January 16, 2019
Rebirth and renewal: Spring is in the air at the Tai Thong Group, bringing the sweet scent of seafood to the newly revamped Spring Garden in Suria KLCC. Reawakening after a month-long refurbishment, the restaurant has been thrillingly revamped for 2019 and beyond into a seafood specialist, illustrated by tanks holding everything from live Australian lobsters to Alaskan king crabs, star coral groupers to geoduck clams. Based on the lunch crowds thronging Spring Garden this month, loyal customers seem to be enthusiastically welcoming this long-popular restaurant back and embracing its latest emphasis.
Spring Garden's refreshed menu was personally spearheaded by Tai Thong's head chef Simon Lee, bringing the full force of his 32 years of experience; Lee began professionally cooking in his teens, shoring up his skills in various ports throughout the region, from Shanghai and Taipei to Australia, before returning to Malaysia.
Celebrating its relaunch, Spring Garden has introduced several limited-time temptations, such the South African abalone, more tender than its typical ilk, prepared in a choice of cooking style (RM38++ per piece) - we loved it steamed with minced garlic (which added pleasurably sharp heat) and glass noodles (lending a silkiness to complement the abalone), but patrons can also have it sauteed with 'golden greens' or pan-fried with black truffles.
The Grand Reopening Promotional Menu runs through 31 January; other highlights include Estuary Tiger Grouper (steamed with Hunan diced hot peppers, steamed Nyonya style, or steamed with superior soy sauce), Freshwater Prawns (baked with soy sauce and minced garlic, steamed with sauna sauce, or steamed with minced garlic and bean sauce), and Indonesian Mud Crabs (braised with chillies, fried with fragrant spices, or baked with butter sauce).
For the complete 2019 a la carte menu, seafood lovers are spoiled for choice, with page after page of oceanic indulgences, from fish maw soup to braised sea cucumber to sauteed scallops. Start perhaps with the Soft Shell Crabs, stuffed into steamed buns with a fluffiness that contrasts nicely with the crab's warm crunch, served with a creamy salted egg yolk sauce to boost the savoury satisfaction (RM58++ per portion). The Poached Fried Rice in Superior Broth conveys soulful comfort in a nourishing bowl, succulent with plump prawns, mixed up to reveal the playful pop of rice crisps in each spoonful (RM30++ per portion).
We sampled the fish and crustacean treats next (seasonal prices). Nyonya-style Steamed Cod might convince customers that chef Lee hails from Malacca (even though he's not), a surprising sleeper smash with classic assam sauce nuances, confidently balancing a sense of tang with sensibilities of spice to enhance the buttery, flaky fish. Other varieties of fish offered range from marble goby 'soon hock' to giant river patin to jade perch and more, in no fewer than six Asian-inflected preparations that include steamed Thai-style or with black bean chilli sauce.
The Baby Lobster with Cheese will be another sure-fire hit with the entire table; the Sabah-sourced lobster conceals more than its fair share of flesh in its shell, ensuring a hearty, juicy chew. Australian lobsters are also available, baked lusciously with cheese too or sashimi-style with superior soup.
Seafood surfaces in Spring Garden's dim sum section too, with a tidal wave of shrimp sensations in the Steamed Siew Mai (RM10.80++) and the Tai Thong Superior Har Kao (RM12.80++), plumply and perfectly executed for a pork-free establishment, showcasing the most delightful characteristics of hand-crafted traditional dim sum.
For folks seeking intriguing creations, the Hong Kong-Style Crispy Shredded Duck Cheong Fun heralds contemporary fun for all generations (RM13.80++); it's worth noting that Spring Garden still serves plenty of meat and vegetable specialities beyond seafood, of course, particularly poultry possibilities like Peking duck, salt baked chicken with tang kwei, and roast pigeon, as well as claypot lamb loin, hot pot beef tenderloin, Australian venison with ginger, and much, much more; something for every palate and preference, certainly.
Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Lime Sorbet brought our lunch to a vibrantly cool conclusion, reinvigorating us with its herbaceous zest to brave the afternoon heat outside the mall (RM12.80++). Dessert devotees might also want to check out the Pan-Fried Sesame Paste Bun, Double Boiled Aloe Vera, and Chilled Mango Sago with Pomelo to placate their sweet tooth further.
Many thanks to Spring Garden for having us here.
Lot 413 & 414, 4th Floor, Suria KLCC, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 10am-10pm. Tel: 03-2166-9881
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