From terracotta horses hand-carried all the way from Xian, China, to the yummy ginger cod mee hoon soup and the luscious durian pudding, The Ming Room has returned with a Roarrr!
In any case, since we were free one Sunday, Ms Chan Mo Lin, one of the owners of The Oriental group of Restaurants invited Allan and myself out to lunch to catch up. Along the way, we dragooned "Amelia" to come along. Mo Lin very kindly consented to have me blog about the experience when I asked her permission as I think that everyone should have the pleasure of dining at such a well conceptualised, and executed experience.
And that's what a restaurant is. An experience. Whether its on a budget and you compete on price or you compete on artistic imagination, which tends to be on the other end of the monetary scale.
The restaurant should be on "message." The minute you walk in, it should "look" like the food it serves and tell you a little bit about it's purpose and the price that comes with it. And The Ming Room does that in spades. There's an inherent understanding of that down to the red table cloth. As a matter of fact, some friends and I used to call this one Chinese restaurant in Bangsar, "Red Table Cloth." I might have an objection to the colour but there's no denying the message it sends; "good value chinese food."
Which brings us to the core of what every restaurant should be about.
The bubbled skin and layered translucence of "siew yoke" appears on the table. Slightly warm. Salt crystals crunch with the glass like brittleness of the skin and Then my favourite...Char Siew. Chinese Roast Pork. Sweet, tender, creamy, caramelised dark surfaces, glistening in the light. Tender, fall apart meat. Perfect.
A dizzying array of dimsum, noodles, and and food finds its way onto our table. If I wrote how much I loved everything, we'd be here till tomorrow. Some dishes which merit special mention;the poached cod in a ginger paste on top of soup meehoon (vermicelli), "Char Choi"(preserved turnips) tripe soup, and the scallop dumplings.
The cod was perfectly poached. I've a suspicion that what we call cod is actually a Chilean Sea Bass. A high fat fish. Hence that meltingly tender flaky texture. And the sweetness that comes with flavourful, "good-for-you" Omega 3 oils. The counterpoint of the ginger paste is stunningly simple but effective. This part is no surprise as its been done well by many Chinese restaurants and is quite standard. But added on top of a hot flavourful broth, sopped up by delicate vermicelli was an added dimension of texture and taste. It was almost like a lovely picture had been transformed into a masterpiece by the addition of a beautiful frame.
The tripe and "Char Choi" was another favourite. More delicate than the street food it's obviously inspired by, it worked well. Peppery, tender tripe, with the sour salt contrast of the preserved turnips, not to mention the crunchy, vegetal texture was an eye-opener.
AND Durian Pudding! Very attractive presentation with dry ice bubbling away and a drift of smoke and vapour lend to an experience of cool pudding redolent with the taste of fresh durian. That's important. Many cooked durian desserts taste like durian dodol. Not good. This however, was a revelation.
The service was proficient and of the standard that you would expect of a good Chinese restaurant. Before you say that we had better service because we were sitting with some of the owners, I should say that I was watching some of the other tables and they were all served within moments of seating with food appearing very soon after ordering.
The ambiance was comfortable, contemporary, and speaks of what The Ming Room purports to be; an upper medium scale Chinese restaurant. You would never mistake it for anything else.
I thoroughly recommend this place.
The Ming Room
3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 KL
Tel: 03- 2284 8822 | Fax: 03- 2284 3822 | firstname.lastname@example.org