Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Makan Kitchen @ Doubletree by Hilton

Part Two of our Doubletree eating expedition: After snacking on Italian food at Tosca, we headed immediately for Malaysian cuisine upstairs at Makan Kitchen, the hotel's flagship restaurant.

This sprawling outlet has a wide range of settings, including one section that's meant to conjure impressions of an Iban longhouse. Everything looks mighty fine, with a dimly lit interior filled with evocative furnishings.

The Chinese-themed hall is a stunner, though our recommendation is a table by the window, which showcases a 12th-floor view overlooking Jalan Tun Razak.

Both a buffet and an a la carte menu are available, but the offerings are strictly local _ Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kristang, Nyonya & Iban. The buffet costs RM79++ (though the price will be raised to around RM98++ during Ramadan), while the menu items are RM20-30++ each. No prizes for guessing which route we chose.

The selections from Sarawak are limited, but we relished the pansoh manuk _ tender chicken, cooked slowly in a bamboo stem and richly infused with the scents of lemongrass & coconut.

Portuguese-Malaccan grilled fish. Fresh and juicy, topped with a deliciously spicy sambal sauce that wasn't toned down for delicate tastebuds.

A ho-hum variety of Chinese dim sum. All pork-free, none particularly outstanding.

The roast duck sounded like a winner, marinated with five spices & prepared in a specially built wood-fired oven. But the meat was utterly bland and bony. We were also less than impressed by the chicken char siew and roast chicken.

The Indian spread provides all the predictable favorites: tandoori chicken, roti canai, fish tikka, nasi briyani, vegetable masala and so on. You could have an entire feast just here.

We quite liked the butter chicken, which was as rich and creamy as possible.

The outlet's widest collection features Malay recipes. Skip the chewy, flavorless keropok lekor; you'll find more satisfyingly authentic versions at street stalls.

The otak-otak was also a disaster. Both the taste and texture were reminiscent of rubber.

Ikan Pari Bakar. Forgettable; without this photo, we wouldn't have recalled eating it.

Chicken and beef satay. Meaty and chunky, but again, not as succulent or flavor-packed as the best ones out there. The peanut sauce was also lackluster.

Ayam percik. This one was OK. Moist meat, sweet and smoky.

A selection of kuih-muih. Can't rave about these either, unfortunately.

Red wine might not be perfect partner for local food, but here's why we ordered a bottle: if you use a Citibank credit card to pay at least RM388++ on one receipt, you'll receive a voucher for a complimentary 2D/1N stay in a Doubletree deluxe room.

By the way, service here is sterling; warm, genuine smiles all the way, with a blend of efficiency and helpfulness that speaks volumes about the staff and their training.

One more anecdote: when you make reservations here, you'll receive several e-mails. The first is a booking confirmation; the second is a reminder, several hours before your meal; the last one is a thank you note, shortly after you leave. All the messages begin with the same greeting: "Salam Satu Malaysia." It has become inescapable.

Doubletree has three more F&B outlets: The Food Store, Cellar Door & Axis Lounge. We managed to eat and drink at all of them after Tosca and Makan Kitchen that same evening/night (it took us nearly five consecutive hours), but that's a tale for another time.

Makan Kitchen,
Doubletree by Hilton,
The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 2172-7272
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor:


  1. Good selection of indian food. Iban food selection disappointing. Chinese so so. The soup is too salty. (quick! Who said it?)

  2. lemongrass: my first guess would be james brooke, the preeminent white rajah of sarawak. my second guess would be mr yeoh kheng leong :P

  3. Gila kah? Sigh the youth of today. Has it been that long since the ad came out? Think Chinese actress. Chis.

  4. lemongrass: actually yes, the ad might have come out a decade ago. i probably wasn't even old enough to own a visa card back then :P

  5. i cant belive i read it right, all restaurants under one roof in 5 hours!? you have bought "pigging out" to a whole new level!

  6. Snacking in tosca's? The previous post hardly seems like snacking!

  7. You weren't old enough to own a visa card 10 years ago? They weren't giving out to the elderly?

  8. Could i get your email address, so that we can invite you to attend food related events?
    If you're interested, please email me at

  9. Where on earth do you find the space to stomach all the food? Being called by my full name reminds me of being reprimanded by Dad. LOL! More hits than misses in this kitchen i'm afraid.

  10. joe: heheh, luckily the last two outlets were just a wine bar and lounge for drinks, cos we were too stuffed with food after the third outlet :D
    michelle: one pizza, three desserts = very light snacks! =)
    lemongrass: no lah, fortunately for you, credit card approvals aren't dependent on the absence of crow's feet and sagging skin :D
    gokul: thanks for the offer!
    unka: if u skip brekkie and lunch like me, u'll have plenty of stomach space in the evening too :D and if u had a christian name and middle name, i coulda made it 'mr robert christopher yeoh kheng leong' or something!

  11. looks like they really need to improve on their food or else it'll be hard to survive given the stiff competition from other hotel restaurants since the food there is not cheap either.

  12. eiling: yeah, the concept itself is interesting, with purely malaysian food. but there needs to be more variety for the iban, kristang and nyonya cuisine. right now, it's mainly the usual malay, chinese and indian dishes, which some other hotel buffets actually do better...

  13. since uve tried everything under the roof, what's your recommendation disregard of types of cuisine.

  14. Makan Kitchen is having a super publicity boost over the airwaves, thanks to a local radio station. :P and as i always thought, pork free dim sum always pales in comparison to the original recipe. Pity all the simple food turned out to be disappointing. Rubbery otak2? eurgh!

    PS: any review on the deluxe suite? ;)

  15. augustdiners: i like the pansuh manok! i'm a sucker for stuff with lots of herbs and full-bodied flavors :D
    elrond: it must be a radio station that i don't listen to (i'm betting!). yeah, if they don't improve on the food soon, they risk getting a lot of negative reviews. and as for the suite, heheh, let's see! :P

  16. LOL. I like the pansuh manok too, it was served during the launch. I think this place needs a bit of polishing..
    oh wait..mayb a lot ;)

  17. Tng: True, rite ... Pansuh manok can't be the only Iban recipe around... Why bother advertising that they're serving Iban food if it's only this one dish available ... Let's hope there'll be at least FIVE sarawakian dishes available in the future, heheh

  18. I'm just curious if you like Portuguese-Malaccan grilled fish or other Malaccan-style dishes. Most people assume Malaccans adore Malaccan food, but I'm not a huge fan of either Peranakan or Portuguese-Malaccan fare.

    Certain dishes, yes... but not everything. (Unlike Japanese, Chinese and Italian... I like EVERYTHING for those cuisines, nearly.)

  19. lfb: hmmm, y'know, i never really ate that much malaccan food when i lived in malacca. maybe only sambal belacan and cincaluk :D i'm not a big fan of eurasian food (just grilled stuff, rite, with sambal or other sweet sauces), but i do like peranakan food. ayam pongteh, ayam buah keluak, that itik tim soup thingy... yums :D

  20. Oh, but sambal belacan and cincaluk aren't foods... they are the Condiments of God. I LUB my mom's home-made sambal belacan and the bottles of pink cincaluk my dad buys...

    *drools drools*

  21. lfb: condiments can be meals also mah. i remember eating just cincaluk by itself (i know, u might say it's so salty, how can? but caaaaan). and a few lunches where i just scooped ovaltine out of the can and ate it by the spoonful.

  22. Cincaluk by itself? I guess, can lah, but seriously how? Your Ovaltine lunches remind me of how Devil can just eat Milo powder. Eeks.

    Me, the only thing I can take neat is vodka or Nutella. :P

  23. lfb: i love eating milk powder by itself! it's an powerful burst of chocolatey flavor! and then when the powder clumps around your teeth and u have to use your fingers to scrape them clean. ahhh. i also like condensed milk by itself, but that one can only take two or three spoonfuls cos it's too damn sweet. i've never learned to like nutella though. it's a mystery to me, like marmite :P

  24. Eww. The clumpy effect is why I don't get Milo Dinosaur. And condensed milk only works for me on some roti bakar (thick).

    Nutella? I ate up the entire contents of a 2kg (limited edition) jar of Nutella by myself. And I LUB Marmite. You just have to use it sparingly, spreading it thin on hot toast or into oatmeal/porridge.

    A little goes a long way.

  25. lfb: hmmm, sounds like we definitely wouldn't steal each other's food from the office pantry. one of my colleagues actually has a jar of nutella at our pantry. even in my hungriest moments (like now!), i've never been tempted to take any :P

  26. But. It's. Nutella. The Food of the Gods. The Spread That Goes Further Than A Courtesan's Legs.

    Nutella! Must! Crave! :P

  27. lfb: bleh. i wouldn't bat an eye if the sale of nutella were suddenly discontinued tomorrow due to ever-decreasing lack of demand. there'll always be goober peanut butter and jelly after all :D

  28. Ga. You are totally Devil's gang. He lubs Goober PB&J too.

  29. lfb: great taste buds think alike, no :D

  30. Well, they sure as heck better not taste together! :P

  31. lfb: at this point, i'm thinking it's a miracle that u and the devil can even share a meal in the same place together!