October has got to be one of the best months for food, fun and festivities. There’s Oktoberfest, Deepavali, Halloween and of course the MIGF – Malaysian International Gourmet Festival – all happening this month! Since the launch of the MIGF late last month, for the entire month of October, 28 participating restaurants are featuring special festival menus. I had a chance to check out the special MIGF menu at Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur recently. Helmed by Chef Ricky Thein, who is the Executive Chinese Chef and certainly no stranger in the Chinese cuisine scene, the menu promised some innovative gourmet creations.
Starting off with a duo Appetizer… Chilled Vinaigrette Scented Cucumber Roll, Roasted Duck Yam Puff with Braised Whole Baby Abalone…
We were wow’ed by the beautiful presentation… a light fluffy yam puff with roast duck in the centre and holding a baby abalone delicately – the flavours and textures were deliciously complementing. I love the refreshing cucumber roll too, so masterfully assembled.
I was told that Chef Ricky is a soup maestro and judging by the Soup served, I tend to agree! The presentation of the soup was certainly conversation-arresting… Cantonese-style Braised Sea Treasures, Golden Melon in Supreme Broth…
The soup was such a hit with all my fellow diners and who wouldn’t be entranced, when upon lifting the melon top, we dug in with our spoons and scooped out huge chunks of fish maw, dried scallops, sea cucumber and whole fan of shark’s fins! The soup was served piping hot (as all Chinese soups should be served) and it was such a pleasure sipping the flavourful soup which was full of umami tastiness.
Next came the Mains… we had the Dung Po-style Barbecue Scented Lamb Rib with Chinese Pear & wok-fried Hong Kong Baby “Siew Pak Choy”…
The lamb rib was done really well… superbly-marinated, tender, yet with a pleasant chewy bite. If eaten on its own, it’s a tad too heavy on the saltiness but when eaten together with the slices of sweet juicy Chinese pear, it was excellent!
The 2nd Mains dish was Crispy Egg Noodles, Blue River Prawn, Prawn Roe & Egg Gravy…
The huge river prawn rested majestically on the pretty noodles basket and upon digging into the head of the prawn, I exclaimed in delight at the thick rich orangey roe oozing out… that must surely be the crowning glory of this dish. The eggy gravy, the succulent prawn and the roe all went perfectly with the crispy noodles – there’s nothing to fault in this dish.
Dessert comprised a trio of Purple Sweet Potato Dumpling with Vanilla Sauce, Sweetened Jelly with Osmanthus and Chilled Sago in Lemon Syrup…
After all the lovely dishes from the appetizer to the mains, I must say I felt a bit let down by the dessert. I had expected a bit more excitement in Chef Ricky’s dessert repertoire. Of the trio, I liked the potato ball the best even though it wasn’t the most innovative item. Chef Ricky explained his rationale of using local ingredients as much as possible in his creations.
The above festival menu is available at Lai Po Heen at RM228++ per person (without wine) until the end of October.
Chef Ricky Thein
Stepping into Lai Po Heen, you get a feel of old-world charm… its antique wooden furniture and traditional art pieces are reminiscent of old Shanghai. The main attraction is their open kitchen, right at the entrance and that’s where you can see the chefs in action … and they are a lively bunch, I must say!
Lai Po Heen Chinese Restaurant
1st Floor Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Lunch (12.00-2.30pm weekdays/10.30am-2.30pm weekends),