EQ – the iconic Equatorial Hotel is back in Kuala Lumpur!

I can’t believe 7 years can just zip past so fast.

That’s the time taken for the new EQ to reappear on the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Many of us know the Equatorial Hotel which opened back in the 1970’s and had remained very popular until it closed in 2012 for a massive redevelopment. The hotel is now back and rebranded as EQ, as part of the spectacular soaring 52-storey Equatorial Plaza occupying the same prime location along Jalan Sultan Ismail.  Its sleek sparkling facade is impressive – an ingenious play of cascading stainless steel strips set against dark glass wall panels… from afar, it looks like a pattern of shiny falling rain.

Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, the rebirth of the 440-room EQ is poised to resume its sterling standard of service and hospitality. It’s back and it’s now bigger, bolder and trendier! Despite it being Kuala Lumpur’s latest vibrant sanctuary, the spanking new premise keeps a dash of the original hotel’s DNA right at the entrance. Three bronze sculptures made by Malaysian artist Nizam Abdullah grace the pathway and the bronze was cast using metal salvaged from the original Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur building.

Besides preserving a bit of history, EQ has also been awarded the Green Building Index accreditation. The hotel recycles its water, conserves energy with natural sunlight in all rooms including meeting rooms and has a highly efficient magnetic chiller.

Welcome to EQ!

Walking towards our room, we noted the doors were recessed behind the corridor, streamlining the decor aesthetics as well as giving it an extra dose of security – a nice thoughtful touch indeed. There’s lots of sunlight pouring in from the huge glass windows in our Deluxe Room equipped with advanced entertainment system (great choice of in-room movies!), complimentary wifi and a very comfortable king-size bed. Little intimate touches like providing a conventional alarm clock at the bedside console adds on the charm. Even the room safe is very canggih – flat horizontal drawer-like device unlike the conventional type.

The spacious bathroom comes with his & hers vanities and rain shower. The rooms are fitted out in stylish contemporary design in cool tropical earth tones, livened up with floral patterns on the carpet. As our room was on the 44th floor, there’s a splendid commanding view from our window!

As Club Room guests, we got to experience EQ’s Equator Club. And what a dizzying experience that was! Perched high on the 50th floor, the Equator Club provides a high level of privilege and exclusivity like express check-in/check-out at the dedicated concierge, buffet breakfast, all-day beverages & snacks, afternoon tea, evening cocktails with canapes… all these enjoyed with a panoramic view of the city! Heck, I can lounge all day here and be completely happy with the lovely ambience and top-notch personalized service!

View from the Equator Club

The entire 29th Floor is called Sanctum Wellness. As befitting any 5-star hotel, recreational facilities like a well-equipped fitness centre and swimming pool are standard installations. EQ’s 25m infinity pool with a large adjoining vitality pool, is partially shaded with pretty frangipani trees and an inspiring view of the KL Tower.

Within the elegant confines of the hotel, the Sanctum Spa on the 29th floor is a calm and soothing sanctuary. I spent a wonderful hour here, pampered by skilled fingers in a relaxing yet invigorating massage.

Choose your oils

With a hotel this size, there are several function rooms and spaces to hold events but special mention must be made for their unique 2-tier Diamond Ballroom, inspired by famous opera halls.  Furthermore there’s landscaped outdoor function lawn – just the place to hold a wedding ceremony!

Let’s talk about dining in EQ.

Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to food, whether it’s Japanese fine dining at Kampachi (read about our Kampachi dining experience here) or local favourites at the all-day dining restaurant Nipah and pastries at the contemporary street café Étoile.

Just like in the old Equatorial Hotel, Nipah showcases pan-Asian cuisine and culinary culture in all its glorious variety in this bright and cheerful restaurant. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet here – there’s a good variety of food at the food stations and the bustling open kitchen.

Nipah dishes up some awesome fares all day!

Besides buffet, must-order a la carte items here are their popular signature Curry Noodles, Mee Mamak, Nasi Goreng and Beef Satay.

The stunning Bottega Lounge at the lobby floor exudes charm and conviviality. It’s stocked with fine wines from around the globe and premium beers, including the world-famous Paulaner beer. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in this cosy and chic lounge. Do try the incredibly fragrant freshly made mushroom soup – it’s insanely good – I had to restrain myself from a 2nd bowl! There’s fresh succulent oysters and the breads are really good.

On the 51st Floor, there’s Sabayon and Blue Bar where fine continental dining and bespoke cocktails are enjoyed with some breath-taking views from the rooftop.

So, yes, EQ is back and what a dazzling return it is.

 

EQ
Equatorial Plaza
alan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 – 2789 7777
info@kul.equatorial.com

Website

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VIVA ITALIA BRUNCH @ PREGO, The Westin Kuala Lumpur

The year-end festive season is fast approaching and before you get hooked on the celebratory buffets all across town, do check out the Viva Italia Sunday Brunch at Prego, The Westin Kuala Lumpur. It’s one of the most popular Sunday brunches in KL and it’s always a treat to indulge on the sumptuous offering there. With Italian Chef Marco De Cecco helming the kitchen of Prego, I knew I was in for some really wholesome and comforting Italian fares.

Head on to the fresh oysters and chilled seafood counter first – perfect starters to get the Sunday mood going. Then proceed to the long counter facing the open kitchen and you’ll find it hard to resist the wide selections of warm appetizers like Spinach Frittata, Polenta with caramelized onions, Caprese with Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Essence, Grandma’s Meatballs, Black Angus beef carpaccio, Arancini with smoked cheese & truffles and Sicilian Caponata with bread croutons.

Cheese lovers will love the array of Gorgonzola, Taleggio, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino and Goat Cheeses on the board.

From antipasti to desserts, diners get to try hot/cold dishes on the counters and every now and then, the serving crew goes round the tables offering freshly cooked pasta, pizza and other mains.

Outside at the terrace, there’s a barbecue and carvery station all ready to serve meats and seafood like grilled fish, tender roast chicken and succulent steaks & lamb shoulder accompanied by roasted vegetables and potatoes. We really loved the grilled giant prawns – sweet, bouncy and bursting with roe.

What’s Italian food without the sweets, right? So, do save some tummy space for the delectable selections of Tiramisu, Panna Cotta, Croquembouche, Strawberry mouse, Black forest, Pavlova, fruit tarts, lots of Cheesecakes and Creme brulee!

Served every Sunday from 11.30am to 2.30pm, the Viva Italia Sunday Brunch is a great way to spend a lazy indulgent Sunday.


Price
* Viva Italia Sunday Brunch Buffet – RM188 nett per pax
* Add on RM160 for unlimited Prosecco, Wine & Beer
* Or add on RM260 for unlimited Champagne, Prosecco, Wine, Beer & all other drinks
* Up to 30% discount available (RM132 nett) for Marriott Bonvoy members and selected credit cards. For more details on this, do call Westin Dining.

Reservations: Westin Dining @ 03-2773-8495
Time: 11.30am to 2.30pm

 

PREGO
Lobby Level, The Westin Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2731 8333

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Sunday Japanese Buffet Lunch – KAMPACHI @ EQKL

When I first moved to Kuala Lumpur back in the early 1980’s, there weren’t that many Japanese restaurants in the city. But one name stood out whenever good Japanese food was sought: KAMPACHI. Back then, this well-established was housed at the Equatorial Hotel Kuala Lumpur and it’s always a special treat for me whenever I got to dine there. I remember their Weekend Buffet was immensely popular and one had to book many weeks in advance for a table. This flagship restaurant ceased operation when the Equatorial Hotel Kuala Lumpur closed for re-development in March 2012. Of course, by that time, standalone Kampachi restaurants have opened in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Plaza 33 Petaling Jaya.

So, here’s the good news: Kampachi has reopened its flagship outlet in the newly remade Equatorial KL. It’s back – bright and spacious, spotting a comfortable modern decor. There’s plenty of natural light flowing in from the glass walls, bringing out the natural colours of the light wood paneling and Japanese art hangings. I like how the interior design is cleverly structured to portray a casual and cheery dining experience during the day and transforms into a classy and intimate ambience at dinnertime.

And here’s even better news: the legendary Kampachi Sunday Buffet Lunch at EQKL is now available! The contemporary layout of the restaurant is such that the food counters and stations are well spread out to avoid over-crowding at any one spot.

My favourite is the Sashimi & Sushi counter, of course. I piled my plate with glistening cuts of premium maguro, amberjack, salmon, snapper, octopus, squids and shrimps. On top of that, there are at least 12 varieties of sushi and hand rolls and other mouth-watering starters. Cheerful chefs are in attendance to make fresh maki and hand rolls for diners.


 

At the next chamber, there rows of baine maries with tantalizing freshly-fried tempura, all kinds of grilled seafood, crabmeat chawanmushi, oden, sukiyaki and yosenabe. There’s also a divine roast beef on the board, so tender and gorgeous with sweet jus.

Last but not least, there’s the desserts counter with lots of fresh fruits and Japanese sweets. My favourites are the cooked-on-the-spot mochi and creamy matcha ice cream!

Kampachi maintains its policy of serving contemporary Japanese dining that is authentic, prepared using the highest quality ingredients and characterized by bold flavors and simple but exquisite presentation.

The Sunday buffet is available every Sunday from 12.00pm – 2.30pm, at RM168 nett per adult, and RM78 nett for children (6-12 years old). Reservations can be made via TableApp or by calling +603-2789 7722.

Here’s a special treat for sushi lovers…

 

KAMPACHI
Ground Floor, Equatorial Plaza
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2789-7723
*Pork-free
Open daily 12.00pm-3.00pm; 6.00pm-10.30pm

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New Menu at FIVE SEN5ES by Chef Ron Lean

Recently The Westin Kuala Lumpur welcomed a new chef to their stable – Chef Ron Lean Wen Seng as the Chef De Cuisine in Five Sen5es, their Chinese specialty restaurant. I was thrilled to be invited to a tasting of Chef Ron’s maiden food presentation to the media.

The youthful-looking amiable chef, a Perak native, brings with him more than 17 years of culinary experience, having started in the kitchen at the tender age of 15. Chef Ron started in small local restaurants, developing his skills and nurturing his talent along the way. Driven by culinary passion, he eventually steered himself into chef roles in high-end Chinese restaurants in Australia and international chain hotels. Prior to joining The Westin Kuala Lumpur, Chef Ron was the Banquet Sous Chef in Aloft KL Central and Senior Sous Chef in New World Hotel.

Chef Ron’s signature dishes lean towards Hongkong-style and his masterpieces are often dishes cooked with seafood (lobsters and abalones), chicken and desserts using traditional Chinese ingredients. Taking the helm at Five Sen5es, Chef Ron together with his enthusiastic culinary team cooked up a storm for us recently.

Here’s what we had…

Boston Lobster Combo featuring Deep-fried Lobster Balls and Lobster Steamed with Eggs

Double-boiled Rambutan, Chicken with Crabmeat & Scallop Soup

Ingredients used in the soup

House-made Spinach Tofu braised with Shimeji Mushrooms

Fuzhou Litchi Sweet & Sour Chicken

Pomelo Crispy Prawns with Special Sauce

Steamed Coiling Dragon Garoupa with Golden Garlic Sauce

Stir-fried Romaine Lettuce with Salted Fish

Chilled Peach Gum with Red Dates & Longan in Coconut

Flavours were sweet and clear in most of the dishes, as what Hongkong-style does: allowing the natural goodness of ingredients to shine. With wellness very much in mind, the dishes are well executed with minimal use of oil and hard flavouring. I like how Chef Ron injected some fun innovation in his repertoire like using our local rambutans in his soup and pomelos in the prawn dish.

“Inheritance preserves the old dishes, Innovation does not forget the tradition,” – that’s my ideology in creating new dishes and also the ruling principle behind the new menu we have created at Five Sen5es in The Westin Kuala Lumpur. My team and I look forward to creating memorable dining experiences for our guests.” – Chef Ron Lean Wen Seng

 

FIVE SEN5ES
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2731-8333

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Best of Hong Kong & Organic Village Chicken Promotion at ZUAN YUAN, One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya

This month, October, is a nice time to dine in Zuan Yuan at One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya. With two food promotions going on at the same time, diners will be spoiled for choices!

Let’s see… first up: if you are a fan of chicken, don’t miss out on the special dishes using organic village chicken prepared by their Executive Chinese Chef Tommy Choong Chan Hoo. Using his personal and family recipes, Chef Tommy’s repertoire of 5 special poultry dishes are bound to please. Using only premium quality organic village chickens, diners can choose from the following selections:

1. Steamed with Cordyceps Flowers in Bamboo Basket
2. Poached with Garden Greens & Dried Scallop Sauce
3. Smoked
4. Roasted with Black Truffle Paste
5. Braised with Chinese Herbs

The Braised Organic Village Chicken is served as a whole bird, priced at RM120 nett per bird and a 24-hour notice is required. For any of the other 4 dishes, it’s priced at RM60 nett per half bird and available for lunch and dinner.

Organic Village Chicken with Chinese Herbs

Many of us love the Cantonese food in Hong Kong. Personally, Hong Kong is a food destination (first and foremost), be it their street food or more upscale refined dining in well-known and even Michelin-starred restaurants. Well, if you miss the real thing in Hong Kong, Chef Tommy Choong and team have come up with several HK-style dishes to warm your tummies. We had a taste of some of those delicious dishes recently…

Baked Crabmeat & Assorted Mushrooms with Cheese

Curry Fish Balls & Fish Maw in Claypot HK-style


Crispy Roast Duck with Yam Paste

Pan-fried Scallops with Prawn Paste

Our favourite is the Curry Fish Balls & Fish Maw – the fragrant spicy curry is delicious on its own and even better when eaten with some plain rice of rice noodles! The house-made fish balls are sweet and springy and the tender spongey fish maw fully absorbing the delightful curry. Coming a close second are the Pan-fried Scallops with Prawn Paste – can never go wrong with fresh huge succulent Hokkaido scallops paired with firm springy prawn paste!

These two food promotions are on until 31 October 2019, so make a beeline to Zuan Yuan soon!

For reservations, please call +603-7681-1159/57 or email zuanyuan@oneworldhotel.com.my

 

ZUAN YUAN
One World Hotel
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7681-1111

*Pork-free

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Best of Hong Kong & Organic Village Chicken Promotion at ZUAN YUAN, One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya

This month, October, is a nice time to dine in Zuan Yuan at One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya. With two food promotions going on at the same time, diners will be spoiled for choices!

Let’s see… first up: if you are a fan of chicken, don’t miss out on the special dishes using organic village chicken prepared by their Executive Chinese Chef Tommy Choong Chan Hoo. Using his personal and family recipes, Chef Tommy’s repertoire of 5 special poultry dishes are bound to please. Using only premium quality organic village chickens, diners can choose from the following selections:

1. Steamed with Cordyceps Flowers in Bamboo Basket
2. Poached with Garden Greens & Dried Scallop Sauce
3. Smoked
4. Roasted with Black Truffle Paste
5. Braised with Chinese Herbs

The Braised Organic Village Chicken is served as a whole bird, priced at RM120 nett per bird and a 24-hour notice is required. For any of the other 4 dishes, it’s priced at RM60 nett per half bird and available for lunch and dinner.

Organic Village Chicken with Chinese Herbs

Many of us love the Cantonese food in Hong Kong. Personally, Hong Kong is a food destination (first and foremost), be it their street food or more upscale refined dining in well-known and even Michelin-starred restaurants. Well, if you miss the real thing in Hong Kong, Chef Tommy Choong and team have come up with several HK-style dishes to warm your tummies. We had a taste of some of those delicious dishes recently…

Baked Crabmeat & Assorted Mushrooms with Cheese

Curry Fish Balls & Fish Maw in Claypot HK-style


Crispy Roast Duck with Yam Paste

Pan-fried Scallops with Prawn Paste

Our favourite is the Curry Fish Balls & Fish Maw – the fragrant spicy curry is delicious on its own and even better when eaten with some plain rice of rice noodles! The house-made fish balls are sweet and springy and the tender spongey fish maw fully absorbing the delightful curry. Coming a close second are the Pan-fried Scallops with Prawn Paste – can never go wrong with fresh huge succulent Hokkaido scallops paired with firm springy prawn paste!

These two food promotions are on until 31 October 2019, so make a beeline to Zuan Yuan soon!

For reservations, please call +603-7681-1159/57 or email zuanyuan@oneworldhotel.com.my

 

ZUAN YUAN
One World Hotel
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7681-1111

*Pork-free

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A Revitalizing Stay @ THE WESTIN KUALA LUMPUR

Taking advantage of a long weekend recently, we had an opportunity to enjoy a staycation at The Westin Kuala Lumpur. It’s not often that we do a hotel stay in the city on a weekend as on most weekends, we are either out of town or are tied up with domestic activities at home.

Located along the pulsating Jalan Bukit Bintang, The Westin Kuala Lumpur stands proudly right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur’s busiest street. But the moment we stepped into its elegant cool interior, we’re transported to an oasis of calm, welcomed with warm smiles and impeccable service. Check-in was quick and efficient and before long, we were whisked up to the 23rd Floor to our Westin Suite.

The 75 sqm suite is crazy spacious, for sure. Besides the huge bedroom, there are living spaces to chill in: sitting area with sofa and tv, dining table for 6 and a corner working table. There are 2 bathrooms in the suite, one en suite in the bedroom and one more outside. The en suite in the luxurious bathroom with marble flooring has a deep soaking bathtub to pamper guests. And while soaking in a warm bath there, there’s a pretty skyscraper view to look at through the glass!

It’s all about “Wellness” at The Westin, in any location. Each of their signature offering, be it the Heavenly Bed, their exclusive Eat Well Menu dishes or their energizing Fitness Studio, everything is designed with wellness and “a better you” in mind. I can’t rave enough about their world-renowned Heavenly Bed which really promotes restorative sleep, thanks to the lush 400-threadcount sheets, goose down comforter and patented pillow-top mattress. I love it so much that I’m actually contemplating getting one for my home!

 

Westin Club

Guests staying in Club Rooms and Westin Suites are given access to the Westin Club Lounge. The luxurious Club Lounge makes business travel more rewarding and leisure travel more relaxing. Business travellers will find the Business Centre Services within the Westin Club Lounge very convenient and useful. Fully equipped private meeting rooms and workstations are available if you need to put in some work during a stay here.

Evening snacks and cocktails at the Westin Club

There are the other usual privileges like personalized check-in/check-out, evening cocktails from 6pm-8pm, complimentary non-alcoholic drinks throughout the day and the complimentary Westin Eat Well Menu buffet breakfast. We enjoyed our evening cocktails and leisurely breakfast at The Westin Club where immaculate service ruled. Range of breakfast food was not as extensive as at The Living Room, but the spread covered lots of healthy choices.

Stay Well and Eat Well!

 

WestinWORKOUT®
As a hotel that promotes wellness, you can be sure the gym contains state-of-the-art equipment complete with a sauna to relax in. Known as the WestinWORKOUT®, the gym overlooks the city skyline with a great view for a more invigorating workout.

If you are travelling light or forgot to pack your exercise gear, worry not. Westin has partnered with New Balance® to provide athletic shoes and apparel to use during the stay for a nominal fee. Isn’t that great? This “Gear Lending Program” has proven to be ever so convenient!

Within the same level, there’s the sparkling salt-water swimming pool and Kids Club to keep the young ones happy and occupied.

 

DINING
Now let’s get to that integral part of any hotel stay – the food! While The Westin Kuala Lumpur is located in a very ideal spot, surrounded by shopping malls, entertainment and many local attractions where food is abundant, the hotel’s F&B outlets offer an excellent repertoire of tasty and revitalizing cuisines. We had some memorable meals in the hotel’s signature restaurants during our stay.

The Living Room
As the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, the Living Room is a cosy and comfortable dining space. We love their Breakfast Adventure buffet with its huge selection of local and international nutritious breakfast items. From freshly pressed juices to local favourites (Masala Corner for Indian delicacies, hot noodles station, nasi lemak stall etc) to freshly baked breads and pastries and nutritious Superfoods, the selections are amazing.

We could see the guests happily browsing and choosing food from the many food stations located all over this spacious oasis of culinary delights. This is definitely our favourite place for breakfast – we lingered ever so long here just to savour the delicious spread and absorb the happy vibes!

I think we started off the day really right!

During weekends, there’re classic hi-tea and dinner buffets to indulge on.

 

Five Sen5es
The Westin Kuala Lumpur’s popular Chinese restaurant – Five Sen5es needs no introduction. We’ve had many a happy meal at this elegant restaurant with its lovely contemporary decor mixed with touches of oriental splendour. Read about our earlier reviews here and here.

Recently there’s been new items added on to their menu – check out our review here. Five Sen5es serves a wide array of Dim Sum and authentic Chinese dishes personifying the five human senses: Sight, Taste, Scent, Touch and Sound. Dining here is never boring as I always find my attention drawn to the animated activities in their “Open Wok Kitchen” right there in the restaurant.

For our stay, we just wanted a simple meal of the restaurant’s popular offerings. Roast duck, double-boiled soup, steamed cod fish and a small claypot of braised fish paste made up our delightful dinner here.

Mooncakes to round off dinner!

443 Bar Lounge
Just a few steps down from the main lobby is the welcoming 443 Bar Lounge, a nice “hideaway” sanctuary to chill-out. The “443” here represents the number of rooms in The Westin Kuala Lumpur and it signifies the attention to be given to each and every guest in the hotel. The lounge is a perfect spot to snuggle in and unwind with some great wine, superior whiskeys, crafted cocktails and premium cigars. Love the warm rustic feel of the decor, oozing nostalgia and classic comfort in the deep plush seats.

Prego
Prego is the hotel’s well-known Italian restaurant. A separate post will be published soon to highlight the memorable meals we had here during this staycation – so stay tuned!

As an established brand, The Westin Kuala Lumpur does live up to expectations of a 5-star hotel. The service, welcome and comfort levels are faultless as we encountered nothing less than first-rate experiences during our revitalizing stay.

 

THE WESTIN KUALA LUMPUR
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2731-8333
Website: click here

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