I'm slowly exploring the dining places at the Gardens. Not an easy feat as every day, a new outlet opens. Last weekend, we ended up at the Gardens instead of our usual Bangsar to sample this restaurant. It is not new in town with branches at the Chinese Assembly Hall and Shaw Parade in Pudu but was packed with people who had limited choices at the half finished mall. I remember dining at the Chinese Assembly Hall branch once where friends introduced us to a few unique dishes. Since it was too long ago to remember what was good, we stuck to the wait staff's recommendations.
Tea Wine Chicken (RM18)
Purple Cane is said to use tea leaves and brewed tea in their cooking. Although one would associate the food to have hints or the fragrant aromas of brewed tea, there seems to be almost none here. I guess I would have preferred a stronger tea interpretation for their food like the Tea Smoked Salmon I made before.
Fried Kangkong (RM10)
The menu consists of one meal dishes and also cooked dishes you can order to share. We followed the wait staff's recommendations and tried the fried string beans. We all liked the crunchy beans fried with little oil. Fragrant bits of preserved radish (choy poh) were also added to give the beans more flavour. Although there is a mention of Tea in the Tea Wine Chicken, any taste of it would be drowned by the fragrant rice wine (fatt tiu). The dish which had chicken, sliced mushrooms, sliced ginger was served with a thickish sauce that went well with the rice.
Cuttlefish with Oats (RM18)
Although the food was generally good (once you deemed it just as a place to savour Chinese food versus tea flavoured food), service was slow. We noticed the wait staff recommended the same dishes for almost every table to cut down time as they will cook batches of the same food. After a few reminders, our food finally arrived. The fried kangkong was tasty and had very little oil. Unfortunately there's no way to verify if brewed tea was used to cook it but they topped it with a few pieces of fried tea leaves. Splashie Boy's must-have is deep fried sotong hence I ordered the cuttlefish with oats. Although the cuttlefish was slightly chewy, we all liked the oats which had curry leaves, coriander leaves and whole green chili padi. I believe this is the same oats you can get at most Chinese supply stores which is prepacked.
Green Tea Rice (RM1 per bowl)
Last but not least, they serve you green tea rice which is slightly brown in colour as the rice is cooked in brewed tea. Bits of tea leaves are also found within the fluffy rice grains. Again tastewise, no taste of any tea involved except for the colour.
As they're tea specialists, we liked their Pu-Er tea which was not cloying but with a light fragrance. You can get a pot for RM6 which is topped up with hot water throughout your meal. They give you two pots - one to brew the tea and one to pour the brewed tea to keep it. This is to prevent the tea from getting too bitter if it is left to steep for too long. My mother who had joined us for lunch was impressed with the teapot as the wait staff confirmed it is made from high quality clay.
Another thing I do like about this place are their nifty wooden chairs. They may be tiny and space saving but the chairs are comfy even when we were sitting so long for the food. I definitely would not mind coming back on a non peak time to try the food.
Purple Cane Tea Restaurant
Lot LG 206
Lower Ground Floor
Mid Valley City
Tel No: 03 - 2283 6090
(Pork Free. Open from 10am to 10pm daily. Other outlets are at Chinese Assembly Hall and Shaw Parade, Pudu.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.