Thursday, October 25, 2018


The largest banquet hall in Cheras. That is Oriental Star’s claim to fame; heralding the debut the newest restaurant under the Oriental Restaurants group, to open in one of KL’s most densely populated suburbs.
Personally, I’m overjoyed as Cheras has always been considered a backwater; more renowned for its notorious traffic jams (really? Which part of Klang Valley is not??) and often perceived as a ‘rough and tumble’ ‘hood. It is heartening to know savvy restaurateurs like the Oriental Group realise this huge area has untapped potential, with folks yearning for the latest lifestyle mod-cons.
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Designed as a wedding and banquet venue, Oriental Star’s cavernous premise boasts an uncluttered setting, complete with a raised stage, mellow downlights and plush underfoot carpeting. Besides dim sum to pull in the lunch crowd, Oriental Star is enticing Cheras residents with a super value Gourmet Set Menu. Priced at RM 798++ per table of 10 pax, the multiple course menu should be the irresistible siren’s call to any food lover’s heart and stomach.
True to the Oriental Restaurants’ Group ethos, the opening volley is already designed to create an indelible impression. No detail is left to chance as the curtain-raising Teochew Style Platter is presented with aplomb, on a custom-made tiered stand to exude that wow factor.
Under the capable leadership of culinary supremo and Group Executive Chef Justin Hor, the kitchen team here proves they have the chops from the get-go. The quartet of appetisers comprising Fragrant Garlic Fish Fillet, Stewed Pork Neck, Intestines & Beancurd, Crispy Crab Meat Dumplings and Sea Clams with Wasabi Sesame Sauce is guaranteed to garner a few 'wow' around the table. Thumbs up to the clever melding of old-school, nostalgic taste and textural appeal with fleeting fusion influences.
My fave out of the lavish platter is the sliced clams complemented by crunchy jellyfish and okra pieces dressed in the nutty-zingy sauce. The other offerings are equally on-point and should bridge the familial generation gap easily.
The stodgy and somewhat fishy Braised Shark’s Fin with Crab Roe is underwhelming IMHO. And let's not wade into hot soup over the key ingredient (you know what I'm referring to) as one's man soup is another man's poison.
Fresh hope resurfaces once we sample the whole Steamed Ocean Dragon Garoupa with Fresh Abalone, Seng Kwa (luffa) & Squid Balls Taishan Style. Inspired by the ubiquitous hot pot of Taishan — a city-level county in Guangdong province — the clear, inherent sweet fish makes a raveworthy splash along with some toothsome abalone scattered with minced garlic, soft-tender luffa with slippery glass noodles and springy squid balls.
As expected, the house speciality of Roast Suckling Pig with Preserved Beancurd alone makes this menu worth every ringgit. Just savouring the impossibly thin, crackly crisp skin is utterly satisfying.
Although I enjoy the plump strands of Stir-fried Asparagus Beans with Olive and Soy Beans, I find the residual oily aftertaste leaves much to be desired. It could be our fault as we had left the dish sitting there too long. Remember, this dish is best eaten piping hot.
Eating Steamed Rice with Waxed Meat & Yam Shunde Style is almost evocative of the Lunar New Year season but such flavour-packed comfort food will undoubtedly hit the spot with the Cheras crowd.
Bringing the curtains down with a flourish are Three Angels, whimsically presented on another triple tiered stand resembling a tree with tiny birds perched on it. On closer inspection, each ‘branch’ bears a different dessert: lemon jelly and osmanthus jelly balls as well as dainty bricks of steamed sponge cakes with dessicated coconut. Ethereally light and subtly sweet, the delicate morsels ensure we leave Oriental Star in blissfully sweet mood.
The Gourmet Set is available for dine-in only until 31 December 2018.

For reservations, call Oriental Star, tel: 03-9134 8488. Address: M-S-01, Level 2, EkoCheras Mall, No. 693, Batu 5, Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

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