Date of Visit: September 18 2013
Toh Yuen is the in-house Chinese restaurant in Hilton Kuching. I am guessing this restaurant is very popular with the business set (expensive) and had won quite a few tourism awards judging from the certificate it displayed very prominently on table at the entrance foyer.
Not a fan of dark dimly-lit restaurants, I worried that I might trip over uneven carpeting (again) – as I am still nursing my cut knee and ‘bruised wound’ of my ripped 3.1 Phillip Lim sandals that I’ve only worn for under 5 minutes from the fall I suffered the other day (wounding more for sandals though). Squinting my eyes to evaluate the interior design of the restaurant, I see red fabrics busily draped from the ceiling to the walls. Some may call it ‘Chinoiserie-chic‘, but for the more imaginative – imagine a fabric-dye factory straight out a scene in a Chinese kung-fu movie where a swordsman come flying out from nowhere. To further enhance the Chinoiserie-chic experience, lanterns with tassles and calligraphy-patterned wall-covering are used.
Thank goodness we had a private room for dinner. A brightly-lit festive room with a huge table with lazy-suzy, underneath a huge red lantern and calligraphy-patterned wall-covering for uniformity with the rest of the restaurant. Even the red napkins and place setting evokes festivity in the room. I instantly perked up.
On the table are the usual condiments of freshly chopped garlic and assorted chopped chili- red chili, vinegared green chili, chili-padis. We are also given sweet cooked soy sauce peanuts to snack on while waiting for the others to arrive.
First up, a Combination Platter of jellyfish, ham, rolled squid in beancurd skin, a salad of seafood mixed with melon topped with mayonnaise. I am allergic to shell-fish so did not try the salad, not a big deal for me since I don’t like mayonnaise. The things that I enjoyed most in the platter are the crunchy jellyfish and fresh cucumbers.
We also had Chicken Soup with a few tough chicken pieces, red dates, fungus and ginseng. It came piping hot and very tasty. Something is telling me that this dinner is going to be very healthy… so let’s wait out!
Steamed Cod in light soy sauce came next. Our host asked whether we want rice to accompany our dinner. None of us wanted any, and it seems that everyone is on a low-carb diet nowadays! (Even older gentlemen! 😈 )
We also had Asparagus with whole garlics and fish jerky, which continued the health-vibe of our dinner.
Unfortunately for me, I could not try the Signature Buttermilk Prawns. These are prawn balls deep-fried in buttermilk and very delicious I was told. I did take a bite of the deep-fried basket the prawn balls came in to taste, let’s just say it’s for decoration.
Since dinner started late, at 8pm, we were very relieved when the dessert arrived. Wait for it – Canned Longans in syrup added with coconut strips and fungus! I find it very puzzling for a fine dining restaurant to be serving canned fruits. Then again, I presume canned longans and canned lychees are made very popular in Malaysia where the climate here is not inclined to producing these exotic fruits.
We also picked up a Hilton Kuching Red Bean Mooncake (RM24++). A pretty pair of gold-fish embossed on salty baked skin infilled with sweet red bean paste and melon seeds. It was ‘moreish’ – well, we were at Kuching airport, the Starbucks there didn’t cut it and we were hungry…