and with Chinese New Year on the horizon there’s no shortage of restaurants
offering wonderful set menus to usher in the Year of the Snake. The Phoenix Restaurant at the Holiday
Inn, Glen Marie is no exception, and Executive Chef Francis Lau has created
exceptional dishes to ensure that you honour the New Year in style.
No CNY celebration would be complete without tossing
noodles for good luck. The Yee
Sang menu includes versions with Sea Bass, Salmon, Jellyfish, Octopus, and Top
Shell Abalone, plus there are Japanese and Vegetarian options – certainly
something for everyone. I had the good fortune to try the Golden Phoenix set,
which began with Salmon Yee Sang.
was followed by Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Bamboo Pith and Crabmeat. This vegetarian version (bravo to the
Holiday Inn for refusing to serve real Shark’s Fin for the past two years) was
thick, rich and tasty. There was
plenty of crabmeat and the bamboo pith added an interesting texture.
The Crispy Roasted Chicken in Mongolian Sauce was full
of flavour. The chicken was
exceptionally tasty, complemented beautifully by the peppery sauce made of
chilli sauce, black pepper and condensed milk. The fruit kebabs were an inspired and attractive accompaniment. I may even try this one at home! It’s simple yet highly effective.
The fish course was a healthy Steamed Sea Bass, in
Teow Chew Sauce, served with tofu, pickled vegetables and chilli. The sour, tangy vegetables contrasted
well with the delicate fish.
Prawns came next in a spicy, sweet and sour
Vietnamese Sauce, accompanied by Mantou, slightly sweet, deep-fried puffs of
bread. They were so delicious
dipped in the tangy sauce that I had to move into denial mode. A second helping would have been
wonderful but calorifically suicidal.
This dish looked like sliced abalone, but
was actually Braised Mushrooms, Beancurd Skin and Vegetables with a topping of sweet, crunchy macadamia nuts. It was another wholesome addition to
the menu, allowing diners to keep right on eating without feeling too replete.
The final savoury course was Seafood Rice served with
Century Egg. The fried rice was
made with a minimum of oil, and I particularly enjoyed the topping of shredded,
pickled ginger on the black eggs. I ate half of half an egg, and I think my
Chinese friends will be proud of me.
I thought it might be auspicious or something! It’s never a good idea to pass up opportunities to increase
The Chilled Rambutan with Nata de Coco, enhanced with
mint, watermelon and orange juice, was very refreshing and less sugary than usual.
Finally, we enjoyed two sweet cakes: a traditional
crispy Fried Nian Gao with Chocolate Topping and an attractive, corn-shaped
pancake with red bean filling. I liked them both, and once again had to hold
myself back from reaching for a second helping.
Although the pork-free Phoenix Restaurant is somewhat
lacking in ambiance, it more than redeems itself by the quality of its food. I
was impressed with the presentation of Chef Lau’s dishes too. He used pandan leaves with black olive
“flowers”, and even dead leaves, most effectively. The regular dining room
seats fifty, but can expand to accommodate 500. There is also a private room seating up to 12 people.
I sampled the Golden Phoenix Set A, which is designed
for 10 persons. It comes with complimentary St Remy Brandy for RM1188++. There are many other set menu options,
ranging from RM388++ for 2 to 3 people to RM1588 ++ for 10 diners (which
includes Abalone dishes and Red Grouper).
Reason to visit: Chef Lau uses the minimal amount of oil to produce
tasty, nourishing dishes with well-balanced flavours. I’d certainly return to
dip another Mantou in the Vietnamese Sauce!
For reservations, please call (603) 7803 9090 extn: 302