Friday, July 29, 2011

Malaysia Food Blog - Evergreen Laurel Hotel - A Wedding Dinner

Location: Gurney Drive, Georgetown, Penang Isle

Among the numerous hotels along Gurney Drive, Evergreen Laurel Hotel is not one of those which I identified immediately. With Gurney Plaza situated at one end and the hotel situated near the far end of the opposite side, I guess I do not have a chance to get to know it, unlike G-Hotel which I could walk through when I visited Gurney Plaza. I guess my ex-colleague's wedding dinner gave me ample reason to get up close with this hotel situated in the prestigious Gurney Drive.

Red for WEDDING! Congratulations to my friend Poh and his lovely bride for their big day!

The Hotel and the Deco

I had been to hotel wedding banquet before, in hotels with more stars and more lavish decoration, but not many really impressed me more than Evergreen Laurel Hotel. Overhanging crystal lights greeted guests through a large lobby, made so by an open first floor balcony viewable from the entrance. Marble walls and floor reflected the soft yellow lighting to provide a well-lit interior with an amber hue and with rarely a hint of shadow. Polished surfaces are utilized in the proper spots in order to provide a sense of spaciousness, like a polished metal door of an elevator.

The wooden furnishings in Evergreen Laurel Hotel had an archaic look to them, with maps of medieval seafarers lining the wall along with antique potteries, presenting all the splendors of antiquities. Decorations of red dotted the area to promote the liveliness of a wedding, most of all the trishaw that became most kids' and couples' focus for a portrait with.

Antiques lined the walls and the corridor, just remember one thing: nice to see, not to touch...

One can see the lobby entrance from the first floor and vice versa; in fact this is one of the architectural features which helped promote an image of large lobby with two-storey high ceiling.

One thing which I found quite impressive was an ice sculpture of a swan in the entrance to the banquet hall; at least I think it was a swan since my girlfriend had trouble in identifying it with that beautiful creature. I had seen such things (ice sculptures, not swans... well, swans as well I guess...) in newspapers and internet photos, but never had I once get up close and intimate with one. Thanks Poh for giving me the chance of my lifetime! ^^

Needless to say, the sculpture was an eye-catcher, although somehow most failed to be impressed by it. All through the night, I was trying to catch the swan melting; well, if it was melting, it sure was slow because it was  placed only on a cloth, and no water was dripping off the floor by the time we left. A yellow light was cast on the swan in order to illuminate it, giving the sculpture an illusion of self-illumination, although I think that a white light will be a lot more realistic (well, swans are white, aren't they...?) Still, the engineer in me appreciated the way it was done.

This is the first time I see an ice sculpture in my life, unfortunately my meager digital camera seems to have trouble capturing a nice shot with all those lights playing through it... =_=

The banquet tables were decorated as well, with candlelight provided on each table. Of all the wedding banquets I had attended, this small accessory did a big help in making a difference and providing an air of romance, and this showed how different Evergreen Laurel Hotel is compared to other similar hotels.

A romantic setting for the wedding banquet with the aid of a small candle.

A closer shot of said romantic candle.

The Banquet

Most of the food served were the usual lots in Chinese wedding banquets but there were indeed a notably few which I found most interesting and special. The first dish featured an array of 4 different types of food chosen by our host, and was the usual dish to begin the banquet in Chinese wedding banquets; the most memorable among the four was the marinated baby octopuses.

Another tasty food throughout the course was the Sautéed King Prawns with Mayonnaise and Fruit. The prawns were fresh and sweet, and with mayonnaise to match it tasted very nice! The desserts brought in to signal the end of the banquet were nice as well, with a bowl of sweet boiled snow fungus and a plate of tasty fried biscuit-like item.

The wedding banquet started off with the usual dish of combining 4 different food in the same dish, allowing guests to take the light dish as appetizer. The marinated baby octopus was particularly memorable.

Shark Fin Soup? Maybe, or maybe not... From what I requested, they request that no sharks fins be offered, so either the sharks were saved from this dish or they changed their mind.

Braised Chicken with Chinese Herbs: do not let the unappealing outlook hold you back from having this dish. The thick sauce is taste full of Chinese herbs, and definitely a goody. The chicken is soaked up the herbs as well, providing a flesh full of herbal taste.

Braised Sea Cucumber with Mushrooms and Broccoli: crunchy broccoli goes well with the soft flappy sea cucumber. This is one of those dishes that you may be familiar with if you frequented Chinese wedding banquets. 

Sautéed King Prawns with Mayonnaise and Fresh Fruits: sweet with the taste of mayonnaise and definitely one of the nice dishes throughout the course. 

A dessert of Boiled Snow Fungus in the company of some fried dessert, which I did not get the name, but definitely a bowl of cooling dessert with a plate of hot dessert.

The Package

From what I understood from the newlyweds, the package came in RM638++ and RM698++ per table of 10 persons, both requiring a minimum of 25 tables. The differences in the package lies mainly in the choice of food, since both package offered an 8-course meal as well. The package included all the usual complimentary items offered by hotel to newlyweds and guests, and the newlyweds seemed quite satisfactory with Evergreen Laurel's prepared decorations.

Overall, I found Evergreen Laurel Hotel's service quite satisfactory, deserving the stars it claimed to own. My discussion with my friend after the banquet was quite positive as well, saying that they did not expect the banquet to turn out to be such a pleasant surprise, and as such gave thumbs up for their service. Alas, from what I understand the rate was different from year to year, so it will do well for one to get the latest information from the hotel through the provided sites and numbers below.

To Poh and Hooi, wishing both of you a happily ever after!

Suitable for:            the once in a lifetime moment - wedding!
Cost:                             Luxurious; no one said a wedding dinner is anything cheap...

Website:                    Main Homepage or Alternative Homepage (the second seems more helpful)

Contact:                     +604 - 226 9988; +604 - 226 9989 (fax)
Address:                     53, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang.
                                        If you are at the end where Gurney Plaza is, just go along the road until near the other end. It is the second hotel (but third building) from the end.

Operating hours:  whenever you need, but I guess calling them up in the middle of the night is a bit ridiculous... ^^
Parking:                   The hotel's parking lot is quite limited, so parking along the road and paying RM0.40/hour may be required. Be an early bird and get the parking, but I forgot how much to pay for parking entrance.

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