Taste of nostalgia
January 11, 2019
|Entrance to Red Chinese Cuisine|
Red Chinese Cuisine is looking really festive and it’s not just because of the giant red lanterns at the entrance. Like its name, the restaurant, just an escalator ride up from the lobby, naturally features red as its colour of choice. Inside, giant portraits of women in the style of 50s Shanghai line one wall and at the entrance while the other wall holds beautiful ceramic vases and tanks of live fish.
I am at a media/blogger preview of Chinese New Year dishes by head chef Linus Mak Kar Leong who, despite his youthful 34 years of age, has drummed up flavours that evoke days of yore. Even better, he has injected splashes of his generation in the dishes and keeps in mind that eating healthy is the key to a good life.
His yee sang, for instance, is a toss of fresh salad leaves and fruit rather than flour crispies tinged green, red and yellow. The fruit is julienned and includes rose apple, dragonfruit, jackfruit, green mango, pomelo, dried guava and deepfried beetroot chips. He has also prepared dressing choices of strawberry, pineapple plum and sesame plum. The strawberry dressing adds a lovely fruity flavour with a sweet and slightly piquant taste.
|Healthy, fresh and fruity yee sang|
Yee sang is available on the a la carte menu in half (from RM70) and whole (from RM138) portions with choices of toppings such as salmon, tuna, scallop lips, jellyfish, sea urchin, tempura prawn, whitebait, abalone, soft shell crab, black truffle and fish skin.
There are 3 set CNY menus for 10 pax but if your group is small, celebrate with the a la carte menu of Chef Mak’s favourites.
The Double-Boiled Sea Whelk Soup With Bamboo Pith, Matsutake Mushroom, Conpoy & Village Chicken (RM69 per portion). It’s full of herbal goodness as it’s brewed with the root herb, yuzhu, and red date. Much of the flavour comes from matsutake, a mushroom prized for its warm, earthy aroma. I tip the bowl to drain the last drops.
|Double-boiled sea whelk and chicken soup with herbs|
I’m delighted to see Stirfried Mantis Prawn With Fish Roe & Asparagus (RM68). With “too posh to peel” as my mantra when it comes to crustaceans, I’m overjoyed with the battered and deepfried shelled mantis prawn coated with a creamy sauce and tobiko (flying fish roe) which pops in the mouth. The prawn is served with sautéed fat asparagus.
|Mantis prawns with asparagus and tobiko|
Scrambled Egg White With Tomato & Bamboo Pith (RM18) may not sound like much but there’s something comforting about the silky smooth bits of cooked egg white while the bamboo pith and tomato add a crunchy texture.
|Scrambled egg white with tomato and bamboo pith|
Rice is a must in Chinese cuisine and I am totally enamoured of Fujian-Style Seafood Fried Rice With Braised Whole Abalone (RM88). While most restaurants offer fried rice, Chef Mak has taken it to the next level by ladling over it a thickened braised sauce with prawn, fish, scallop, mushroom, sliced asparagus and a whole abalone (the size of a Chinese soupspoon) sitting on top.
|Fujian-style fried rice with braised seafood and whole abalone|
The fried fragrant rice has a definite al dente texture and adding the braised sauce is an inspired touch that turns fried rice into a gourmet delight.
For dessert, we have Panfried Nian Gao With Purple Sweet Potato (RM22). Here again, the culinary team shows its crafty side. The CNY glutinous rice cake is coated with mashed purple potato and wrapped in bao pastry. The dumplings are then panfried before serving.
|Panfried nian gao and purple sweet potato buns|
Meanwhile, in the lobby, wooden tables and chairs have been set up with ye old biscuit tins and all to create a nostalgic ambience. Oh, and even the unisex restroom at Red is worth a visit. I’m so in love with the steel knobs on the door, the dressing room lights, the ceramic blue nyonya wash basin and the portrait of the Shanghainese girl.
|Restful restroom for the diva|
RED Chinese Cuisine (pork-free)
Pullman KLCC Hotel & Residences
Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur
+603-2170 8888 ext 8200
Noon to 2.30pm; 6.30pm to 10.30pm
Open on eve and throughout CNY
Nostalgic Chinese New Year, Jan 4 to Feb 19
3 set menus for 10 pax at RM1,388 (7-course), RM1,588 (8-course) and RM1,888 (9-course). Yee sang and special dishes available a la carte. Vegetarian options available on request. All prices stated are nett.