While on our travels across the globe, one of the most exciting adventures we tend to partake of is the local cuisine, and for the foodie, restaurants like Li Yen at the Ritz Carlton, KL serve up some superb delicacies that push your palettes pleasure points to a particularly poignant point. While every single dish might not tickle everyone’s fancy, there are some that we can honestly say should be experienced and will not disappoint because when it comes to food, one can rarely afford to be too lucid with their tastes.
To start off with, Li Yen is located in a quiet section of the Ritz Carlton’s 2nd floor and has a very upbeat Chinese-styled motif. The décor is comfortable and chic and maintains a very “ritz-y” feel which naturally makes it fit in well with the rest of the five-star surroundings. Not to say that this style isn’t done to death with nearly all high-end Chinese restaurants; nonetheless, there’s really nothing one can come away with that leaves you wanting.
Divided into sections with 3 private areas for smaller, more intimate parties, Li Yen is designed to offer you a classy, gourmet, fine dining experience if you’re there by your lonesome, as a couple or with friends and family. While the vast menu had us drooling, we selected a few items that comprised of signature dishes and a couple of options that we thought might be fun to experiment with. Since we were couple, it was rather difficult to go for broke and go all out, without them having to carry us out on stretchers for over-indulging.
Being of two different worlds when it comes to food, one who will eat anything and everything and the other playing for the pescatarian team, we experimented with meat, fish, and everything in between.
The table setup and cutlery placement looked lovely, and the Yin-Yang-style sauce plate added a particular flare to the look. We ordered up a couple of simple Juices to quench our afternoon thirst – fresh watermelon and a honeydew juice hit the proverbial spot and was very refreshing. We specifically requested that the drinks be devoid of sugar with minimum ice to water it down. This was done and done well. Li Yen is noted for its Dim Sums, so naturally, that was first on our list of savories. We kicked things off with the deep-fried Taro dumplings. It seemed a little strange at first with the sweetish flavor of the tarot that chimed in with the slightly crunchy texture of the outer shell, but somehow it managed to blend in the tastes for a rather scrumptious outcome.
The Steamed Beef with orange peel was next on the list. The juicy taste of the orange boldly went where no orange went before and took to the beef quite well, clinging to the soft texture of the meat, served in little balls. The steamed barbeque Pork Buns were tantalizingly succulent; just mind the steam when biting in. The soft exterior was the perfect cover for the deep flavor of the pork gravy and pieces that resided within; quite delicious and a personal favorite.
We went on to try the steamed bamboo shoot Har Gao (prawns) that managed to preserve the rich flour of the prawns without it tasting too “fishy”, for lack of a better term. This was the same with the steamed scallops that some might find a tad dry but quite tasty nonetheless. We recommend using a mix of sweet and spicy sauces with these. But the absolute epitome of the meal was the truly scrumptious Honsimeji mushroom salad with dried scallops that are garnished with Tobiko (orange roe) and mounted atop a melt-in-your-mouth canopy. There’s literally an explosion of flavors and textures that range from sweet to slightly sour and soft to crunchy all at once. The word I would use is “sinful,” and I mean that in a good way.
For the main course, the piece de resistance and a signature dish at Li Yen were brought to our table, reeking of aromas that were tangy and sweet – Baked Spare Ribs with Chinese Tea Leaves. The succulent and tender meat was perfectly cooked and served with a specially prepared blend of honeyed flouring that stuck to… well, the ribs – both mine and the ones on my plate. Savoring the seasoning with the tea leaves was a gastronomic indulgence!
Having indulged a little too much, there wasn’t too much room for dessert but what meal is complete without the last course, so like the troopers we are, we plowed through and ordered the Homemade Mango Pudding; a delectable little dessert that is served up like custard and is about as fluffy. It’s light, sweet and is a mango lover’s delight with the taste of fresh mangoes in a milky white sauce.
As prices go, Li Yen is quite reasonable for a fine dining experience. Our entire meal amounted to about $356 (RM 100) plus service charges and taxes, where each dish was between $8-10 (RM28-35 + taxes). Fresh Juices (included in the amount) were about $8 (RM28) plus taxes; alcohol was a little more, of course.
The service was smooth, and the staff was very attentive; the crowd sort of flowed in and out at all times. We enjoyed the food and the general atmosphere of the restaurant and aim to try it again the next time we cross paths with the Ritz Carlton in KL.
Address- The Ritz Carlton,
KL 02nd Floor,
168, Jalan Imbi, Pudu,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur,