Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Chinese New Year 2012 @ Gu Yue Tien, Chulan Square, Kuala Lumpur
When it comes to innovative and great tasting food, Gu Yu Tien trumps everyone in the market.
This year, their Chinese New Year offerings is a balance of old favourites (as many of their clientele can't do without) and something to summon the dragon, their Dragon Fish Yee Sang (RM98++ for 10 persons).
While Gu Yu Tien still maintain their healthy outlook for their yearly offering of the prosperity yee sang (green coral lettuce, golden raisins, pears, pomelo sacs, salmon sashimi, sesame seeds, strawberry sauce and crunchy "pok chui" crackers), this year sees the addition of these dragon like fishes. These sharp toothed sea fishes add a nice crunchy taste to the whole festivities.
Toss them around and they look like dragons flying in the sky, an auspicious way to usher in the new lunar year.
Nowadays with the outcry of cruelty to sharks, restaurants are saying no to the Chinese delicacy.
Gu Yue Tien tries to balance between the old and the new, offering the two varieties, one with and without.
However, a taste of this sumptuous thick seafood broth filled with crab roe, crab meat, prawn, scallop, squid and tofu cubes will make anyone happy (including those old folks) that they won't nag when they don't see those forbidden fins.
A must-have when you dine here is the superb salt baked Spanish Iberico spare ribs.
It is so finger licking good that you won't mind getting your hands dirty to eat every small morsel of the delicious meat.
I do love my Hunan food hence I was a little surprised to see Chef Frankie unveil these spicy dishes.
I've always pegged him as a Cantonese guy but he showed today his breadth of skills (seems he is also well versed with Shanghainese and Szechuan dishes).
Rather than any old steamed fish, he marries the Western favourite aka the halibut fish with a spicy chillies and garlic topping.
The fish flesh is perfectly steamed until it becomes a creamy texture with its omega rich oil content. The not overly spicy but well balanced chopped red chillies and garlic complement the whole dish so well that you end up lapping every delicious bit.
I've always loved the steamed fish here and for those who prefer more delicate flavours, you can opt instead for their steamed australia jade perch fish with light soy sauce. Another omega oil rich fish, the flesh is silky smooth especially when dipped in their aromatic but not overpowering sauce.
While Chef Frankie is open to all types of Chinese food, he prefers to keep his Szechuan dishes to a lower spice level for it to reveal its many layers of flavours.
For instance, he ingeniously pairs the classic Szechuan Ma Po Tofu (named after this pockmarked lady, claims the legend) with these silky smooth noodles. The flavours in this dish is incredibly controlled for you pick up its subtle nuances - the bean paste used in the sauce, each niblet of the minced meat, the silky tofu cubes and the chopped chillies. The slight spicy taste is rather appetizing too that seems to warrant seconds even though you are full to the brim.
From the fieriness, we cool down with the aromatic Chinese almonds cream. Boasting a strong flavour of the Chinese almonds (which are in truth apricot kernels), this was lusciously smooth. Chopped fruits add a textural contrast while the scoop of vanilla ice cream gives it a creamy cool edge.
Specially for the festive season and a must to keep those reporting Kitchen Gods abay from spreading nasty rumours about you, is the traditional nian gao.
Usually pan fried, Gu Yue Tien also does the steamed version that gives it a soft melt in the mouth texture that is seasoned with salt and rolled in fresh coconut shreds. A much healthier and unusual version compared to the pan fried one. While most of the Chinese New Year sets they have feature the pan fried nian gao, you can request for this healthier version if you like.
For the festive season, the restaurant has various menus to cater to your needs. Prices start from RM738++ to RM3,999++ for ten persons. They also cater to small parties (minimum two persons) so check out their offerings. (I will place the scanned menus in my Flickr set later in the day).
Gu Yue Tien
Lot B5-A, Chulan Square
92 Jalan Raja Chulan
Tel: 03-2148 0808
(Non Halal. Restaurant closed only on the first day of Chinese New Year but open throughout the celebrations. For more pictures, see the Flickr set.)
*This is an invited review by the owner.