By Aiman Azri
As its name promises, Ming Palace's cuisine is fit for regal banquets, making this a destination that'll delight for Chinese New Year celebration feasts, particularly for patrons who favour Cantonese and Szechuan-inspired fare. Head chef Ng Chee Wah comes from a long line of chefs in his family; he himself boasts four decades of professional experience, ensuring that a confident hand helms the kitchen at this long-enduring establishment in Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
For this sampling of Ming Palace's scintillating Chinese New Year Fortune Set Menu, our courses kick off with - of course - the ever-present Yee Sang. Chef Ng's arrangement has a heavy emphasis on fruits, with slices of pear, guava and pomelo conveying a ripe juiciness, pleasantly playing off the smoothness of the fresh-textured salmon and the crunch of pine nuts. This yee sang is invigorating, with plenty of lively flavours mingling in each mouthful. It's also available a la carte, starting from RM68 nett for a half-portion and from RM108 nett onwards for a full portion.
After that opening burst of a tangy salad, it's right to move on to the soothing soulfulness of a full-bodied broth. The Double Boiled Chicken Soup is a cherished classic, enhanced with buttery abalone for a dash of savouriness as well as ming mok yee mushrooms for earthiness, the latter traditionally prized for being rich in iron and promoting blood circulation.
The Tiger Grouper is a striking centrepiece that shows why Ming Palace has retained a loyal following that dates back to 1984, when the restaurant was formerly known as Ming Court. Relying on top-notch ingredients cooked with expert care, this is fish at its most fulfilling, complemented by the chef's secret Supreme Soy Sauce recipe, a light concoction that brings out the best in the firm, flaky fish.
Two crowd favourites come next, both vibrantly cheerful in their festive golden hues: The chicken platter is made zesty with uplifting overtones of lemon, addictive enough to ensure that not a single slice will remain after everyone is through, while the Baked Tiger Prawns prove to be particularly inspired, dipped in a double dose of both Nestum cereal and salted egg yolk, for a unique sweet-salty balance that's so delightful, we wish we could see this in more restaurants.
Past the protein, the carbs call out in the form of a fragrant Fried Rice, studded with almonds and raisins that supply nutty and fruity dynamics to this richly satisfying dish, the perfect precursor to dessert.
For a refreshing conclusion, the Chilled Sea Coconut has a cooling character, with longan for a nectarous punch, while the Duet of Sweet Dainties is a harmonious pairing of picture-perfect pleasures that offer a clear textural contrast - pretty-in-pink steamed paus with a creamy red bean paste filling and ninko glutinous rice cakes blanketed in fried yam and stuffed with lotus paste, both tasting as captivating as they look.
The Chinese New Year Fortune Set Menu, which runs through 19 February, starts at at RM138 nett per person, or RM1,188 nett for a table of 10 persons that's inclusive of a bottle of red wine or chilled orange juice. Book a second table for 10 and receive a discount of 38 percent, making it RM736 for that table.
Many thanks to Corus Hotel for having us here.
Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 12pm-230pm, 630pm-1030pm.
Reservations: 03-2161-8888, extension 188; or email [email protected]
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