Celestial Court, that elegant classy Chinese restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel has long been a favourite stop-over for meals for busy executives. By virtue of its location in the business district of Jalan Sultan Ismail, Celestial Court enjoys good patronage not only because of this strategic address, but also because their reputation for fine pork-free Chinese fare has tantalised many a palate.
From the moment you step onto the plush carpet, pass through the opulent red drapes cascading from the ceiling with the red lantern in the centre, you enter a restaurant that’s befitting of its name – celestial. More so, with the concealed blue lighting in the ceiling which casts a magical-like blue tinge to every light reflection in the room.
Sinful classic dim sum and new fusion selections are constantly innovated in Celestial Court’s menu. I had a chance to sample some of this at a lunch recently.
A platter of delightful quartet Dim Sum was served. The dim sum combination consisted of Abalone Siew Mai Topped with Salmon Roe… When I bite into this, not only was my palate met with springy filling of minced chicken and seafood, I was a bit puzzled by the sweet chewy skin. It didn’t feel like the usual flour-based dim sum pastry skin… it was slight chewy yet imparted a sweet fresh marine-like flavour. It was only when Chef Ken Liew joined us and explained, that enlightenment dawned: scallops, which had been thinly sliced, were used as the dim sum “skin”! How ingenuous! And how delicious!
Squid Ink Seafood Dumpling served with Sea Treasure Broth…
This was such a “luxurious” dim sum – it had some gold flakes on it. Well the gold didn’t have any taste, really, but it added a nice touch to the black dumpling, don’t you think? I was quite shameless to drain off all that sea treasure broth – it was so good.
The “Foie Gras” Potsticker (“woh tip”)served with Crabmeat and Plum in Cherry Tomato was elevated a notch out of the ordinary by the creamy goose liver. Likewise, the Golden Puff with Scallop and Preserved Olive topped with Mango Salsa & Tobiko proved to be another delightful innovation from Chef Ken Liew, marrying the best of Chinese and Japanese influences. I was further impressed when the smiling chef explained that the pastry of the Golden Puff (which looked like a rounded woo-kok “yam puff”) was made, not with yam, but a mixture of salted eggyolks, shortening and wheat starch flour! The filling of minced combination of scallops, shrimps and codfish certainly lifted this puff a class above.
I find the size of the dim sum to be pretty huge, at least 50% bigger than the regular sizing in most restaurants. Chef Ken Liew believes in value-add, saying that customers expect this when paying a premium for top-notch dim sum.
There was silence among my lunch mates after the Braised Fish Bone Soup with Fish Fillet and Crabmeat was served. It’s the Silence of Delicious Approval, I’d say. This is soup that has been boiled for 8 hours, using ingredients like free-range chicken, fish bones, ginger and peppercorns. The freshest fish fillets and crabmeat, together with slices of bittergourd and wolfberries (“kei chi”) were added for more nourishment. The resultant thick aromatic milky soup was so good that everyone just drained the entire bowl in sweet silence.
This soup was a clear favourite among us that day!
The next 3 dishes came in quick succession and all of them begged for white rice as accompaniment…. Saute’ed Venison with Leek & Spicy Chilli… the slices of venison were tender with just the right amount of bite and not gamey at all! The spicy chilli sauce was an intricate blend of taucheo (fermented beans), sesame paste and nam yue (fermented red tofu) sauce – reason enough to bring on the white rice!
Wok Fried Fresh Water Prawn with Oats & Crispy Curry Leaves… what can I say about this? The photos speak for themselves – it was “attack” from the moment the plate was placed on the table!
The blob of pure unadulterated roe in the huge head was enough to trigger a cholesterol coma. The aromatic curry leaves and toasted oats enhanced the whole coma-inducing experience… the springy succulent freshness of the prawn won smiling nods of approval.
Steamed Garoupa in Portugal Style… I had to garner every shred of willpower not to reach for the white rice because the thick rich gravy was just screaming for that! Redolent with fresh milk, coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, shallots, chillies and cumin, the gravy stuck to the thick slab of succulent garoupa (which was at least 100g per individual serving) and only the strong can resist dunking white rice onto this, I tell you!
Stir Fried Ramen in Sichuan Style… this must surely be the biggest, most generous portion of single serving of ramen I’ve ever come across. Seriously. Ahhh… but because I was strong enough not to have wilted to the temptation of White Rice Devil prior to this, I actually finished this. But then, so did the others (including the white rice worshippers :P). Yes, this was yummy.
Chilled Avocado Cream with Coconut Icecream… I totally loved the presentation of this dessert, served in a stemless martini glass over a round pitcher of shaved ice! Just look at this – isn’t it pretty?
The smooth avocado cream was a divine bed for the coconut ice-cream and the toasted fresh coconut shavings gave it that nutty aromatic bite – I enjoyed this tremendously. Such a lovely end to the lunch.
Thanks to Jaclyn Thorn and Evelyn Koh for being such charming gracious hosts for this invited review. The chefs at Celestial Court are constantly brainstorming to come up with new innovative dishes… and the dishes featured here will be available in their menu very soon, if not already available by now.
Celestial Court serves dim sum, ala carte and set menus for Lunch from 12 noon till 2.30pm, Mondays to Saturdays and from 10am till 2.30pm on Sundays & Public Holidays. For Dinner, Celestial Court is open from 6.30pm till 10.30pm, 7 days a week.
3rd Floor, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur