Posted on Wednesday, 22nd July 2015
THE DANNA – PLANTER’S RESTAURANT
The Danna is a luxury 5-star hotel in Langkawi, a grand colonial hotel that is classically beautiful and effortlessly elegant with high ceilings and an impressive presence. Perched on a lovely stretch of beach, it has the marina on one side and lush tropical lands on the other.
We went to one of the restaurants at The Danna for dinner, Planter’s, which is recognised as one of the best restaurants on Langkawi. Located towards the rear of the hotel, you get to Planter’s from the impressive hotel lobby by walking along the corridor, past the seductive Verandah Bar. Upon reaching Planter’s, one is presented with an impressive sight, not only because the restaurant is beautifully romantic, but also because it looks out onto the hotel’s infinity pool and beach. The perspective is mesmerising, and particularly lovely if you chose to dine al fresco on the restaurant’s outside porch. The Planter’s menu makes for an interesting read by serving an eclectic collection of Western, Thai, Indian and Malay dishes. It’s a very comprehensive menu and easily caters to a variety of tastes. We visited on a Friday night which is buffet night, although the al la carte was also available. Tempting as the ‘all-you-can-eat’ option was, we elected to order off the a la carte menu, preferring our food to be cooked to order.
We started with a Thai seafood broth (MYR40 – £6.80) with king prawns, calamari, mussels and fish. This was deliciously light, with the stock having been prepared using kaffir lime, lemongrass, galangal, coriander and a seafood base. The result was a stock that was crystal clear with a distinct and delicate flavour. A classically trained French chef would have been proud had they produced a consommé of such clarity. Each of the seafood elements was also nicely cooked to round off a lovely starter.
Deep fried kataifi prawns on an avocado, mango and tomato salsa with cumin lime aioli and salmon roe (MYR45 – £7.70) was also scrumptious. The kataifi was nice and crunchy and helped to seal in the flavour and sweetness of the prawns and which also did much to keep them moist. The salsa was fresh and lively and the mango added a touch of sweetness to the dish. The aioli was tasty but I would have preferred a little more on the plate.
Traditional Malay laksa soup with grilled marinated king prawns (MYR40 – £6.80) was also really yummy. Topped with a fish paste, the soup was tasty and well spiced. But the winning element was the thick rice noodles in the soup. These were absolutely perfect in both flavour and texture which was silky smooth and really dreamy to eat.
We skipped the Western dishes and instead opted for some local classics such as the Malay tasting platter with fillet of sea bass sambal, king prawn curry, chicken percik and beef rendang, served with wilted greens, Malay pickles and other condiments (MYR79 – £13.50). The platter was really good and well spiced, particularly the sea bass and the chicken, both of which had a touch of sweetness to them.
A trio of chicken, beef and lamb rendang cooked with aromatic spices and coconut flakes and served with Malay pickles and chilli dips (MYR60 – £10.20) was reasonably tasty too, but not as good as the Malay platter in terms of flavour. There were a few pitfalls too: the chicken was a little dry, and probably to be expected as rendang requires a slow cooking process, and the lamb rendang was a touch salty. Also, there was much more variety in the Malay platter which made that a more interesting option as a main.
For dessert we tried the crepe suzette (MYR32 – £5.40) which was prepared on the flambé trolley. It’s always fun watching a crepe suzette being flambéed, but on this occasion the result was rather average. Too much orange juice had been used in the preparation of the crepes, which meant that the crepes had in effect drowned in the orange juice. Consequently there was no buttery caramelisation effect on the crepes, which is one element of what makes this dessert special. More butter and less orange juice, and the outcome would have been better.
Our second dessert was the pengat pisang, a Malay hot sweet banana porridge with homemade coconut lime ice cream (MYR28 – £4.80). It wasn’t the prettiest dessert to look at, but boy was it good. There was a decadently creamy quality in the coconut that made this dessert unique and rather special.
We really enjoyed the food that we tried at Planter’s, particularly the starters which showed off a refined touch. Other aspects of our experience really captured our imaginations as well. For instance, it was hard not to succumb to the beauty and grandeur of the restaurant and feel that you were in some place special. And then there was the service, which was fabulous, not only because it was really attentive and friendly, but also because our waiter couldn’t help but fall over himself to attend to our every need. I can’t say all the waiters were like him, but ours was especially accommodating and it was evident he was like this with all the guests. Comparatively speaking, the prices at Planter’s seemed really reasonable for the high standard of the cooking and the fact that it is a restaurant in a luxury 5-star hotel. Planter’s Restaurant at Danna Resort definitely gets a big tick from me.
1. The noodles in the laksa – some of the best noodles I have ever eaten.
2. The pengat pisang dessert.
3. The service.
4. The restaurant setting is beautiful and unique.
1. The crepe suzette.
2. The rendang was the weaker of the two mains in terms of both flavour and variety.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4.5/5
About MYR122 to MYR346 (£20.60 to £58.60) for three courses. Excludes drinks and 10% service.
The lobster is MYR250, but our waiter advised us to order other dishes over the lobster.