Toh Yuen’s new ala carte menu embraces the authenticity of Chinese cuisine while retaining Master Chef Lee’s emphasis on using only fresh ingredients. I was told Chef Lee gets his inspiration from his frequent culinary travels to China and the menu is a good assortment of appetizers, soups, main courses, noodles, rice and dessert.
One of the starters I enjoyed that night was the Deep Fried Lamb with Cumin & Dried Chili (RM28). At one glance, I mistook it for an Indian dish, but it tasted nothing like that. The lamb was meaty and moist, and deeply seasoned with spices. I also liked the Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab with Garlic and Chicken Floss (RM22) – this was hardly oily with a sweet-savoury flavour from the chicken floss.
The Chilled Pacific Clam with Salsa (RM28) took some getting used to, but it grew on me and I ended up eating most of it. Between the Double Boiled Chicken with “Shi Hu” Soup (RM32) and Double Boiled Village Chicken with “Chong Cao Hua” Soup (RM32), I preferred the latter. “Chong Cao Hua” is actually Cordyceps, known for its curing properties. This herb helps prevent aging and stimulates the immune systems.
“Shi Hu” (Dendrobium Stem) is a type of orchid used as a yin tonic to moisten the stomach and lungs. It cleanses the digestive system and replenishes the fluids lost through dry weather, pollution and smoke. Although, I doubt a bowl of this can offset the damage of a pack of cigarettes. One huge pot, maybe.
The Braised Sea Cucumber with Flower Mushroom & Abalone Sauce (RM80) was pretty typical but well prepared. I liked the Steamed Canadian Black Cod Fish (RM32 per 100gm) topped with “Yu Feng” Ginger Sauce. The pounded ginger was tossed in the wok till dry and aromatic, giving the cod a subtle kick.
Sautéed Fresh Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk (RM50) was one of my favourites that night. The prawns were incredibly crunchy and sweet, and lusciously coated with rich salted egg yolk. Another dish that caught my fancy was the Deep Fried Smoked Duck with Fruit Sauce (RM38). The duck was smoked with spring tea and the dragon fruit sauce helped balance the oily nature of the poultry.
I didn’t care much for the Sautéed Venison Slice with Chinese Croissants & Cumin (RM50) for the cumin somewhat overpowered the meat. By the way, Chinese croissants are a glamorous name for fried crullers. While the yam ring had a beautifully crisp exterior and a fluffy centre, I wasn’t too keened on the vegetarian chicken (RM60). If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll like this.
For dessert, we had 6 types of snowskin mooncakes – green tea and cheesecake, yam and strawberry, sunflower seed and lotus paste, red bean and banana, pumpkin and pandan, and durian. All were unique in their own way; the green tea and cheesecake and pumpkin and pandan were my favourites.
I liked how Chef Lee paired cheesecake with green tea and he got the balance just right. The pumpkin and pandan was smooth and creamy without being overly sweet. Each snowkin mooncake is priced at RM13+ each.
Golden baked mooncakes (RM22+) are also available so take your pick between White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk, Lotus Paste with Double Yolks, Green Tea Paste with Single Yolk, Red Bean Paste with Sunflower Seeds, Pandan Paste with Single Yolk, and Assorted Nuts.
From the new ala carte menu, we sampled the Deep Fried Banana with Strawberry & Cheese Cake (RM20) but I didn’t take to this combination. I enjoyed most of the items from the new menu; flavours were kept simple and the dishes were easy to appreciate.
Food: 7/10 (pork free)
Verdict: Flavours were kept simple and the dishes were easy to appreciate.