I have to confess: I almost never say “No” to a meal in Lai Po Heen, the Chinese restaurant in Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur. So far, most of my dining experiences indulging in Chef Ricky Thein’s gastronomic creations have been nothing less than immensely satisfying. Chef Ricky’s skills in Chinese cuisine cover the whole gamut ranging from Cantonese to Teochew; after all, the guy has more than 20 years’ experience in Chinese culinary knowledge. I particularly enjoy his treatment and execution in soups.
Chef Ricky’s latest culinary creations feature distinctive classical Cantonese flavours. We tried 3 of his appetizers: Deep-fried spring rolls filled with smoked duck and mango, crispy fried prawns with katafi roll and steamed scallops filled with prawn mousse. I couldn’t quite discern much smokiness in the duck and mango filling of the spring roll but it’s a nice refreshing combination. The katafi roll is huge and can be kinda messy to handle but it’s delicious with its succulent bouncy prawn filling.
Like I’ve said before, I love Chef Ricky’s soups and his latest Braised Seafood Treasure Broth with Whole Abalone is undoubtedly my favourite that evening. The thick broth is chockfull with chunks of crabmeat, scallops, sea cucumber and that abalone, of course. I take my time sipping that piping hot broth, savouring every umami spoonful and wishing the soup plate had been deeper, much deeper.
Braised Cod Fish with Pumpkin and Preserved Vegetables
For main courses, Chef Ricky’s latest offerings include Braised Cod Fish with Pumpkin and Preserved Vegetables, Aromatic Spring Chicken in Red Beancurd and Wok-fried Fresh Scallops with Enoki Mushrooms and Spicy Seafood Sauce. I must admit I didn’t quite enjoy the braised cod fish as the pieces of fish were coated in a thick layer of gooey starchy batter which totally “killed” the fish. Similarly, I felt the spicy seafood sauce overwhelmed the scallops… I think the natural sweetness of fresh scallops should be allowed to shine without too much embellishment in the form of heavy sauces.
Wok-fried Fresh Scallops with Enoki Mushrooms and Spicy Seafood Sauce
Spring Chicken in Red Beancurd
That said, the red beancurd marination in the spring chicken was thankfully well balanced and the deep fried pieces of spring chicken fared better. For sure, the aroma was hard-hitting … we could smell the dish before the platter was actually placed on our table!
Crispy Egg Noodles with King Prawn and Cheese Broth
Ahhh… what can I say about the Crispy Egg Noodles with King Prawn and Cheese Broth? Beautiful presentation… noodles fried skilfully, all spread out like some fairy strands, the king prawn was sufficiently fresh…but I’m just not too sure about that heavy rich cheesy broth. Why a cheesy broth, I asked the good chef. His reply was “… because it’s the trend now!” Well, of course if you are a cheese lover, you would love this broth… I’m just not convinced that cheese goes well in this particular Chinese-style noodle dish.
Some of the latest desserts listed are Crispy Chinese Herbal Jelly with Honey, the kinda avant garde Avocado puree and Pumpkin Cake. The deep-fried crispy herbal jelly looks a bit like the Chinese New Year “nian gao”, being encased in batter. Both the avocado puree and pumpkin cake are refreshing with their subtle flavours and good thing is, they’re light and not too sweet.
Before dinner ended, we were treated to a beautiful visual feast … a magnificent dragon, a splendid piece of sugarcraft, hovering above a platter of sweets!
A la carte appetizers and soup menu selections are priced from RM36++ to RM108++ while main courses are from RM32++ to RM288++. Desserts are priced from RM16++ to RM 280++ per order.
Lai Po Heen is open from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch on Mondays to Fridays and at 10.30am to 2.30pm on weekends and public holidays. Dinner is served daily from 7pm to 10.30pm.
For dining reservations, please call +603-2179-8885 or email [email protected]