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Posted March 26, 2012 by renospiteri in Uncategorized
 
 

Sunday Buffet Lunch No.6: THE TERRACE RESTAURANT at the Westin Dragonara Resort.


26th March, 2012.


The Westin Dragonara Resort.

Review date:Sunday, 25th March, 2012.
THE TERRACE RESTAURANT AT THE WESTIN DRAGONARA RESORT, ST. JULIANS.

The reception area at the
Westin Dragonara Resort.

Over the years that I have been reviewing restaurants, including those on three luxury cruise liners, as well as a large number of hotel restaurants specializing in exclusive Sunday buffet lunches during the yearly season between October of one year to mid-June of the next, I have become consciously as well as subconsciously observant of many things that occur around me in these venues. All the hotel restaurants of note, although most have a standard style of buffet with antipasti, soups, pasta, main course and carvery, and desserts stations, all go the extra mile to produce something unique to them whether it’s an ethnic theme station with food from a different country and region every week, different main courses, exotic desserts, etc. One thing of note and which require a study and review in its own right is the way certain people go about attacking  the various stations. Some diners are discerning and knowledgeable, going around the various stations systematically, picking choice selections from a particular counter; others treat their lunch as a normal lunch with decent selections of soup, pasta, a good main course, cheese, and dessert, all individually plated in modest and well presented platters; others do not seem to have a clue where to start and what to eat, going around various stations at the same time filling plates with food as if they are creating a mountain with an unappettizing mix of seafood, cured meats, shellfish, cheese, bread, even a nibble or two from the ethnic table as if there is no tomorrow, and as if the food is not going to be replenished. I’ve also encountered people who would start from the cheese table with slabs of cheese placed on their plate, and invariably covering the cheese with a mix of other food. Others opt for one or two plates from the antipasto stations then a full frontal attack on the dessert tables, endeavouring to sample each and every flan, tart, pudding, crumble, pie, and whatever which in most cases is an impossibility.

There are so many different cuisine choices in the top buffets that if one plates small portions individually let’s say, first from the cold seafood station; then another small plate from the cured meats station; proceeding to the soups; the pasta; the ethnic station; then if there is any space left in one’s stomach a nibble at a selected maincourse, a small rest and some wine over a nibble of a little selection of cheese, and finally dessert; even the largest of appetites will be satiated for a number of hours. Plating mountains of food is wasteful and on many instances will spoil the enjoyment of sampling most of the different stations as the human stomach can pack so much and no more. Leaving the restaurant bloated and hardly able to move is surely not the way to go about enjoying a lovely Sunday buffet lunch.

The Terrace Restaurant.

Now let’s get on with the review for this week. We have over the last three or four years carried out a full review of the Sunday Buffet lunch at THE TERRACE RESTAURANT at the WESTIN DRAGONARA RESORT, every season, and this venue has been one of our favourite buffet locations not just for review purposes but also for special occassions or a Sunday lunch of choice.

The buffet at THE TERRACE RESTAURANT is presented on some four, different antipasti stations; an ethnic station with food from Asia for this week; the soup station; pasta live station; the Carvery; the hot main courses stations with some six different maincourses plus veg and potatoes; a large cheese counter; fresh bread counter; and one of the largest displays of desserts that one could imagine to encounter anywhere. What was missing this year were the Live Wok Station, at which one could select his fish, seafood, meats and poultry to be stir-fried with a selection of vegetables of one’s choice; and the live Oriental station on which were prepared selections of sushis, pancakes, etc. In good weather the Live Wok station is rigged in the open air section to prevent fumes from finding their way to the hotel’s recception area.

The following is an attempt to describe the different stations, wherever possible illustrated with photographs taken directly by myself of each counter on the date of our visit:

THE ANTIPASTO STATIONS:

Seafood station.
More marinated fish and
seafood.

These stations were presented in an excellent arrangement of marinated fish, seafood and seashells, with selections of fresh mussels, and exquisite dish of curried half shell mussels; king prawns with shells and peeled prawns, etc.

Cured Meats.

Two cured meat stations on either side of the main counter with beef, duck, pork, processed meats, varoius quiches, stuffed vine leaves, salads and dips.

The finger food display.

At the front of the main counter, a large selection of mouthwatering finger buffet treats that was impossible to sample them all.

Seafood personal selection.
Cured Meats Personal selection.

King Prawns.
Curried half-shell mussels.

ETHNIC STATION WITH FOOD FROM ASIA:

Wontons.
Fried paper prawns.

This cuisine choice consisted of choices of terrines with sauted beef with black bean sauce;
Chicken with cashew nuts;
Stirfried rice with vegetables;
Fried Paper Prawns and Wontons served with Oriental dipping sauces.
These were presented on an individual station, but on the main courses station there were more Asian offerings such as  Indian style lamb scewers and samosas; Chinese springrolls and chicken scewers, etc.

Wontons, Paper prawns and beef with
black bean sauce. personal plate choice

THE SOUP KETTLE:

The Soup Kettle.

Two types of soups were offered at this station one leek and potato soup; and one cream of tomato soup scented with pancetta.

THE PASTA LIVE COOKING STATION:

The Pasta Station.

On this station one could select a type of pasta of choice and the attending chefs would create one’s favourtite pasta dish with ricotta and spinach ravioli, farfalle, smoked meat tortellini, penne rigate combined with chicken pancetta, prawns, salmon, aubergines, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, herbs, classic sauces including bolognes sauce.

THE CARVERY:

Roast rib of beef at the Carvery.

Roast rib of beef served with its own juices. The attending Chef would carve slices of one’s choice either from the well done end or the more rare center.

THE MAIN COURSE STATION:

The fried Rabbit Maltese style.
The sauce was to die for, exceptional.

Various selections of main courses were offered here to cater for everyone’s taste and preference:
Panfried Mazzola bon assisi;
Baked Salmon in herb buerre blanc and stir fried vegetables;
Mushroom stuffed Chicken roulade in cranberry jus and cheese glaze;
Flame grilled Lamb Chops served with grilled vegetables and rosemary jus;
Aubergines parmiggiana;
Panache of vegetables with spicy almonds;
Roast potatoes.

The stuffed Chicken Roulade.
The baked Salmon in herb bbuerre blanc.

The Indian style selection
from the Main courses station.
Personal Selection
Rabbit, Roast beef, potatoes
samosas and spring rolls.

THE BREAD BASKET:

The Bread Basket.

Selections of freshley baked bread.

The Cheese Board.
The Cheese Board.

 THE CHEESE BOARD:

This station offered a large selection of local cheeselets dried and peppered, and various imported fine cheeses with dried fruits, nuts and roasted fresh fruits.

Maltese Cheeselets.
Maltese pepper Cheeselets.

THE DESSERT STATIONS:

Dessert Selections.
Dessert Selections.

Desserts were presented and displayed in a separate section of the restaurant and this very large, delicious and exquisite selection was comprised of various flans, gateaux, tarts,  hot apple crumble, hot chocolate pudding; imqaret (date parcels) with honey; chocolate fountain; ice-cream counter, fresh fruits; chocolate textures; cream in glasses; sorbet trolley; waffle station; etc. I’m sure that the photos displayed will tell their own story.

The hot Chocolate
pudding.
The Hot Apple Crumble.

Imqaret (date parcels) with
honey.
More Dessert Selections.

SERVICE:

The service of a number of servers for each table was excellent, and the service at the different stations was very good. One thing to comment about was the fact that the waffle station was not attended  by a chef, and one had to help himself from a terrine of ready prepared waffles, although  a frying pan with oil was  displaced on the hot plate (which of course was switched off).

VALUE FOR MONEY:

The buffet comes at Eur30.95 per person and includes water and a bottle of either white or red wine between two persons. The wines on offer were a Soave  for the white selection and a Merlot for the red. Considering the vast selection of food choices as described above this price offered an excellent value for money.

REVIEWERS’ IMPRESSIONS:

Ambience:  Excellent.
Atmosphere and decor: Excellent.
Service and attention: Very Good.
Cuisine quality: Very Good.
Preparation and presentation on the various stations: Very Good+.
Value for money: Excellent.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10 Sunday Buffet Lunch Category.
RECOMMENDED.

Contact details:

The Terrace Restaurant,
Westin Dragonara Resort,
St. Julians.
Tel: (00356) 21 381000.