Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

The Ming Room (non-halal)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Roll 41From 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."
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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.
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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.
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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.

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Then we were served dessert. Oh YUM! Almond milk steamed IN a papaya. The Almond milk was creamy, yummy, and basically almonds crushed into water, boiled and then pressed for the milk with a touch of almond flavouring. Not too strong mind you. And sweet, warm, soft papaya. Great flavour. Great texture. And great colour!

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.

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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 | orirest@po.jaring.my
www.orientalrestaurants.com.my

20 Comments

Thank you Nigel for such a generous review of The Ming Room! The photos are fantastic and such a thrill to see them on your blog especially when I was there when you took them almost casually....! Not fatal but one minor correction, the horses are not wooden but terracota from Xian, China.

Another Chinese Restauant to be added to my list... Just begining to appreciate Chinese food. Grew up in a Kampung where everything was curry and sambal. The Ming room looks like a lovely place to dine.

I used to visit the Ming Room every time one of my high school mates get married, haha. Now that I have all but run out of unmarried pals, maybe it's time to hit The Ming Room simply for a dinner for two, eh? :)

*drool* I've just had breakfast and now you've made me crave for dim sum and siew yoke!
(Wah, reading your posts in the morning can be very dangerous.. haha)

I'm glad I read your post. I'm going there tomorrow. The Cod Meehoon looks yumzzz!

yeah i hav been spying posters on lamp posts ard the area abt the re-opening of the ming room..

time to go for some dim sum!

Ah...apparently they re-opened w a BANG!
Such a beautifully written post!
Lovely n I'm so sold! Definitely hopping by soon!

well well well... it's opened? It has been a while since I went to BSC!
Time to eat their dim sum again :)

armani; No worries :-) Our pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.

Paranoid Android; must go!

LFB; Go with the devil and my blessing! ;-)

J, the siew yoke/char siew is to die for. So is the Dim Sum. Do try it.

Qwazy babe; the Cod meehoon is YAM-AY-ZING!

Joe, tot you went di?

Nomad; thanks luv. See you soon?

Thule; Just tooo eeet! ;-)

i've always enjoyed every single restaurants under The Oriental umbrella, yes, including the no-pork one at Maju Junction :D

babe_kl; us tooo...the steamed "fa hai" with "keong yoong" on pulut ;-) in Maju Junction

when oh when! i hope u set a date.. quick;)

Ciki; reply to facebook laaaaaaa but it'll be after LL returns from her sojourn. :-)

The siew yuk at their Jaya 33 outlet is also quite good. And they do a good steamed cod there too! I must do dim sum at Ming Room soon...seeing how near it is to my house. =P

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It's 31st Aug, 2009. Good morning and happy independence day to all Malaysians. We are a great nation with great food so let's stick around and see ourselves through. Just to let you know that The Oriental Group has taken over the restaurant presently called "Ming Cuisine" at 16, Jalan 19/1, 46200 PETALING JAYA (after Rothman's roundabout) and the new restaurant will re-open for business after a ground up renovation on September 25, 2009. But please don't visit on opening day as it opens with a wedding function! The restaurant seats a capacity of 600 so it might be good as a wedding venue for Life for Beginners (see 3rd post from top).

hahaha Armani; will let LFB (Life for beginners) and his partner Devil wears Prada know! ;-) Must intro you guys one day! Lovely f'lers those two too! ;) hahaha Pardon the grammar

Agree the restaurant is good and the food is good BUT the managers are NOT. They are cheats!! Want to share an unpleasant experience with others on the net. Hosted a dinner for some Singapore guests on 3 Dec 2011 and had a table of 10. Chose to order ala carte. Picked a seafood in pumpkin soup as had that before some time back. Price on the menu seemed reasonable at RM20/head. When the bill came, cost of soup was RM580 (RM58/head!. Chinese restaurants have this bad habit of pricing their stuff ending with "8". Guess they are the ones who want to "fatt". Why not use something ending with "4"??)
One of the managers a chap called Loh (does not deserve to be called Mr by me) who took my order said the soup we had contained "special" seafood so that's why it's RM58/head and NOT the RM20/head as in the menu!! We were ordering from the menu. What a Lohlife and cheat!! Not wanting to make a scene in front of my guests, I paid up. This situation is so familiar when people are entertaining and the Chinese restaurants know this well and exploit it to their fullest economic advantage.
Anyway I hope this Lohlife knows what he's getting for his RM380 (580 -200) worth of extra profit!! He will get more than his fair share of "pubilicity".
Diners, BEWARE. Sorry I cannot scan the bill and post it to prove my case.

After seeing the picture of the lohlife in your blog and after my posting, I now know why he's always smiling!!
Beware of your back (rather your pocket)

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