Sunday, October 9, 2011

MIGF 2011: Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

October is definitely an exciting month for foodies. With 28 participating restaurants in this year's Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF), diners are sure spoilt for choice. But which ones are outstanding and which ones are just so-so? Having recently sampled Lai Po Heen's MIGF menu, I was definitely impressed with both the taste and presentation of the dishes from the Festival Menu. Top notch quality, if I may say. 

This is the 11th year Lai Po Heen is participating in MIGF. Chef Ricky Thein was recently appointed as the Executive Chinese Chef for this award-winning Cantonese restaurant. He has received numerous awards over the years for his culinary skills and is no stranger to connoisseurs of Chinese cuisine in Malaysia. 

The restaurant's interior is reminiscent of old Shanghai and depicts the wealthy homes of respected tycoons in turn-of-the-century Malaya complete with antique furniture from Melaka. Diners can also get a view of the KLCC Park  from the restaurant. 

The restaurant has an open kitchen, and diners can watch all the wok action in the kitchen

Do note that for MIGF, Lai Po Heen offers a lunch menu (RM118++ per person without wine) and a dinner menu (RM228++ per person without wine). The difference between the two menus would be that the lunch menu does not include the braised whole baby abalone (appetizer), the crispy prawn noodles and less 1 type of dessert.  The following review covers the dinner menu. You can view both menus here. Wine pairing with the Festival Menu is available for RM70 per person for 3 courses.

Chilled vinaigrette scented cucumber roll with roasted duck and yam puff with braised whole baby abalone. 

Light and appetizing, the chilled cucumber roll was wrapped around a sliver of roasted duck, dragon fruit, mango and straw mushrooms. A very refreshing start.

And a whole baby abalone.. how decadent is that for an appetizer! I loved this, the baby abalone braised to perfection laid atop a crispy yam puff. I wished I could have more of this.

Following the appetizer, you would be served a starter - Pan Seared Scallop with Jade Fruit and Szechuan Spicy Sauce. We did not sample this.

Cantonese Style Braised Sea Treasure, Golden Melon in Supreme Broth 

Before the dinner started, a fellow diner told me that Chef Ricky is famous for his soups so I was eager to try this. And it definitely didn't disappoint! Extra points to the chef for serving the delicious soup in a hollowed out pumpkin. Lots of oohs and ahhs when the pumpkin was placed before us. A wonderful aroma greeted us as the top was taken off and inside, I certainly found an abundance of sea treasure. Scallops, shark fin, and sea cucumber, it was yet another decadent course. The soup was very flavoursome, tummy-warming and delicious to the last drop.

A whole scallop and shark's fin

More scallop and sea cucumber

Dong Po Style Barbecue Scented Lamb Rib with Chinese Pear
Wok-fried Hong Kong Baby Siew Pak Choy

This was my favorite dish for the evening. The lamb was so tender, so flavoursome and utterly scrumptious. The meat fell off the bone effortlessly. Best way to eat this is with your hands! Sink your teeth into it and enjoy. :)

Crispy Egg Noodles, Blue River Prawn, Prawn Roe and Egg Gravy

I love my freshwater prawn noodles and I have to say this was very good, especially the blue river prawn. It was huge, meaty and firm and when I poked the flesh, the beautiful, luscious orange prawn roe just came oozing out. 

Trio of Sweet Potato
Purple Sweet Dumpling, Vanilla Sauce 
Sweetened Jelly with Osmanthus
Chilled with Sago in Lemon Syrup

Chef Ricky explained that when he created this dessert, his intention was to use and support local produce. Hence, the usage of three types of sweet potato; white, purple and orange. Out of the lot, the sweetened jelly had the least impact and tasted quite ordinary. However, I did enjoy the purple sweet dumpling and chilled white sweet potato with sago.

Sweetened Jelly with Osmanthus

Purple Sweet Dumpling, Vanilla Sauce 

Chilled with Sago in Lemon Syrup

Chef Ricky Thein 

Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Verdict: All dishes were impeccably prepared, especially the oh-so-yummy lamb rib. Splash out on the dinner menu if you want a more decadent meal, otherwise go for the lunch option if you prefer a lighter meal. 

For more photos, please view here


Price: MIGF Festival Lunch Menu (RM118++ per person without wine) and Festival Dinner Menu (RM228++ per person without wine). Click here to view Festival Offers at Lai Po Heen.

Location: Lai Po Heen, 1st Floor, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2179 8885

GPS Coordinates: 3.1558, 101.7119



  1. Just realized that the pumpkin reminds me of Halloween! Means this might be a suitable meal for Halloween, strange as it may seem :D

  2. waaahhh see baby abalone also saliva comes out dripping...i like how the desserts look too...must be good

  3. Sean: I remember you saying that you wanted to try a Chinese restaurant for MIGF - I think you will like the Festival menu here very much :)

  4. Eric: The food here was really excellent. I was damn happy to see the baby abalone also :P

  5. the place looks exquisite and so do the food. :)

  6. I wish they served larger abalones instead of baby abalones. :)

  7. isnt he the guy who used to b in prince hotel? well always loved my dim sum in MO despite the halal status but could never convince my dad to parting a fair sum of money for a dinner here haha.

  8. We certainly enjoyed ourselves that night, didn't we! LOVED the soup so much! :)

  9. looking yummy and great! i just love the presentation of the lamb. with the chinese writing on it. special!

  10. Isaac: Yup, the restaurant is very nice and food is excellent :)

  11. Michelle: Think the baby abalone was ample since we had so many other courses to eat. :)

  12. Joe: Yup Chef Ricky is ex Prince Hotel. Haha yeah a bit pricey but I guess that's the price for a 5 star hotel in the city.

  13. iamthewitch: Yes I had such a great time! Good company and good food. I tried hard not to finish all the soup since soup is quite filling, but so hard to resist since it was so good.

  14. This place still serves the best dim sum in KL! So lucky la you...get to sample their MIGF menu. *jealous*

  15. Now those are (gastronomic) "treasures" I wouldn't mind hunting down! Looks yummilicious! :D

  16. Bangsar-babe: Yeah very lucky to be able to sample the MIGF menu here. Very very nice indeed.

  17. Kenny: Yeah! So so good... the soup itself was very yummy too.

  18. Very good! I think that you have done a great job! FANTASTIC!!!!
    Restaurant Equipment


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