Fresh waves of changes have swept ashore at Spring Garden restaurant inside the iconic Suria KLCC shopping centre. Even Aquaman and his fiefdom would feel right at home amidst such ship-shape, expansive turquoise surrounds.
Tasteful interior accents trimmed in matte gold and shades of marsala and tangerine complemented by pendant lights encased in retro fish traps and floor-to-ceiling display seafood tanks complete the modern ambience. For the comfort of its corporate clientele, well-appointed private dining rooms are discreetly cloistered behind sleekly designed partitions, to ensure minimal disturbance from the main dining area.
One of the scrumptious signature specialities recommended to us is airy-light battered Soft Shell Crabs sandwiched in cottony soft Mantao Buns (RM58++ for 5 pieces).
Deep-fried to an enticingly golden brown hue, the delicious chunks of savoury crabs reach new gastronomic heights once the savoury and aromatic salted egg and curry leaf sauce is drizzled onto the buns. An utterly fabulous way to tickle the tastebuds when you bite into that melange of soft, crisp and crunchy textures complemented by blooming flavours!
Served half on its shell, the impressive pièce de résistance of Steamed Freshwater Prawn with Minced Garlic & Glass Noodles (RM26++/100g) tastes distinctly clear and sweet on the palate. Imported from Indonesia, the divine crustacean flaunts tantalising hints of garlic against the silky tapestry of glass noodles like a naughty temptress with its slip showing.
More majestic and no less fearsome, the Steamed Giant Grouper Nyonya Style (RM25++/100g) makes its presence felt in more ways than one, like the proverbial grand dame. Besides the fish’s fearsome looks, the Nyonya sauce also stirs our senses thanks to its robust notes of lemongrass, torch ginger and chillies. We find the fish’s fine, smooth flesh readily embraces the piquant sauce like ummm...fish to water.
Before non-seafood fans despair they are being left out at Spring Garden, fret not. You can sample tempting dishes such as Braised Diced Chicken In Hot Pot (RM35++/portion) from the a la carte menu. Served in a stone pot, the generous chicken dices are tossed in granny’s recipe of black beans and chilli sauce. Once you have a whiff of the resultant fragrance from the sizzling pot, you'd be drooling and asking for more of that tender chicken pieces.
A stock made from chicken and fish bones in addition to dried scallop imbues loads of flavour to the Poached Fried Rice in Superior Broth (RM30++/portion). Tai Thong's Group Executive Chef Simon Lee Lit Chang (pix below) also adds a bowl off crispy puffed rice for textural interest aside from the milieu of diced scallop, carrot, Chinese cabbage, egg, mushroom and prawn already inside the pot.
When he finally dishes it up, the bowl of poached rice has a subtle smoky aroma to it. The rice is similar to Japanese zosui with a richer yet comforting overtone, punctuated by bits and pieces of the ingredients doled out.
Dim Sum is also a daily mainstay at Spring Garden during lunch. My personal fave is the unusual Crispy Shredded Duck Cheong Fun (RM13.80++), steamed flat rice flour rolls filled with shredded roast duck you’d rarely find at other Chinese restaurants. The little side dish of chilli dip is excellent too.
Durian enthuasiasts take note. Make sure you savour the distinctive dessert of Steamed Charcoal Buns with Durian and Salted Egg Yolk (RM15.80++). Possibly the only black as night sweet buns with molten, sweet-savoury and some would say weird combo of durian and salted egg yold filling, they should go down a treat if you’re into unique taste combination.
Notable options on the dim sum parade include Beancurd Roll with Prawns (RM12.80++), Taro Dumplings or Woo Kok (RM9.80++), Xiu Mai (RM10.80++), Tai Thong Superior Har Gao (RM12.80++) and Steamed Lao Sa Bao Buns with Salted Egg Yolk (RM9.80++) among others.