New look, new menu
December 20, 2018
The first thing that catches the eye at newly-renovated Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant is the sculpture of four fish “swimming” in a circle on the wall at the entrance.
This and tanks of live fish are signs that the restaurant signature is seafood. In the tanks are jade perch and two types grouper – loong fu pan (dragon tiger grouper), giant grouper, estuary grouper and star coral grouper. Then you will see crab, lobster, geoduck and even abalone.
The modern décor offers a cosy ambience. Unlike most of the other restaurants under the Tai Thong Group of restaurants, there are no heavy traditional embellishments or rose-wood furniture here, only pine wood chairs upholstered with red cushions and snow-white tables. Ceiling lights are encased in old-style bamboo cages and walls are a velvety shade of prussian blue.
Not only has the interior been redesigned but I hear the menu has been revamped as well and dim sum is served daily. While waiting for the main dishes, we sip tea and nibble on plates of complimentary appetisers: Boiled Shantung peanuts (still warm) and cubes of tofu sautéed with French beans, onion, crunchy peanuts and ikan bilis.
Keeps us busy while waiting for the dim sum, which is also prepared to order. Our must-haves are Steamed Xiu Mai (虾籽鲜烧卖, RM10.80++ per basket) and Tai Thong Superior Har Gao (大同虾饺皇 RM12.80++ per basket). These are super fresh, especially the prawns in the har gao.
|Selection of dim sum available daily|
|Crispy Shredded Duck Cheong Fun|
A new item in the menu is Crispy Shredded Duck Cheong Fun (鸭丝脆肠粉 RM13.80++ per plate). The crispy shredded duck meat rolled in the silky soft rice sheet is an interesting contrast in textures. An interesting change from the usual cheong fun stuffed with shrimp or char xiu. The dish is served with mustard greens (choy sum) and dips of soya sauce and sesame oil or XO sauce. I can easily eat this all by myself.
Beancurd Roll with Prawn (煎炸腐皮卷 RM12.80++ per plate) is for those who love crispy deepfried dim sum. Crunchy on the outside with chunks of prawn meat inside. Taro Dumplings or wu kok (蜂巢炸芋角 RM9.80++ per plate) also has a crisp exterior with a soft centre of sweetish chicken char xiu.
|Charcoal Bun With Durian & Salted Egg Yolk|
We have two types of buns: Steamed Lao Sa Bao with Salted Egg Yolk (香滑流沙包RM9.80++ per basket) and Charcoal Bun with Durian and Salted Egg Yolk (果皇黑珍珠RM15.80++ per basket). I must admit I prefer the classic Lao Sa Bao as I find the durian buns too light in durian flavour.
We are tempted to order more dim sum as the picture menu is very alluring but the arrival of Soft Shell Crab (椒鹽饅頭軟殼蟹 RM58++/5pcs) reminds us we have main dishes waiting to be served.
|Deepfried Soft Shell Crab with mantau and chilli mayonnaise|
More buns. This time, it’s flat mantau folded over to sandwich lettuce and deepfried soft shell crab that’s so crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Before eating, we drizzle chili mayonnaise on the crispy crab.
There’s also Steamed Fresh Prawns with minced garlic and glass noodles (蒜茸粉絲蒸生虾 RM26++/100g). Each crunchy, sweet prawn (about 500g in weight) is cut in half and sprinkled over with lots of minced garlic. This is then placed on a bed of glass noodles and steamed. Done this way, the noodles absorb all that lovely crustacean aroma. Do dig into the prawn head which is full of creamy, orange-hued roe and don’t forget to scoop the sweet, flavoursome juices from the plate.
|Steamed Fresh Prawns with Minced Garlic & Glass Noodles|
The menu of Spring Garden @ KLCC focuses on seafood with a Cantonese flavour and there are four whole pages devoted to seafood.
From the display tanks, we pick a Giant Grouper and group chef Simon recommends having it Steamed Nyonya style (娘惹蒸龙躉鱼RM25++/100g). Despite preferring it steamed with soya sauce, I am glad I am persuaded thus as the nyonya sauce is a delightful, mild mix of herbs and spices that does not overpower the delicate flavour of the grouper. Instead, the aromas of lemongrass and torch ginger bring out the sweet side of the fish, accentuating its freshness with aplomb.
|Steamed Giant Grouper with Nyonya Sauce|
With so much seafood in the belly, we decide to try a meat dish. Braised Diced Chicken In Hot Pot (石锅焖鸡粒 RM35++) comes sizzling hot in a stone pot. This Sichuan-style dish comprises deboned chicken cooked in a fiery hot bean sauce with dried chilli, capsicum and onion. It would be perfect with plain steamed rice.
|Braised Diced Chicken in Hot Pot|
However, we are not in the mood for plain rice; we’ve got our hearts set on Poached Fried Rice In Superior Broth (上湯泡飯 RM30++ per portion).
|Puffed rice added to the rice in superior broth offers a lovely textural contrast|
The stock broth is made with fish and chicken bones, with dried scallops thrown in to add the umami edge. This is then simmered with rice, cabbage, carrot, mushroom, chopped omelette and sweet pea. The pot of bubbling rice broth is brought to the table on a stove and a bowl of puffed rice is poured in just before serving. This combination of boiled rice and crispy puffed rice is interesting as it offers two textures in each spoonful.
The flavour is light and sweet, with plenty of seafood nuances, and gets the thumbs-up from all, especially young children and older folks.
SPRING GARDEN (pork-free)
Lot 413 & 414
4th Floor, Suria KLCC
Daily, 10am to 10pm