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Saturday, 24 October 2015

[Media Invite] Indonesian Food Festival at The Square @ Novotel Hotel

177A River Valley Road, #07-00 Novotel Clarke Quay, Singapore 179031
Tel: 6433 8790

After my initial visit to The Square (review here) last December for dinner, I am glad to be back here again for the Indonesian Food Festival starting from 21 October 2015 to 14 November 2015, savouring 30 iconic dishes from Indonesia over this period.  Some of the dishes include Soto Betawi (Indonesian creamy beef soup), Ayam Betutu (baked whole chicken with spices wrapped in banana leaf), Kare Kepiting Crab (crab cooked in coconut and lemongrass curry) and Ikan Masak Woku (smoked stingray in tumeric herb sauce) etc.

This was a media invite hosted by Astrid from Novotel, and attended by representatives from Ministry of Tourism Republic of Indonesia, some other journalists / bloggers, and representatives from Hungrygowhere.  We got to watch celebrity chef Vindex Tengker, who's also Indonesia's top culinary figure, in action as he prepared the Yogyakarta Lamb Salad, followed by the traditional Balinese Fish Satay.  He was explaining the ingredients to us as he went along; it was like watching Master Chef live.  What a delightful pleasure!

The dining area designated for us was decorated beautifully in rich Indonesian taste and colours, with their traditional wayang kulit (shadow puppet) figurines sitting as centrepiece.

A Indonesian band and special dance performance were also part of the fabulous dining experience, and I felt myself transformed to Indonesia literally, enjoying my meal with an entertaining and engaging performance.

The Indonesian Food Festival buffet starts at SGD$58.00++ per pax, and there's a whole array of International cuisine for you to choose from as well.

A cursory sweep around the buffet area and I spotted sushi, oysters, grilled fish, gado gado, laksa and salads etc - the Indonesian food are served at its respective station, and the 30 featured iconic dishes are rotated on a daily basis.

The desserts section had my attention of course - looking so inviting in bright hues. Besides the cakes, puddings and chendol etc, there was also a good selection of Indonesian desserts such as nagasari (steamed rice flour with banana), klapertart (young coconut pudding), ketas srikaya (pandanus custard with sticky rice) and kueh lapis (thousand-layers cake) etc.

Here's the special Yogyakarta Lamb Salad and Balinese Fish Satay prepared by Chef Vindex on the spot.  The Lamb was tender and moist, aromatic with the spice it was prepared with. The Satay was fish paste wrapped around lemongrass stalk, like otah on lemongrass - absolutely palatable with hints of sweetness, spiciness and savoury all in one. I wish I had more of the latter.

I also had some seafood, sushi, sashimi, salad, etc.   The Ayam Betutu was so tender and bursting with flavours of spices it was baked with - no wonder they always say that banana leaf makes for the best wraps. I also enjoyed the Ikan Masak Woku, basking in its tastiness comprising of heavier flavours in each slice of the succulent flesh.

Finally, time for sweets. I quite liked the sticky rice desserts and absolutely loved the Raspberry Earl Grey cake as well as nutty Mont Blanc cakes. The best discovery was the Jackfruit Meringue pudding in a shot glass, looking so normal and bland, but jackfruit lovers would swoon at first mouthful of this luscious and aromatic dessert.

We were also given a doorgift each (what a lovely surprise!) comprising of a cloth bag with pocket containing some postcards, a T-shirt, and an Indonesian cookbook with a sleeve of beautiful Indonesian design.   Thank you Novotel Singapore, especially Astrid, for hosting this, and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

Come down today to enjoy a hearty Indonesian meal today and stand to win attractive prizes in the lucky draw. Take off to the beautiful island of Bali with return tickets by Garuda Airlines and Feel Welcome at AccorHotels with a stay at Novotel.

First prize: Return Business Class air-tickets on Garuda Airlines with a 3D2N stay at Novotel Bali Nusa Dua.

Second prize: Return Economy Class air-tickets on Garuda Airlines with a 3D2N stay Novotel Bali Benoa.

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