Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chinese New Year at The Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur

It's always a treat to be invited to Shangri-La, regardless of the outlet, but the Shang Palace, despite its switch to pork free status a few years back, remains one of my favourites, and certainly a family favourite too.  So for the 2nd Yee Sang of 2018, to be having it in Shang Palace, come hell or highwater I made sure I was going to be there.

There's always a certain elegance associated with Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, a classic but yet not ostentatious display of classiness, and this certainly permeates into their dishes.  We were privy to the Happy Reunion Set Menu, priced at RM2318 for a table of 10.  To start, we had this gorgeous Signature Yee Sang with Abalone with caviar and gold flakes, not part of the set.  The set comes with a Salmon Yee Sang. 

The tricky part about the after toss is to zero in to the good stuff, like the sliced abalone and the caviar and gold leaf.  That aside, the Yee Sang was totally as expected, a cacophony of textures and tastes, sweet, sour, salty, crunchy, chewy, soft....

I always enjoy the soups here too.  FYI, Shangri-La has a no sharksfin policy.  But you really wouldn't miss it, with this Braised Superior Seafood Soup, with fish maw and sun dried scallops.  In fact, this was my go to soup back in the day when I had the Shang Privilege Card.

Stir Fried Prawns and Scallops with Assorted Mushrooms...I'm glad this dish is kept "simple" to showcase the freshness and flavour of the scallops and prawns.  It would be travesty to drown this in sauces ...

Easily my favourite dish of the meal, Shang Palace Poached Chicken with Lemon Grass in Superior Soy Sauce.  I love "pak cham kai", and this dish was an upped ante of my favourite pak cham kai, so what's not to love.  A discussion ensued on the table on breast vs thigh.  God in His wisdom has made each palate different, so there was almost an equal number of thigh vs breast fans.  Loved the flavours, and the texture of the chicken.  Chicken in my opinion should have some bite, not too tender.

Steamed Long Fu Pan with black fungus Teo Chew Style.  I'm guessing Long Fu Pan is a kind of grouper.  The broth from the steaming is pretty sumptuous.

Stewed Sun Dried Oyster With Sea Cucumber and Sea Moss in oyster sauce, a must have for Chinese New Year meals, because of the Cantonese sounds associated with these ingredients, which inevitably relates to either prosperity or longevity which should presumably lead to happiness.  This is a very lux dish, not something you'd have regularly, ...at least I don't, so it's quite a treat.  Especially that large tuft of sea moss.

Braised Ee Fu noodles with Shredded Noodles and Crab Meat. I really liked this dish as well, being a hardcore noodle fan.  It's very difficult to describe, because on the one hand, it's wonderfully familiar, but on the other hand, it IS the Shang Palace ....but you know what I mean.  I'd order this from the ala carte any day.

Sweetened ginger soup with red dates, dried apricot and black sesame seed dumplings, with traditional pan fried Ninkou with walnut sesame ball. The perfect end for a lavish reunion dinner...

Six Varieties of Yee Sang
Six varieties of Yee Sang can also be ordered a-la-carte for dine-in or takeaway from 8 January to 2 March. Korean Snow Pear at RM99 nett (small) and RM198 (large)
Crispy Fish Skin and Jellyfish Flower at RM99 nett (small) and RM198 (large)
Salmon Fish at RM138 nett (small) and RM276 (large)
Crispy Mushroom and Gingko Nuts at RM99 nett (small) and RM198 nett (large)
Sliced Abalone with Caviar and Gold Flakes at RM248 nett (small) and RM496 nett (large) - the one we had
Tempura Lobster Meat with Soft Shell Crab at RM248 nett (small) and RM496 nett (large).

There are also five prosperity set menus:

8-course Great Prosperity Set Menu at RM239 nett per person
Rich Fortune Set Menu at RM339 nett per person (with minimum 4 persons)
9-course Happy Reunion Set Menu at RM2,318 nett per table of 10 persons - the one we had
9-course Wealth Treasures Set Menu at RM3,388 nett per table of 10 persons
9-course Immense Wealth Set Menu at RM4,998 nett per table of 10 persons.

Of course the Immense Wealth Set Menu, as the name implies, would come with super luxury items like Birds Nest soup with Lobster...(I can only imagine)

All the set menus begin with Yee Sang and end with pan-fried Ninko.

Early Bird Offer: 25% OFF on Set Menus for from 19 February till 2 March at Foyer Area for minimum booking of 10 persons and above with full payment by 5 February 2018.

Ninko Fortune
At Shang Palace, the fish-shaped Coconut Ninko makes an attractive and auspicious gift. It is available for takeaway from 8 January till 15 February at RM58 nett per box.

For reservations or more information, call (03) 2074 3904, email restaurantreservations.slkl@shangri-la.com or visit www.shangri-la-specials.com

Monday, January 29, 2018

The First Lou Sang for 2018 At Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Is it that time of year again?  Gasp.  Barely has the mistletoe come down, and already we are deluged with the cacophonious melodies of Chinese New Year, which mainly seem to revolve around prosperity.  Actually, Chinese New Year this year is rather late, there have been years where it would almost be CNY eve by now.  (As in by today, 26th Jan).  For those who don't know, the Lunar New Year falls this year on 16th February, whereby we will be ushering in the year of the wooff wooff bark bark...

Dynasty Restaurant, which is Pork Free, is offering many choices of set menu, and we were lucky enough to sample the Happiness Set (RM1788), which of course, starts off with the mandatory Yu Sang.

Salmon Yu Sang.  I enjoyed this, not only was it the first for the year, but I also prefer traditional style Yu Sangs, whereby they don't try to be overly creative and turn it into a fruit salad or something.  So this one hit the spot.

There always seems to be a chopstick shot of sorts..

I always look forward to the luxurious soups in Dynasty, and usually after the soup, one is already halfway into a food coma, as it's so filling.

The braised 5 treasure soup with crab meat  and sliced abalone was most hearty indeed.  The seafood was fresh and plentiful. It's so choc full of flavour, one wonders why the Chinese need to eat sharksfin at all.

Prosperity Treasure Pot (not part of the set, but available ala carte)...of course being the materialistic people that the Chinese are, it is inevitable that something in the meal would carry a prosperity tag, and what more worthy dish that this "poon choi", which had a lot more humble origins.  I think Poon Choi refers to a Basin Dish.

Anyway, this one has prawns, dried and fresh scallops, fish maw, duck, chicken, fu kwei abalone, dried oyster, sea cucumber, fish stomach, coral clam, to name a few...they also had vegetarian mock meat, which I reckon they should omit.  Such a medley of tastes and good stuff.  (except for the mock meat).

Crispy almond chicken,  which may have started off its life as a chicken, but by the time it got to the plate, it had mated with some fish, I believe, resulting in a hybrid like yong tau foo paste kind of texture.

.Sauteed Golden Prawn with Pumpkin cream.  Well, after the previous dishes, this one seemed a bit pedestrian.

Steamed Live Sea Grouper With Sliced Ginger and Chilli.

Sun dried oyster, Fatt Choy, Flower Mushroom and Vegetables.  The significance of this dish is because in cantonese, sun dried oyster is Hou See, (which sounds like good joss), fatt choy is named so because it's like hair, but at the same time, sounds like Prosperity, as in Gong Hei Fatt Choy...

Supreme Seafood  Golden Fried Rice With XO Sauce, the way a fried rice should be, fluffy rice, enough wok hei, and each grain tasty.

Double boiled sweetened Chrysanthemum tea with mini pear, (so unique, I've never seen such teeny weeny pears before), red dates and aloe vera.  I love aloe vera in desserts, it gives it that added crunch.

And finally, nian gao done two ways, but my favourite is the steamed one tossed in coconut.  The nian gao was good, it wasn't sickly sweet.

The prosperity treasure pot is not part of the set, and is RM488 for 5 persons dine in, or RM998 for 10 person. 

Other sets are the:
Fortune Set, RM2,188
Longevity Set RM3,388

and smaller sets for smaller number of people, such as the double delight menu, which starts from RM378 for 2 persons. 

For more information, you can call the restaurant or email as follows:
Tel : 03-2771 6692
Email : rhi.kulrn.fb@renaissancehotels.com

Dynasty is open daily for lunch from 12pm-3.20pm, and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, and dim sum breakfast from 9am to 2.30pm on Sunday, and 10.30am to 2.30pm on public holiday.

Monday, January 22, 2018


Sometime after Christmas 2017, but before New Year, when everyone was in a holiday mood, even on a weekday, dear friend Anand suggested we meet up, on a Friday afternoon, for lunch.  Since Mrs Sapna Anand is herself a celebrity chef with her own program on AFC, called Fast Indian Cooking With Sapna Anand, I naturally assumed that lunch was going to be a meal by her.  But a cryptic text from Anand really intrigued me, when he said, meet at the Hong Leong opposite Nusentral and we'll go from there.  My first assumption, knowing that that he is vegetarian, was that we were going to one of the nearby temples in Brickfields, so I asked if we had to wear temple appropriate garb... He said we can wear anything at all.

By the time we actually got to that rendezvous corner, I was bursting with curiosity.....  and with almost a childlike glee, Anand started telling us about this mystery place, originated in Bangalore, in 1924, used to serve Maharajahs and Viceroys on Gold and Silver plates, and I was thinking to myself, HOW is it I never have heard of such a place in KL?

Well, it turns out this Jewel of The Town (in Brickfields)  is new, and it is called MTR 1924, which stands for Mavalli Tiffin Room, hailing as I said earlier from Bangalore, which is also where Anand hails from.  So well, if a Bangalore native raves about a Bangalore restaurant here in KL, I had little doubt that we were in for something special.

AND BOY, I have hardly been to any restaurant 3 times within a span of 2 weeks.

So what took me so long to write about this?  Well, to be honest, I have a backlog of "invited reviews" and feel somewhat obligated to write those first, but I can bear it no more, and feel compelled to share the good news.

For some reason, we began with this Curd Vada, which is a yoghurty "soup" with a vada (I guess the local equivalent of Vade)....

Rava Idli.... I shan't bother with descriptions, because everything was superlative, and my vocabulary just fails me at this point.

The Thali sets come with a choice of rotis, and I chose the puri, because I lurve puri, and it was a great choice...but of course, this pales in comparison to the Dosa that was about to come.

I also won't bother describing each little bowl in the Thali, because everything is designed to complement each other, so the sum of the parts is greater than the whole kinda thing.  What we didn't realise is that it also came with rice, so for the average Malaysian eater, I think one Thali is really too much....sharing is recommended....

This was the Masala Akki Roti (a rice based roti)...

That famous food writer Lyrical Lemongrass was intruding on our table, but we allowed her ...

Vada...... You might never eat our local vada again after this....

The best Dosa this side of India I bet.... The Masala Dosa with Potato filling...with a little cup of ghee to make it even MORE decadent, and below the Plain Dosa ...

A break from the food coma for abit...

Holige, a sweet dish ...so buttery, with coconut and gula melaka ... SOOOOOOOO GOOOOD.  No wonder not all vegetarians are skinny.

Gulab Jamun, which is no stranger to us, but not all gulabs are made the same of course..Well, having said that, although the GJ was a lot more fine, it is still a bit too sweet for me.

And their filter coffee is pretty darn good too.  I was hesitant at first, because they all come with milk, and I'm more a black coffee no sugar person. But it was the perfect ending....

The coffee ended our first visit, and this is our second visit, whereby due to her incredible fame and popularity wherever she goes, Lyrical Lemongrass was given this complimentary Podi/Pudi.  It pays to eat with that woman.

We were also given this lovely sweet to sample, and I just discovered that this dish, called the Moon Garland, or Chandrahara, made from Maida flour, deep fried to perfection and topped with a thick sweet liquid made from KHOA, a dairy product widely used in the subcontinent, (I just love that word, it's so exotic, like the Far Pavilions), and served only on Sundays.  We were lucky to have sampled it.

Some carrot halwa... ah, surprisingly I didnt find THIS one too sweet. In fact, I loved it.

Joined by old friend, Hairy Berry...

...... And moving on to visit number 3.... when one of the owners of MTR with Bollywood star looks, Adarsh, happened to be there, ...my family together with the Anands had dinner there enroute to watching the Greatest Showman in Nusentral.

Here my dosa education continues, from top Benne, Millet, Buri and Set Dosa... The Millet Dosa is worthy of special mention, because it just tastes soooo healthy.  The texture is of course grainier than the usual flour one.  My favourite here is the Set Dosa...

And you know everyone is enjoying themselves when they're using their hands with gay abandon.....

Address: 69, Jalan Thambipillay, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 8AM-10PM
Phone: 03-2276 4924