Friday, March 01, 2013

Noble (Fine Dining?) Mansion

Are there fine Chinese dining in Malaysia? SP had many times talked about Noble House in Jalan Imbi, KL. This award winning restaurant is apparently among the top Chinese dining places in Malaysia. We had yet to make a visit. Recently the restaurant's parent The Oriental Group opened a new Noble in Petaling Jaya. SP had patronised the place and found it good enough to organise a CNY do for his makan group. Since it was a pay-your-own affair, I felt no obligation about joining in.

The Noble Mansion (大陽城) is located at The Plaza @ Jaya 33 on Jalan Semangat. The Plaza @ Jaya 33 is a brand new building just next to Jaya 33. At the time of our visit, the Noble Mansion was apparently the only establishment that was opened for business.

The restaurant is big occupying almost the whole of the Plaza's first floor. It is grandiosely set up, with black walls and ceiling, and effective lightings to give it a classy aura. The tables were well spaced to afford roominess. However, the acoustics of the place is somewhat lacking for in spite of the space and high ceiling, it was uncomfortably noisy.

They had many private dining rooms complete with karaoke facilities - all very tastefully furbished.

And a large comfortable waiting lounge in case you have to queue for your table.

We could not get a private dining room and had to settle for 2 tables in the main dining hall.

While waiting for the rest to arrive, the restaurant graciously served us "tit bits" to whet our appetite. And it was no mean tit bits. It was a full-blown plate of deep fried mushrooms. The mushrooms were delicious prepared - crispy and aromatic.

It being CNY, the first course of our meal was the naturally the yee-sang (魚生). It was a big serving with salmon and jelly fish.

We tossed for our good fortune. And the yee-sang was pretty good. The ingredients were fresh. The crispies were exactly so.

And then the soup was served. It was individually bowled. In the clear soup were Silkie (black) chicken, Chinese mushroom, pak choy (白菜) and conpoy (乾瑤柱 dried scallop). The soup was super sweet and delicious. It was served piping hot and the aroma was fabulous. Good to the very last drop.

This was the individually served starter. The presentation was credible. It perhaps was how fine dining should be.

In the glass was a serving of fresh scallop in a sweet-sourish sauce. I couldn't tell what the sauce was. The scallop was fresh but not extraordinary

In the scallop shell was a crispy deep fried leave. I thought it was mint but it did not taste like it. Under it was a piece of fish cake - deep fried and cooked in a sweet sauce. I had no problem with the flavour. But come on, we came for "fine dining" and they served us fish cake?

The barbecued pork rib was also fine-diningly presented in a long plate complete with garnish and flower. The meat was well done but not absolutely tender. It was really a very ordinary piece of meat.

And that was the last of individually served dish. And the end of fine dining? The rest of the dishes were centrally served. I had seen this pomfret preparation before. It was in a wedding dinner in a sister restaurant in Oriental Pavilion in Jaya 33. It was a fish cooked in 2 ways. The meat was sautéed in green beans. The skeleton was deep fried to a crisp and mounted vertically on the plate.

I wondered aloud how I could get to the fish head. Before I could finish wondering, a waitress took the skeleton and proceed to scissor it to bite sizes. I actually enjoyed the bones and head more than the meat. Funny coming to a fine dining joint to eat fish bones.

This vegetable dish comprised of broccoli and a kind of tofu wrap. The wrap was a sort of tofu skin. In it was a mixture of mushroom, water chestnut, carrot and I don't know what else. I liked the taste of the wrap. The broccoli was good as well. The dish was quite refreshing.

The final dish was abalone mushroom with choy sum (菜心). By then, I was pretty full and had not much interest in the dish. I picked a few pieces of the mushroom and that was it. The dish was not great. Very very ordinary.

I wanted dessert - something sweet to "wash the mouth". But the others were too full and overruled me. That was the end of the meal. Oh yes, the restaurant provides a free photography service. A guy went around taking pictures of diners. But the prints he later distributed were lousy. The colour was reddish like so...

All in all the meal was so-so. There was no wow factor. Was it fine dining? To me, fine dining must have elements of good food, good presentation, good ambiance and good service. The food quality in Noble Mansion was nothing to shout about. The presentations were ok for the first few dishes. They made an attempt in the individual servings, but later revert to "mass" central dishing. The ambiance of the place was without doubt very conducive but the place was simply too noisy. The service? There was nothing to complain about but they neglected a basic thing like napkins. They did not even provide paper napkins let alone the proper fabric. I think they still have some way to go.

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