Where should I start about the best Dim Sum experience I’ve just had?
No, it wasn’t in any high-class Michelin-starred restaurant nor any 5-star hotel in the big city.
It was in this modest restaurant in a row of nondescript shophouses like most shophouses around here are and this was in a quiet enclave in Damansara Kim. If you are not looking out for it, you may just drive past the plain simple signage.
Let me tell you about Le Sense. You see, even the name sounds a bit out-of-place in the neighbourhood. When you step inside, you’ll see that it’s a really cosy space… the warm fuzzy lighting and gossamer drapes giving it that bit of private and mysterious vibe. Diners are chatting quietly among themselves amidst the soft clinking of wine glasses and they all seem to know the folks who run the place. There is a definite sense of camaraderie in the air, the owner is always seen sitting among his guests and perhaps it is this touch of amity that heightens the whole dining experience in Le Sense.
Happy conversations aside, despite its French-slanted name, Le Sense serves modern Chinese food. It’s not modern in the fusionistic sense, though. It is contemporary Chinese dining focusing on quality ingredients and fresh natural flavours. It’s about clever and skillful interpretations of classic favourites using better quality and sustainable ingredients. Tradition is not discarded; it’s just modernized and updated.
Le Sense offers champagne (or other sparkling wine) pairing with their dim sum for lunch and dinner. This is the modern aspect. However, if you are old-school (like me), there’s a good choice of teas available as well. I totally enjoyed my Monggolian Chrysanthemum and German Roses Tea here.
Every single dim sum dish at Le Sense is handmade only upon order. You will never find frozen dim sum in their kitchen. And definitely there is no mass production. The truth is, Le Sense doesn’t cater to the masses. As the owner puts it, it’s all about sharing with diners whose discerning tastes transcend the norm.
The stove is only fired when the guests have settled in and ready for the meal to start.
Take the sublime Xiao Loong Bau, for example. The delicate folds of the bigger-than-average dumplings are quickly formed before going directly into the steamer for just the right amount of time. Once it’s served, gently suck out and savour the glorious truffle-scented broth – this is the best part of a XLB experience – before eating up the whole dumpling.
Har Kow and Siu Mai are two essential items in any dim sum meal. Le Sense’s version isn’t any different from any traditional recipe as basically these are pork and shrimp dumplings. But it is the type of pork and shrimps that makes the difference and therein lies the differentiation. The Siu Mai is made from 3 different types of premium pork where taste, texture and bite are best manifested. The jewel on the crown is a piece of 36-month aged jamon for that delectable smoky bite. Similarly, the Har Kow is a delicate bouncy mesh of different premium prawns (think sashimi-grade). It’s a Har Kow that will leave you wanting more.
The delectable Siu Mai
Beyond the Har Kow, there’s the Scallop Dumpling. Honestly, this was so pretty, I had to stop myself from gazing at it too long, lest it turned cold. The sweet smooth Hokkaido scallop was exquisitely and almost achingly sweet.
Fishmaw Dumpling – another topnotch creation of minced fresh shrimps mixed with fish and cuttlefish wrapped in a gelatinous shroud of fishmaw and lightly braised in an umami dashi broth. Every precious drop of the broth should be slowly relished.
The Yam Puff has a delightfully light and powdery yam layer encasing a filling of rich Iberico pork, slightly sweetened with mirin. The precise execution of this cannot be faulted as there is no trace of oil in the deep-fried puff.
If there is something to nit-pick about this dim sum meal, it must be the petite size of the Radish Cake. Yes, I wish those two pieces were a bit bigger because I simply did not have enough of this amazing radish cake. I’m told that for every serving of this, it’s quite likely that a few may have to be ditched because they didn’t turn out exactly how they should be. The secret to its superb texture is a careful combination of Japanese daikon and local radish. Every cube of this cake is meticulously pan-fried on both sides for that perfect crispy skin while the inside remains velvety soft. And the flavor? Outstanding. Hence, the nit-pick.
A sweet ending to this dim sum meal is a platter of sweets: Thousand Layer Pastry, Sesame Ball with pandan and salted eggyolk filling and a piece of lotus paste with eggyolk Mooncake. The crumbly layered pastry oozing with fragrant milky custard came straight out of the oven to the table.
Oh did I mention that the above is an Omakase meal? The beauty of an omakase meal is the anticipation. Without a fixed menu, it’s up to the chef to serve whatever is best available for the day and it’s always exciting because the surprises just keep coming!
Price for an 8-course Omakase Dim Sum meal starts at RM150 per person and if you want to include their Miyazaki Wagyu A5, add on another RM100.
Oh let me tell you about that amazing Miyazaki – it’s a brilliant piece of work. The beef is first roasted carefully on low heat and then pan-seared on high heat (450oC) for just about 2 seconds (I think) before it’s served, nestled in its own sweet beef jus and dashi.
The aftermath of this meal? I’m blown over. Thanks to the kind generous owner of Le Sense, I’m now totally spoilt for dim sum – this benchmark is not easy to surpass, not now, here in the Klang Valley. And I have to learn to eat this dim sum (or any dish in Le Sense) very slowly, to maximize the experience, that’s why.
So this is the risk: get blown over and you may not want to have other dim sum willingly, after this. If you are OK with that, go check out Le Sense.
No.8 Jalan SS20/10
47400 Petaling Jaya
More information on their Facebook Page here.