Indulge in Some of the Finest Cantonese Dishes by Executive Chef Justin Hor
The first Oriental Restaurant started back in 2000 in Jaya Shopping Centre in Section 14, Petaling Jaya. It’s been 16 wonderful and delicious years since then. Today, the Oriental Group operates 9 restaurants set with different themes all over our metropolitan city. There is one thing in common for all 9 restaurants and that is a luscious trait of scrumptious dishes led by Group Executive Chef Justin Hor.
Synonymous with fine Cantonese cuisine, the Group restaurants has set the bar high in premium and exquisite Chinese dishes from Chef Justin Hor and culinary team’s creative and superb repertoire of dishes. Gourmands look forward to the annual Grand Dinners series where the restaurants features dishes from legendary “Old Master” chefs as well as renowned international chefs from famous Cantonese culinary regions – Hong Kong and the Shun De District in Guangdong. These master chefs with stellar reputations have etch their marks in the wall of deliciousness with menus emphasizing old school but grand dishes from yesteryears of 1960s, 30 years of culinary dishes of Hong Kong cuisine and other classic themes.
Executive Chef and Co-Founder of the Group, Chef Justin Hor talks passionately about this year’s theme in honor of the 16th Anniversary celebrations. A man of great talent, the humble Chef Hor speaks of his mentor, retired Chef Fok You Wing from Hong Kong, quoting his inspiration from the great sifu of all time in the culinary world. This year is extra special as he takes his diners on a journey back in time where he first started out and the dishes that he has dearly served over the years at the Group of restaurants.
To Chef Hor, it’s all about the memories of flavor blast from the past. Recipes transcend through time, nostalgic and sentimental dishes and food cooked with lots of effort and love are simply some of the best dishes that has withstand through time and will always be greatly appreciated. Ingredients are equally important as Chef Hor personally sources some of the best ingredients possible internationally in order to reproduce these classic and long forgotten dishes from the past.
For these two months of August and September, diners are taken on an unforgettable culinary journey of Chinese gastronomical flavors through the Group 16th Anniversary Set Menu. The special set menu cater towards 10 pax per table features some of the best premium ingredients possible. Priced at RM2,888 per set menu of 10 pax or go ala carte, diners will be pleased with the lux dishes especially prepared by Chef Hor and his culinary team in all the participating restaurants.
Starting off the list from the Set Menu, savor the Five Memorable Appetizers served on individual plates. Showcasing classic dishes jazzed up with touches of modern twist, the Five Memorable Appetizers includes Black Squid Ink Ball with Sesame Seed, Crispy Clam Roll Marinated with Five Spices. Pork Ear Served with Baby Black Fungus, Baby Pomfret with Cili Padi & Crispy Minced Garlic and Sea Grass with Shredded Yam Tossed in Chef’s Special Sauce.
Little adorable sesame studded balls of Black Squid Ink Ball with Sesame Seed was a delicious start off. Beautifully bouncy with a savory sweetness of squid and light crunch of sesame seeds, the squid ink balls are a joy to eat. Cleverly paired with cherry tomato and cucumber for freshness and crunch, one can certainly enjoy quite a few of these balls.
Inspired by the classic meat roll, a clever twist of adding clam meat to the meat roll in Crispy Clam Roll Marinated with Five Spices brought the dish up to current times. Moreish with a juicy filling, the clam roll has everyone enjoying the delicate sweetness of the clam and pork filling with bits of vegetables among other ingredients.
Pork Ear Served with Baby Black Fungus is another old school dish that is about to lose its mark in our culinary cuisine today. Lightly crunchy and tender pork ear slices is sautéed with crunchy baby black fungus and cucumbers. Aromatic and delicate, we hope that the dish is preserved over the years on future menus simply because it is too good to be forgotten.
The Baby Pomfret with Cili Padi & Crispy Minced Garlic is a crowd pleaser that evening. Crispy baby pomfrets that one can enjoy from head to tail is aromatized with lots of garlicky flavors and punchy cili heat. The thrill is enjoying the whole baby pomfret with crispy satiation.
Last of the appetizer is also a take on a very old dish of jellyfish salad. Chef Hor uses the recent modern ingredient of sea grass jelly to concoct his Sea Grass with Shredded Yam Tossed in Chef’s Special Sauce. The sea grass has such a light flavor but a very crunchy texture. Savory and sweet, every bite is wonderfully crispy and enjoyable.
The pièce de résistance of the set menu has to be the luxurious and sumptuous Imperial Rejuvenation Soup. A recipe taught by Chef Hor’s master chef Fok, the soup epitomize the sensational soups that the Cantonese are famed for.
Reading off the list of premium ingredients such as 4-head Abalone, Superior Shark’s Fin, Fresh Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber, Japanese Dried Scallop, Conch, Yunnan Ham, Japanese Mushroom, Pork Tendon, Chicken, Ginseng, Superior Tong Sum, Huai San and Wolfberries, the soup is double-boiled for at least six hours in special bone china bowls, specifically made in Chiu Chow just for this special occasion and soup.
The recipe is indeed an art by its list of ingredients and cooking methods. The rich and deep golden broth alone has every one of us savoring it to the very last drop in silence. Full bodied with richness of seafood essence, the broth evokes a sense of tranquility and comfort in our inner soul as I carefully and slowly sip it to pay full homage to the effort put into this dish. Gorgeous tender abalone, soft and gelatinous fish maw, wobbly and jelly-like sea cucumber, umami strands of dried scallops, soft pork tendon and more is cooked to perfection. The broth is also nicely spiked with hints of ginseng essence as well as other herbs. The soup portion is very generous and we were nearly filled up with just this soup alone.
A soup that will certainly leave a lasting and unforgettable taste on your palate in many years to come…
Going the extra mile, Chef Hor has sourced what he deemed to be the perfect size of 250gm of baby pigeon from Chung San for his Roast Baby Pigeon. He meticulously bathed the bird in his master stock before lacquering the pigeon to a luscious crisp amber hue. We all raved on how wonderfully aromatic this pigeon was when the plate was placed in front of us. Utterly crisp skin, tender and juicy meat with sublime savory flavors, the dish is simply a must-order!
I vaguely remember the dish of Traditional Stuffed Whole Chinese Cabbage served with Stuffed Broccoli & Dried Scallop Sauce as I have tasted it a while back. What is unique about Chef Hor’s version is that he has filled it with fresh sweet crab meat, moreish dried scallops and water chestnuts. It takes a lot of skill to prepare this 60s dish as the cabbage must not be too tight when tied up and Chef Hor uses water reed to prevent the stuffed ingredients from overflowing. Steamed for more than 2 hours, the whole cabbage is literally melt-in-the-mouth goodness with its velvety dried scallop sauce. Chef Hor added his touch of modern element of stuffed broccoli, giving the dish more textures and flavors.
Despite being so full, I can’t help but to salivate at the sight of glorious bright orange hues on the Steamed Water Prawn on Glutinous Rice. It’s a sight enough to tempt anyone for sure, even if you are already full. These giant crustaceans are topped with generous amount of ginger paste before it is steamed on a bed of savory glutinous rice.
While one may think that the ginger is overpowering, rest assured that the ginger gave the dish such a robust hit of punchy gingery notes. I can still taste how beautifully sweet the prawns are with its silky and luscious prawn roes. The whole dish goes so well together that I literally wanted just a little more. A masterpiece that should go on the regular menu if you asked me…
I am in awe of how much effort Chef Hor also puts into his desserts. His Sweetened Red Bean Paste Double Boiled with Old Guangzhou Orange Peel uses specially imported 3 year old Chan Pei or orange peel. The fact that I was never a red bean soup fan had me polishing off this bowl happily as there is such an aromatic note in the creamy and nutty dessert that also had just the right balance of sweetness. I am now a converted fan of the red bean paste, especially if you served me Chef Hor’s version.
Pretty Peony White Lotus & Crystal Pumpkin Dumpling are the final sweetness of the set menu. Flaky and buttery layers of pastry enveloping creamy and nutty lotus paste is just as good as the lightly chewy crystal pumpkin dumpling with sweet pumpkin paste.
Kudos to Chef Justin Hor for his wondrous set menu in honor of Oriental Group’s 16th Anniversary! It’s an amazing and unforgettable menu not to be miss so gather up your foodies and indulge in this gorgeous menu before it ends.
This 16 Anniversary special set menu is available for a limited period from 5 August to 30 September 2016 at all participating outlets under the Oriental Group of Restaurants. The set menu is priced at RM2,888 nett per table of 10 pax. Diners can also enjoy these dishes on an ala carte basis from 1 to 30 September 2016. In conjunction with their 16 Anniversary celebrations, all participating restaurants will be giving customers a complimentary dish from the set menu (suitable for 10 pax) with every set menu purchase.
*Reservations during this period are encouraged to avoid disappointment as some of the dishes require time to prepare.
Contact the respective restaurants for further enquires and reservations:
Oriental Pavilion 03 7956 9288
Oriental Banquet 03 7957 8488
Oriental Viva 03 9283 8833
Noble House 03 2145 8822
Noble Mansion 03 7932 3288
The Ming Room 03 2284 8822
The Han Room 03 2284 8833
Maju Palace *pork free 03 2691 8822
For more details about Oriental Group, visit their Website: www.orientalrestaurants.com.my or Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheOrientalGroupofRestaurants