A cavernous roast turkey is always a reliable centrepiece for a dining table because it’s a versatile dish you can build a great meal around. However, if you’re looking to break with tradition and not deal with the possibility of a bird that’s either too dry or too boring, there are other less predictable options to command the table. Order from these restaurants for a well-deserved rest at the end of an exhausting year.
Roast and Confit Bidor Duck
Get it at: Entier French Dining
Duck is way beyond its days as the stuffy fare of French cuisine as more restaurants are turning beautifully browned birds into enticing window displays. What Entier has done is roast an entire Bidor duck with honey orange glaze, yielding a mahogany skin so crispy it might just crackle. To complete the meal, each of them is served with charred garlic, duck jus and mashed potatoes. If you have more than enough to go around, just turn the leftovers into a sandwich for lunch next day.
Half portion, RM103; whole duck for RM207. Order here.
Roast Platter (includes turkey, lamb leg, rib eye beef and salmon wellington)
Get it at: Botanica + Co
This varied platter, which feeds five to six people, pulls out all the stops to cater to your guests, while still keeping the lone turkey lover in the group satisfied. Fall-off-the-bone lamb leg and beef have surged in popularity since they make perfect accompaniments to hearty sides such as honey-glazed baby carrots, duck fat potato with sage, herbed rice and French beans – all of which you can order together with your platter. Serve it with gravy of your choice (either turkey, Bordelaise, mint or cranberry), which will guarantee to clean plates all ‘round.
Each package includes three sides (500g of serving each) and two sauces. RM350. Order here.
Get it at: Table and Apron
Forget about the big bird and go all the way with a hefty pork belly porchetta as your Christmas pièce de résistance. Marinated with a mélange of spices, including fennel, cracked black pepper, chilli, lemon, garlic and rosemary, Table and Apron’s roast features a crackling skin so crispy it borders on sinful. The 1.5kg roast feeds up to six people and is accompanied with a citrusy gremolata sauce and Dijon mustard. Place your reservation soon as The Roast Porchetta is only available as pre-order.
RM180 per portion. Pre-order here.
Salt-baked Sea Bass
Get it at: Bistro à Table
Bistro à Table's poisson en croûte de sel — or salt-baked sea bass — is a great pescatarian alternative to poultry or red meat. While the salt crust brings its share of wow factor to the dish, it’s the fresh and flavourful flesh that will earn the seal of approval from your guests. Thanks to the salt-and-egg-white encasement, the fish is well-seasoned and kept extremely moist. Although the dish is good on its own, the accompanying chimichurri sauce gives it a new tangy layer. The whole fish will serve two to four people. Complete your Christmas meal with Bistro à Table's trimmings, which include roasted vegetables, truffle mash potatoes, and sticky date pudding with gula Melaka butterscotch.
Call 011 1036 5888 to order. Mains from RM180. See the menu here.
Roasted Leg of Lamb
Get it at: PichaEats
If you want to avoid the cooking fuss entirely, Picha Eats is offering Christmas meal sets that serve up to six people. For a real showstopper, go for the leg of lamb, which is roasted with herbs and topped with pomegranate seeds and served with an onion lamb sauce. The Merry & A Li’l Lamb set also comes with a tzatziki dip, a tabbouleh parsley salad and homemade pita bread. You might need to exercise self-restraint with the dessert, which includes cranberry cream cheese and mint puffs and mini knafehs, a Middle Eastern dish made with shredded filo pastry layered with cheese and soaked in syrup.
Set is priced at RM445. Order here.