5 Ways to Lift Your Christmas Spirit

Raintree @ BCCK Christmas Eve 5 Course Dinner

Raintree Christmas Eve 5 Course Set

It’s Christmas time again. How is your Christmas spirit? Has the Yuletide mood infected your soul yet? If not let me suggest 5 things that will surely help you gain the joys of this festive season. After all, if it helps me a non-Christian be as jolly as old Saint Nick, it would help anyone.

1. Start your Christmas Shopping

Ask any kid what they love about Christmas and I’ll bet you it would be either presents or Santa. Presents because which kid doesn’t like presents? Especially since there is a chance that a present would be a cool toy. Why Santa? Cause he brings presents! Even after we grow older, we still love our presents and now we have the opportunity to give as well as receive.

Hunting for presents is great fun. You get both retail therapy and a chance to make your loved ones happy by giving them an awesome present. Don’t just get a crappy old uncreative gift like socks, ties and scarves. Don’t be a Grinch. Remember boys, getting your significant other a nice gift might land you some mistletoe time.

And don’t forget to buy yourself a present too! A new outfit for Christmas will surely give you some Christmas cheer.

2. Sing Christmas Carols

If shopping doesn’t crack it for you, start cranking out the Christmas carols. Whether it be a boy’s choir singing the classic carols with their angelic voices or some pop star serenading you with modern carols or you yourself belting out carols badly in need of some autotune, you can be certain that it will spread some Yuletide joy.

Here’s a new one.

Just remember to stay away from the Kenyalang area. I went there last weekend and they were already playing Chinese New Year songs. I remember a year that they started playing CNY songs in November.

3. Watch a Christmas Special (TV / Movie)

If that doesn’t help, turn on your DVD player and watch some Christmas specials. You can enjoy the classic Christmas feel good movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, or the perpetually remade “A Christmas Carol” or something new like “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”.

Maybe not this movie. Definitely not passing the Malaysian Censor Board.

4. Decorate a Christmas tree

As a Buddhist, I don’t get to decorate Christmas trees but since having a Christian girlfriend, I’ve been introduced to the pleasures of sprucing up a tannenbaum. It doesn’t matter whether you have the best tree money can buy or just a handicapped balding midget of a tree, when the decorations are up and the lights turned on it will bring a piece of happiness to your heart. Sometimes it is these little things that matter.

I wonder if the staff at BCCK felt the same way when they put up their tree. They have a very nice tree when it is lit up. Check it out.

5. The Christmas Meal

If all else fails, there is always the gastronomic method of delivering some Christmas spirit, through the stomach. Christmas is definitely a time for families to gather and to enjoy a lovely meal. Stuff down some turkey, roast beef, roast lamb and Christmas pudding and you’d be full of joy. Of course a home cook curry or rending will not go amiss as well (hey we’re Malaysians aren’t we?).

While a home cooked meal is always nice, sometimes it is better not to slave over the kitchen stove and just let some other people do the work for you. And this year The Raintree Restaurant is planning to do just that by offering their first ever 5 Course Christmas Eve Set dinner. All for the price of RM125++ per person. Lucky for me, I, along with 7 other blogger got a chance to sample all five courses. So read on to see if it is worth it.

In case you have no clue where The Raintree Restaurant is, it is located in the Borneo Convention Center Kuching (BCCK) in the Sejingkat area. And no, it isn’t far at all. It is however in a nice and quiet area of Kuching, very good for a more intimate gathering.

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The first of the 5 course is the appetizer of blinis tower of lobster medallion, smoked salmon, and crème fraiche, paired with warm ravioli of duck confit and pumpkin puree. Talk about indulgent! The blinis is a stack of two small and thin pancakes with an inner layer of lobster and a top layer of smoked salmon with a nice dose of crème fraiche in both layers. Just as an added bonus, they topped it off with some caviar. If your mouth is watering now, wait till you taste this baby. The combination works very well and will leave you feeling .

The ravioli on the other hand pales in comparison. While the taste is nice, it just lacked that little bit extra for me. It didn’t do enough to set it apart from the blinis. On a different note, the addition of local bayam is a welcome touch to this plate filled with foreign cuisine.

The second course is a cream of cauliflower garnished with peppers and croutons. This was a nice creamy soup that was served with a couple of slices of finger toast. While cauliflower soup isn’t exactly haute cuisine, the touch of red pepper oil did help to liven things up.

The third course was a palate cleanser, a cup of ginger-lime sorbet. Good old citrusy sorbet to remove the cream of cauliflower from my mouth, or so I thought. This not only cleared my palate, it cleared my throat and nasal passages. This is the only cold icy dish that I would recommend for a cough. The chef must have used some very young ginger because the heat was intense. It left me with a dopamine high and definitely ready for the main course.

You actually have two choices for the main. You could have a slow baked turkey roulade with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, served with sauteed brussels sprouts, caramelised chestnuts and cranberry sauce or a slow grilled marinated sirloin on spicy potato, wilted spinach with blue cheese, buttered carrot, Brussels sprouts and beef jus.

Turkey would be traditional choice here, especially since it is served with cranberry sauce and the chestnuts just made it even more Christmassy. Unfortunately, during sampling the turkey was way too dry. There’s nothing worse than dry poultry meat. Hopefully they get it right on Christmas eve.

The beef was the better choice on the night. The chef told us that the beef was marinated in chopped dates, with djon mustard and some chili powder. I couldn’t really taste the dates but the beef was still very good. I was slightly disappointed that the beef was cooked medium. I prefer medium rare myself. C’est la vie. Since this was a sampling and we were only given a slice, they couldn’t possibly cooked it to the liking of all the 8 of us hence cooking it medium. However I am told that on Christmas eve, you beef lovers will be able to specify how you prefer your beef. But if any of you readers prefer well done, please please please order the turkey instead. Don’t let the cow die in vain. Yes. I am a beef snob.

Both the mains were served with Brussels sprouts. I now know why most TV kids hate Brussels sprouts. The wilted spinach with blue cheese on the other hand was a treat. The pungent and salty blue cheese really went well with the spinach. If you are wondering what blue cheese taste like, it taste like fermented tofu (tau hu ju). I remember an angmo friend asking another friend of mine, what was tau hu ju in which my friend replied Chinese Cheese. After you have the spinach, you would totally agree with my friends statement.

Anyway, by this stage, all of us were quite stuffed but we still had one last course, the dessert. There’s always room for dessert right? The dessert in this case was Christmas Pudding with Raspberry White Chocolate Parfait. The dessert was beautifully presented with a crunchy nougatine/tuile like dessert garnish made to look like, well you decide yourself. The pudding was sweet and rich but missing some alcohol but seeing that Raintree is a halal restaurant, that is a big no no. The parfait was not as sweet but still nice. It had a centre of frozen raspberry which was nice little treat. Both desserts worked well together.

So is it worth RM125++. While this isn’t for everyone, those who can afford it will certainly find this dinner a nice indulgent treat, especially if they get the cooking times right. If this doesn’t lift your spirits, you must be Ebenezer Scrooge.



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  1. need to interject that the brussels sprouts were only that nasty because they were slightly overcooked. it’s easy to overcook them and they get that cabbagey taste if you do that. there’s obviously a little bit of room for improvement there i guess.

    Comment by irene on 22 December 2011 at 6:05 am

  2. hmmm .. i’m still to be convinced. then again i’m more of a carnivore than a herbivore. will give it another shot next time.

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