From Casual To Luxe: 3 Festive Feasts
My family never really made a big deal of Christmas, except for the wonderful gifts I received as a kid from my parents. Instead, I used to visit one of my best friends' house every year growing up and indulge in a lavish Christmas spread that his family had lovingly prepared. It was great.
I grew to view Christmas like how I did Chinese New Year, where family and friends came together to celebrate the love they had for one another with good food. When my friend moved to Canada, I stopped celebrating Christmas and it eventually became yet another holiday for me. But I never forgot the power good food had to bring together people and facilitate that Christmas cheer. And I never forgot how delicious a lovingly and laboriously crafted festive spread could be.
At an older age now, I'm once more starting to enjoy the festive period thanks to my family in Japan. For those who are unaware, the Japanese new year is celebrated like Chinese New Year (but not as lengthy) except it takes place during the Gregorian calendar's actual New Year. It's a splendid holiday and I usually celebrate Christmas and New Year's together with them. This year, unfortunately, is an exception.
There are a good number of you who love to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with your family and friends but may be hesitant to go through the effort of cooking, cleaning, and hosting. Or it could be that you're uncertain about dining out due to the alarming number of daily coronavirus cases. Whatever it is, and whatever your budget, I've got three festive feast promos at three price points to give you and your family that fantastic meal you deserve after such a tough year, whether at home or at a restaurant.
1) Easy Breezy: Maria's SteakCafé
This Ipoh-born steak restaurant has three outlets in the Klang Valley – Bangsar, Damansara Perdana, and Sunway – a sign of its growing popularity. Maria's promises good steaks (dry-aged and wagyu) done to your liking in a fuss-free casual setting.
The restaurant will serve three menus this festive season – a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dine-in four-course menu (RM115+ per person), a Christmas home delivery menu (RM620+ for six and RM1100+ for 12) available from December 12 to January 3, and a New Year's four-course menu (RM68+ per person) from December 31 to January 1.
Should you fancy a low-key Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration, the dine-in menu features seared bluefin tuna, pumpkin soup, your choice of beef, cod, or lamb, and carved Christmas roast turkey. The meal ends with a cranberry prune pudding.
If dining home is more your style, there's the home delivery menu. All sets come with a caesar salad, pumpkin soup, a whole Christmas roast turkey with the works, spaghetti bolognese, roasted potatoes, sauteed vegetables, and cranberry prune pudding. The more extensive set will include an additional roasted leg of lamb. Take note that a one-week booking is required.
Finally, the New Year dine-in menu is quite the bargain, starting things off with stuffed portobello caprese and your choice of either mushroom or pumpkin soup. Diners can opt for either wagyu, black angus, lamb, salmon, chicken, or pasta bolognese for their main, while a moist chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream bookends the meal.
2) Date Night Deluxe: Entier
This popular French restaurant in Alila Bangsar celebrates the year-end with three menus.
First is the festive tasting dinner menu (RM510 nett per person; RM160 with wine pairing) available from now until January 9, a seven-ingredient special season menu taking diners through courses centred around caviar, oyster, scallop, sweetbread, lobster, and wagyu.
Next is the Entier celebratory lunch menu (RM290 nett per person), available on Christmas weekend (December 24, 25, 26, and 27) from 12 pm to 4 pm and New Year's weekend (December 31, January 1, 2, and 3). For younger patrons, there's also a three-course kids menu available (RM95 nett per person).
Lastly, there's the option to build your own take-home Christmas menu, with highlights including a whole-roasted French Anxin chicken with roast garlic and mushroom sauce and Bidor Duck confit in honey orange glaze, charred garlic, and duck jus with a side of mashed potato.
3) Swanky Servings: Favola
Treat your family to a memorable rustic Italian dinner at Le Méridien KL's Favola with its renaissance Christmas fairy tale theme this year. Favola's Christmas Eve four-course dinner (RM388 nett per person; RM428 nett per person with a glass of prosecco) and New Year's Eve four-course dinner (RM 428 nett per person; RM 468 nett per person with a glass of prosecco) introduces numerous tasty eats.
There's gently smoked beef carpaccio with black truffle shavings, saffron brodetto and grilled portobello mushrooms, classic baked turkey roulade with its own meat, and the restaurant's signature risotto oro e zafferano (gold and saffron) with gold leaf and arenka caviar, to cherry-pick a few.
Bonus: Marini's On 57
Pull out all the stops and head straight to the top with Marini's On 57's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day eight-course dinner menu (RM480 per person) or NYE menu (RM980 per person/RM1180 per person for a window seat). Modern Italian dishes are the highlight here, such as the lamb done two ways – a roasted lamb rack served with jus and a tartlet with porcini – and served with truffle taleggio sauce and potato terrine. I also enjoyed the juicy cod fillet served with macadamia nuts, roasted cauliflower purée, and a few drops of herbal oil.
Read my full review of the sky restaurant's two festive menus to find out more.