Sunday, August 05, 2012

EIGHT'S A CELEBRATION

Eats A Celebration! Savour chef Frankie Woo's special menu to mark Gu Yue Tien's 8th Anniversary

Time flies when you're having fun...it sure seems that way for chef turned restaurateur Frankie Woo whose Gu Yue Tien restaurant will be celebrating its 8th year in our local cut-throat Chinese restaurant scene.

Having left the safe confines of employment of international hotel chains all those years ago, Frankie has worked tirelessly to carve his own niche in the F&B business and succeeded to some extent; drawing a loyal clientele (including luminaries such as Datuk Michelle Yeoh and fiance, Datuk Jean Todt in the past) who return time and again to sample his culinary masterpieces.

To mark Gu Yue Tien's 8th anniversary, Frankie has drawn up a nostalgic menu priced at RM88++ per person which will run from August until end September, taking his customers on a retrospective culinary trip down memory lane.

Old is gold...one of the unexpected dishes that Frankie may woo you with

Instead of the ubiquitous four seasons platter that raises the curtain for most banquets, Frankie pulls out the stops by serving eight types of appetisers in keeping with the auspicious occasion. In order to derive full satisfaction from them, he recommends starting with the Salad Cucumber with Chicken Floss first.

Cool cucumber discs topped with mayo & chicken floss
Perked up with warm mayonnaise speckled with tiny celery and carrot dices, the crunchy cucumber
discs came adorn with mounds of crisp chicken floss. Popping each thickly cut disc into our mouths, the cucumber's crunchiness melds nicely with the accompanying smooth, creamy and feathery textures.

Rolls of desire using tender pork slices and cucumber julienne

Ramping up the flavour quotient a little is Sliced Pig's Neck Meat Rolled with Shredded Cucumber and Hot Bean Sauce; another irresistible pairing that has tender slices of thin pig's neck meat and julienne of crunchy cucumber livened up with a little dollop of robust hot bean sauce.

Foie gras mousse on toast
Moving on, the Foie Gras Mousse on Toast bears testimony to the chef's fondness for global influences in his own culinary endeavours. Happily devouring the crispy toast pieces topped with velvety smooth slices of foie gras and nectar-sweet mango dices, we certainly had no complaints about the rich, dense and indulgent combination.

A tribute to the roaring 1960s

If you have parents who grew up in the 1960s, they'd tell you that hai chou or crab meat dumpling is all the rage then in Chinese restaurants. Now diners will get a chance to relive that nostalgic treat as Frankie has included Deep Fried Crab Meat Ball into his celebratory repertoire.

I love sinking my teeth into the crackling crisp outer skin and sampling the milieu of ingredients within: shredded carrot, celery, water chestnuts and crab meat - all subtly scented with five spice powder. So yummy!

Cold chicken slices with jelly fish to leave you clucking with approval
 A piquant chilli paste accentuated with fresh kalamansi lime juice adds a fiery dimension to the slices of Cold (poached) Chicken and Jelly Fish. This was a popular offering for many banquet appetiser platters in the 1970s so it was a delight to relish it again after so long.

Delectable parcels of prawns in sui kow skin

Springy succulent prawns filled the crunchy parcels of Deep Fried Prawn Dumplings; a perennial favourite that few diners would ever tire of.

Nibble on these briny crunchy white bait coated in salted egg yolk
 The Fried White Bait with Salted Egg Yolk presented in a fine filigree vermicelli nest is wickedly addictive; we find ourselves hooked the minute the first briny, crunchy morsel passed our lips.

Toothsome wedges of century egg

Dark and smooth with firm jelly-like texture, Century Egg wedges complemented with Japanese pink ginger pickles complete the starting appetiser line-up. A time-honoured method of preserving duck (and sometimes chicken and quail) eggs, the eggs are preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice hulls for several months. You either love or hate them; the dark grayish-green yolks yield a sulfuric nuance while the whites take on a translucent, brownish-black hue and bouncy texture.

Look Ma...no fins


Conscious of these politically correct times, Frankie has done away with sharks' fin soup and opted instead to feature Braised Seafood Soup with Crab Roe. The viscous broth tastes just as good, chockful with assorted shellfish, wisps of beaten egg and diced beancurd.

Frankie's signature dish that sets tastebuds alight

One of the dishes that made Frankie famous is his Charred Rack of Lamb; a meaty, slightly sweet and smoky delight that will have you picking the bone clean. For those who prefer something porcine, there's Salt Baked Iberico Spare Ribs in place of lamb.

Sweet prawns of mine
It's difficult to decide which aspect of the Fried Fresh Water Prawns with Spicy Sauce we like more - the inherent sweetness of the crustaceans themselves or the lusty, complex sweet, tangy sauce that they were bathed in. Don't worry about letting the superb sauce goes to waste; the dish comes which a plate of thin, rectagular toast slices for you to mop up every drop of the delectable gravy.

Smooth, silky steamed fish to go with blanched rice vermicelli
Bright, robust Hunanese flavours dominate the showpiece of Hunan-style Steamed Seasonal Live Fish. Despite the pungent pairing of minced chilli and garlic, the natural sweetness of the hybrid fish (cross between patin and pak sou koong, a specie of catfish) remains discernible. The doneness is spot on too and to soak up all the flavourful fish jus that's pooled in the plate, we had some blanched bee hoon (rice vermicelli) to soak up the delicious liquid.

Chilling treat to conclude dinner
Dinner finishes on a light, sweet and cool note - a glass of Chilled Sea Coconut with Longan and Sliced Lime to cleanse the palate and round up the meal on a high note.

Here's to another eight and more years in the Chinese culinary realm, Frankie!


Gu Yue Tien’s 8th Anniversary special menu is available from now until September 30. For reservations, call 03-2148 0808. The restaurant is located at Lot 5A Chulan Square, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur.



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