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Senja
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Building its name while based inside The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Senja...
 
     
Senja
Simply Breath-Taking
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Building its name while based inside The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Senja recently made the move into the equally lush The Club Saujana Resort and continues to attract foodies from all over the world. The picture-perfect décor, pristine water features and dazzling Italian fare have earned Senja a place on every Malaysian gourmet’s bucket list.

Making their long-awaited return to MIGF after a three-year absence, Senja and Chef Marco Violano welcomed a group of 22 elite diners to the restaurant where the Festival theme of High Octane Chefs was on full display.


A lineup of High-Octane cars fronted the venue


David Teh, Datuk Uwe Ahrens, Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bin Abu Bakar and Dato' Nick Lough


Emmanuel Nivet, Datin Patricia Ng and Dato' Geoffrey Tan


Puan Sri Datin Siti Mohd Zin, Datin Merina Lough, Pitt Lee and Datin Andrea Ahrens

Among the eclectic guestlist were Deputy Director General (International Promotion) of Tourism Malaysia Dato’ Haji Azizan Nordin, Deputy Secretary General (International Promotion) at Tourism Malaysia Dr Junaida Lee bt. Abdullah, Pantai Hospital Cardiologist Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bin Abu Bakar, Mediconsult Director Dato’ Nick Lough and Pakatan Reka Arkitek Director Mr David Teh, the latter two of whom are both members of the esteemed Festival Advisory Committee.


Diong Swee Gaik, Martin Williamson, Asha Williamson, Dr Junaida Lee bt. Abdullah and Dato' Steve Day


Susie Gnagi and Stephan Gnagi

High Octane supercars and motorbikes stood guard at The Club Saujana’s entrance as the diners made their way in one-by-one. Guests gathered at the far end of the restaurant in an area teeming with thematic tributes such as supercar bumpers and enjoyed canapes decorated to pay homage to racing team Ferrari and other quintessential Italian icons.


Chef Marco Violano lines up his canapes


A marvellous selection at the canape table

Once all the guests had made their way into the venue, animated chatter could be heard throughout the room as old friends reunited and new friends met for the first time. It was then that MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day welcomed the evening’s diners and introduced Chef Marco and the Senja team.


Dato' Steve introduces Chef Marco and The Club Saujana Executive Assistant Manager Belinda Leong


The High-Octane place settings reflecting the Festival theme

With the Senja house band playing tune after blissful tune, the guests took their seats at a long table with a stone racetrack running through its centre. Quick as a flash, Chef Marco brought out his first course – an amuse-bouche of Oven Baked Layer of Eggplant “Parmigiana” Style with Roma Tomatoes, Fresh Basil and Buffalo Mozzarella. The dish combined elements from many different parts of Italy and set diner’s palates ablaze with its triumphant blend of flavours and textures.


Belinda Leong and Dato' Haji Azizan Nordin take their seats


Oven Baked Layer of Eggplant “Parmigiana” Style with Roma Tomatoes, Fresh Basil and Buffalo Mozzarella


The Maya Band kept the guests serenaded

Next up on Chef Marco’s five-course menu was his appetiser – a Yellow Fin Tuna Loin Tartare with Crab Cake and Tuna Sauce. The affable Chef Marco explained that the rich multitude of sealife available in his home region of Apulia means that the otherwise unusual pairing of Tuna and Crab is very common to him.


Yellow Fin Tuna Loin Tartare with Crab Cake and Tuna Sauce

One of the finest elements of Italian cuisine is of course its soups, and Chef Marco proved he is a dab hand when it comes to preparing spectacular broths from his home nation. A Sicilian Cherry Tomato Soup with Burrata Cheese made up the third course on Senja’s Festival Menu, with its creaminess and flavours winning every one of the 22 diners over instantly.


Sicilian Cherry Tomato Soup with Burrata Cheese

For the main course of the evening, the guests were asked to choose between three spectacular dishes.

The first option combined “Carnaroli” Squid Ink Risotto with Hokkaido Scallops Medallion and “Bottarga”. Once again, the Chef’s expert knowledge of seafood was on full display here with the beautifully-prepared risotto and the melt-in-your-mouth aquatic offerings combining in a whirlwind of flavour.


“Carnaroli” Squid Ink Risotto with Hokkaido Scallops Medallion and “Bottarga”

The second of the three was a vegetarian dish using in-season ingredients – an Oven Baked Lasagna with Porcini Mushrooms and Black Truffle Fondue. A chef who changes his menu with the times, Chef Marco’s ingenious use of mushrooms and truffles during their peak season was not lost on the guests and the lip-smacking cheesiness of the dish was a rare treat for all who chose it.


Oven Baked Lasagna with Porcini Mushrooms and Black Truffle Fondue

The last of the three choices was arguably the most popular selection among the diners with the Pan Roasted Cod Fish wrapped with Zucchini and Lemon Thyme in Spicy Clam Stock and Broccoli Puree sounding too good to turn down for many. They were not to be disappointed, either, as the dish was lapped up heartily, providing the perfect ending to the dinner’s savoury courses.


Pan Roasted Cod Fish wrapped with Zucchini and Lemon Thyme in Spicy Clam Stock and Broccoli Puree

For dessert, the diners were asked to move to the tantalising outdoor area, where a fountain water feature and lush greenery provided a jaw-dropping backdrop. Chef Marco set up a live station on the patio and put together his Black Pepper Crème Brûlée with Banana Compote right before the diners’ eyes. A stunning fireworks show accompanied the food, capping off the dinner in celebratory fashion.


Dessert was served outside amid tranquility and vegetation


Chef Marco plates up his desserts at a live station on the patio


Black Pepper Crème Brûlée with Banana Compote


Dinner and a show - the spectacular fireworks

First to speak on behalf of the diners was Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ridzwan, who said: “The dishes tonight have come from all over Italy and have given us all a great culinary insight into the country. Rather than clashing, the ingredients complemented each other perfectly and that is something that takes real skill as a chef to pull off.”


Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bin Abu Bakar gives his closing remarks

Next up was Festival Advisory Committee member Dato’ Nick Lough, whose short but sweet thanks to the team and praise of the consistency of the menu was greeted with loud applause in agreement from all of the diners.


Dato' Nick Lough speaks on behalf of the Festival Advisory Committee

Finally, Dr Junaida took to the microphone to praise the work that MIGF has done over the years. “Tourism Malaysia has supported this Festival since right from the very beginning and this year has really been the par excellence. Being able to promote our fantastic lineup of world-class restaurants to international visitors is a real selling point for Malaysia and, for that reason, we hope that MIGF will continue with its excellent work,” she said.


Dr Junaida Lee bt. Abdullah congratulates MIGF on another brilliant year

As the diners prepared to make their way home, the Senja team had one final high-octane surprise in store as a parade of supercars at the entrance treated the guests to a show. The cars made a loop around the driveway and revved their engines to the max with flames spurting out of exhausts and wild cheering and applause from the guests. It was a magnificent end to what was more than just a meal and more of an experience; one which none of the 22 guests will forget any time soon.


The parade of supercars make their way to the entrance of The Club Saujana Resort


The dinner ends in fiery fashion - literally!

The Full Festival Menu at Senja is available for just RM280 nett without wines or RM370 nett with wine pairings included and can be viewed here. To learn more about the amiable Chef Marco, click here.

You too can enjoy this Festival experience! Be sure to dine out at Senja during The Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival from 1st to 31st October!


The diners of the Senja MIGF 2016 Publicity Dinner


The excellent team at Senja