|Lai Po Heen - Mandarin Oriental's Cantonese Restaurant|
Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Lofty ceilings, grand golden chandeliers and majestic furnishings imbue a feeling of greatness in Lai Po Heen. Private rooms are splendid but our preferred tables are those by the window overlooking the manicured gardens and fountains of KLCC Park. In the evening exceptional Cantonese cuisine is the highlight. During the day, especially for weekend brunch, dim sum is very popular.
We’ve dined many times in Lai Po Heen, a couple of times for dim sum and many times for special menus. It’s nice to come today during lunchtime and choose a few items ourselves from the menu. We’ve been to the gym this morning so want to carry on with our healthy start to the day. Fish, vegetables and chicken all catch our attention.
Boiled peanuts and Oolong tea whet our appetites while we sort through the extensive menu. Seafood is a real highlight in the 11 page list, with chef seeming to be particularly fond of abalone, sea cucumber and fish maw. Symbols noting Chef’s Specialties, Vegetarian options and items containing Nuts help to sort through the enormous selection.
|Boiled Peanuts and Oolong Tea|
Hubby requests fish. Spotted Grouper (market price) steamed with light soy sauce is presented as the whole fish butterflied on a giant plate. Staff portion it for us into individual servings making it easier to manage. The fish falls apart with the prodding of our chopsticks in big chunky moist flakes. The delicate sauce is just the right accompaniment for the fish, complementing it, but not overpowering its fine taste.
As I order the Jasmine Tea Leaf Smoked Chicken (RM38) our waitress nods approval with a smile. This is a good choice she says. The dish is sided with ginger and spring onion dip. A smoky aroma teases our noses as the plate is set on our table. A fan of cucumber slices border the poultry with green adornment, and goji berries and pickled tea leaves brighten the top. Tender chicken tastes recently from the fire. Flesh is soft and savour is sooty. It’s good on its own, but the finely shredded ginger transforms the dish into an intense mouth-filler.
|Jasmine Tea Leaf Smoked Chicken (RM38)|
|Ginger Sauce for Chicken|
Some vegetables are needed to balance out our protein heavy selections so Wok-fried Australian Asparagus (RM48) with assorted mushrooms and wood fungus is hubby’s pick. The vegetables are super fresh and snap in the mouth with their crispness.
|Wok-fried Australian Asparagus (RM48) with assorted mushrooms and wood fungus|
With steamed rice as a side dish, these three items prove more than enough for two people. Warm moist towels cleanse and refresh before dessert.
Steamed Chinese Sweetened Glutinous Rice Cakes with Shredded Coconut (RM28) grab hubby’s fancy. Dense smooth squares are coated in a white snow and mandarin segments provide not only colour, but a boost of fruit on the side.
|Steamed Chinese Sweetened Glutinous Rice Cakes with Shredded Coconut (RM28)|
The Black Sesame Panna Cotta (RM22) sounds intriguing. Noted on the menu as “A classic Italian dessert transformed into a Chinese style delicacy,” it’s too good to refuse. Apricot sorbet, a peanut crust and blackcurrant caramel are delicious supports for the protagonist. A smooth grey panna cotta holds its shape but it is decidedly velvety and softly sweet. Simple squares of white chocolate decorate the brow.
|Black Sesame Panna Cotta (RM22)|
Reason to visit: high quality Cantonese cuisine; weekend dim sum (pork free); window seats; elegant ambience.
Lai Po Heen
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2380 8888
+6 03 2179 8818
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