Friday, February 28, 2014

Harbour Cafe at Traders Hotel Johor Bahru

* UPDATE: Since 1 April 2015, Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour, Johor Bahru is rebrand as Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour by Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd. Harbour Cafe still remains. *

I know it's been quite a while since I wrote something here and I had so many adventures I can't wait to share but the new year had been a pretty busy one for me. From traveling to work, 24 hours just doesn't seem enough. The one thing about training as an Anaesth MO is the long tagging period. Ok, before anyone gets confuse with this whole tagging thing, in our medical world, it simply just means working more hours or doing on calls with a more senior colleague so that we can learn and be guided during this period till we are 'independent' enough to do calls on our own. In conclusion, tagging period are always the most tiring period of working. And the worst part of taking a long break in a short month (February) is that you will spent the remaining of the month working 24 hours with rest time of less than 24 hours in between before you start another 24 hours of crazy routine being stuck in the hospital. In times like this, good food always makes me a little happier so I'm going to share about one of the nicer buffet place I managed to try over Valentine's about a fortnight ago.

Valentine's Day this year was really special because it so happen to coincide with the last day of the Lunar New Year which, by the Chinese culture is also the 'Chinese Valentine's Day'. Hence, you can imagine what a loving day 14 February was suppose to be this year. Many said we don't need a certain day just to celebrate love and I agree, but it's a perfect day of excuse to go try something or do something together. And this year, we decided to skip the usual cliche 3-course-overprice-meal in some overrated restaurant and go for buffet instead. Overlooking the Puteri Harbour, Traders Hotel is conveniently accessible from Johor Bahru town via the Nusajaya highway in less than 30 minutes. Legoland is just minutes away while the Hello Kitty Sanrio theme park and Little Red Cube are literally right next to it.

As cliche as it may be, it's always nice to receive a bouquet of roses at any time of the year


Harbour Cafe has a very welcoming ambiance with friendly staff greeting you all the way the moment you stepped into the restaurant. I was so bedazzled by their food selections and every one of their food item appeared so mouth watering. Seriously, tell me how can anyone try all of their food when there is possibly more than a hundred type of food to choose from. The restaurant is divided into a few main sections like the 'appetizer and salad', the 'Indian corner' with a clay oven, the 'Chinese corner' with a noodle station and brewing pots of stew soups, the 'pasta' section, the 'Japanese corner', the much anticipated 'fresh seafood corner' and of course, the much love dessert corner.
This is honestly like everyone's most anticipated corner at the restaurant. It seems everyone goes to a Traders buffet just to whack themselves silly with these. Blanched seafood serve cold on ice to be eaten in their most original flavour
From flower crabs to mussels, prawns, local crabs, crab legs and clams, I'm actually surprised oysters are not in the list. Well, not that I'm a fan of oysters, but I always thought the oysters are one of the permanent residents on a tray of cold blanched seafood
When seafood are serve blanched cold, it is of utmost important for them to be really fresh or else they will really have a musty, stale taste. I must say, though their seafood are generally fresh, some of the local crabs we took had actually turned bad
Our next favourite corner is the Japanese corner. Aside from freshly sliced sashimis and sushi, they also have cold soba and tempuras
Om nom nom. Fresh and delicious, many around us opt to just go for the sashimis without the rice which typically is a savvy buffet eater move
The noodle station where a chef whipped up piping hot bowls of fragrant smelling laksa (curry noodles)
Ta-da, we couldn't resist a bowl for ourselves. Honestly, I'm a little surprised that their laksa is actually pretty good. It's not overly spicy, yet flavorful and fragrant. Definitely one of the must try on your buffet list here
A pretty picture before all the gluttony starts. I actualy think ash brown hair looks pretty nice on me, no? haha *forgive my narcissism here*
Did I not mention that they also have dim sum? And quite a selection too, from buns like the char siew pau,  kaya, pandan, corn and red bean to siew mai, har gao and the likes. The dim sums are just ok only though
Yorkshire pudding corner. Roast chicken and roast lamb are among the selection of meat
We only asked for a small slice but they gave us such a huge chunk of roast lamb. Oh, they also have bake oysters
Yummy grilled salmons
The Indian corner with likes of tandoori, masala, chutneys and papadam
My choice of carbonara penne from the pasta corner. The carbonara is pretty not bad too, both creamy and milky at the same time


And at the end of the buffet (or even right from the beginning), there must always be room for desserts right? The dessert corner at Harbour Cafe is in fact quite extensive with colorful, sweet calling cakes, ice creams and macarons. Yes, there are even macarons at the buffet! (Most Johor Bahru buffets do not have macarons). Just the sight of those sweeties is enough to condition the tummy to open up to them.
Ah, a dark and white chocolate fountain with a variety of snacks to go with. Choose from fluffy marshmallows to crispy cookies and fruits, anything goes well with drizzling dripping chocolates anyway. The chocolate fountain is my favourite part at any buffet pronto
Chocolate fountains makes me all fuzzy and happy inside. It's unexplainable
Macarons, tarts and puddings to lure you
Unfortunately, their macarons tasted pretty soggy though. You know how macarons are usually crispy and a little fluffy but these macarons are all no longer crispy it makes me felt like biting into biscuits that had gone soft
Ice creams! You can choose to have them in bowls or cones
Lovely lovely cakes 
More hard to resist pretty cakes 
Never too old for chocolates, seriously. Willy Wonka should pick me as his heir
Fresh fruit juices! Love the guava juice but find the starfruit juice a little weird 
Harbour cafe- certainly recommended :)


Buffets always left me feeling like a happy little glutton at the end of the day and Harbour Cafe international buffet is no exception. Harbour Cafe thankfully did not disappoint us with their food and is easily one of my top favourite buffet place in JB right now. We really had a fantastic night stuffing ourselves silly so much so I believe I had probably gain some extra pound from all those eating that night alone. The buffet is not cheap (RM 78++ normal days and RM 128++ on Valentine's) but surely worth it since their food are overall delicious, fresh and leaves you a happy person at the end of the day.

Besides, being located at Puteri Harbour, likely one of the prettiest place in Johor Bahru currently for their promenade of marina, you can choose to admire the overall view of the marina from the hotel skybar or take a romantic stroll along the marina after your meal. Aside from taking in the lovely sight, it surely aids in digesting those extra calories away as well. :)
Down by the marina earlier in the day


Harbour Cafe,
Block 1, Level 1, Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour,
Nusajaya, Johor Bahru
Tel : 07- 560 8888
Opening hours : 6.30 am- 11.00 pm
No pork

** They currently only have buffet breakfast and dinner. When we first called up to inquire, they actually mistakenly told us they have buffet lunch and even reserve a place for us for lunch. Thankfully we called up again and found out there is no buffet lunch actually. Imagine all the hassle and inconvenience if we had shown up for lunch. That is seriously something I hope their management view seriously. **

PS : This is not an advertorial or paid review. All review are based on yours truly POV only, hence yours truly is not responsible in any discrepancy in taste or opinion. Thank you :)




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