Friday, 16 April 2010
M’sia – Grand Imperial, Lot F33-F35, First Floor, Hartamas Shopping Centre, No. 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, 50480 KL
It seems new restaurants spring up in Malaysia all the time. Like, every few months there are new restaurants which become the new hot thing in town, and everyone flocks there to see what it’s all about. Not having been about on the restaurant scene for a while (I prefer hawker centres), I was intrigued by the Grand Imperial chain of restaurants. Having heard lots of good stuff about it, I wanted to try it out for myself to see if it was worth all the hype.
So it looks alot better than the average hawker centre, but then again, restaurants in Malaysia have so much competition that they have to do something to get ahead of the crowd. This one does it well, combining a very bright yet cosily-lit interior with enough space for diners to move about. It’s very comfortable inside the restaurant; the chairs and big and spacious, enveloping me as I sat down.
The napkins are thick and impressive in quality, and each chopstick has the restaurant’s logo engraved on it. Sitting down at the table, I felt really snug and comfortable. Comfortable means hungry.
The restaurant has private rooms even for just one table (though it has to be quite a big table), and each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV complete with karaoke sound system. It felt really cosy to be in there, which might be why they’re doing so well. I don’t know about you, but I eat more when I’m comfortable, which is why I do most of my eating sitting in front of the telly in jammies.
While waiting for the other guests to arrive, we were brought some appetisers. Not the usual peanuts and pickles, no way, there were deep fried enoki mushrooms coated in salted egg yolk. Hah. How about that for posh appetisers. They were awesome, they were so good I wanted to order a whole portion as a main dish. Taste sensation went like this:
1. Crispy, mm nice and not greasy
2. Ooh what’s this, some salty crumbly texture. Salted egg.
3. Hey there’s a mushroom in here. I want more.
Because it was a friend’s birthday we were attending, we were served these immensely cute little lotus flower buns. I mean, how soft and cute do they look?
Each lotus bun was fluffy, and filled with a thick, sweet, gooey lotus paste. Not usually something I’d eat at the start of a meal, but it was nice.
Each dish was brought out like an art display by the waiting staff. This was by far the most extravagant presentation of a suckling pig I’d ever seen. LEDs? No problem. Gold serving plate? Sorted.
Putting the crispy piece of skin between the white man tau, and adding some spring onion (cut into the shape of a blooming flower, no less) with a little spread of sweet plum sauce, this dish probably took hours upon hours to prepare. Took me about 2 seconds to eat it. Absolute yum.
Then came the sea cucumber stuffed with minced meat, and something which looked and tasted like pig skin stuffed with meat. It tasted really good, almost comforting. There’s something about minced meat stuffing which makes me think of home-cooking, and the sauce just rounded it all up nicely. Bouncy sea cucumber balanced out with a soft minced meat filling.
This dish of salt and pepper pork was made using the uneaten portion of the suckling pig above (without the LED). Tender and juicy, it’s a nice way of using up the leftovers from the first dish.
Then came the dish which required the use of the knife and fork. I don’t know about you, but I’d never been to a Chinese restaurant which had BOTH chopsticks and knife and fork on the table. Kinda confusing at first because do you still apply the outside-in rule, or do you just use what you feel is suitable for a particular course?
This course of a deep-fried prawn (one bit in a little cup of wasabi mayonnaise, and another bit which was the head, was stuffed with minced fish / prawn meat and that’s what is shown above) seemed to require the use of the silverware.
It then became easier to just use finger-ware. We didn’t realise that the prawn head was stuffed with the chewy fish / prawn paste, but when we were done with the first bit of the prawn, and started prodding the head as it looked quite lonely sat on the other end of the plate, it felt like there was more to it, so I took a bite and hey, it was really nice!
The penultimate course was the stir-fried noodles above, which was served on a huge plate, with char siew. By then we were all so full we hardly touched this, but hey, you know me, I do so much for this blog so I just had to try it out. Very tasty noodles, but most importantly, al dante noodles which retained the texture and chew I like.
And then it was cake time! The cake was a brilliant shade of red, with a cream cheese frosting. Couldn’t quite taste what the red sponge bit was meant to be, because the frosting was quite strong, but maybe it was meant to taste of plain sponge. Whatever the case, it was a lovely piece of cake and the champers washed it down nicely.
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