*Guest post by Kevin who was my dining partner that day.
The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur celebrates not only once but twice this time around reintroducing their newly refurbished Chinese restaurant, Ti Chen back into the market. With its rich red and black tones adorning the walls and furniture of this oriental eatery, Ti Chen has a lot more to offer.
Assisting Ti Chen in retaining its stature and reputation are two new chefs, Chef Lai Chong Seng and Dim Sum Chef Yau Kim Yew.
For this review, I had the opportunity to sample some of dishes created by the two chefs for Ti Chen.
Dishes by Chef Lai.
About the chef:
At 39 years of age, Chef Lai Chong Seng brings to the table 19 years of experience in the kitchen starting from the bottom with overseas stints in Seychelles and UAE. Overtime, Chef Lai built his portfolio comprising local and foreign experiences establishing his skills in Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine alongside magnificent fruit and vegetable carving. A member of the Penang Chef Association and the Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chef “Ho Yu” Association, Chef Lai is currently the Chinese Chef for Ti Chen of The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
Some of his signature dishes include Deep Fried Seafood Roll with Mango, Stewed Baby Spinach with Dried Scallop and Wolfberry, Steam Cod Fish with Green Ginger Sauce and Ice Mint Lychees with Melon.
Roasted Duck Salad and Mandarin Orange and Wafu Dressing.
This dish had my attention the moment it was presented, as the distinctive aroma of sesame oil wafted from the dressing (and a bit due to hunger). Usually I would just dismiss salads as just token greens on the menu, but this dish deserves some praise thanks to some of the components which brought up the standards of this salad. The mandarin/tamarind used was sweet, with little of the usual sharp citric acidity making this a noteworthy dish. The slices of duck had some weight to their taste, as it managed to stand up to the dressing of the salad. A good start to the tasting so far.
If anything were to describe this dish, it is perfection in cooking the asparagus. The asparagus spears were crunchy yet tender enough to bite through. Pairing with the shimeji mushrooms and braised bamboo pitch makes for a nice vegetable dish with a balanced flavour profile.
Lamb and koay kak (radish cake).
First component of the dish to enter the mouth was the fried radish cake (koay kak), which was cut in larger cubes than the standard hawker version. Chef Lai’s version is has a fluffier texture and the westernized sauce seem to work well, considering our expectations of spicy hot chunks of radish cake. The bean sprout and egg seemed to be cooked separately apart from the fried radish cake, which somehow brings up thoughts of deviation from the norm. Doesn’t matter much though as I get to have some Chinese style scrambled eggs on my plate.
The lamb was a bit overcooked though as the texture seems to be dried out a bit too much, which seemed to be a bit of a waste as the taste of the black pepper sauce did went well with the dish, and along with some full bodied red wine like cabernet sauvignon or shiraz.
Still, this dish was a good attempt in fusioning both east and west for something that can go well with wine. Wish there was more caramelization (wok hei) on the radish cake and eggs though.
Stir fried udon noodles with cucumber and onion slivers.
Following in the footsteps of the previous dishes, this dish is also light on the palate as in not too overpowering on taste. The slight touch of acidity gives an impression of eating kerabu or acar, which somehow opens up some additional appetite to prep up for the dim sum course.
Dessert – Sea birds nest with longan and Aloe vera.
Unlike the usual tong sui, this dessert was not loaded with sugar, instead relying more on the natural sweetness of the ingredients used. Delightfully light and refreshing, it’s good to have as the last dish.
Dim Sum by Chef Yau.
About the Chef:
33 years of age with Dim Sum making as a passion, Chef Yau is no stranger to this oriental culinary art. Having won numerous awards such as The World Golden Chef Competition 2010 – Outstanding Gold Medalist for the Individual Category, The World Golden Chef Competition 2010 – Gold Medalist for the Team Category and The World Golden Chef Competition 2010 – Gold Medalist for the Food Presentation category, Yau brings with him close to 12 years of experience in dim sum making.
Having collected 6 full years of making halal dim sum, Chef Yau is now confident that he can bring the same quality if not better to Ti Chen restaurant. Also part of the opening team for the new dim sum kitchen, Chef Yau takes the lead in crafting a name not only for himself but also for the restaurant and the hotel as a whole as the place to come to for delicious, quality, hard-to-forget dim sum.
His signature dishes include Ti Chen Prawn Dumpling, Baked Charcoal Mini Egg Tart, Rice Flour Roll with Scallops and Cloud Fungus, and Deep Fried Yam Puff.
Deep Fried Bean Curd Roll with Cheese. RM10.00.
Succulent prawns and mozzarella cheese wrapped up in bean curd skin and deep fried turns this dish into a fresh tasting and creamy (in a good way) dish.
Ti Chen Prawn Dumpling. RM11.00.
According to Chef Yau, the dumpling skin had to be made thicker than usual to retain the beetroot colour, which did impart some additional flavour to the skin. The freshness of the prawns used is nothing short of amazing.
Steamed Pumpkin Dumpling with Prawn. RM10.00.
Made with the same beetroot dumpling skin, this dish is also prawn heavy, with diced pumpkin as one of its filling. Still, the prawn remains dominant in this dish.
Steamed Ebico Siew Mai. RM10.00.
The concept behind this dish is to style the chicken meat to have a similar look and texture as pork for siu mai. By marinating the chicken thoroughly, the smell associated with chicken is removed, and finely mincing the chicken gives it the same look as a genuine pork siu mai.
Baked Charcoal Mini Egg Tart. RM8.00.
Perfectly cooked custard filling on a light charcoal pastry crust. The crust itself is firm enough to handle, yet crumbles easily on biting.
Steamed Custard Bun with Charcoal. RM8.00.
Light and fluffy skin which was better than the ones you get on a normal pau. If those are light, the skin on this one is lighter. The custard was flavourful, but the appearance seems to be grainier than expected.
Previous review: Chinese New Year set at Ti Chen, Saujana Hotel KL
Ti Chen, The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s only Chinese restaurant is situated at the Saujana Golf & Country Club with a breathtaking view of the fairway. Newly refurbished with 2 new great
chefs on board, Ti Chen is set to make its presence felt through honest Malaysian Chinese cuisine with a Cantonese twist. Reasonably priced, Ti Chen is suitable for every occasion, be it a birthday lunch or a wedding dinner.
For dining reservations, email [email protected] or phone (+60 3) 7843 1234 ext. 6122 / 4717.