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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang - Weekend High Tea Buffet Review

With doors opened since 1997 by the international Evergreen Group (長榮集團), Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang is a classic and elegant five-stars hotel located along Penang's famous Gurney Drive. The hotel sits along the popular road of Gurney Drive where hotel guests can indulge in nearby shopping malls such as Gurney Paragon, Gurney Plaza and with sea front promenade making it an ideal destination for vacation stay, restaurant dining, business luncheon or family gathering. Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang can be easily recognized with it's hotel entrance sign at the main road of Persiaran Gurney.

Setting foot on Evergreen Laurel Hotel's main door entrance, you will be greeted by the hotel baggage handler with polite 'bow' welcoming you for a memorable stay or enjoyable lunch. And yes, having congenial hotel staff in a five-stars hotel is essential to present a favorable image to the guest. Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang is a hotel which combines excellent restaurant, 'Cafe Laurel' with its superb seaview. If you are planning for a birthday, anniversary, wedding gathering, school event or a fullmoon party, Evergreen Cafe Laurel is definitely your perfect choice for a celebratory place. In this article, I would like to share with you the highlights of the Weekend High Tea Buffet at the well-known Cafe Laurel where I have a wonderful meal at the restaurant.

As we entered the front lobby of this oceanfront hotel, the first thing that fascinated us is the numerous pillars design which is inspired by Taiwanese architecture. We are quite impressed with the lobby lounge and the beautifully crafted furnitures and sofas designed to maximize the comfort of hotel guests. The hotel's lobby is indeed a pleasure to walk in with its lavish decorations with wooden furnishing and overhanging crystal lights greeting the hotel guests. Not to forget, the hotel offers live music entertainment (7pm-8pm at Cafe Laurel, 9pm-12midnight at Lobby Lounge) and serving you drinks at the lobby lounge too! 

Before we entered the Cafe Laurel, we noticed that a labeling sign placed at the side of the cafe by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) with the status indication 'A' for Cafe Laurel. The level 'A' is to indicate excellence in cleanliness attributes for the premises which is an inspection performed by the MPPP in every 3 months period. Scooping one of these cleanliness award represents that Evergreen Laurel Hotel has a highly reputable restaurant and also recognizes Cafe Laurel as a well representable restaurant.

The Cafe Laurel is located at the lobby level and has been serving various theme buffets savoring all favourite dishes including semi-buffet lunch (Monday-Friday), executive buffet lunch (Monday-Friday), weekend high tea buffet (Saturday-Sunday), weekday theme buffet dinner (Sunday-Thursday) and Japanese & Seafood buffet dinner (Friday-Saturday) with attractive price. The weekend high tea buffet starts at 12 noon until 3pm and serves with tantalizing range of food including western corner, malaysia corner, sushi, sashimi at the Japanese corner and the best desserts in town...Cendol and Ice Kacang. Not to cream with tons of toppings! The cafe also serves a wide variety of desserts. With the 3 hours dining period of time, you will have plenty of time to indulge in the desserts. The desserts that we enjoyed at the dessert corner includes the mouth watering layer cakes, jelly, cheese cakes, fruit tarts, custards and plenty more which you can view the pictures at the bottom of this article. The desserts served are among the most popular choices according to the Cafe Laurel's dining guests and this makes the Weekend High Tea buffet stands out compared to the other days buffet lunches. 

On that day, we are very delighted to meet the executive chef, Mr Ho also known as the head chef equipped with more than 25 years of experience in food service operations happily gave us a brief introduction of the delicacies served in this weekend buffet. It is definitely a wonderful dining restaurant to hang out with family and friends in the afternoon enjoying the finest food prepared by Mr Ho and his team especially the homemade chicken and beef satay and famous Penang Laksa. The peanut satay sauce which is widely used as a dipping sauce with Satay really taste great! Satay is a Malay specialty which uses sticks wrapped with seasoned barbecued chicken, beef or mutton fillet, savored with sweet and spicy peanut sauce. International guests are lucky to have the opportunities to taste this special homemade Malaysia signature dish here without stepping to the hawker stalls. One just have to choose your desire satay flavor and the chef will instantly grill the satay for you right beside the booth. They will send you the satay once they are ready.

On the Japanese corner, we get to enjoy sushi rolls and freshness of sashimi such as salmon, tuna, white tuna and squid. Yummy! The sashimi served are very fresh, especially the salmon which are nicely sliced into thin pieces. Highly recommended if you are a sashimi fans for this ultimate eating experience. Like I said, loved the sashimi very much! So I returned with more of it!

The Penang Laksa are served as a self-service style in the other side of the booth. You can choose your own ingredients including cucumber, pineapple, red chillies, onion, laksa mint, laksa leaf, lettuce, torch ginger and shrimp paste and finally complete the laksa with the pouring of the fish-based broth which is sour, savory, spicy and sweet. And yes, you have to cook and soak the Vermicelli noodles first in the hot water provided at the booth. This Penangites' all time favorite Asam Laksa is one of the popular dishes in Malaysia. I have to agree that all my friends who visited Penang can never left without tasting a bowl of Penang Asam Laksa.

At the end of the buffet lunch, I manage to snap a few pictures of the dessert area and fruits area. The dessert area is filled with mouth watering cakes. These delicious desserts are the hardwork of Mr Ho's team, which are skillfully prepared by the accomplished chefs to ensure a perfect dining experience. The ice kacang, Penang rojak and fruits area were by the way excellent too! There were quite a lot of choices prepared at the fruits area, namely watermelon, oranges, papayas, jackfruits, pineapples and the watery rose apple fruit aka jambu air.

Ice cream is my all time favorite whenever in a buffet dining occasion. There are six flavors available for the ice cream served in the Cafe Laurel. I manage to try two flavors, vanilla and honeydew which was good, smooth with strong vanilla and honeydew flavor together with chocolate chips topping, a perfect way to end the high tea! 

Another reason I would like to recommend this fine dining experience is the coffee corner. We can order any coffee, espresso, mocha, cappuccino, honey lemon tea from the waiter (free!) What's a high tea without that? Oh ya, high tea also known as hi-tea as this term get its name from the high tables because it was originally served to the working class after they fulfill a long and laborious workday. Customers who come for the weekend high tea buffet also enjoy 'free dining for all kids' with every paying adult. Special discounts up to 20% will be given for customers who use Citibank, Standard Chartered, HSBC, CIMB or Maybank credit cards. The car park fees will also be waived for first hour of parking whenever you dine in Cafe Laurel. I would like to give a big shoutout to the F&B team, Cafe Laurel Manager (Mr Jalil) for having me here for this wonderful weekend high tea at Cafe Laurel. Cafe Laurel, I would labelled it as a venue that works perfectly for any special occasion due to its lush interior, overall cleanliness, panoramic seaview overlooks the beautiful Gurney Drive. It is always a pleasant to dine in here. To make things even sweeter, one will be presented a birthday cake for celebrating his/her birthday occasion in Cafe Laurel (with dining more than 20 pax). The restaurant will also provides wordings and decorations with no additional charges. 

Finally, hotel guests or customers heading to Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang using the Kelawei road can also enter the hotel using the back entrance. The front entrance faces Gurney Drive and the back entrance faces Kelawei road for hotel guests' convenient access. The hotel provides ample of parking space at the basement car park and the car park are secure with security surveillance.

For enquiries and reservations, please call +604-226 9988, Ext 2819, 2820. You will get a special discount of 20% for a minimum booking of 10 persons above for Weekend High Tea buffet as well as buffet dinner. The following are the price and relevant information for all buffet themes offered by Cafe Laurel:

Semi Buffet Lunch: RM38++ per person
Monday - Friday (12.00noon - 2.30pm)

Executive Buffet Lunch: RM52++ per person
Monday - Friday (12.00noon - 2.30pm)

Weekend High Tea Buffet: RM 64++ per person
Saturday & Sunday (12.00noon - 3.00pm)

Weekday theme Buffet Dinner: RM78++ per person
Friday & Saturday (7.00pm - 10.00pm)

Japanese & Seafood Buffet Dinner: RM78++ per person
Friday & Satruday (7.00pm - 10.00pm)

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