A Hong Kong encounter at Tai Zi Heen.

Festival Menu
RM180++ per person with wine
RM120++ per person without wine
Light Festival Menu
RM120++ per person with wine
RM80++ per person without wine

Time does fly, and already we are in the midst of another year’s Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF). Which means, another round of fine dining tasting is expected of.

First off, we stopped by the award-winning Tai Zi Heen Chinese Restaurant at Prince Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur, and they have themed this year’s menu as ‘A Hong Kong Encounter’, which features their Chinese Master Chef Ricky Thein Yiew Ming’s signature Chinese cuisine dishes with an extensive combination of homemade dim sum.

Tai Zi Heen starts off the Hong Kong encounter with bite-size teasers on its Appetiser Platter. Move around clockwise starting from the Wok-fried prawn with Asian tomato and black sesame dressing, given an accentuated tangy taste that immediately opens up your taste palettes; the Steamed cod dumpling with crabmeat glaze is like the Cantonese’s own har kao which everyone is familiar with; the Crispy yam puff with foie gras and minced chicken that envelopes a savoury of roughness and heaviness on the tongue; and lastly, the Shredded beef with dried tangerine peel that adopts much of a Vietnamese cuisine with its fruity ingredients of orange peel, sour plum and pomelo – interestingly refreshing to reset the taste buds and to get you ready for the rest of the menu.

For starters, Tai Zi Heen opts for the healthy Duo of duckling and organic yin choy broths with sun-dried seafood, prawn and hairy gourd. The broths are a recipe of concoction that cools your system with its herbal elements, surrounding the towering seafood ingredients like moat to a castle.

For the mains, there is the Honey and soya baked salmon with fragrant crab roe, soya beans, broad beans, honshimeji mushrooms and wolfberry sauce. The salmon used in this dish is the authentic Norwegian Salmon, which has a smoother texture compared to the salmons commonly used in Japanese cuisine. However, the sweetness of the meat is overlapped by the sweetness of the sauce, which some purists find quite a waste.

Another main course to savour on is the Citrus marinated rack of lamb roasted with white sesame seeds, wok-fried baby cabbage, fresh lily bulbs and a spicy minted plum sauce. The minted plum sauce does not go overboard with its chilliness, and the citrus marination provides an unusual tangy juice that extracts from the meat with every bite you take.

Tai Zi Heen also offers a noodle dish of Dan mee with soy-braised beef, carrots, radish and leek with a splash of red wine. Dan mee is a popular noodle served in Cantonese cuisine and it is said that it is best eaten with a spoonful of vinegar. Here, it is harmonised with a spoonful of red wine, which you drizzle atop the crispy noodles to soften the texture. Wrapped in the frizzy layers of dan mee are slices of wagyu beef that comes as a surprise for the taste palettes.

Lastly, savour on the final touches of Tai Zi Heen’s menu with their Dessert Dim Sum, a culinary art that the restaurant takes pride in. There is the sweet and savoury Vanilla ice cream with fresh mango puree, sago and pomelo; the chewy Chocolate whisky siew mai, which is quite an interesting piece of work, but is a little too flour-ey for taste; and the filling Crispy water chestnut spring roll.

This year, Tai Zi Heen complements their Festival Menu with Pernod Ricard Malaysia’s fine selections of Jacob’s Creek Reserve, one of Australia’s premium wines from Barossa Valley.

To go with the appetiser and starter, there is the Jacob’s Creek 2007 Reserve Riesling with a wine style that demonstrates rich characteristics of citrus and floral fruits. It is an ideal wine to partner with seafood dishes, which is perfect in emphasising on the sweetness, sourness and saltiness of the appetiser and starter courses. It is a little too much for me to take because the acidity goes straight to my nose and bites on my tongue.

I much prefer Jacob’s Creek 2006 Reserve Shiraz, selected to go with the main courses. It displays rich fragrant blackberry and plum with a slight hint of spice with integrated toasty cedar oak notes. And unlike the Riesling, this red wine is much smoother and sweeter on the palette with its velvety tannins, which is easier and sweeter to down alongside the meat dishes.

I thought it was quite a good fusion menu. Throughout, you can see how obviously Tai Zi Heen infused common Eastern ingredients on Western ones, kind of like giving a gwai lou a traditional Chinese garment to put on.

I cannot say it was an outstanding piece because here and there, it did not quite work well enough for me. But the restaurant has been known to think out of the box, and I thought they have done pretty good for this year’s menu.

Festival Menu
RM180++ per person with wine
RM120++ per person without wine

Light Festival Menu
RM120++ per person with wine
RM80++ per person without wine

++
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur
4 Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens for lunch Mon-Sat: 12PM-2.30PM, Sun & public holidays: 11.30AM-2.30PM; dinner Mon-Sun & public holidays: 6.30PM-10.30PM
T: +6 03 2170 8888 (ext 8200)
E: restaurants@princehotelkl.com.my

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