Not too long after the opening of the Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya, my wife and I were wandering around the place looking for dinner. Most of the makan places are located on the lower ground floor. It was very crowded and in spite of the many dining outlets, we were at a loss where to eat as most outlets were just branches of makan places that we had been in other locations. We finally ended in the Grand Imperial Kitchen, one of the places there that we had not experienced before.
The place was rather small and narrow, but was quite tastefully furnished. There was a glassed enclosure at the back that constituted the kitchen.
They serve rice and noodles. On this particular day, we decided on a normal rice meal. As a start, we asked for our usual pot of Chinese tea - tei guan yin (铁觀音). But they did not serve tea in pots, only in glasses, which was odd for an establishment that professes to be so imperially Chinese.
We ordered 4 dishes - seemed like a lot for 2 persons. But the dishes were very small. The hot dishes came in clay pots. Do not be fooled by my pictures below. The clay pots were tiny. I have never seen such small clay pots. I do not know where they get them.
Our first dish was a braised duck in ginger. We had a few pieces of duck meat in an very oily sauce that was rather salty. The flavor was not too bad. But I felt the meat was over done. It was soft to the point of being mushy and that killed the distinctive flavor and texture of duck meat.
Next was the ginger chicken in wine (黄酒鸡). It looked weird. I have never seen wine chicken like this. Like the duck, it had too much oil. I did not enjoy it. I much prefer my own version of the ginger chicken in glutinous rice wine.
The vegetable pot was somewhat better. It was a potpourri of Chinese cabbage, mushroom, tung fun (冬粉), black fungus (云耳), tofu and others. It was watered-down version of my late mother's recipe. Still I quite liked it.
Lastly we had a plate of siu yuk (燒肉). It was rather fat and very salty. The taste was ordinary.
After our meal, we asked for desserts. They did not have any to offer. Another imperial shortfall. We had to be contented to seep our tea and go elsewhere for some tong sui (糖水).
The Grand Imperial had nothing to live up to its name. The place was too small and the food was nothing to shout about. According to their website, they have other outlets in Bangsar, Sri Hartamas and 19 USJ City Mall. All their other outlets are restaurants. Only this in Empire is a "Kitchen". I guess we really cannot complain too much. That is to be expected when eating in the Emperor's cookhouse.