The curtain-raiser of Truffle Radish Puff with Twin Purple Sweet Potatoes from Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine’s Unique Vegetarian Set looks almost too pretty to be eaten.
An artistic creation featuring crisp, deep-fried purple sweet potato slices arranged around a flaky domed puff stuffed with truffle oil-scented radish and carrot julienne, the pastry’s outer layer is similar to that of a traditional Teochew mooncake crust: delightfully feather-light and crisp to the bite.
It’s one of the many inventive specialities showcased in the restaurant’s special set menu to commemorate Gau Wong Yeh – the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, a major Toaist religious celebration held on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. Devotees usually observe a strict vegetarian diet with many flocking to the Nine Emperor Gods temples in Ampang, Selangor and Butterworth, Penang for prayers.
Elegant Inn HK Cuisine is one of the rare Chinese restaurants in the city to offer a specially composed vegetarian set menu to mark the said festival. According to proprietress Jeanette Han, “our vegetarian menu is increasingly popular with diners who adhere to vegetarianism during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Since I’m not fond of greens, I challenge my chefs to create unique vegetarian dishes for this period.”
Her culinary team deftly rises to the occasion with that opening volley. The subsequent soup course proves equally show-stopping; a masterful demonstration of nifty knife skills that has beancurd ‘blooming’ into an otherworldly blossom with fine, wavy tendrils in the Double Boiled Soup of Tofu Blossom with Fresh Beetroot & Carrot.
True to the Cantonese preference for clear, uncomplicated flavours, Han says she prefers to serve soups with a natural, delicate sweetness culled from the ingredients used; through 4-6 hours of double-boiling. Hence one sip of the dark yet beguiling broth is enough to suffuse the palate with the inherent sweetness of beetroot, carrot and wolfberries chosen for its preparation.
Another clever masterstroke comes in the form of Trio Treasures Stuffed with Organic Beancurd & Quinoa. A more refined vegetarian version of ‘yong tau foo’, the pan-fried wedges of brinjal, bittergourd and red capsicum come stuffed with mashed organic beancurd with quinoa instead of fish paste. The slightly nutty and appealing stuffing is further enlivened by a tantalising dressing concocted using lychee vinegar and sesame sauce.
Springy hand-made noodles are stir-fried with porcini mushrooms and leafy greens result in a tempting serving of Premium Wild Porcini Noodles. Touched with truffle oil, the noodles leave us happily satisfied without feeling bloated.
Such hazy weather calls for a soothing dessert broth and the Double Boiled Snow Pear with Chuan Bei and Citrus Peel is roundly welcomed as chuan bei mu or fritillaria bulbs is known for its lung-soothing efficacy in traditional Chinese medicine herb.
The mildly fruity-sweet broth is also cooling for the body, making it a nice panacea for the hot, smoggy weather. Complementing it is Yan Xi Lotus Bloom Pastry – a flaky, multiple layer flower-shape pastry with sweet lotus seed paste centre. We learned the artful creation was inspired by the hit Chinese drama series, Yan Xi Palace.
Priced at RM138++ per person (minimum 2 diners per table), the Nine Emperor Gods Festival Unique Vegetarian Set from Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine is available from September 29 to October 7, 2019.
For reservations, please call , tel: 03-2070 9399. Address: 2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee, KL.