Wednesday, August 26, 2020

FROM MACAO TO KL GRAND DINNER SERIES



Award-winning Master Chefs Yap Poh Weng (below centre) and Chung Kuy Fai (right) are the leading men at The Oriental Group's 
Grand Dinner series, scheduled from 22 August to 8 September 2020.

Teaming up with Ruyi's Chef James Ho (left) for the opening night, both master chefs pulled out the stops to showcase their signature specialities for the evening. Using carefully selected superfood ingredients and their wealth of culinary experience, the dynamic duo expertly whipped up more than a menu of good Chinese food – they artfully merged an eclectic blend of traditional Chinese cooking techniques with premium quality items and subtle global influences.

Hailed as one of China’s Top 50 Celebrity Chefs for Food & Wine magazine, the Malaysian-born Chef Yap has chalked up a sterling career spanning three decades in luxury hotels and upmarket restaurants, covering Malaysia, Surabaya, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Macao. His counterpart, Ipoh-born Chef Chung also boasts similar world-class credentials: having traversed some of the top kitchens from Tokyo to Shanghai, California’s Napa Valley to Macao.


Their Signature Appetisers Combination is a distinctive quintet featuring Pineapple, Mango, Pomelo & Crabmeat Tartare with Spicy Dressing & Caviar; BBQ Flaxseed Crispy Chicken; Organic Cherry Tomatoes with Sour Plum and Pickled Radish in Traditional Shanghainese Vinaigrette; Suzhou Style Crispy Eel; and Japanese Scallops with Sesame and Dressing Organic Spinach Rolls with Caviar.

Inspired by the idea of mango salsa, the chefs titillate our tastebuds with a tropical version: Pineapple, Mango, Pomelo & Crabmeat Tartare with Spicy Dressing and Caviar. Somewhat tart-tangy-hot, it helps to whet our appetite for the subsequent offerings.


Giving traditional sesame chicken an updated and healthier spin, Chef Yap’s BBQ Flaxseed Crispy Chicken wins instant plaudits around the table. Us Chinese are pragmatic people and the way to our hearts is definitely through our tummy!

Our palates have a bold wake-up call thanks to the sour-brininess of the Cherry Tomatoes with Sour Plum & Pickled Radish in traditional Shanghainese Vinaigrette. Luckily, it doesn’t affect our enjoyment of the exquisite Japanese Scallops with Sesame Dressing and Organic Baby Spinach Rolls with Caviar. We appreciate the dish’s delicate sweetness lightly punctuated by pinpricks of saltiness from the caviar.


Also on-point is the sesame seed-flecked, caramelized strips of Suzhou Style Crispy Eel. They’re incredibly addictive as once you try one, you’re compel to gobble up more unthinkingly. Slightly sweet and nutty on the outside before yielding to the soft, moreish flesh inside.


As a foodie, I never stop learning and discovering new food and ingredients. This year it’s the Double Boiled Roxburgh Anoectochilus & Black Garlic with Fresh Fish Maw Soup to leave us scrambling for more information. The smoky-sweet and slightly earthy broth is a result of two core ingredients: black garlic and a dried orchid root known as Roxburgh Anoectochilus – both selected for its medicinal properties and luxe up with smooth fish maw, dried scallop and village chicken. Let’s just say everything is good to the last drop.



A show-stopping main course of Poached Lobster with Chinese Wine quickly has us whipping out our smartphones to capture the impressive platter for posterity. Whiffs of the fragrant rose wine stimulate our senses as we savour the sumptuous lobster medallions.


On-point doneness makes the Steamed Ocean Garoupa with Guanxi Style Stuffed Japanese Beancurd Puffs & Luffa Gourd in Supreme Soy Sauce a joy to eat. The diverse spongy-softness of the beancurd puffs and the luffa’s soft, squishiness make interesting mouthfuls.

Instead of sticking to the tried and tested, the chefs proffer Crispy Stuffed Sea Cucumber with Hot & Sour Sauce. Stuffed with minced prawns, the plump piece of sea cucumber comes enveloped in a crisp batter crust. Complemented by a zingy hot and sour sauce, it’s another boundary-pushing dish to get Chinese food lovers talking.



Prior to dessert, we get to tangle with a generous serving of Shark’s Fin & Braised Meat Noodles with Chicken Lard Cracklings. Flavourful and springy to the bite, the eggy noodles are guaranteed to leave you replete albeit with enough tummy space for dessert.

Brace yourself for a triple treat as in addition to the salubrious Double Boiled Snow Lotus, Lotus Seeds & Pearl Seaweed with Osmanthus Sweet Broth, be sure to sample the sumptuous Black Thorn Durian Glutinous Rice Dumplings and Shanxi Red Dates Sweet Cake.

Not only does the sweet broth tickle the palate and senses with myriad textures, Malaysia’s highly sought-after, creamy black thorn durians also send us to seventh heaven as  gold-dusted charcoal powder glutinous rice dumplings in impossibly thin skins. Not to be outdone, slices of chewy Shanxi Red Dates Sweet Cakes – easily mistaken for layered agar-agar jelly – ensure the dinner finishes with a memorably sweet flourish.


Priced at RM288++ per person (min. 2 persons) or a table of RM2,288++ per table of 8 persons, the Grand Dinner at Oriental Group of Restaurants is available on:

August 25 & 29                 NOBLE BANQUET                     tel: 03 2145 8822

August 26 & Sept 4          ORIENTAL PAVILION             tel: 03 7956 9288

August 27                            THE HAN ROOM                         tel: 03 2284 8833

August 28 & Sept 8         NOBLE MANSION                      tel: 03 7932 3288

3 September                      ORIENTAL STAR                        tel: 03 9134 8488

5 September                       ORIENTAL TREASURE            tel: 03 2242 2382


Saturday, August 22, 2020

AUNTIE SIM KITCHEN LEVELS UP CLASSIC FAVOURITES WITH DISTINCTIVE DIFFERENCE

Claypot Braised Tilapia with Bittergourd. Dry-fried Hong Kong Yee Mee with Freshwater Prawns. Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo. Traditional Teochew Prawn Balls. These are but a handful of the recipes inherited from the Sim family’s grand matriarch, now showcased with pride at Auntie Sim Kitchen.

Never underestimate the enduring appeal of timeless dishes rustled up by a humble Teochew housewife with self-taught culinary skills. Luckily for food-loving enthusiasts, the grand matriarch’s revered recipes are no longer confined to a private kitchen but served for public enjoyment at the established restaurant in Damansara Uptown. 

The carefully curated menu also highlights distinctive Canto-Teochew specialities by a Hong Kong chef, enticing new and regular diners to return for more. Ambience-wise, the set-up is simple, modern and functional; large posters and ambient lighting evoke a no-frills albeit welcoming feel. Private dining rooms are available upstairs, with a similar pragmatic approach.

Brinjal, squid and fresh shimeiji mushroom form a harmonious trinity in the show-stopping Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo (RM25-small, RM35-medium, RM45-large). Sheathed in an airy, crisp batter, the fingerlings of brinjal, cross-cut squid and dainty fungi teasing our tastebuds with their diverse textures amidst palate-pleasing bursts of briny-peppery accents.

 

The delicate sweetness of minced prawns amps up the gastronomic experience; leaving us revelling in the delightful QQ texture of the Traditional Teochew Prawn Balls (RM35 for 10 pcs/portion) enveloped within an outer layer of crispy deep-fried beancurd skin. 

Imported dried pitaya flower from Hong Kong together with dried scallops, dried figs, top shell and pork are painstakingly double-boiled with mineral water for no less than 3 hours, resulting in the restaurant’s signature broth of Double Boiled Dried Pitaya Flower Soup with Top Shell Cubes (RM58 per pot for 4-6 persons).

According to the lady boss, Elaine Sim, the dried pitaya flower is a rare commodity; brought in specifically for her own resto use along with her own source of premium dried seafood from Hong Kong. Avid soup lovers will enjoy savouring the heartwarming, sweet broth – it’s a concentrated essence brimming with complex sweet-savouriness that satisfies one’s heart, soul and tummy.


Should you crave for more downhome fare, the Teochew Seafood & Tofu Broth (RM33-small, RM53-medium, RM73-large) is rib-sticking good. Thick, unctuous without being overly starchy, the humble albeit slurpilicious broth comes luxed up with squid, prawns and fish maw.

A dash of fragrant Chinese wine drizzled onto a piping hot claypot, to release the wine’s heady aroma heralds the arrival of Claypot Braised Tilapia with Bittergourd (from RM38 upwards) to our table. The appetising scent builds up our anticipation of the signature dish, making it a nice precursor to us savouring the actual speciality.

Scattered liberally with slivers of bittergourd and salty black beans, the fish garners plenty of plaudits around the table. We enjoy every mouthful of the flavourful fish; the attendant ingredients complementing its natural sweet taste. In stark contrast, the gentler nuances of Stir-fried Poh Choy (spinach) with Organic Mushrooms provide a welcome balance.


Sim also reveals lemongrass and wu sou gai (listed as prime chicken  a.k.a. naked neck chicken in the menu) make the eatery’s newly introduced Mun Cheong Chicken Rice (RM58++ ½ chicken, RM98++ whole chicken) stand apart from ubiquitous versions elsewhere. She emphasises the jealously guarded chicken rice recipe and the house made ginger and chilli sauces ensure the dish will gain favour with anyone seeking to nourish themselves with familiar comfort food.



We deem it a notable attempt: the tender chicken has a great bite to it and the rice richly flavoured, with the sauces giving the ensemble punchy robustness.

Sang har meen at Auntie Sim Kitchen also comes with an unexpected slant. Forget about the usual viscously eggy sauce as here, the Dry-fried Hong Kong Yee Mee with Freshwater Prawns (seasonal price, minimum 2 prawns) is presented gravy-less.

However, every strand of the toothsome noodles is thoroughly imbued with the inherent sweetness of freshwater prawns. Solid proof of the chef’s judicious braising skills, to ensure the noodles are soft enough to absorb the crustaceans’ sublime nuances yet retain the right doneness.


Simple, light and refreshing aptly describe the dessert of Ice Cold Thai King Coconut with Avocado (pre-order required, RM16 each). Tiny sago pearls lend some textural interest to the mildly sweet treat although the whole coconut the avocado puree is served in veers between young and tender or old and fleshy. In this case, Mother Nature calls the shots but a miss out of so many hits at Auntie Sim Kitchen means diners are still on a winning streak.


For reservations, please call Auntie Sim Kitchen, tel: 012-224 8206. Address: 24G, Jln SS 21/58, Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Auntiesimkitchen/

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

DAILY MAKANTHON AT DORSETT GRAND SUBANG


Dim sum. Chinese dishes. Barbecued items. Noodles. Appetisers. Soup.  Western and local fare. Dessert. Close to 50 tempting culinary choices are yours for the picking at only RM68 nett per person when you partake Dorsett Grand Subang’s newly launched Makanthon promotion.

Available daily from 6pm to 10pm at The Emperor Restaurant, the unlimited, 'eat all you can' feast is a boon if you want your wide array of dim sum and other specialities in one sitting. New norm SOPs are in place to ensure you dine in comfort and safety with family and friends. The trick is to go slow and steady; take your time to sample the extensive variety available. Portions are kept small so you can try as many dishes as possible then go for repeat servings on those that catch your fancy.

 


Family-friendly and wholesome appetisers to tease the palate include Loaded Potatoes (stuffed and baked potato with creamy-cheesy filling), Dorsett Wings (scrumptious with the housemade sauce), Caesar Salad (great for loading up on your greens quota) and Marinated Jelly Fish with Mini Octopus (piquantly flavoured with a toothsome crunchiness).

Friends who tried the Dorsett Mushroom Soup gave it the thumbs up while the Double Boiled Soup of the Day (it was Lotus Root with Chicken on the eve of our visit) ticked all the right boxes for us too.

Youngsters partial to Western fare will enjoy Pan Pizza Mahalo and Mini Cheese Burger. Both exceeded our expectations; the former generous with melted cheese and the latter, a mini, delicious beef patty with medium-rare doneness.


While the Grand Mee Mamak and Char Kway Teow pass muster, the Chinese Specials (a serving is good for 2 persons) are rave-worthy. The punchy flavours of the Sweet & Sour Fish makes it a show-stealer while the Salted Egg Prawns and Stir-fried Green Vege with Garlic get the thumbs up too.


Equally noteworthy to savour are Pei Pa Duck with Traditional Condiments along with the Roasted Sesame Chicken. The duck’s inherent gaminess is subtle, tempered by the nice sauce complementing it. If chicken holds more appeal, the meat’s smoky-brininess should you’re your appetite. These along with noodle options come in a serving for 2 persons so be sure to avoid food wastage or you’d be charged for leftovers of 150gm and above.


 

Known for its pork-free, Muslim-friendly dim sum creations, The Emperor highlights a plethora of its signature delights for Makanthon. Again, each serving is good for 2 persons so it pays to strategise those items you wish to try. Our top picks include Steamed Prawn Dumplings with Coriander, Steamed Siew Mai Emperor Style, Mui Choy with Chicken Meat Cheong Fun (flat rice noodle rolls), Deep-fried Prawn Rolls with Cheese and Mini Loh Mai Kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken).





Lovely dessert for a rousing finish ranges from Baked Mini Custard Egg Tarts and Assortment of Seasonal Fruits to Almond Beancurd Jelly with Longans and Mini Tiramisu. One cannot go too far wrong with the sweet treats except for the danger of overindulgence.

 

For Makanthon reservations, please call tel: 03 5031 6060 ext 1954 or email: bookfnb.subang@dorsetthotels.com

 

 

 

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