Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Frigglive reviews the 100 Dish Buffet at Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant, Nikko Hotel KL

Text and pix by Patrick and Sydney Lim

We were greeted to a very Chinese décored setting and all to a very exquisite taste of fine furnishing. It reminds me of my 1st trip to Shanghai where we were dining at a 5 star hotel for a company dinner. Yes, the Toh Lee’s setting is spot-on traditional high end Chinese ambience.

At our table, we were greeted by the bubbly Mrs. Jamie Tan, the Communications Executive of Nikko. She had explained about the buffet, which consists of 100 dishes. Because we couldn’t taste them all, she took the initiative of picking out some delicacies for us to try.

First, a starter of Jellyfish and Century Egg was brought to the table. Honestly, I have never been a fan of jellyfish, especially not when it has been combo-ed with century eggs. But the crunchy texture of the jellyfish had worked well with the equally crunchy egg white and the soft yolk and it tasted great.

Next was a broth made from Shimeji mushrooms and scallops. It looks like shark fin soup minus the starchy texture and to my surprise, the scallops had made the soup really sweet and the mushrooms were cooked to perfection, the consistency of the soup just right.

After that, we were served a dish of Baked Prawns in Mongolian Sauce. The crunchy prawns were very fresh and cooked in a spicy, slightly tangy sauce. The sauce wasn’t overpowering, as some other places might serve it, but it was just right, bringing out the flavor and freshness of the prawns. Two thumbs up for this dish.

Next up was the Deep Fried Fish with Superior Soya Sauce. Don’t be fooled by its appearance. Even though the dish looked fairly plain, the taste of it was enough to make you order it twice. The fish was superbly fresh, and the simple sauce had complimented it nicely. A must try dish.

Next was the Wok Fried Radish Cake. One of my personal favorites. The radish cakes were fried to a crispy golden brown on the outside, but still soft and chewy on the inside. Even without the chilly sauce that was given as a dip, it had enough taste to stand on its own, not too salty or too bland.

Jamie had also ordered the Taiwanese Stewed Sliced Chicken, which she said was a house favorite. The chicken was served in a slightly sweet sauce, cooked with chilies and basil leaves. Considering basil leaves are not normally used in Chinese cooking, this was pretty interesting. Chilies, garlic and basil were stewed in this dish to create the unique aroma. The taste was equally as good as the rest that we have tasted. The buffet has so far been one of the best if not the best that I have tasted. I wondered what next.

Then came the desserts … something instantly recognizable and traditional was served. Soft Glutinous Rice Balls in Soya Bean Milk. The glutinous rice balls were stuffed with a sweet sesame paste, working well with the only slightly sweetened soya milk. This warm dessert is a definite change compared to the cold ones so commonly served after meals and it was yummy. And since the mid-Autumn Moon cake Festival is just round the corner, we were naturally given plenty to choose from.

Jamie had also explained about Toh Lee’s Mid-Autumn offers in conjunction with the Moon cake festival. Toh Lee’s chef, Chef Chan Chong Yan, has come up with an assorted variety of moon cakes, having both the classics and his very own new additions as well. We lost count how many types there were or what they are but sure as day is day, none of them came short of unbelievable great. Above all else, Toh Lee is also running a special promotion if you buy more than RM300 of moon cakes on a single receipt, you will be entitled to a 30% discount for their ala carte orders.

We were offered the Mini Green Tea Paste with Single Yolk, the mini Red Bean Paste with chicken floss, mini Egg Cream with Black Sesame Paste and some which we have forgotten its name. With food this good, it is so easy for forget the names of what you have eaten but the taste has not been forgotten.

Now for the money: the 100 Dishes Buffet Promotion is an ongoing promotion until further notice and for RM88++ per head, it is a steal. Yes, a steal. Here is a buffet that tastes as good as its ala carte menu and one which we will not hesitate to recommend again and again.

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