It's Christmas time at Amari JB

The yuletide season is here and Amari Johor Baru is ringing in Christmas and the New Year with sumptuous festive spreads at the Amaya Food Gallery and the Amaya Café.

Chef Syed Jamidin presents his Maple Roasted Turkey
I’m on level 6 or the lobby level of the hotel for a preview of some of the food highlights that will be served in the Christmas buffet at Amaya Food Gallery.

The lobby is festooned with festive decorations and I cannot help but notice a small windmill in the décor.

[I recently visited Freeport A’ Formosa Outlets and there was a live-size windmill in the landscaped garden. Even the signs for their restrooms featured a very Dutch theme!]

Later, inside the Amaya Food Gallery, I spot another windmill made of pastries on display in the dessert and pastry section of the buffet. It just made me wonder if the Amari was going Dutch this Christmas…

Chef Syed, carving the Christmas turkey to serve
As I follow my nose to take a closer look at the food buffet, I meet with Executive Chef, Simon Tam, who is busy overseeing the food layout.

I noted that there are not labels next to the dishes and then I’m told that Chef Simon wanted the team of chefs to introduce the dishes to us.

Ah! This seems like a welcome personal touch and I step forward with my ears tuned to what the chefs have to say, to introduce the various dishes they prepared.

The Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner, served on Sunday, Dec 24 from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, features a spectacular menu of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thai and western dishes, some of which will be prepared from live cooking stations.

New Zealand Prime Beef Ribs
Chef Syed Jamidin is proud to present his Maple Roasted Turkey and New Zealand Prime Beef Ribs and proceeded to carve the turkey in a slow-motion demonstration before serving it.

I’m pleased to accept a slice of turkey breast and stuffing drizzled in choices of giblet sauce and cranberry sauce and it tastes both tender and delicious.

I’m keeping my portions small as there is a whole spread to sample – and I must save some space for the festive desserts!

I realise that some diners may prefer chicken to turkey and I’m pleased to discover there is an alternative choice of Roasted Spring Chicken in Teriyaki Sauce in the buffet.

Chef Syeriff Hafizal with Candy/Toffee Apples at
the Amaya Cafe
And for diners who prefer lamb to beef, there is an exciting Lamb Stew.

The dinner buffet will also serve a range of Asian favourites including Massaman Chicken Curry with coconut milk, Grilled Squid with tropical fruit salsa, Malay-style barbecued fish, fresh spring rolls with roasted duck, Thai Beef Curry and Tandoori Chicken with naan bread.

There is also a refreshing Tropical Mocktail created with pineapple juice, preserved plums, lime slivers and mint leaves, to enjoy with the meal.

Then Pastry Chef, Syeriff Hafizal, is all set to introduce the range of desserts specially created for this festive season.

Slices of Rum Fruit Cake
He is especially proud of the Candy/Toffee Apples that are served exclusively at the Amaya Café.

A range of festive goodies, cakes and pastries in the Christmas Afternoon Tea Set priced at RM75 nett per set, will be a sweet treat for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day served from 12pm to 6pm.

Back in the Amaya Food Gallery, Chef Syeriff is proud to present a range of irresistible Christmas sweets.

When I ask him to show me his top favourites, he points to the slices of Rum Fruit Cake which was steamed to perfection for four hours.

Christmas Stollen
Hidden under the cheese frosting is another favourite of his, the rum-baked Stollen.

Finally, he showed off his Christmas Plum Pudding to be enjoyed with a drizzle of vanilla brandy sauce.

I must confess that I went back to the dessert buffet for another helping of fruit cake and even helped myself to the very last piece of plum pudding on the plate!

The Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner at Amaya Food Gallery is priced at RM128 nett per person and RM64 nett for children aged six to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.

On Christmas Day, the Buffet Lunch at Amaya Food Gallery, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, is priced at RM75 nett per person and RM37.50 nett for children aged six to 12 and seniors aged 60 and above.

The Amaya Café also accepts orders for festive dishes with 24-hours’ advance notice.

Chef Syeriff with his Christmas Plum Pudding
Just fill up an order form for a choice of Roasted Turkey with all the trimmings, Roasted grain-fed Australian Beef Striploin, Roasted Chicken and Roasted New Zealand Leg of Lamb with a choice of sauces.

Orders are also accepted for traditional Christmas sweets like Stollen, Ginger Breadman, Marshmallow Pop Sticks, Candy Apples, Snoflakes Macaroon, Yule Log Cakes, Chocolate Santa and Mince Pies.

Amari Johor Baru is at No. 82-C Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Baru.  For reservations, Tel: 607 – 266 8888.  For more info, visit website: www.amari.com