Looking for a fine dining experience?

That’s what we all want, isn’t it? Truth be told, there isn’t exactly many fine dining restaurants around in the city and most of it are really beyond what the average person can afford. So, does that mean we average income earners (read: those earning below RM3000) had to miss out on the fine dining experience?

Far from it. I know just the place where you can enjoy good food, good service and good atmosphere. Oh, you wouldn’t be disappointed. Trust me.

Introducing The Dining Room @ Sunway – the fine dining restaurant operated by Sunway University College’s Faculty of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management right within its Bandar Sunway campus. This place is more than just a training gound for the bright lights of tomorrow’s waiters, chefs, butlers, customer service, ushers, restaurant owners and hotel managers – it is also a fine dining restaurant, where the students of the faculty put their training into good use, serving their fellow students, lecturers and customers from outside campus.

The Dining Room is not a place where they role-play, it is a place where they are really assigned duties to wait on customers, taking orders, answering customer requests, preparing food and working in the kitchen. All these they performed well while i was there with my friend Naoko, whose brother so happened to be one of the students of this faculty and he too, did his duty to serve us, since we are, after all, first and foremost customers.

The Dining Room is not very hard to find, just walk to the cafeteria and turn to your right to take the lift up to the fifth floor. Then, follow the signboards that were put up on the wall and that will take you to The Dining Room.

The young lady who greeted us asked for our reservations and we gave it her and were promptly seated at the table nearest to the door. I looked around and noticed that the place was quite packed, it was, after all lunchtime. The Dining Room doesn’t accept customers who do not make reservations first as they operated only for two and a half hours, from 12.00noon to 2.30pm. The restaurant is open from Tuesdays to Fridays. There is also a dress code to follow, which casual formal, meaning no shorts or slippers. Do be neat, it is after all, a fine dining restaurant. And before you decide to come to The Dining Room, ensure that you make your reservations and are punctual, because Naoko-chan said they might probably usher us out the moment the clock struck 2.30pm. Ofcourse, We did not hang around till that time to see if they do. :-b

Since they are mostly first year students of the faculty, it is perfectly understandable that the students are doing their best to serve us as professionally as they could while holding back their nerves. Indeed, they do look quite jittery and some have yet to master the art of smiling politely and respond to our P’s and Q’s. The person who laid out the napkin on my lap literally just unfolded the napkin and plonked it on my lap…leaving me to straighten it neatly. Not trying to be mean here or picky here of course, but if they do this in a really higher class restaurant, they might be frowned at and considered to be shoddy.

Regarding shoddiness… no problem in this department. Every student looked rather neat and immaculate in their black and white uniform.

Moving on, once seated, we were given a menu. Each day’s a different menu, which comprised of a set lunch of an appetiser, main course, dessert and complimentary coffee/tea. One thing I noted was there was no menu for drinks. Only when the nice girl who asked us what drink we’d like to have did we know that we can order other drinks. It would be good if they had prepared a drinks menu as well. I opted for Mango Juice (RM3.00) and Naoko had just plain water, which was also free (as it should be!)

We each settled for the same main course, which was Roast Lamb in Balsamic Salad Sauce. I rued the fact that I should have taken the Fish & Chips or the Vegetarian Lasagna since Naoko had ordered Roast Lamb first. Oh well, there’s always other times. The set lunch is priced at an affordable RM18.50.

We did not have to wait long for our food. In the mean time, we just sat back and relax, watching the students go about their duties serving the customers in the restaurant. I was busy with my little notebook, jotting down my observations. I think a couple of the students noticed and they could’ve been slightly unnerved by it… Hehehe!

The ambience was really good, warm lights, cosy surroundings and comfortable chairs. The strains of Enya’s Orinoco Flow and other New Age Celtic like music coming from the speakers added to the relaxing and calm atmosphere. It really made one feel light and happy. You certainly weren’t made to feel as if you are entering a classroom of students or a kitchen lab as lab rats to be experimented on by these bunch of wide-eyed, still wet behind the ears college students learning to become top butlers, ushers, waiters and customer service staff. Instead, this is everything that a top class, five star restaurant or cafe should be in real life. Sadly, not many really are like that in the world nowadays.

The students worked really well – fast and efficient I must say. Our fresh bun sprinkled with cinnamon on top arrived with the butter. The cinnamon powder added to the bun’s sweet taste and it was very good. My Mango juice also arrived and it turns out to be the only disappointment of the day for me. The juice was nothing more than just mango cordial and they charged RM3.00 for it. I thought that for such an establishment, they would have at least made the juice themselves and not just use the cordial.

Our appetiser, the Cream of Chicken came moments later. I breathed in the smell of the soup and was blown away. This is simply the most wonderful-smelling soup I’ve ever had! And no kidding because this was real homemade chicken soup! Not the ones that professed to be homemade but actually out of a Campbell can! The soup was simply marvellous – the texture smooth, not too thick nor too diluted and the ceamy taste was savoury, absolutely no hint that this is cream of chicken soup. The shredded chicken pieces and croutons added to the flavour and were nice and not too chunky. I added a bit of the leftover butter and the taste was made even richer and more delicious. I was very impressed by now. I wonder how the lamb would turn out?

I didn’t have to wait long. The moment we finished our soup, the bowls were cleared away and replaced with a pre-heated plate and the main course was served to us literally piece by piece. First on the plate was the Bake Potato with Mayonnaise wrapped in aluminium foil, followed by an unidentified herb (I suspected it was mint but it wasn’t actually because there was a mint leaf served during dessert. Could possibly be lemongrass but I don’t know, not a herb expert.). Then came 3 stalks of long beans, 2 slices of carrot and finally, the roasted lamb itself. I must say that portion look rather small, the lamb was about the size of my open palm but I am not complaining – the dessert was rather rich, but we’ll talk about that later. A student came and scooped the sauce for us. The sauce was most likely a mixture of cranberry sauce and brown musroom sauce, because rather than being salty, the sauce was sweet.

Looking at our main dish, I decided to start on the Baked Potato first, which Naoko-chan taught thought was very good. I must try it for myself before i could judge. A little test poke here and there with my fork and I slowly unwrap the foil and expose the potato to the world. It looks really good, not too baked (as in too soft) and you could smell the herbs that the potato had absorbed. It was very flavourful – sweet and very aromatic. Really a nice side dish.

Then on to the Roasted Lamb itself – it certainly did not disappoint! The lamb was roasted to perfection and it was far from being oily and there weren’t a bad smell that comes when you either overcook or undercook. It was a masterful stroke of skill, the person who roasted this lamb. Knowing from my observation and experience of several uncles in church roast a lamb, it was never easy. The lamb must be just right and you need to know exactly how much time it takes to make it. Of course, this could be made by the students’ tutor but it might also be really the students themselves who made it albeit the final year students.

The roast lamb was tender, my knife sliced through the meat cleanly and when I put it into my mouth, my senses went into overdrive – trying to identify the herbs in the lamb and also the sweet, delightful sauce. Needless to say, I was taken up to cloud nine, never had I tasted any lamb that was as good as this. Lamb chop, Irish lamb stew and homecooked roasted lamb simply could not compare to the lamb served and prepared here at The Dining Room @ Sunway. And I’m not saying this just because I am giving these students a chance, but as a person who lives to eat and very picky with his food, I think I am qualified and well-placed to say that the Roast Lamb in Balsamic Sauce was worth every cent paid!

I wish there were pictures of the food and the suroundings, but I doubt that I would even be allowed to do so. No camera, no pictures, and they said they could not offer us any photos as well. To bad, perhaps maybe when I go there for an official press visit, then maybe I would get those photos. ^_^

We finished the main course, our plates were taken and I was about to complain that it wasn’t filling enough for me as the portions were a tad small. However, i realised why and its because of the rich French dessert that they have prepared for the day – French Coffee Parfait cut into two half moons and served with Whipped Cream, Mocha Sauce and garnished with a little mint leaf. It was very rich and filling and if the lamb portions were any bigger, I doubt that I would be able to finish the parfait. The dessert was simply so-so for me as I was not used to the bitter taste of the Mocha sauce. The mint leaf solved the problem and its also good that when the parfait melts in your mouth, it barely leaves a bitter after taste. It should be good, however, for any die-hard coffee fans who had not had the chance to savour this delightful French dessert.

We were served with a choice of coffee or tea but we must be really into coffee to ask for more coffee. But it was fortunately we chose coffee because Naoko’s brother told us that the tea might have not been mixed well. Whew, that certainly saves us from a trip to the hospital next door! (something which both Naoko and I couldn’t help but joke about).

At the end of this delightful culinary adventure, I must admit that I am thoroughly impressed with the whole set up. It is certainly a novel idea to let the students run their own fine dining restaurant to hone their skills in serving. Sunway University College must be commended for their practical and realistic approach in ensuring that the students are given the best training possible. It leaves me without a doubt that these students, under the tutelage their lecturers, will go on to become successful people in the field of hospitality and tourism management – or should that be hotel & tourism management? Anyways, kudos to all you laddies and ladies who performed up to our expectations.

May you all continue to do the best that you could in the different areas of the things you will learn in hotel and tourism management. Hopefully, you will all go on to improve the customer service of our country and brighten the image of this country!

Here’s my verdict in short:

Food Quality: A-

Food Presentation: A

Quality of Service: B+ (still much to learn ^_^)

Ambience: A

For a map and address for the Sunway University College campus, go HERE.

To know more about the Faculty of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management, go HERE

The Dining Room @ Sunway is open from Tuesdays to Fridays only from 12.00pm to 2.30pm. For reservations or enquiries, call – (603) 7491 8622 ext. 8513.

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  1. Bro tried to defend the price of cordial and failed, miserably.

    As for the rest… he’s doubting your credibility. Ah well… young ones.

    Nothing really to add, except watch your grammer.

    Naoko-chan taught was very good.

    Shouldn’t Taught be Thought? 😛

  2. Hai!!! Aiyo, typed too fast, heh heh! Gomen, gomen!




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