Makan

Get set for a gourmet experience at Desaru Coast

Besides enjoying the resort's attractions, you can also experience creations from chefs in new gourmet series

Not only is Desaru Coast Malaysia aiming to provide the best entertainment and lifestyle attractions, it is also introducing a gourmet slant.

The Desaru Coast Gourmet Series is an exclusive dining programme curated with Savour, Singapore's culinary event organiser.

Prestigious chefs from around the world were invited to showcase their culinary excellence to visitors at the new integrated destination resort in Johor.

Desaru Development Holdings One chief executive Roslina Arbak said Malaysia is well-known for its traditional food and diverse culture, adding: "The cultural diversity we have over time... formed a continuous fusion of flavours unique to Malaysia.

"The (series) is purposefully designed and curated to promote the beauty of Malaysian diversity through our cuisine."

AWARD-WINNING

Last weekend, we got the chance to savour the inaugural edition of the series at The Els Club, prepared by award-winning Belgian chef Emmanuel Stroobant, a Grand Chef of Relais & Chateaux, an association of luxury hotels and restaurants.

Themed A Malaysian Journey, the carefully curated menu included a different interpretation of Kelantan's nasi kerabu (rice with dried fish or fried chicken, crackers, pickles and salads), seared scallop with laksa and coconut gravy, and braised short ribs, a dish inspired by local beef rendang.

The desserts took the meal to the next level.

The ice cream coated with white chocolate had kaffir lime leaves as a garnish, giving it a citrusy taste. It was interesting, and made me feel like I was eating a tom yum dessert for a moment.

Crediting his Malaysian-born wife as his inspiration, chef Stroobant told The New Paper he decided to recreate dishes that they eat at home.

"(They are what) I understand and are personal to me.

"I remembered when we started dating, my (future) father-in-law was very enthusiastic in bringing me to various local restaurants to sample the different offerings of Malaysian cuisine."

Visitors keen to experience the Desaru Coast Gourmet Series can look forward to the second edition, which will take place in February and takes on a different twist.

Each edition will be held at different restaurants and be prepared by different chefs to provide a unique weekend dining experience.

Tourism Malaysia director-general Musa Yusof said: "The tourism business is highly competitive.

"The food and beverage industry is paramount in contributing to our country's economy. We are certain that the first edition of the Desaru Coast Gourmet Series will elevate Malaysia's status in Asia's dining scene."

Other than the posh nosh, Desaru Coast - which spans 1,580ha along a pristine 17km beachfront - also offers an array of regular food, ranging from authentic Malaysian to Mexican.

Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast's Sessions restaurant offers the Hidangan Set at RM110 (S$36), comprising pickled and raw greens as appetisers and a selection of mains including seafood, poultry and meat dishes served on a large tray that is meant to be a shared family meal.

If you are a music enthusiast, the 365-room hotel promises a unique "Rock Star" treatment for both holidaymakers and business travellers alike.

It loans out Fender electric guitars, amps and headphones, and offers daily live music at the lobby.

For adventure seekers, the hotel is conveniently located near the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark.

Just walk over and you can enjoy one of the largest wave pools in the world and experience the first water coaster in the region.

While we did not get to try them out, just seeing the 20 different slides and unique mix of wet and dry rides got me excited enough to want another visit.

After a thrilling day of fun, take a leisurely stroll down the Desaru Coast Riverside, a stunning 9ha waterfront landscaped retail and lifestyle village, where you can fill your stomachs and pick up souvenirs.

Components due to open next year include world-renowned hotels like The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and One & Only Desaru Coast.

From now till Jan 1, do not miss out on various promotional packages, which include transport to Desaru Coast, admission to Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, shuttle transfers to terminals and meal vouchers.

To find out more about the Gourmet Series and Desaru Coast, visit desarucoast.com

TOURISM & TRAVEL