Sunday, January 12, 2014

EXTRA SUPER SPECIAL CNY




After 11 years in the business, Extra Super Tanker restaurant recently embarked on a renovation programme of sorts; refurbishing its private dining space upstairs in preparation for the CNY feasting period.

Brightly lit and clad dominantly in wood, painted in jade green and firecracker red hues, the rejuvenated premise evokes a welcoming rustic ambiance; reminiscent of yesteryear Chinese restaurants that you would either gush effusively over or gasp in dismay. The long, wide passageway is spacious enough for standing cocktails and can double up as an exhibition space if required. Also sliding doors that divide each of the private rooms mean a larger banquet space can be created as and when the need arises. 

Now what else is new? With the Year of the Horse galloping up around the corner, veteran chef Chin aka Ah Wah Kor (brother Wah) has rustled up several delectable dishes in conjunction with the CNY celebrations.


Raising the festive spirit with White Bait Yee Sang - that ubiquitous salad platter given a different twist topped with deep-fried white bait instead of raw fish slices. Oh, the usual suspects: salmon or jelly fish are still available of course but these crispy lil fishies are way better for that extra crunch. If there's one thing we wanna nitpick on is the rather lacklustre, colourless salad. While it's great to omit any preserved or artificially tainted ingredients and only shredded fresh vegetables are used, some fruits and veges: carrot, purple cabbage, mango and pumpkin can go a long way in jazzing up the platter further.


Next go soup's up with a moreish Double Boiled Soup with Morel, Soft Bone Ribs, Fish Maw & Dried Scallops (RM48++ per individual bowl). At least a day's notice is required for this salubrious broth to be available so remember to call ahead and book if you want to slurp up the sweet, smooth  broth filled with soft boned pork ribs, spongy morels, a slice of velvet-smooth fish maw and a whole Japanese dried scallop. Enjoy the ingredients' sensuous textural variations and the soup's delicately sweet nuances.


In recent years, poon choi (big feast bowl) has been all the rage but suffice to say not all are created equal. Ah Wah Kor's Poon Choi (RM688++ for 10 persons) breaches the par excellence benchmark and get this - throughout the CNY period, only five tables of lucky diners (10 to a table) will have a chance to savour this classic treat each day. It's all about the chef's strict quality control and believe me, no amount of top dollar would make the chef go beyond his daily threshold of five pots.


This speciality definitely impresses at first sight; the top layer filled to the brim with pricey premium ingredients: abalone, prawns, sea cucumber, goose webs, black seamoss, mushroom and Japanese dried scallops. How can anyone pass up on these extravagant stuff? In our books, they are the bees' knees but wait, dig a little further down and you'd uncover stuffed dried oysters, deer tendons, soft boned pork ribs and chunks of roast duck. 

 It's akin to a mini treasure hunt where numerous goodies are craftily hidden away. The suckerpunch comes from the bottom - a pool of big, hearty and stupendously sublime flavours amidst carrot and pumpkin wedges, red dates and Chinese cabbage leaves. It is too easy to go potty over the voluptuous flavours and riotous textures that veer between  rubbery smooth to powdery-soft and tender succulence.


The Steamed Hybrid Tiger Garoupa Fillet Rolls Stuffed with Minced Pork and Prawn Paste (RM228++ per fish) is what my mom would call 'kung fu tau'; her term for an ultra-labourious dish. Yet it doesn't faze the chef one bit to whip up this stunning masterpiece that pleases the eyes and tummy. Take your time to savour those soft but tender fish rolls that come that distinctly springy-chewy stuffing. Enhanced with clumps of aromatic fried minced garlic and ebikko, this dish is definitely an exquisite show-stopper.


Regulars at this restaurant have always raved about the Iberico Pork Ribs but now the porcine bar has been raised even higher with the introduction of Iberico Char Siew (RM35, RM80). Sheathed in a dark and viscous, lacquer-like sheen, the streaky Iberico pork is juicy to the bite; its caramelised sweetness tasting faintly smoky on the palate. Again very limited quantities of this speciality is available so it's best to call ahead and reserve your share in case demand exceeds supply.


The final dish that rises to the occasion is Waxed Meat Rice (RM60 - serving for 6 persons, RM80 - serving for 10 persons). What makes it different? Scrumptious Hong Kong goose liver sausages that's what. Normally I'd eat a slice or two of liver sausages but golly, this is so exceptional that I found myself eating more than my usual ration. The other waxed delicacies: belly pork, duck and pork sausages are up to par too; their irresistible aroma and mildly winey flavour infusing the fragrant jasmine rice. Don't miss the crunchy, charred rice crusts at the bottom - ample proof that the rice is cooked in the claypot and not served in the pot for presentation purpose. 


Ah, the proof of the pudding is in its eating and Extra Super Tanker proves that its food remains in top ship-shape form. CNY Set Menus are available at RM838++, RM998++ and RM1488++ per table of 10 persons.


Extra Super Tanker, 48, SS20/10, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: +603-7726 7768
Restaurant Extra Super Tanker

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