Friday, 21 December 2012

Hai Zhi Lian Seafood Restaurant 海之恋海鲜楼 in Sungai Rengit, Pengerang, Johor

Ah Hing, the friendly manager of Hai Zhi Lian Restaurant 海之恋海鲜楼 in Sungai Rengit, Pengerang invited Johor Kaki to try out their menu.

Hai Zhi Lian restaurant is just at the outskirts of Sungai Rengit town, smacked in the middle on the coastal road between the "Lobster Town" and the famous Ostrich Farm.

Hai Zhi Lian Seafood Restaurant 海之恋海鲜

Opened only six months ago, Hai Zhi Lian had used this time to establish itself in the area and to smooth out its operations. The new restaurant, though not lavish, had a well organised and well equiped feel about it. Hai Zhi Lian has a breezy al fresco dining area under a thatched attap roof and a spacious air conditioned dining hall. Plenty of parking in the adjacent residential and commercial area.

The first dish I want to mention was actually the last dish served during our visit.

Black Jade Crab
Black Jade Crab 墨玉蟹 RM96 per kilo

This was the most unusual crab dish that I have ever tasted. This dish only has a Chinese name 墨玉蟹 which translates literary to "Black Jade Crab".

This was the last dish of the day for us and at first sight, I wasn't overly
enthusiastic about it. After all, I was already filled with lobsters :P  But, after just one spoonful of the broth, WoW! I was gushing about it. That jet black broth was herbal, and deeply lusciously umami with savoury and sweet notes.

The best way I can describe the broth is that it tasted like the best, robust, full bodied prawn soup but in a distinctive way that only crab can.

Black Jade Crab Johor

Apparently, this dish is the home recipe of the Hakkas in Sungai Lembing near Kuantan, Pahang. The broth was made by boiling the crab with herbs for a few hours. The crab flesh was still sweet and tender, but it was that unusual looking jet black broth that left the deepest impression.

This was the most memorable crab dish that I have tried for a very long time. Needless to say, I drank it all up, to the very last drop. This is a DDMT or Die Die Must Try dish.

Lotus Fried Lobster
Lotus Root Lobster RM190 per kilo
Next up was the Lotus Root Fried Lobster. This lobster was delicious, as lobsters should be, needless to say :) 
Lobster Johor
But it was the batter used to keep the lobster flesh tender and juicy that fascinated me most. This fluffy, crackly batter made with a blend of 5 different types of flour and generous chunks of butter was so good that I found myself scooping up the tasty bits sprinkled around the dish. I was chomping the bits of batter like the way people enjoy greasy popcorns. 

Lobster Sashimi Johor
Lobster sashimi RM170 per kilo

Ah Hing wanted us to try their Lobster sashimi.

Lobster Sashimi Johor
Lobster sashimi reminded me of slices of pomelo fruits. Juicy with hints of natural sweetness and firm yet bouncy mouth feel.
Lobster Sashimi Johor
The savoury house blended dipping sauce highlighted the lobster's exquisite, subtle flavours. Served also with wasabi for those who like eating sashimi the traditional Japanese way.
Crystal Jade Tofu
Crystal Jade Tofu RM12 for small serving

The innovative chefs at Hai Zhi Lian came up with this interesting looking dish which they named "Crystal Jade Tofu". It reminded me of Nynonya pandan kuih. The bottom layer is a slab of soft tofu while the top layer was made with spinach. Tasted pleasant and interesting though I would still opt for old style tofu. Give this a try, if you have a mildly adventurous palate. My companions liked it.
Salted Egg Pumpkin
Medium serving Salted Egg Yolk Pumpkin RM12
Salted Egg Pumpkin

Salted egg pumpkin.

Salted Egg Pumpkin

The sweet pumpkin paste blended well with the savoury salted egg yolk. The soft pumpkin paste balanced well with the crispy buttery batter. Best eaten hot as it was a little greasy.

Scallop with Brocolli
Small Scallops with Brocolli RM18

Scallops stir fried with broccoli. Made with imported German scallops. My companions loved the scallops while I was captivated by the crunchy fresh broccoli stalks. I like only live scallops :P

Claypot Loh Shi Fun or "rat noodles" 老鼠粉
Small Claypot Loh Shi Fun 老鼠粉 RM6
Last but not least, and I don't mean to use this cliché, because this was the first dish served yesterday. I was looking forward, in great anticipation to a sumptuous seafood feast, when the first dish that arrived at the table was this Claypot Loh Shi Fun or "rat noodles" 老鼠粉. I wasn't too thrilled and sub-consciously muttered silently under my breath, "Why this?" LOL, I didn't realised that I was loud enough for restaurant manager, Ah Hing, to hear me. Ah Hing quickly told us, "We wanted you to try our popular dish." I politely scooped an obligatory spoonful of this humble 老鼠粉. It was good! The broth was savoury and the 老鼠粉 QQ-licious. I found myself taking one scoop after another until my companions reminded me to "save some stomach space for seafood". LOL.

All these delicious dishes were created and brought to us by the two creative Chefs of Hai Zhi Lian 海之恋海鲜.
Would I recommend driving all the way to Pengerang for these? I say, Yes, definitely.

Hai Zhi Lian Seafood Restaurant 海之恋海鲜楼

Restaurant name: Hai Zhi Lian Restaurant 海之恋海鲜楼
Address: 2, Jalan Ramunia Jaya 1, Taman Ramunia Jaya, Pengerang, Johor
GPS: 1.359344,104.231500
Hours: 10:30am to 10:30pm
Not certified Halal - no pork, no lard served

Date visited: 20 Dec 2012

1 comment:

  1. Was trying to visit this place couple of months ago, but apparently closed down and no longer operating.


I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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