Located on the 3rd level of Mines Wellness Hotel, The Cheng Ho Court is a Halal Chinese restaurant that serves Cantonese cuisine as well as dim sum. The restaurant was named after Cheng Ho, a well-famed Chinese-Muslim court eunuch, mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and many more during the Yuan Dynasty.
His voyage is usually referred to as “Voyages of Zheng He”, and you could easily find the traces of his exploits in our very own country, in the Historical state of Malacca.
The Cheng Ho Court was selected as a finalist for Best Chinese Cuisine in a 5-star hotel in the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2005, so to say that I have great expectation on what they’ll be serving in their upcoming Chinese New Year’s menu is an understatement.
Furthermore, this is my first visit and I wanted to gauge if an 1 hour drive from KL/PJ is worth the trouble. No doubt the venue probably caters to the population of its surrounding areas more, but would it be a good alternative to those who are jaded of KL/PJ’s restaurants offerings?
The restaurant reminds me of the typical Chinese banquet restaurant. Large space, round tables, banquet chairs and typical table settings of chopsticks, porcelain bowls and teacups.
Despite the fact that the Salmon and Snow Pear Loh Sang that was placed on our table looked more or less just like the rest of the Yee Sang that I’ve recently sampled, this particular palate was full of surprises.
The platter consisted of yam crisp, pumpkin, fat and juicy pomelo pulps, radish, deep fried noodles, shredded ginger, two varieties of sweet potatoes as well as snow pear slices. In my opinion, the snow pear slices is the best part of the Yee Sang. The sweetness of the snow pear slices gives the entire platter a hint of floral crunch which was refreshing to say the least.
All ingredients, including the sauce were painstakingly chosen and made by the chef himself, so, I’d recommend this if you want something different from the usual Yee Sang.
For a busy girl who rushes from one place to another daily, the nourishing Cheng Ho Special Double Boiled Black Chicken Soup was a welcoming sight. Double boiled soups usually serves to nourish, rejuvenate and provide energy to the body. This was no exception.
The soup contains chicken, fish maw, dried scallops, abalone and black chicken which was boiled for 8 long hours prior to serving. Distinctive and traditional, it was richly flavoured and infused with herbs. I daresay any doctors or Chinese physicians alike would have approved of this as part of my diet.
The fowl offerings by Cheng Ho Court came as a real surprise. Dragon Otak Otak Chicken is unique, original and creative.
Otak-otak was stuffed under the chicken skin before being fried in whole and served to the diners. An admirably skill for sure, having stuffed the otak-otak paste under the chicken skin yet still retaining the skin over the whole bird.
Stuffing otak- otak under the skin is a great way to infuse more flavour into a chicken while keeping the meat moist and the skin crispy, I must say. The chicken was wonderfully done, and the chef’s deep frying techniques is irreproachable to say the least. The dish was not the slightest bit greasy despite having fried in whole. The overall taste was slightly spicy and nutty, thanks to the almond bits topping.
Steamed Bamboo Fish with Soya Sauce is strictly simple and traditional. There was no improvisation or innovation made to make the dish different and stand out among the rest.
But then again, why complicate matters when the fish is of an expensive breed and fresh to a fault? The fish is best savoured in its simplicity, considering that it’s fleshy, firm and have a natural sweetness lingering about it.
To be honest, yours truly is not a big fan of prawns. Imagine having to sit through almost 10 Chinese New Year menu samplings and facing almost the same amount of prawn dishes.
Thankfully, almost all the fresh dishes I sampled so far had been bearable. And now, I can safely proclaim that this Baked King Prawn with Garlic and Cheese at Cheng Ho Court Chinese Restaurant is my favourite prawn dish of year.
The prawns were adeptly fried, and my usual grunts of “too greasy”, “too salty”and “too fattening” was of course, absent. The thing that made me somehow addicted to this dish is the balance, I suppose. The prawns was not too cheesy nor too garlicky. It was just nice for my fussy tongue and I would recommend this to all fried seafood lovers out there.
Next up is Stir Fried Vegetable with Black Moss and Mushrooms. Each time I took a glance at a variety of this dish whenever I go for those Chinese New Year’s course meal preview, I’d wonder silently if I have a choice in skipping this dish.
But that’s not going to happen of course. No matter how bored I am with this dish, it’s a compulsory dish in all Chinese New Year’s course meal as it symbolizes wealth and prosperity, something that’s really coveted in Chinese society.
Needless to say, the veggies was well done, just like the rest that I’ve sampled before. I have nothing to complain about regarding this dish, but I do wish to see some twist of creativity to this dish soon!
The chef spoiled us that evening. In addition to the prawn dish earlier, next up to tantalize is his Gold Garlic and Baked Green Lobster.
The baked green lobster was a good version that was not too garlicky to the point that it overwhelms the lobster’s flesh. The lobster’s flesh was fresh, juicy and sweet, while the garlic added extra fragrant to it. I’m a huge fan of garlic, if you must know, so it’s almost a given thing that I’ll like this anyways!
Now, this is what I call a good fried rice. The fried rice was not greasy at all and the individual grains were fluffy. Infused generously with ingredients, the Abalone Seafood Fried Rice with Pine Seed was wonderfully aromatic too. To be able to enjoy fried rice with really good wok flavour and none of the guilty oily feel after was nice!
Fancy Duet, which was “nian gou” prepared 2 ways, one coated with peanuts and another deep fried.
Double Boiled Mix Fruit Sago and Almond Beancurd. Those who doesn’t have an acquired taste for Chinese almonds might not like this dish, as the Chinese almonds have quite a reputation; being strangely pungent and some would swear that it smell like cockroaches or detergents (Do note that the Chinese almonds and the usual almonds that’s used in commercially baked cakes and cookies is totally two different thing). But I’m a huge fan of almond soup, almond cream, almond beancurd and all things almond, so naturally, I like Chinese almonds too, and therefore, I enjoyed this piece of creation quite a bit though the base syrup is rather plain. The strength of this dessert lies more in the natural sweetness of the fruits- mangoes, rock melon and cherries. All in all, it was a very refreshing dessert and a good end to the meal.
Overall the dishes at Cheng Ho are good and surpassed my expectations. The dishes that was presented to us was tasty and mostly well prepared, evident of the skills and experience of the chef. I would recommend Cheng Ho Court for it’s quality and price, and I trust that in the capable hands of the chef, your Chinese New Year’s dinner here would be a satisfying affair. :)
Do note that since this restaurant serves Halal Chinese cuisine, it will be a safe bet if you’re to to bring your Muslim family and friends to dine here . Oh, before I forget, parking here is cheap too. It’s just RM2 per entry!
Check out their Chinese New Year’s set menu. Price range from RM888++ to RM1688++ per table of 10 pax. Yee Sang is also available in ala carte with the price ranging from as low as RM68 to RM238.
Here’s my round-up for 2013 Chinese New Year Menu in KL. I’ll include the links once I have published the posts this/next week. I’m trying to write as fast as I can!
1. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant, The Saujana Hotel
2. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant, One World Hotel
3. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Li Yen Chinese Restaurant, The Ritz Carlton Hotel
4. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Shanghai Restaurant, JW Marriott Hotel
5. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Cheng Ho Court Chinese Restaurant, Mines Wellness Hotel
6. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: West Lake Garden Chinese Restaurant, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa
7. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Armada Hotel PJ
8. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: 5enses, Westin KL
9. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial Hotel KL
10. Chinese New Year Menu 2013: Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Hotel KL
there’s more for sure… let me eat first and I’ll update ya! :D