Authentic Cantonese cuisine at The REGENT
Well, hello 2020! It’s been a nice long break, but let’s not make it any longer lest you forget to eat with me!
Seeing how Chinese New Year is just around the corner, let’s start with a bang with The Regent Chinese Cuisine, which styles itself after a private kitchen, serving authentic Cantonese food.
The open kitchen is headed by Hong Konger chef William Kwok who used to helm The Elegant Hong Kong Cuisine Restaurant in Cheras in the late 1990s, and Malaysian chef K.K. Lee, and together, they serve up healthy, authentic Cantonese cuisine sans MSG, choosing to let the natural sweetness of the ingredients flavour the food instead.
The brainchild of owner Frankie Tan who was inspired by the many private kitchens and supper clubs he had visited, the restaurant may be a slightly larger set up with 15 tables but maintains a similar cozy vibe with particular attention paid to the quality of ingredients, many imported from various countries, especially Hong Kong.
Kim Leong, Tan’s wife, brought out the dried shrimps (har mai) and dried scallops to drive home the point, and I must admit they looked a lot more luscious than the ones we have here.
Our lunch date began with the Typhoon Shelter Style Deep Fried Fish Skin, with skin from wild unagi (eel), cooked together with large luscious pieces of squid. Crunchy, salty, yet not oily at all, this triple fried addictive cracker was my kind of comfort food and I can feast on this forever.
You might be wondering, why would people want to eat boring basic chicken rice at a fancy restaurant like this? Well, if you tried the succulent and tender Crystal Chicken, then you would know it makes perfect sense and even if you’re avoiding carbs like me, it would be hard to resist the fragrant and flavourful stock-cooked chicken rice. Tan brought out further reinforcement by introducing a special Grade A soy sauce homemade by his father-in-law to go with the chicken.
This, he said, was usually only produced in very small quantities as it would be too expensive to sell on a mass scale. He explained how complicated it was to sun the soy beans properly and how the most minute weather changes for the day would have to be noted. When I tried the sauce, there was a distinct sweetness to it rather than pure saltiness. Diners can purchase a bottle of this special soy sauce only at The Regent.
We also savoured Iberico Pork Ribs, marinated with black pepper and rosemary. The meat was fall-off bone tender and juicy, though a little salty eaten on its own without any rice.
The other protein we tried was a familiar dish using imported beef – Stir Fried Australian Angus Beef with Black Pepper. This was an absolute showstopper as the beef was a-mah-zing! Tender, juicy, flavourful, there are not enough words to describe this ordinary Chinese dish made extraordinary.
Since we were already on a roll, why not try the Sweet Sour Pork which Tan insisted was one of the best in town? Offering a nice balance of flavours without being too sweet, the generous pieces of meat had a nice crunch to them despite being coated with sauce. And yes, they were very, very good!
Somehow, a bowl of rice seems too indulgent but a bowl of noodles leaves one feeling less guilty. It’s all in my mind, of course, and the Braised Hong Kong Yee Mee with Black Truffle and Mushroom, liberally sprinkled with truffle specially imported from Italy, made it worth the extra calories. The Yifu noodles are specially imported from Hong Kong and only available at The Regent.
Other popular choices here include the Deep Fried Soon Hock, cooked in a simple manner with just salt and pepper rather than the conventional steamed version, Pig Stomach Pepper Soup, and Lobster.
Well, they all have to wait for another day as I couldn’t fit in another morsel.
Come Chinese New Year, there will be Lunar favourites such as Lap Mei Fan (waxed duck rice) and other goodies available on the menu, so that will be a good time to check this place out again. Prices are generally a little higher compared to conventional Chinese restaurants but you can be assured of quality dishes and come away feeling you’ve been feted by the best.
Add: Lot A-0G-01, Block A, No. 2, Jalan Kiara, Plaza Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 012 273 8688/03 6211 3331