Thursday, March 24, 2011

Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur

Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur opened in August 2010, and Makan Kitchen is their 350-seat signature restaurant located on the 11th floor featuring 6 local Malaysian cuisines such as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kristang (Portugese-Malaccan), Nyonya and Ibanese.

In December 2010 (yes sorry, I know this post is very outdated), Doubletree by Hilton posted a promotion for their Facebook fans, whereby fans got to enjoy 50% off the lunch or dinner buffet price. Since I have been wanting to try the Full Makan Kitchen Experience Buffet here, this was an offer too good to be missed. It was a breeze making a reservation over the phone and on the morning itself, we received an sms confirming our reservation.

Reception counter

Reception decor

Juice bar

When we arrived at Makan Kitchen, we were greeted by smiles from their waiting staff and escorted to our table next to the Malay interactive kitchen with a view of the hotel pool and KLCC Twin Towers. There are different sections in the restaurant with slightly different decor, but all done in good taste. There were also a few semi-private rooms if you prefer a little more privacy.

We had a direct view of the KLCC Petronas Twin Towers

Hotel pool

Restaurant Interior

Service was exemplary; the waiting staff were very friendly, courteous and always made sure our glasses were filled. When they saw that we had a child with us, they quickly brought out a special kids cutlery set for Baby C. The kitchen staff were also very friendly, taking time to explain certain dishes to us when we enquired. I strongly recommend doing a tour of all three interactive kitchens to take in the smell and sight of the vast variety food on offer here.

Out of all the kitchens, our favorite has to be the Indian kitchen. Almost everything we ate from this station was very tasty. Malaysian Indian food is influenced by Northern and Southern Indian cuisine. Do try the tandoori chicken and the many curries on offer. Soak up the curry with some fluffy naan bread. The lamb briyani was also very good. The kitchen staff recommended the saute snake gourd with Indian spices to us, a type of vegetable that resembled the loofah gourd in texture. We also grabbed some mini popaddoms to munch on.

Kristang or Portugese-Malaccan cuisine is also featured in the Indian Kitchen. One of the most famous Kristang dishes is Curry Debal or Devil chicken curry, which we tried. Be warned that this curry is on the spicier side due to the use of fiery hot dried chillies.

A little bit of everything :)

Another cuisine featured in the Indian Kitchen is Ibanese. Actually, I think the only Ibanese dish on offer that afternoon was the pansuh manuk, a traditional Ibanese dish served during Gawai festivals. The lemongrass and coconut infused chicken is cooked using a bamboo stem over a special grill. I was quite excited to try this as I have read about it in other blogs and it sounded interesting. Although I have not tried the real thing from Sarawak, I am pretty sure it was not supposed to taste like this - the broth was extremely salty and I could only manage a couple of sips before I gave up.

The Malay Kitchen offers the largest selection of food here. The best thing from this kitchen was definitely the satay, which is freshly cooked at the live cooking station. On top of being succulent and tender, the meat was fragrant from the marination of lemongrass and tumeric, hence we didn't hesitate going back for seconds. We also sampled the Ikan Bakar, grilled fish on banana leaf and served with a spicy tamarind dip. The Ikan Pari (stingray) was a little tough in texture and another unidentified smaller fish was too bony. The rendang and sotong sambal is worth a mention.

Excellent satay, served with peanut sauce, ketupat, cucumber and onions.

Ikan Bakar, grilled at the live cooking station

Ulam , some pickled vegetables and noodles counter

Apam balik, a traditional Malay peanut pancake

There is also a noodles counter, whereby you can choose from various ingredients on display. Let the station chef know what type of noodles and soup (choose from Sarawak laksa, beef or chicken broth) you would like and they will cook it for you.

Baby C's loh shu fun with beef broth

Our encounter with the Chinese kitchen was the most disappointing. We sampled some dim sum, and because it was left to cook on the steamer baskets for long periods of time, the skin has turned mushy. I tried a char siew chicken pau (steamed BBQ bun) and the skin was sticky and damp. The roast duck, char siew chicken and roast chicken was just so-so. The other buffet offerings did not look very appetizing as they were mostly massacred by the time we got there.

Dim sum and roast meats

Chicken char siew pau

I was intrigued as to what "local flavoured" ice creams were being served here, but was told that there were only vanilla and yam ice-cream available. I was expecting more exotic flavours. We also sampled a wide range of Malay, Chinese and Nyonya kuihs. The Malay and Nyonya kuihs were quite decent, although the same cannot be said of the Chinese ones. We were surprised to see Western desserts here, but oh, what a lovely surprise it was! I especially loved the chocolate brownies and the chocolate cups filled with chocolate mousse. We kept going back for more of the chocolate cups.

Yam and vanilla ice cream

Traditional Malay and Nyonya kuih

Nicely presented on traditional three-tier stands

Malay kuih and mochi

Chinese desserts

Western desserts

Yummy chocolate brownies

Our favorite chocolate cup dessert

Verdict: This buffet is suitable for diners wanting to try a little bit of everything from local Malaysian cuisine in a fine setting. We found the Indian Kitchen's food to be outstanding.

Pork free.

Opening times: Lunch 12.00pm - 2.30pm; Dinner 6.30pm - 10.30pm

Service: Excellent.

Price: RM59+ for adult, RM29.50+ for kids under 12 (Lunch); RM79+ for adult, RM39.50 for kids under 12 (Dinner). However with the 50% offer, we only paid RM59+ for 2 adults and kids under 3 eat for free. A la carte menu is also available.

Parking: Since most hotels offer a parking rebate for their dining customers, we asked hotel reception if it was applicable here. She told us that it was a flat rate of RM10, but when we came to paying at the parking exit counter, the attendant charged us the hourly rates as our ticket did not have the hotel stamp. The difference was minimal, but this situation irked me a little because the reception did not follow through her job properly.

Location: Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, The Intermark, 182 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2172 7272

GPS Coordinates: 3.161620, 101.719670


Join their Facebook page here.


  1. My mom has been wanting to come to this place. I guess I better tell her not to go. She's not fond of buffets and certainly not fond of so-so buffets.

  2. ya, i do wonder whether this place has improved or deteriorated or just remained the same this year. i like the concept, but the execution is a bit too hit-or-miss, rite...

  3. Wah, very worthy with the 50% discount promotion & the kid's cutlery is cute, I bet Sam will like it!!!

  4. goodness, what a wide spread of food, eat till you can drop.

  5. Michelle: They do have an a la carte menu, you can check their website for more details.

  6. Sean: I think in general most buffets have good and so-so food. With the exception of Hanare of cos.. which is like top notch buffet :)

  7. Choi Yen: The 50% discount was only valid in December. You can join their Facebook page and look out for any future offers/promotions.

  8. Nava: Yes, there was a lot of food. I particularly liked the Indian food and Western desserts. :D

  9. Ibanese food - would love to try this.

  10. Quirky: Perhaps they have more variety of Ibanese food there now.

  11. The kids cutlery set is very cute! but sorry to hear that the chinese food section is not up to standard.

  12. Zoe: Well, there was a lot of other nice food so it made up for the Chinese food.

  13. Yes, I have to agree with you on the Chinese selection. It was quite bad. I think their forte is the Indian selection, but I'd rather dine at Tosca than here. :)

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