Friday, February 15, 2008

Marco Polo Restaurant Sdn. Bhd.

It almost felt like a wedding of an arranged marriage.

The anxiety, the anticipation, the obligation, the exhilaration and of course, the hefty cost. He cropped his hair and had on a clean, white shirt. His family was there. Just an hour away... He was prepared for the big day. He ignited the engine and hoped for the best. Then, he felt a tap on his shoulder. “Are you sure of this?” she whispered. His world came to a pause. She knew it all. He’s been talking about this new-found love of his for sometime now, unawarely. He got introduced by his blogging friends. It felt good. And real. “It’s not too late to change your mind. Chynna can wait”, she said. He was torn. But he must decide. Now.

Traffic was clear on the third day of the lunar new year. Stepping into the restaurant, he was greeted by the typical oriental sounds of Chinese restaurants, before the smiling staff. Dim sum carts were making turns like tuk-tuks on the busy streets of Bangkok. The drivers, mostly ladies, donned a regal black and gold uniform. Perhaps they were late. At 10.30 am, the crowd was thinner than expected.

They started off with the Salmon Yee Sang (RM38 for half portion). The captain was there to assist in the preparation. Each addition of ingredients into the dish was accompanied by an auspicious wish. How interesting. First bite revealed a rather bland taste. By the second bite, the flavours began to communicate. The finely crushed peanuts and sesame seeds were aromatic and crunchy. The pickled ginger and shallots gave a rather sharp taste while the jellyfish provided crunch sans the polymeric taste. The plum sauce was subtlely sweet, which was much appreciated. Pepper and five-spice powder were optimally used too. At first glance, the salmon looked promisingly fresh, judging from the bright hue. And it certainly was. May he add generous portion and thick slices too. A much loved, much refined Yee Sang.

Next, dim sum time. As they planned to have noodles later, the selection was down to only a few dishes in bamboo steamers. The Chicken And Shrimp Dumpling resembled a typical siew mai (pork dumpling), minus the lard. Firm and savoury, it was alright. He could not figure out the topping though. Roe? Salted egg yolk? Or dyed sago seeds?

The Steamed Pork Ribs was given a Chinese New Year twist as it was herbalised (with angelica roots and wolfberries) and topped with black sea moss. A strange cross between bak kut teh (herbal soup pork) and braised pork. He preferred the common version.

No one shied away from the quintessential Char Siew Bao (barbequed pork bun) as it was very flavourful. Unlike the normal dyed red, diced chunky meat version, the flaky meat filling was finely minced and well-marinated with a sweet/savoury soya sauce mixture. Bun-wise, warm and fluffy. A second order of this was placed. It was that good.

The Stir-Fried Radish Cake did not fair as superlative as the buns. Quality was maintained as it was neither too salty nor bland. There were also generous amounts of choi poh (preserved white radish), beansprouts, chives and scrambled egg thrown into the dish. He thought the lap cheong (waxed sausages) was a nice addition.

He was always sceptical about his Chee Cheong Fun (rolled rice flour lasagne with char siew). It's going to be either too thick or too soft or just plain bland. None of the above, surprisingly. The skin was thin enough to melt yet firm enough to be gripped. With a hint of rice fragrance to boost too. The soya sauce amplified the taste of the dish but char siew (or shrimp) was optional, he though. He loved it.

A signature dish, the Braised Egg Noodle With Siakap (barramundi) closed the brunch. The noodle was crispy while the slices of fish were firm and fresh. The starch/egg sauce was optimally salted. Greens were aplenty too. An average dish with very generous amount of ingredients. If only there was enough wok hei (char flavour).

An old-school dim sum experience that he sorely misses. There were traces of answers to his earlier questions too. No fancy fusion, just good old traditional dainties to touch the heart. With a bill summing up to about RM152 for 5 pax (peak season, mind you) and absolutely impeccable service, he was more than happy with his choice.

Pleasurable guilt at its best. He made his choice. But was it the right choice? Could things have been better if he chose Chynna instead? For now, he doesn’t know nor does he even care for love is blind and it should stay that way. What's really important is that it touches the heart, like those morsels. As for Chynna…he’ll keep in touch.

Marco Polo Restaurant Sdn. Bhd.
1st Floor, Wisma Lim Foo Yong
Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: (+603) 2142 5595, (+603) 2141 2233

23 comments:

ling239 said...

tim sum here cant be too bad lar... ^_^
the topping on siew mai looks like salted egg leh and why is there fatt-choy in the steamed ribs ? @_@

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

So jiwa leh
Your cerita
My heart skip beat
When read intro para

Is this what love is
A little dim sum
With none the extravagance
Of a lady buxom?

The pics are tempting
Your words are are inviting
A welcome distraction
From that damned dacing!

ekeng said...

hey bro...actually i didn't read your post properly..cos it's toooooooo long..hehe..

The siew mai look good wor..when u wanna bring me there? hehe

teckiee said...

hmm im kind of wondering how many yee sang have everyone eaten...

teckiee said...

..heheh and damn drama la ;p

Xiu Long Bao said...

(Background music:
Complicated-Avril Lavigne)
Tell me why do you have to go and make things so complicated?

So the post is all bout dimsum lah, haiyor...Look dramatic only.

Big Boys Oven said...

I have been to this place many many years back, maybe 20years ago. might drop by soon!

Big Boys Oven said...

I have been to this place many many years back, maybe 20years ago. might drop by soon!

ai wei said...

again dim sum?!?! i haven't have dim sum for long long long time d ar... you made me craving for it!

Jason said...

At first I thought it's Chynna. But title says Marco Polo. Heh...

ladyironchef said...

Lol! i like your first para. hahaha

dim sum looks nice : )

♥ ♡ Alvin ♡ ♥ said...

Very good writing!! hehe~ Keng!

~Christine~Leng said...

oo.. i wanna try thr braised egg noodle with siakap.

*laughing at XLB's comment* *nod nod* and I agreed to her. haha. But I've always enjoyed reading your write-ups!

yammylicious said...

skip it.. cos is too long! lol but ur dim sum make mii hell hungry!! i'm SICKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!! but still wan to to eat dim sum!! Grr Grr Grr

wmw said...

Many moons ago, my colleague brought me me for their roast duck. We ordered half, finished it...and ordered another half! It was good stuff!

Alexander said...

From the name of the restaurant, I was expecting quality... and it sounds like this is true.

Alexander
Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

Nic (KHKL) said...

ling 239: haha...funny, right? i think they put fatt choy in a lot of the dim sum...for cny purpose, i think..even the spare ribs!hehe...

lyrical lemongrass:

the intro was a tease
the intend was to please
a wedding it was not
somehow similar, i thought

it's visual art
of thousand years apart
a love at first sight
that touches the heart

a little distraction
from all the commotion
hope you find comfort
in this humble effort :)

ekeng: hehehe...ya lar, i agree it's kinda long. another shiok-sendiri kinda post lar, i guess..hehe...wanna go ar? when you free?

teckiee: hmm..let's see..1,2,3,4,5,..errr, lost count! hehe...how bout you? yupe, agree it's kinda drama lar...self-indulging stuff...hehe...

xlb: where got complicated wor? just a simple story about me choosing marco polo (the restaurant) instead of chynna in hilton kl sentral only mah..hehe :P

big boys oven: yeah, this used to be one of the most popular restaurants back in the 80's i think. can only afford to visit when a family member hits a lottery...hehehe..

ai wei: dun worry, dim sum can eat anytime...after your final exam, you can have all the dim sum in the world already! in the meantime, gambatte kudasai!

jason: true, true...actually, i planned to visit chynna long time already...grand and dai tai "big looking" cos i'm giving a treat mah...but then again, i also wanted to try marco polo..hehe...

ladyironchef: thanks! glad you enjoyed the little story of mine. it's a true account. well, a big exaggerted, i guess...hehe..havent tried redstar yet, though...

alvin: wah, thanks for the compliment leh, bro! just like to shiok-sendiri once in awhile lar...working life is very stressful and demanding lar...sigh...

christine: yeah, the siakap meat was thick but tender. worth the money. i'm glad you enjoyed the write-ups! ok lar, will try something new in my future posts :)

yammylicious: hehehe...too long, right? i also pengsan a bit...hehe...aiyor, u sick? kesian nyer! too much heaty food lar, right? take care, ya!

wmw: is it? didn't know the roast duck is good there...but i know they were once famous for their sharks fin..the comb type (wow!)...i'll see if there is any discount coupon for that or not..hehe...

alexander: yes, it has been a top-notch restaurant for many years now. somehow subdued by the endless new restaurants in town...but still good, i must say.

fatboybakes said...

ooh, i didnt know marco polo had dim sum...looks good.

JOjo said...

Everywhere is Yu Sheng when i only had it once,
Missing the days when all the cousins wouldn't want to eat the yu sheng.
Dim sum Dim Sum,have you capture the heart of yours?
Definitely not mine, yet.

wenching & esiong said...

By the name of this restaurant, we didn't expect dim sum. Anyway, the yee sang sounded so delicious as you described it. Will tell my parents about it! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

fatboybakes: yupe, they do. revisited them last sunday. apparently, they have dim sum buffets on sundays too...

jojo: haha, how silly of them, right? well, that gives us a bigger portion, so no complaints there...hehe

wenching & esiong: yupe, the yu sheng was definitely of the best we had this year. most of the ingredients were very fresh. loved it!

Precious Pea said...

I used to come here for their buffet dim sum. Quite a good spread, with salmon sashimi. But sadly, the price keeps going up, up and up!

Nic (KHKL) said...

precious pea: salmon sashimi??? wah liao eh! i thought they only serve chinese food..oh, update: it's RM33 now... :) more reasons to try it out..hehe