Monday, 25 January 2010

Dim Sum - The Ming Room, Bangsar

I haven't had much luck with my recent dim sum visits in London - Chuen Cheng Ku was atrocious and the usually fail safe Royal China was having a bad day (I refuse to even consider the possibility that Royal China is not as good as it once was). Dim sum in KL is usually a whole lot more fun - not awe inspiring stuff but good, cheap and cheerful. And I get to share it with some of the best dining companions - my dad and sister. Blessed with hearty appetites and greediness to match, we do tend to eat very well together.

Ming Room at BSC (that's Bangsar Shopping Centre to the non-KLite) has been around for quite some time, part of a new wave of Chinese restaurants with modern decor and a traditional meets modern style of cooking. Think Baked Foie Gras with Stuffed Sea Clams or Pan Seared Foie Gras with Garlic Rice ... you get the gist. I've been to Ming Room several times and I don't recall the being particularly great or all that bad either. It's one of those places where the memories of the food just sort of disappears into oblivion. Definitely OK for a dim sum then.

Fried Peanuts and Tofu - The Ming Room, BSC

We started with their "free" starter. A real rip off. The starter was good - tiny pieces of deep fried tofu, peanuts and dried silver anchovies coated in a sweet chili sauce - but forget the free part. Chinese restaurants used to serve a plate of peanuts when I was a child, which I'm pretty sure was free. A few years later they started charging for the same plate of nuts and soon more enterprising restaurants began jazzing up their "free" plates and it became a hidden charge on the bill. You could of course say no, thanks, send the plate back and earn yourself a huff from the waitress. Most don't bother ... just eat it la!

Har Kow - The Ming Room, BSC

Sui Mai - The Ming Room, BSC

No dim sum meal would be the same without an order of har kow and siu mai even if they aren't particular favourites. These were alright. Not much else to say about both these dishes.

Steamed Fishballs - The Ming Room, BSC

One of my absolute favourites are steamed fishballs. I could happily just have fishballs and nothing else. Not those ultra bouncy kind that you buy from the supermarket, thank you very much. They have to be chewy rather than bouncy - I like to think it's because there's a higher ratio of fish in the recipe. The Ming Room fishballs hit the spot. I even requested a second portion. Ah happiness!

Sharksfin Dumplings - The Ming Room, BSC

For a touch of luxury these seafood dumplings had a a few strands of sharks fin on them.

Lor Mai Kai - The Ming Room, BSC

Lor mai kai with gloppy brown sauce. Sticky rice with chicken, pork and mushrooms - good. Pretty hard to get wrong.

Wu Kok - The Ming Room, BSC

Wu kok - deep fried yam dumplings stuffed with meat. Another favourite of mine but sadly not many places get it right. Very often the dumplings are served cold and clogged with oil. These were quite delicious. The yam was light with crisp edges. Delightful.

Mango and Prawn Rolls - The Ming Room, BSC

I don't recall eating these prawn and mango rolls but apparently I did since I have photos of them.

Sui Kow - The Ming Room, BSC

I have been dreaming of sui kow for a very long time now. My sui kow dreams usually evolve around the dumplings from Foong Foong's Ampang yong tau foo. Sadly there was no time for yong tau foo this time but Ming Room's sui kow managed to quell my cravings for them ... a little. Where the food in Foong Foong's is ultra cheap and cheerful, Ming Room is a touch more refined. The sui kow was really quite lovely and the soup it was served in was delicious. It was the sort of broth you can imagine 10 chickens being boiled for 20 hours to achieve.

Char Siew Cheong Fun - The Ming Room, BSC

Another favourite of mine is the cheong fun. At Ming Room the noodles was soft and silky, the meat lean. Very nice.

Shredded Chicken and Century Egg Congee - The Ming Room, BSC

For it's non-halal status, I was a little surprised when the waitress shook her head when we asked for porridge (I refuse to use the word "congee" to refer to rice porridge ... it somehow gives me the creeps) with lean pork and century egg. Surely it is one of the cornerstones of dim sum? Alright, har kau and siu mai are the cornerstones. Cheong fun, char sui bau, pei dan sau yuk chuk are second tier stones if you must - in my book anyway. So we had porridge with shredded chicken and century egg instead. Nice, but not quite the same is it? I poked around the menu right at the end of the meal and found that they had porridge with dried oysters and lean pork, which I just had to have. Oh it was good, very good. Reminds me of the stuff my grandma used to make.

The food at Ming Room really wasn't too bad. There were some dishes they did well and was quite hard to fault, whilst others were a bit hit and miss. The service, however, was definitely a miss. We ordered some vegetables that never turned up, the waiting staff had the attention span of newts (if and when you could get them to understand you) and the the bill took about 10 minutes to arrive. Fancy restaurant The Ming Room would hope to be but it's really no further up the ladder than a glorified Tai Thong. It's not an insult - it's just not quite as refined as it would like to be. The saving grace, for me that is, was the bill. All that food for 4 (let's not count my nephew as a full eating person) and it only cost Rm150! It works out to be roughly about £7 a person. Bargain!

The Ming Room
3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur


Rafleesia said...

Greed + appetite = good food (even in a mediocre restaurant!)

wonkieman said...

Agree the restaurant is good and the food is good BUT the managers are NOT. They are cheats!! Want to share an unpleasant experience with others on the net. Hosted a dinner for some Singapore guests on 3 Dec 2011 and had a table of 10. Chose to order ala carte. Picked a seafood in pumpkin soup as had that before some time back. Price on the menu seemed reasonable at RM20/head. When the bill came, cost of soup was RM580 (RM58/head!. Chinese restaurants have this bad habit of pricing their stuff ending with "8". Guess they are the ones who want to "fatt". Why not use something ending with "4"??)
One of the managers a chap called Loh (does not deserve to be called Mr by me) who took my order said the soup we had contained "special" seafood so that's why it's RM58/head and NOT the RM20/head as in the menu!! What a lohlife and cheat!! Not wanting to make a scene in front of my guests, I paid up. This situation is so familiar when people are entertaining and the Chinese restaurants know this well and exploit it to their fullest economic advantage.
Anyway I hope this Lohlife knows what he's getting for his RM380 (580 -200) worth of extra profit!! He will get more than his fair share of "pubilicity".
Diners, BEWARE. Sorry I cannot scan the bill and post it to prove my case.