Sunday, July 21, 2019

NEW IDEAS, OLD FAVOURITES AT FIVE SEN5ES


Minced Duck Fried Rice with Prawns, Yam & Pumpkin in Claypot (RM45 small, RM88 large) IMHO best defines the culinary concept behind Five Sen5es – the Chinese restaurant at The Westin Kuala Lumpur.

Classic yet contemporary in its approach, the pot of fluffy fried rice is an ingenious tricked up version of a typical Chinese classic and popular favourite of Chinese food lovers everywhere.

Coupled with the appetising aroma and the dish’s myriad of vibrant colours, the subsequent parade of textures and flavours makes it nothing short of a faultless show-stopper; a literal visual feast for the eyes and a pleasure for the palate.
 

True to its name, Five Sen5es encompass an immersive dining experience that stimulates one’s aural-visual-gustatory senses. From the restaurant’s mellow lighting and the plush carpet underfoot to its egalitarian setting adorned with oversized Chinese ‘antique’ cauldrons, ceramic showpieces and culinary implements amidst gurgling water features and contemporary Oriental furnishings, Five Senses is markedly different from the city’s quintessential Chinese restaurants.

An open show kitchen takes pride of place, according an unobstructed view of live kitchen theatrics whilst several plushly furnished private rooms ensure greater privacy for those who prefer to be away from the resto’s hustle-bustle.

Tea connoisseurs will be delighted to know Five Sen5es offers a premium tea selection. Our choice of Bi Lo Chun (green snail spring tea) – a delicately nutty-fruity green tea with tightly curled leaves hence the name – goes like a dream with the assortment of dim sum and house specialities we savoured.

On Monday to Saturday, All You Can Eat Simply Dim Sum is available at RM88 nett per person but you can also opt to go a la carte. Come Sunday and public holidays, the Simply Dim Sum Buffet is served at RM125 nett per person from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

The team here strives to bestow subtle touches to the pork-free savoury and sweet morsels, stamping their own inimitable mark to set the delicate servings apart from the competition. Recommended specialities include Steamed Prawn with Truffle Har Gow (RM18 per serving of 3pcs) and Crispy Yam Puffs with Fresh Scallops (RM18 per serving of 3pcs).Sweet and springy to the bite, the prawn dumplings prove on-point although the taste of truffle is far too subtle. Perhaps a drizzle of truffle oil would help to amplify this aspect.


Happily, the latter scores better with an enticingly crisp outer skein enrobing the creamy yam mash stuffed with an umami-rich mushroom filling. A disc of sweet scallop and some tobikko up the appeal ante further.

Gossamer-light and wispy to the bite, the Deep-fried Net Spring Roll with Prawn & Mango (RM18) also ticks all the right boxes for us. Love the textural contrasts and the matchy crustacean and fruit sweetness. Try sampling it with the side dip of Thai sweet chilli sauce to give the roll a zingy uptake.

Another notable conversation-stopper here is Fried Turnip Cake with XO Sauce & Turkey Ham (RM14). Brimming with sublime smokiness, the cubes of slightly charred turnip cake with a delectable tumble of scrambled egg, beansprouts and chopped scallion hit the spot well.

New meets old in the a la carte menu too, effectively showcasing the culinary team’s inventive creations whilst retaining popular mainstays. One of the newer curtain-raisers include Crispy Salmon Banana Roll with Green Tea Dressing (RM36 small, RM68 big).

The play on textural differences are clearly defined and the savoury-sweet combo complementary. Personally, I’d prefer more of the salmon and less of the banana – I know it’s tricky to juggle this aspect as depending on the type of bananas used, the sweetness may vary. In this instance, the strong inherent salmon flavour seems overwhelmed by the banana. Even the accompanying green tea sauce lacks that edgy grassy freshness to enliven the roll.

Top marks go to the Braised Fresh Scallops with Seaweed & Seafood Thick Soup (RM36 per portion) though. Crowned with tender scallops and succulent prawns atop a sheet of seaweed, this delicate tasting broth is a clear winner. Put it down to the milieu of egg white, chopped beancurd, seaweed, prawn dices and crab meat in the not-too-viscous soup.


Fried fish that remains crispy amidst a pool of sticky, sweet-hot lemongrass-chilli sauce bears testament to the chef’s skilful prowess when we dig into the slab of Fried Cod with Signature Lemongrass Sauce (RM160/180g). Generously topped with slivers of young raw mango, cucumber and onion, the scrumptious cod fillet falls easily into the ‘must eat’ category when you visit Five Sen5es.
Reminiscent of homely braised fare whipped up by family matriarchs, one can hardly go wrong with Braised Chicken with Chestnuts & Mountain Yam (RM52 small, RM98 large) in claypot.


Scented with fragrant Chinese wine, this comforting speciality calls for plain white rice to fully capture its culinary virtues. According to the chef, the flavourful concoction of hoisin sauce with fu yue (fermented beancurd) and taucheo (preserved soya bean paste) is the key secret that turns the various ingredients into a cohesive, mouth-watering dish.

A colourful medley of lotus root, wood ear fungus, snow peas, baby corn, celery, ginkgo nuts, sugar snap peas, and carrot goes into the making of Fragrant Crispy Vegetables with Roasted Pine Nuts (RM38 small, RM73 large) here. Scattered with roasted pine nuts, this perennial mainstay is a joy to partake; just a mouthful is enough to reinforce its enduring appeal.


Should you have left over tummy space for dessert, recommended treats to sweeten your meal include Chilled Chinese Herbal Jelly with Aloe Vera Honey Juice (RM16), Silken Mango Cream with Pearl Sago & Crushed Thai Pomelo (RM20) and Crispy Avocado Kataifi (RM20).

Flavoured with chrysanthemum and osmanthus, the clear herbal jelly should make it agreeable to those averse to bitter herbs. Otherwise, the mango purée may be a good alternative. A portion of mildly sweet avocado in a crispy coating of kataifi pastry should wrap up your outing to Five Sen5es with a nice crunch.

For reservations, call Five Sen5es, tel: 03-2773 8338. Address: Level 1, The Westin Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

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