end your meal with some of their signature desserts like chilled honeydew melon with sago and Chinese herbal jelly with snow fungus.
Price: RM 52++
Address: No.4 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
5. Discover the hidden gem of Japanese buffets that is Maiu
So, we all know that there isn’t a Japanese buffet anywhere in the Klang Valley that serves good food AND doesn’t cost an arm, a leg, and the kitchen sink, right? WRONG! The Maiu chain of restaurants has quietly gone about making a name for itself with its signature ala carte Japanese buffet, available at a price that makes other Japanese buffets look like daylight robbery. Their specialty here is the air-flown sashimi. They have three types, namely salmon, tuna, and butterfish. Thickly sliced with visible layers of creamy, fatty goodness running through the fish, one mouthful is enough to take you straight to sashimi heaven, where you’ll want to stay forever.
Maiu also serves a wide variety of nigiri and maki sushi, as well as yakitori and teriyaki items, all prepared to order so you know freshness is paramount. Don’t forget to try their signature wasabi ice cream served with a dollop of creamy red bean paste; weird isn’t always a bad thing!
Price: RM 48.80++ for lunch and dinner
Address: No 39-1, Jalan Radin Anum 2, Bdr Baru Seri Petaling, 57000, Kuala Lumpur | No. 41, Jln Temenggong 21/9, Bdr Mahkota Cheras, 43200 Cheras, Selangor | G-3A, The Place, Jalan PJU 8/5D, Bdr D’sara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya
6. A buffet that’s actually healthy? You need to check out The Ganga Café
Buffets sometimes get a bad rep for having an adverse effect on our waistlines, our wallets, the environment, world peace. In all seriousness, binge-eating is probably not what the doctor would advise, but the Ganga Café in Bangsar aims to change all that with their holistic approach to food and cooking. This restaurant serves up a mean Indian vegetarian buffet lunch on Sundays with food cooked with a whole lot of love and no MSG.
At a stunningly low price, diners can look forward to authentic Gujarati cuisine, from crispy and non-oily vegetable pakoras, hearty you-won’t-even-miss-the-meat lentil dhals, a whole range of fresh and fluffy breads like the light and airy puri, stuffed pakoda, and perennial favorite chapatis, to curries, chutnies, and a free flow of masala chai and Indian bru coffee. The food tastes clean and wholesome, a testament to their policy of using no MSG and less oil than a typical Indian joint.
Price: RM 16 nett
Address: 19, Lorong Kurau, Taman Bukit Pantai, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
7. Warm your belly on those chilly nights with Moo Kata’s steamboat/barbeque
What kind of self-respecting list of the best buffets wouldn’t have a steamboat item on it? But wait, what about that age-old argument of whether to go for steamboat or barbeque, when the night gets cold and our stomachs yearn for hot, freshly-cooked food? Moo Kata Steamboat & BBQ House on Old Klang Road aims to solve the dilemma by bringing to us the Thai concept of Mookata. Here, diners have a choice of not one, or two, but three ways of cooking their food; a charcoal grill, a hot plate, or the traditional steamboat vessel.
With a variety of over 120 items to choose from, diners will be spoilt for choice. Whether it’s their selection of marinated meats to go on the sizzling hot plate or grill, or fresh seafood and veggies to complement the rich and milky pork bone broth, there’s something to please every palate here. Keep your cups filled with the free flow of barley water to cut the heatiness that is sure to ensue, and don’t forget to try their signature dessert, the Durian Float (a bit of a misnomer, as it is actually a layer cake that uses fresh D24 durian flesh in its making)!
Price: RM 38 nett
Address: Taman OUG Square, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
8. When life gives you lemons, head to Lemon Garden at Shangri-La to treat yourself instead
We’ve all been there; it’s time for lunch/dinner, but either nobody knows where they want to go, or everybody disagrees on where to go. Well, now you’ll know where to go the next time this happens; just take them to the Lemon Garden Café at the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel. With a mind-boggling variety of food on offer, everybody will be spoilt for choice.
From the extensive cheese and bread platter, fresh seafood section and live pasta stations to the authentic Malay, Chinese, and Indian food (not forgetting the insane dessert spread), Lemon Garden seems to be trying to roll ten buffets into one, and somehow succeeds! Gobble down fresh oysters and sashimi, stuff yourself with gourmet cheeses from Europe and gorge on traditional local delicacies like dim sum and gulai, but remember to save some space for death by sugar at the desserts counter.
Italian meringues, French macarons, whole cakes, crème brulee and local kuih await. These delicious morsels are all arrayed invitingly around the centerpiece – twin chocolate fountains, one white chocolate and the other milk chocolate – with a selection of fresh fruits and nibbles to smother in molten chocolatey goodness. It’s no wonder that Lemon Garden consistently ranks as one of THE best buffets in KL; now, if that’s not worth paying for, nothing is!
Price: Breakfast: RM 66++ | Lunch for Mon to Fri [12NOON till 2.30PM], RM 85++ per person (adult), RM 42.50++ per person (child 6 to 12 years old); Sat for High Tea [12NOON till 4PM], RM 85++ per person, RM 42.50++ per person (child 6 to 12 years old); Sun for Brunch [12NOON till 4PM], RM 95++ per person, RM 47.50++ per person (child 6 to 12 years old) | Dinner for Mon to Fri & Sun [7PM till 10.30PM], RM 105++ per person, RM 52.50++ per person (child 6 to 12 years old); Sat for Deep Blue Seafood Night [7PM till 10.30PM], RM 135++ per person, RM 67.50++ per person (child 6 to 12 years old)
Address: 11, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
9. Rocku Yakiniku
One outlet that has been attracting lots of attention (the good kind) lately is Rocku Yakiniku, on the newly-opened 7th floor of Pavilion KL. Trailblazing with their grill design that ensures the restaurant remains totally smoke-free, Rocku offers a premium Japanese barbeque experience for a steal. The catch? Diners only have 100 minutes to do as much damage to the buffet as they can. Even so, the fast and friendly service ensures that patrons don’t run out of food, so nary a second is wasted.
Offerings include succulent cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, and pork, air-flown from New Zealand; fresh seafood such as salmon, prawns, scallops, mussels, squid, and butterfish; a variety of ready-cooked food and salads, including Japanese staples like chawanmushi, chicken karaage, gyoza, and chuka idako. What makes their barbeque items stand out from other places is the different marinades they come with, which translate to sticky caramelized goodness on the grill.
Rocku Yakiniku really provides a bargain for Japanese barbeque connoisseurs, considering the premium imported ingredients available at such a low price. Note that it’ll cost diners RM9.90 for each additional 20 minutes past the allotted 100 minutes.
Price: Lunch: RM 39.90++ | Dinner: RM 49.90++
Address: Lot 07.01.03, Level 7, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur | 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
10. If all things hallyu appeal to you, then BBQ-K Korean buffet is your cup of tea
If you’re a staunch supporter of K-pop over J-pop, no doubt you wouldn’t be caught dead in a Japanese barbeque joint. A Korean one, now, that’s a different kettle of fish altogether! BBQ-K offers all kinds of meats that have soaked for hours in their special Korean marinades, including pork belly and bacon, whole chicken thighs, and a wide assortment of seafood items like squid and scallops. Don’t forget to load up on the traditional Korean banchan (side dishes), and try different combinations of the four sauces available (meat sauce, really spicy sauce, salad sauce, and onion sauce) to complement the grilled meats.
Since RM 45 is about the price you would expect to pay for a couple of dishes of pork slices at a typical Korean BBQ restaurant, BBQ-K really does provide good value for money. Do take note that the restaurant has two outlets, and tends to get really crowded for dinner, so be sure to arrive early ahead of the crowd, or call ahead to reserve a table to avoid disappointment.
Price: Mondays to Thursdays Lunch: RM 45 nett; Dinner: RM 60 nett | Fridays to Sundays RM 60 nett for lunch and dinner
Address: 15-3, Soho KL, Jalan Solaris 2, Mont Kiara, 50480, Kuala Lumpur | D-08-01, Block B, Sunway Giza, Jalan PJU 5, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-6206 5539 or 018-398 0140 | 018-220 0710
Worth every penny
Food is one thing that we Malaysians take absolutely seriously, and boy do we know the subject well. And with our huge appetites, only seriously good buffets hit that sweet spot between leaving us satisfied in an I-need-another-notch-in-my-belt kind of way, and still having enough money left over to not have to survive on bread and plain water till our next paycheck. But we really wouldn’t have it any other way!