Few people are aware that Malaysia grows cacao; more of them, though, are aware that there is a hotel in the country’s capital which excels at serving fine chocolate to satisfy the emotional needs of any gourmet, gourmand, or broken heart.
As if its comfortable accommodation and superb location were not enough, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur also provides guests with the chocolatey-est experience in the city by way a splendid array of chocolate tastings and experiences. Just off the recently renovated main lobby is a chocolate and dessert bar, The Mandarin Cake Shop, where it is perfectly acceptable to order a meal consisting of nothing but chocolate, macarons, cakes, and perhaps a dessert to finish it all off.
The hotel’s signature dessert is called Chocolate Bliss, an apt name for a concoction that defies conventional definition. It may look like a cake, but looks can be deceiving. There is a bit of dense, moist cake, there is a bit more unctuous cream, and there is plenty of deep, rich chocolate; the originality of the combination created by these ingredients is something beyond delicious. The only challenge to Bliss supremacy comes in the beautiful surroundings of the Mandarin Grill, the domain of Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Halat whose Duet Of Chocolate pairs a creamy milk chocolate mousse on a wafer-thin cake base with a thick pouring of dark chocolate that fills the centre of the mousse.
During the current Mid-Autumn Festival finishing on 8 September, Mandarin Oriental’s mooncake bar offers a selection of traditional flavours and fillings supplemented by a limited edition of mooncakes made not with a flour crust but with a thick, solid chocolate one in its place. Don’t confuse the mooncake bar with the Cake Shop; though only metres away from each other, they are separate entities, each worthy of in-depth investigation.
There are other wonderful foods to eat in this culinary palace situated very conveniently between the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and the Suria KLCC luxury shopping mall. The Chinese delicacies at the elegant Lai Po Heen are exquisite as fine Cantonese cuisine is meant to be, and the vast array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes at the Mosaic buffet is stomach-numbing in scope; even the food served multiple times per day at the Mandarin Oriental Club takes guests into the realm of refined eating, this time in sublime privacy with stunning views of the famous Petronas Towers looming just on the other side of the glass. There are, of course, chocolates available all day long.
Is that craving for chocolate still not satisfied? Head for Mandarin Oriental’s spa for a cocoa rub as part of its Tropical Rainforest Spa Experience and enjoy chocolate on the outside as much as on the inside.