Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine, Menara Hap Seng

Some invites are to be coveted while some invites make you be a bad christian and make up stories about how you have to attend your grandmother's 102nd birthday or your aunty's tupperware party. An invite from Hooi Khaw makes us disobey the 10th commandment. Thou shalt not covet. Because an invite from Hooi Khaw always rocks, and you can be SURE that the food will be par excellent! In fact, if I had another appointment, I'd probably have to come up with some white lie to get out of that other one.

I've always been meaning to try Elegant Inn, because of its Tmn Connaught reputation. You can imagine me doing cartwheels, or maybe not, .... so on a Tuesday night, dumping my usual family dinner (sister comes home to eat on Tuesdays, so the house is very festive), I head for Menara Hap Seng, and find all my FAVOURITTTE people there. Thamby and Bald Eagle, Cumi and Ciki, ALilFatMonkey, our dear Hooi Khaw, and our gracious host, Jeanette.

So classy, got personalised menu! We're mentioned in the menu! Friends ma.

Jeanette, I have so say upfront, is the Walking Wikipedia of food and food ingredients. Exceedingly particular about the items she serves, her cashew nuts are hand selected from the best. Malaysian cashews failed the test, Sri Lankan nuts are the best, Vietnamese are good, Chinese nuts are .... well, depends which part of China.

If you look carefully in the pile of nuts, there are one or two cashews left, coz I had picked out most of them. To eat.

Elegant people for Elegant Inn. Check out the perfectly manicured nails. Not on the menu though.

Monkey thinks there's food on the trees....

A rather lavish Yee Sang....and my first for the year. Now, let's see if I can remember this. The jelly fish for the texture, the abalone for the juicy spurt of marine goodness, and the salmon to wrap it all up. None of the fakely colored preserved questionable vegetables, only freshly grated pear, radish, etc etc....Really refreshing. RM88 for full mai, RM68 for half mai, RM48 for mini mai. Ours was the half mai, and very substantial. We tossed to various things...for the KLCI to hit 2000 points, for peace and harmony in the country, for more glorious food reviews.... etc etc

My two favourite Monkeys

Salt & Pepper HK silver fish and gloriously silken homemade tofu. The fish is battered just perfectly. Crispy on the inside, still chewy on the inside. It screamed for a glass of ice cold beer.

Japanese Kobe (yup, you read it right, JAPANESE KOBE) in E.I. Garlic Style, and special chilled spoon with fresh salmon and crabmeat. Eat the silverfish first, wash your palate with the chilled spoon, a tangy combination that refreshes your tongue, followed by the absolutely spine tingling melt in the mouth Kobe beef. Seriously, being spoilt like this, makes you think you must have done something right to deserve such blessings.

Our ever smiling Hooi Khaw. Alas, our host, Jeanette, warned us, NO PICS of her.

In case you missed it, check out the kobe close up. Okay, this dish is NOT cheap. It's RM108 for 100gm, and there's probably 50gm in each bowl.

Traditional Signature Pig Stomach With Peppercorn and Salted Vegetable Double Boiled Soup.

Look at the amount of ingredients that go into the soup. Kampung chicken, dried scallops, yunnan ham, pork ribs, pork stomach, abalone mushroom, salted vegetables, and because its double boiled, the carcasses still retain its flavour and can be a meal on its own.

Peppery without it assailing your palate. It should leave a subtle pepper afterburn AFTER you drink it, not while, according to Jeanette.

Golden Fried Estuary Garoupa Fillet with Chinese Leeks Topping. Excellent dish. The skin is crispy, and there's a light layer of potato starch to crisp it, without battering it. The fish was firm, and fresh. Excellent.

If one fish wasn't enough, Jeanette insisted we try the steamed tilapia with Ham Yue Fah Lam. (salted fish and belly pork). Alilfatmonkey very astutely observed, "it's very difficult to take pictures of fish, cos they look so ....dead".... to which Bald eagle chirped, "yeah as opposed to Kobe beef, that look like they're on a spa vacation".

Somewhere at this juncture, we find out Jeanette is actually A SINGAPOREAN!!!!!

She did endear herself to us by the fact she's lived here a long time, and also, she was saying, aiya, these singaporeans, to them, (in relation to crabs), its all about the size. Hence the sri lankan crabs are popular. Size, doused in sauce.

As opposed to us clever Malaysians who appreciate the subtle sweet flavours of our smaller mud crabs.

Someone quipped that it would be quite hard to ruin this photo, as the crabs looked soooo beautiful. Signature styled Egg Yolk Style. Rather than the usual deep fried murdered by salted egg yolk style you get, this one allows the flavour of the crab meat to be savoured. Delicious.

8 Vegetarian Treasures in Chef's Sauce. The wood ears ...or was it cloud ears, are from HARBIN, where apparently the best ones come. Wood or cloud, the texture is supposed to be somewhere in between. Not an ear connoiseur, even I could tell that this was really fine quality stuff.

Bitter gourd with Salted Vegetables. I love bitter gourd, so this is one of my favourite dishes. Bald Eagle and bittergourd are like PKR and Umno.

The amazing Claypot Rice with HK Waxed Meats. What can I say? I think a picture (even a not so terror one, unlike those from the Queen of the DSLR) speaks a thousand words. I can almost smell that intoxicating aroma....

Their signature fried rice, simple, but not so simple. Two types of rice, (thamby managed to sniff this out with her nose, the amazing chap), crab meat, enough wok hei....

The handsome young chef, and co-owner, who made it all happen.

Sweetened Japanese Pumpkin Sago Soup With Green Beans. Smooth and creamy, but not cloying, sago pearls to give it that contrasting texture, and green bean to give it that oomph.

Malai Gou. (Malay Kueh). Not a fan usually, but this was moist, spongy, and not too sweet.

Banana Chinese pancakes...(banana chinese are what ah? Yellow outside white inside?) and Nutty sesame rice ball. I like this take on the pancake, instead of the normal lotus or red bean.

Now, what were these people laughing at?

Check out this cute little bejeweled chandelier....

Did thamby steal some of the jewels and wear them like a queen?

No, apparently, they were laughing coz they saw her digging her nose. How very unqueenly. It's like imagining the Queen on the potty. Cis.

Thanks again Hooi Khaw for the invite, and to Jeanette for having us.

Elegant Inn also has some CNY set menus, very reasonably priced, from RM788++ per table for dinner, or from RM538++ for lunch. (thinking to self, when to go back there and eat).

On another unrelated note, erm, I was interviewed on BFM yesterday, so if you want to listen, check out the pocast HERE.


gfad said...

I plebeian. I enjoy my yee sang in all its psychedelic glory. Yours look very healthy and elegant..

What I wouldn't do with a hot steaming bowl of peppery chi tho thong (yes, plebeian me likes being assaulted head on with loads of pepper.) in this cold weather.

I remember the foo-kwa from Nigel's post. Looks lovely.

And the lap mei farn!! O. M. G. The lap yoke looks like a killer!!

If not for the food, I'd go just for the chef alone... grrrowwwl.. love a man who cooks..

BTW, Pandoro is yeasted cake (bottom left pix in your dessert collage). Usually served covered under 2 inches of icing sugar..

little fish said...

The chef is good looking !
and I love the claypot rice it looks yummy

little fish said...

so are you saying they were once located in Tmn Connaught?

Ciki said...

ROFL!! apha.. duncan or LL or wotever new nick.. SHE'S gonna kill u.. and munkey specifically told u no open mouth foto .. u ar.. :P

anyway, the write up was amusing as always.. food was excellent:P nice shots ahpa.. now i gotta look for all the difft angles on mine:P

Babe_KL said...

LOL aiyoyo kadavale, war is gonna erupt soon.

so fast lou sang oredi so nice! anyway, congrats for being on air :D so femes now

Rebecca Saw said...

I wonder when is this plc ever gonna be affordable.

Apparently the price is so ex that its fame reaches Pg - that my Pg foodies are askin me why so ex? And my answer is "well, we'll nvr find out, cos me and all of u also no money to eat thr!" ;p

Kenny Mah said...

Chinese nuts? Oh I have it on good authority that Chinese nuts can be very nice... and tasty. ;)

ToyGirl said...

I've been meaning to makan in this restaurant for ages! The location being the biggest deterrent. Must drag husband to go.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Man, I need to get them earrings fast before they're sold out!!!

fatboybakes said...

morgan, indeed you do. i'm sure when they know the queen's wearing it, it'll sell faster than papadams in winter.

toygirl, what location? its in menara hap seng, next to shang. how can that be a deterrent?

LFB, i'll take your word for it. though jeannette says the best are sri lankan. [glancing at thamby for confirmation]

fatboybakes said...

TNG, actually, not ALL the dishes are expensive. they do serve your normal fare, and apparently their koo lou yoke is to die for. and frankly, its really good quality chow.

babekl, haha, wherrre got femes la. i'm oridi one of the last to appear on air... they musta been scraping the bottom of the barrel.
war? with thamby? never, we just make love, not war. not MAKE LOVE make love, ...but make, love.

ciki, monkey told me? really? i dont remember.

fatboybakes said...

little fish, they still are in tmn connaught, but apparently they open there only on fri-sunday.

gfad, shocked! you'd go just for the chef? speechless. u hoe!

Julian Si said...

Bro, WHAT A FEAST .... mmmh, Yee Sang, is it CNY yet!?

WAHHHhhhh... I can taste the Lap Mei Fan all the way from here in Abu Dhabi :-)


ps - Chef sure looks like Andre from RamaV :-)

qwazymonkey said...

Like finally gotten the time to read your post. Actually, the pics turned out very nicely. You wait ya, I'd make a pictorial tribute to you when my post is up too!

What a feast it was eh?

fatboybakes said...

monkey, loved your post as usual. pictorial debut my a**.

jules bro, where got look like andre la he! far from it la. u back for CNY right? said...

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