Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oriental Pavilion

Dim Sum has always been a favourite of mine since my younger days. Maybe it's due to my Cantonese background. Or perhaps the sight of those morsels are just too irresistible. These days, a dim sum session is a good opportunity to catch up with friends and relatives.

Cousin Tony gave everyone a surprise by coming back to KL from the UK for his term break and so, a small dim sum gathering among a few close cousins was held. Cousin Andy suggested Oriental Pavilion at Jaya 33. Another food review on my blog?! I'm a happy man.

I'm not very familiar with restaurants in this part of PJ but knowing that it is under the management of the Oriental Group of Restaurants, I know I'm heading for some visually appealing food and great interior design as I have been to other restaurants under the same management, i.e. Noble House (off Jalan Tun Razak), The Oriental (Section 14, PJ) and Maju Palace (Jalan Sultan Ismail). Taste-wise, well, let's just analyse on a case-to-case basis.

That Sunday morning was really packed and we waited for at least 15 minutes to get a good table. Once seated, we headed to the samples section to order some side dishes, which will be cooked by the chefs a la minute (ok, perhaps a la tenths of minutes, judging from the piles of order sheets on the table). We chose the fried horseradish carrot cake, pig trotters in black vinegar sauce and roasted pork belly.

In the meantime, we ordered some traditional "must-have"s including siew mai (pork dumpling), har gau (prawn dumpling), gow choi gau (chive dumpling), chee cheong fun (flat and broad rice flour noodles with prawns in sweet soya sauce) and char siew bao (steamed buns with roasted lean pork filling). The steamed buns were fluffy, complete with well-marinated pork filling. The dumplings were expectedly firm in texture and the ingredients used were fresh.

The pig trotters in black vinegar sauce was a tad too sweet for me but was compensated by the tenderness of the meat. The fried savoury horseradish cake was also firm in texture but lacked the fragrance of the horseradish.

It has been a tradition for my family to order other non-dim sum dishes from the a la carte menu to complete any dim sum brunch. One of our favourites is the wat dan hor (fried flat rice flour noodle in egg sauce). This restaurant's version was commendable as the sauce was not too diluted nor too gluey (good control of starch). The fragrance of the fried noodles, due to the wok hei (additional heat), added extra flavour to the dish. Preserved green chillies as condiment provided such a good contrasting taste to this dish.

We also ordered the pork ribs (which was served individually). The meat was tender but the sauce was a tad too predictable for me. I could taste the presence of chili sauce and that was not very inspiring, I must say. Perhaps a red wine reduced sauce could have brought another dimension to this dish. Until today, I still can't get the concept behind the presentation of this dish. There's something pretentious about it, I feel.

We ended the brunch with 2 typical dim sum desserts. The ji ma joe (toasted sesame seeds coated glutinous rice skin with lotus paste filling) was dry and hard while the filling was quite bland. The egg tarts were even more disappointing as the fragrance of freshly baked egg filling was missing. The small portions and the overpowering of the custard filling left this otherwise great dessert much to be desired.

The bill came up to about RM220 (6 persons). Thanks, Andy!

There were some hits and misses in this dim sum session but given the good ambience and service, this is not a bad place to spend your weekend afternoon with friends and family. Oriental Pavilion tried to inject a sense of modernity into traditional Chinese cuisine (as with many other Chinese restaurants) but no matter how diversified your concept may be, good quality food should always be prioritized.

P/S: I forgot to order loh mai gai (glutinous rice with chicken meat)!

Oriental Pavilion,
Lot P104, 1st Floor, Jaya 33,
No. 3, Jalan Semangat, Section 13,
46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: 03-79569288

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