Iftar at Flamingo

One of my pet grief is having iftar at hotels or restaurants. They usually offer buffet. Often with not much choice with the patrons clamoring for the offerings. The price were never cheap. You will be doing well to get them for less than RM50 per head. You also have to think about the children - with will also be charged even though there weren’t fasting, and the maid. With all the chaos, jostling for food and table, it can often be a frustrating time. And then, there was the traffic getting in and the parking. We ended up arriving very early, staring at the food, with the children driving us up the wall!

When my sister Julia asked if we wanted to take our parents out for iftar, I cringed a bit. Over the years, it had not been that pleasant an experience. We phoned a few joints, but they were already booked. Understandable. It was Saturday evening after all. Puan Anita then went through her Halal Food Guide book and came across Flamingo Hotel in Ampang and gave it a call. A couple tables were booked. Flamingo it was.

Driving in was fine. Got there around 7 pm. Shortly after, with all the fumes and excitement, Idlan had an asthma attack. Oops! We forgotten to bring the inhalers. A mad dash back home and a lecture from mum-in-law later, and all was well. I got in around 10 minutes after iftar. Puan Anita got the food ready for me, sparing me the hassle of queuing for food. Off we went.

The selection were authentic Malay. There were bukhari rice, tempoyak, roast lamb, fried kuey teow, nice satay. Not bad. The customers were booked into tables, so one do not have to worry about seatings. Since the place was actually a converted exhibition hall rather than their a usual restaurant, there were plenty of space. The tables were comfortable and well-spaced - which is important because when my boys met their cousins and had some sugary dessert, you know what they would to do? Run around in circles! What does a good parent do? Leave them as they were and went on to enjoy the food of course!

From left - Imran, Idlan and Irfan. Yes, we need imagination ....Self-made ais kacang for dessert. More syrup and creamer please.

The place was well organised, plenty of staffs and the food was very well-stocked. One thing I noticed was, the waiters and waitresses were in high spirits. Very friendly and accommodating. While we were having food, there were also some live music, some traditional Malay ensemble. The food were fine. The nasi bukari and satay was good. They also have a continuous supply of iced Milo and teh tarik - important this!

The traffic going in was kind, even when I had to drive back home to get Idlan’s inhalers. Parking was aplenty on site - at RM4 per entry. Those were the pluses. It was not perfect. One of my main gripe was the surau. It was a makeshift one on the second floor. A partition put on at the end of a corridor. One also had to walk to a toilet for absolution. It was not a purpose-built surau. The management should at least opened up a couple of the meeting rooms and convert them for praying instead of just some partitions. It looked like an afterthought. They should also provide some slippers for those wearing shoes to go to toilet for absolution. I was OK with my Crocs because I sort of knew what to expect.

How much do they charge? RM65 for adults and RM35 for children aged 4 to 12. They should have made children under 10 eat for free. I suspect the charging was to discourage parents from bringing in children really. Iftar during weekends were supposed to be a family affair, and to be honest, I did not see that many children. RM35 for them? A disgrace! As for the adult pricing, you really had to do very well to find a joint that charged less than RM50 per head in KL nowadays. Bora Ombak in Ampang and Penang Village in Great Eastern Mall were a couple which springs to mind. Judging from the venue and the food selection, it looked reasonable.

Will I come here again? Not for this Ramadhan I think, but definitely in the future. Will I encourage others to come? Certainly worth considering. Food was aplenty and there were hardly any jostling. Parking was ample and staffs were friendly. Do check the place out at http://www.flamingo.com.my/main.htm. 5, Tasik Ampang, Jalan Hulu Kelang, 68000 Ampang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, Tel - 03-42563288.