Guarding a LEGACY
Imagine having a whisky pairing session in a coffeeshop! Not exactly your idea of fine dining, but essentially that’s what over 50 Glenlivet Guardians did one night. However, this was no ordinary coffeeshop, but one with a 91-year-old legacy that is still going strong, currently being steered by third generation boss, Mervyn Lee.
The name Yut Kee itself is an institution, being one of the first establishments to offer kwai loh food back when the British ruled in 1928, and today, its Hainanese style Chicken Chop still ranks highly. Walking in and getting a seat without waiting is a rarity, and after 8 years in its new home at Jalan Kamunting (formerly it was just around the corner along Jalan Dang Wangi), business is still booming. Say what you will about the economy, but Malaysians stay loyal to their favourite food haunts!
So, let’s get down to business and to the real stars of the night – Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old and 18 Year Old.
One of the very few places in KL that offers Roti Babi – soft fluffy bread stuffed with minced meat (Yut Kee’s version has lap cheong/ Chinese sausage) in the centre, this is best eaten with a dash of Worcestershire sauce to give it that sharp zing and heighten the flavour. Paired with the easy-to-drink smooth Glenlivet 12 Year Old, everything washed down pretty fast.
Everybody’s tummies were rumbling by the time the starter – Roti Babi – made its entrance and this was devoured in double quick time. Earlier, diners were already in a happy place drinking Founder’s Reserve while waiting for the food to be served.
Next course was Hailam Fried Noodles (lam mee) with Glenlivet 15 Year Old. The noodles drenched in flavourful broth is comfort food at its best, familiar and warms your insides, and tastes even better when accompanied by sambal which Yut Kee provides with a squeeze of lime. Likewise, the trusty and familiar whisky, a firm favourite with many Guardians, stood out as the highlight of this course, its initial slight sweetness matching that of the noodles, slowly giving way to a spicier and medium body that enveloped the mouth. But tasting notes aside, aiyah, most Guardians would say, just drink lah!
Hainanese Roast Pork and Hainanese Chicken Chop made their entry accompanied by the 18 Year Old. The Roast Pork is only served at Yut Kee during weekends from Fridays to Sundays, and runs out fast, usually served with apple sauce. If other dishes reminded you of the charming coffeeshop ambience so far, this signature dish made its mark as a class above the rest and is worthy of classy establishments. The pièce de résistance of the night, the crispy skin cracked at first chomp, a sign that that it was roasted to perfection with the meat still moist succulent. Paired with the award-winning 18 Year Old, it was gold as the excellent single malt, revealing a slight hint of citrus and spice at the start, its fruity notes brought to the fore by the complementing roast pork. A mouthful of meat, then a slow sip of the golden liquid, leaving a woody, faint smokiness on the tongue, heavenly bliss indeed.
Knowing full well how the Guardians enjoy their whisky, ambassador Lionel Lau reminded the diners to take it slow, savour the dram of this last whisky for the night’s tasting, and linger over the finish.
The night finished with Yut Kee’s popular kaya Swiss roll and marble cake, but many who felt the night was still young carried on the party with… Founder’s Reserve?
A bit of an anti climax, but a good single malt is never enough anyway.
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