Dining Options In The Resort
This is a follow up to my review of Tanjong Jara Resort. Dining at Tanjong Jara offers three options: Di Atas Sungei, Teratai Terrace, and Nelayan. Di Atas Sungei is the largest of the three and also where you go to for breakfast. It is also well known for dinner with its personalised dishes cooked to suit your taste buds. Teratai Terrace is a small dining area and bar, beside the adults-only pool. It is recommended for its steamboat and Korean barbeque dinner. Nelayan is probably the most popular dining option because it faces the beach and has the best view. During lunch, it serves a mix of Western and Malaysian cuisine and at night. it serves grilled seafood.
Dining at Tanjong Jara may not give you a large variety of options. However it keeps you within the resort for convenience. But if you are one to venture out, there are cheaper dining options outside though not of luxury standards for sure. If you have a full board package, then dining at Tanjong Jara would really make you want to hit the gym everyday!
Dining at Tanjong Jara: Di Atas Sungei (Breakfast)
Di Atas Sungei is probably my favourite of the three. We had our daily breakfast there which was nice on our first day but slowly became a bit boring on subsequent days. The breakfast dishes do not change much but the spread includes local specialties like nasi lemak, cooked noodles, roti canai station as well as the standard western dishes of eggs, baked beans, etc. On a plus side, they serve freshly squeezed watermelon, orange and pineapple juices. There were also danish and croissants that were freshly baked in the oven right in front of you. I dare say that these croissants were worth my calories. The croissants were wiped out the moment they were taken out of the oven. You can also find a small selection of fruits, salad and cereals.
Dining at Tanjong Jara: Di Atas Sungei (Dinner)
Di Atas Sungei does not open for lunch but is subsequently open for dinner. This is where most of you probably heard of the chef that takes your food orders by understanding your preference. For us Singaporeans, the dishes were mostly familiar and needed little introduction. But for a foreigner, a chef’s recommendation would be optimum.
On our first day dining at Tanjong Jara, we headed to Di Atas Sungei. We picked our own dishes except for the Buttermilk Prawns which came as a recommendation from Hamdan, the restaurant’s manager. We picked Beef Rendang and Steamed Fish with Assam (Assam Pedas). Our two course dinner came with a complimentary appetiser of soup and mantou (steamed chinese buns) which I found very strange.
We ended up truly enjoying the recommended dish of Buttermilk Prawns. These prawns were very fresh and stir fried with a slight crisp, covered with buttermilk sauce and laksa leaves. It was such a glorious dish. The Assam Pedas was very simple without any complementing vegetables. While the fish was very fresh and well cooked, the assam was nothing fascinating and overall presentation was too simple.
The Beef Rendang was the biggest letdown. The beef was overcooked and tough while the rendang sauce was not what I expected. Perhaps this is a malaysian style of rendang which tasted a bit more like nutty, quite unlike the Singaporean or peranakan styles that I was familiar with. We ended the dinner with dessert and faced serious trouble finishing our dessert because of our filled bellies. The Pandan Pannacotta was a delight and very unique while the Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream was also good.
Dining at Tanjong Jara on our last night, we chose to return to Di Atas Sungei. This time we decided to trust their recommendations on the dishes instead. So we had the chef suggest some dishes for us including Scallops stir fried with Sambal Chilli and Long Beans, Stir Fried Squid with Oyster Sauce & Vegetables and our favourite Buttermilk Prawns.
Our appetiser this time was tom yum vegetables soup which was very spicy but relatively tasty. I had no trouble with the spiciness but it was probably too much for some. We enjoyed our dinner but regretted not opting for the fried squid which Hamdan had recommended. The stir fried squid we had was good but nothing to shout about. The Scallops was definitely a good choice and the Buttermilk Prawns never disappointed even though it tasted better the first time. For dessert, we decided to keep things simple and opted simply for ice cream.
Dining at Tanjong Jara: Teratai Terrace
Teratai Terrace consists of a small bar and five tables dining section beside the adults-only pool. Dining at Tanjong Jara would sometimes require reservations. You should make an early reservation especially for Teratai Terrace because of their very limited number of (four) tables. Movies are screened every night by the pool side – a nice effort though do not expect an exceptional viewing experience due to the quality of the projector and sound.
We enjoyed our steamboat dinner there however I was quite busy trying to protect our food from the flies and ants that kept attempting to invade. The steamboat came with two soup varieties: tom yum and chicken. There was also a korean barbecue option available at a higher price. Our full board dinner included the steamboat option as well as a dessert, water, coffee and tea. We finished our dinner with very stuffed bellies even though we shared only one bowl of rice. While the ambience was exclusive, I think I would’ve preferred an indoor option because of all the insects.
We had also ordered from Teratai Terrace a quick lunch to takeaway on our last day after checking out. They made us very good grilled red snapper which was marinated with herbs, pepper and squeezed lemon juice. It was very fresh, tender and tasty. But I would warn you to make your order at least 30 minutes in advance so as to be able to get the order out in time. We had rushed ours and they made exceptions to help cater to our order despite being so last minute. We were very appreciative of that.
Dining at Tanjong Jara: Nelayan
Nelayan is probably the most popular restaurant out of the three because of its strategic position by the beach. You can enjoy views of the beach as you dine or have your meal by the pool. Menu options included a mix of local favourites like Nasi Goreng, Fish Head Curry as well as western dishes like Grilled Burgers and Fish & Chips.
Lunch for full board was a two course meal where you can choose any combination of appetiser, main or dessert per person from their menu. During our stay, we tried the Fish Head Curry, Asian Burger, Mexican Tortillas. The Asian Burger was nice but the grill was way too salty. It was as if they added way too much salt when grilling. We found this the case for the grilled vegetables side dish as well. We informed them of this and hopefully they have rectified that for future orders.
I had the Fish Head Curry for our second lunch. The Fish Head Curry was lovely but you will really need to know how to dissect the meat off the fish bones to enjoy this. I didn’t like the Mexican Tortillas which were pan fried and did not taste very Mexican. But Chris seemed to like it. We noticed the Fish & Chips were also quite popular but did not try it. We also tried the Salad with Grilled Prawns and that was pleasantly good. The prawns were fresh and very tasty.
For dessert, we tried the Poached Pear as well as the Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream. The poached pear was a bit of a letdown as it was not what we had expected. Instead of one large poached pear, it was small pieces of poached pear (small pear) with ice cream. I enjoyed the apple tart but it very sweet and quite large so it would have been ideal to share this.
Service was a bit slow as the place was rather popular. However, given then your only other lunch option was the tiny Teratai Terrace, it would not be a surprise that Nelayan would be crowded. The management would probably need to add more manpower to their operations at Nelayan to cater to the lunch crowd.
Throughout our stay, our experience dining at Tanjong Jara was rather pleasant. As ours was a full board package, we got to try almost everything except Nelayan’s dinner which is mainly grilled seafood. For convenience and a complete rest and relax experience, I would opt for the full board package. But it would have been better if there was a half board option so we could skip lunch. It just felt like too much eating for the full board package. I literally put on 1 kg during my stay.