Tea at the Hilton Sentral

She's finally 17 and she calls herself legal. I had no choice but to burst her bubble, as it's 21 in the Asian household. Nonetheless she still had an hi-tea buffet to compensate for the lost hopes, as her parents had treated us to a feast at Hilton Sentral's Cosmo Lounge, located at the Hilton Sentral - right opposite KL Sentral and next to Le Meridien.

When we saw the buffet spread, I was relieved to see that there was a reasonable amount of variety. I have a tendency to break down when faced with an overwhelming variety, and grumble when faced with a pathetic spread. At the Cosmo buffet I managed to sample around 80% of the dishes, which I consider quite an achievement.

The Cosmo Lounge is a brightly lit lobby lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows which gives you a view of Federal Hill, the National Museum and surrounding area. There is also a pianist who plays tunes for you while you sip a cup of tea or savor the treats on the buffet spread while sat on the lounge chairs available. Though, eating while sitting on the lounge chairs can be a bit of a pain.

I started off with the Chinese style Fried Chicken topped with a Mango-Chilly Sauce. The chicken was well cooked, with a succulent texture, and the sauce complemented the chicken very well. The skin, however, was a bit soft as the pieces of chicken were presumably on the spread for quite some time.

The Spinach Siew Mai tasted a bit like spinach ravioli. The filling did not have the horrid spinach-like taste that I hate, and had a smooth consistency. The Barbecue Chicken Pau tasted like any ordinary pau that you could obtain from a hawker center, though it lacked in filling. The Radish Cake had a nice texture to it, though it would have been better if it was slightly crispier on the outside.

Up next, was Turmeric favored Prawns with Capsicum. This dish was disappointing, as the prawns had a fishy taste and were overcooked, which gave it a floury-like texture. I presumed that they were old, and I was slightly let down by this dish, as I would have expected more from the Hilton!

The Murtabak with Chicken Curry was a bit of a let-down too. Though the murtabak had an overall good taste, the skin of it was incredibly tough to cut and chew. The chicken curry on the other hand, was very good as the chicken pieces were small bite-size ones, and they were not overcooked either.

Up next was the Steamed Egg Custard with pieces of Century Egg. I personally did not like this dish, as I didn't fancy its silky texture and its taste - though I would presume that it all boils down to a matter of one's taste.

The Ebi (Prawn), Shake (Salmon) and Ika (Squid) Sushi were next on my list. The pieces of seafood tasted incredibly fresh, though I felt the ratio of rice-to-meat was simply inadequate as there was way too much rice. Furthermore, It would've been easier to eat, and more flavorful, if it was wrapped with some seaweed. This was accompanied by the Chuka Idako (Seasoned baby Octopus). The octopus was perfect in texture but there was a bit too much seasoning, which overpowered the subtle flavor of the octopus.

There was a station offering Mee Jawa, which I oped to try. The condiments on offer included tofu, Chinese cabbage, chicken, chillies and dried onions. I had my Mee Jawa with chicken, and topped with dried onions. The chicken pieces were very tender and flavorful. The curry, a sweet potato based curry, had a nice, thick consistency with a subtle sweet and spicy kick to it.

Next on my list was Tortilla with Beef Fajitas. The beef was marinated amazingly well, which made it flavorsome and tender. The tortilla was soft and present in the adequate proportions with the meat. The sandwiches I had were a Ham Sandwich with Cream Cheese, and a Chicken Sandwich with a Saffron infused Tartare Sauce.

Through both of these sandwiches were very simple, the filling complemented the bread amazingly well and both bread and filling were present in appropriate amounts. The Lamb Kofta with Mango Salsa should have been a little moist on the inside, though the salsa gave it a sweet touch which complemented the flavor of the lamb very well.

I had the Roast Lamb with a Rosemary flavored Brown Sauce next, which was unusually cold and undercooked, but tender nonetheless. The Grilled Veg was truly exceptional, not being over or undercooked. Had the Baked Potato been given more topping, it would have been truly an amazing dish, as it was subtly sweet, but it lacked in sour cream, bacon bits and spring onions.

I then began to try the Lemongrass flavored Panna Cotta, which was undoubtedly the most unique dish on the spread. I personally felt the lemongrass flavor was a bit too strong for my taste, but it's a definite must try for panna cotta lovers like me. I had loved the Chocolate Mouse, which had a taste very similar to that of Milo, and topped with Cocoa Pops. The dish gave me a nice feeling inside as it reminded me of the days when I was 10.

The Cheese Cake topped with Gold Leaf was a bit too dry for me, and tasted more like a sponge cake than anything. Though the Cherry Tart was good - there was not too much of that 'medicine-like' taste which some cherries give, making the tart rather pleasant to eat.

I managed to try one last object from the buffet spread - a Miniature Muffin, which were nice and crisp on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside. I could taste a nice hint of vanilla, which complemented the subtle sweetness of the muffin. The walnuts on the outside gave the muffin a crunchy edge to it.

According to my cousin Vanisha Ann (above), the Homemade Waffles that she had, served with a Berry Coulis and Chocolate and Vanilla Sauce, was soft and fluffy, though they had given her too much of the coulis - which she thought was too sweet. The chocolate and vanilla sauces had complemented the waffles well.

To end my hi-tea, I decided to sample their Homemade Hot Chocolate, which was definitely the highlight of the entire spread. One has a choice between white, dark and milk chocolate for their drink. My drink was smooth, and undoubtedly one of the best Hot Chocolates I've had. As a matter of fact, I'm craving for it right now, while typing this.

On the whole, Cosmo Lounge's hi-tea buffet, priced at RM68++ seems to be of reasonable value. Due to the tiny portions on the buffet line and the not-so-overwhelming variety, you are able to try a reasonable amount of the buffet's variety, thus making your money's worth. Plus, they have a Chocolate Fountain.

Though, I was a bit disappointed with some dishes, mainly the Prawns, the Pau and the Roast Lamb - as I would have expected much more quality especially when dining at a hotel such as the Hilton.

Presentation: 6/10

Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Overall Taste: 7/10

General Impression: 7/10





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