Last week I had the pleasure to join the Malaysia’s Hottest Bloggers to attend the Imbi Palace Group rebranding dinner at one of its finest outlets, Grand Palace at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. As I sat down looking through the pics from the night, I was wondering why it took me so long to visit this restaurant, as it was probably one of the best banquets I’ve attended so far this year.
The original Imbi Palace restaurant was set up on Jalan Imbi in 2003 by KMN Mr. Lum Tuck Loy, Yap Yook Wah, renowned HK chef Mr. Chin Hon Yin, a few other partners, their executive chef Jason Tong and their General Manager Annie Chang. It specializes in Cantonese food with a wide range of seafood, dim sum, roast meats, Lanzhou ‘la mien’ and Cantonese porridge and noodles.
This outlet has since closed down to make way for the development projects in the area. But fear not, as they still have 4 under their belt, and anticipating a new one to open next month. However, the name Imbi Palace lives on, along with the history and heritage of the first Imbi Palace Restaurant. The new logo and new name were revealed during the dinner.
We started our dinner with a healthy and nutritious soup made with cordyceps flower and fish maw. Cordyceps flower (冬虫草花) literally translated to “worm grass flower” in English, though it is neither flower nor grass, nor does it resemble a worm. It is actually a cultured mushroom fungus and boasts similar medicinal value and chemical composition as Cordyceps Sinensis (冬虫夏草). It claims to help improve skin complexion, nourishes our Yin, and cleanses our kidney.
The soup has the distinct and unique taste of the delicate herb, it’s a delightful tango of tender meat, chewy fish maw and fragrant broth. Very hearty.
Next, come the theatrical preparation of Peking Duck. And rightfully so, as Peking duck has been prepared in Beijing ever since the Imperial era, dating as far back as the Ming dynasty. Nowadays, Peking duck is seen in many premium Chinese restaurants such as this one.
Typically, the Peking duck is sliced in front of the diners, and the authentic versions serve mostly the skin and just a bit of meat. The meat is eaten with “Momo”, the house-made thin pancakes, scallion, cucumber and specially prepared Hoisin sauce.
Take a bit of everything, and wrap it up.
You are supposed to use your hands for this too, and when you do it right, the juices should trickle down your finger tips. Mmmm.
Our third course was Pan fried Canadian Scallop, stuffed with Banana Prawns from the Gulf of Carpenteria.
Generally I’m not a huge seafood fan, but I applaud the freshness and simplicity of this dish. The doneness was just right, both seafood were tender and juicy.
But the next course, 8 Treasures Truffles Chicken definitely won my heart. Not only it was stuffed with 8 types of Mushrooms, the mushrooms were infused with Truffle sauce.
Admittedly it is not the prettiest of dish exteriorly (especially for the semi-vegetarians, I think Frank’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets), but once the content was revealed, we were instantly wowed.
Guess who took the Chicken head? Hehehe. I love the Crispy skin, that’s why the head was the best! I think I also took the other end too. The flesh remained juicy and rich, and the stuffing was decadent. I just wish I had a bigger tummy so I could pack more of these in.
When I first saw the menu, I was eagerly looking forward to the Spanish Pork Ribs. What was presented to us was this impressive display of rack!
Similar to that of Wagyu beef, the Spanish Iberian Pork is famous because of the marbling of the meat. The Iberian pigs are usually living freely, and fed with acorns, so the meat is actually quite lean. The marbling comes from their unique ability to store fats under the skin as well as between the muscle fibres.
As expected, the ribs were tender with rich nutty flavour, enhanced by the slight hint of garlic and herbs. Most of us abandoned our utensils, grabbed the ribs in our hand and happily gnawed on the bone. Barbaric, maybe, but enjoyment to the maximum.
That was a lot of fuss with these Abalones. The Chinese loves Abalone because it looks like a Golden ingot which signifies wealth and prosperity. These one came from the unpolluted seas off the coast of Hermanus. Quite large in size (18 pieces in 600g), each of them priced at RM168, but for the promotion period you can get one for RM88 – while stocks last.
Presented simply in aromatic broth and accompanying wombok, the abalone was chewy, sticky and quite flavourful. If you are into abalones, you’d love this dish.
By this time I was suitably full, but I can never say no to handmade noodles. These Knife Shaved Noodles (刀削面) was served in a Pickled Vegetable Soup. The Ramen is shaved off a bowl of dough so none of them look identical. I think David would approve of this.
I love the texture of the noodles. The soup was tasty too, even better with addition of chili. I guess you can’t go wrong pairing pickled vegetables with noodles. Very comforting. Something that I shall replicate in my Kitchen soon!
The last savoury course was Braised Noodles with Duck, which comes with a demostration by Chef Xiao Chen from Lan Zhou (兰州). So this is as authentic as it gets!
Remember the Peking Duck? Well the remainder of the duck was cooked with these hand pulled noodles.
I would not deny that I’ve helped myself to plenty of this. No wonder my dress felt sooooo tight after. I need to join Noodles Anonymous.
Since it’s nearly Mid Autumn Festival, the dinner would not be complete without some lovely Mooncakes. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finally have a taste of mooncake. Some of the bloggers have probably had a few dozen!
These Snow Skin Mooncake has a white lotus paste (my favourite) with plenty of salted egg yolk (even better). They were not overly sweet, and I enjoyed the delicate Snow Skin. Too bad they ran out of Mooncakes (the promised door gifts) so some of us didn’t get any. But….. better for my waistline I guess.
Coconut Pudding is one of my favourite desserts and we used to order it all the time at one particular restaurant in Bintulu. Their version was supremely smooth and soft and it was love at first sight. This version is slightly firmer, but I’m still glad that I finally found somewhere that serves this.
Also the signature dessert of Imbi Palace Group, which means you could get them in all outlets!
Of course we did plenty of mingling and drinking between all the eating.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but taking pics after a huge dinner is not the best idea…. Some of us were trying our best to suck in our post-dinner tummies!
All photos credited to Mr Andy Kho, the designated photographer for MHB. Thank you so much!
I would like to extend my gratitute to Imbi Palace Group and Mantra Interactive for the invitation.
The Imbi Palace Group currently have 4 outlets:
- Mutiara Palace Restaurant, Mutiara Damansara
- The Klang Palace Restaurant, Centro Mall, Klang
- Grand Palace @ Pavilion
- The Jaya Palace Restaurant, Menara LYL
Anticipating a new outlet to open next month:
Palace @ Setia City in Shah Alam with banquet facilities of over 250 tables