Today, I was in JB's newest Chinese fine dining restaurant, Wan Li 万里 in Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel at the invitation of Ervina.
At the entrance of Wan Li 万丽轩, we were greeted by 8 large gorgeous Arowana fish. I love Arowanas because to me, they are symbols of elegance, distinction and good fortune.
Inside, Wan Li 万丽轩 is well appointed - the decor is contemporary minimalist, tasteful and has an understated kind of elegance. It is classy yet warm and welcoming.
Executive Chef Foong and Ervina graciously accompanied us throughout our meal despite their busy schedules.
Wan Li Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao RM12++ for 4 pieces
Our first appetiser was the Wan Li Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao. This is set apart from ordinary xiao long baos with the additional touch of French inspired foie gras (savoury goose liver) added into the soupy meat filling.
Executive Chef Foong who has worked in restaurants and hotels in Japan, UK, Australia, China, Indonesia and Singapore likes to innovate and create. These foie gras xiao long baos are served in elegant glass cups instead of the traditional baskets.
Chef's Special Coffee Chicken RM42++ for small serving
The second appetiser was Chef's Special Coffee Chicken. The pieces of boneless chicken were marinaded in rich, robust bitter-sweet smooth white coffee. This is especially appealing for coffee lovers like me :) I love the aroma of coffee entertaining my nose while my taste buds enjoy the tender savoury chicken.
Signature Durian King Prawns RM48++ for small serving
Our next appetiser was extra special - Wan Li's Signature Durian King Prawns. Savoury deep fried succulent large king prawns coated with creamy sweet durian with topping of prawn roe. This unique dish is a Must Try.
Our first main course was Wan Li's Roasted Crispy Mango Peking Duck. I had tasted Wan Li's roast duck before and was looking forward to this with great anticipation. This is Andy, Wan Li's manager personally slicing the Peking Duck.
Roasted Crispy Mango Peking Duck RM78++ for half bird
When the blade sliced the duck's crispy skin you can literary hear the skin crackle and break. I was told that it is the office joke that Andy insists that everyone stops and listen to the crackling music whenever he cuts the duck.
The crispy duck skin is wrapped in popiah skin with a stick of cucumber and mango, drizzled with a bit of traditional condiments. I love Peking duck especially those with extra crispy skin and thick, moist juicy meat.
The remaining meat was taken away and stir fried with oyster sauce, spring union, onions and ginger.
Cantonese Crispy Noodles with Assorted Seafood RM25++ for small serving
We had this Cantonese Crispy Noodles with Assorted Seafood. I like this common stir fried dish brought to the higher level by careful and skillful execution. The crispy noodles were not greasy, set on a bed of savoury sauce and garnished by pieces of squid, prawn and fish.
Golden Custard Bun RM8++ for 3 pieces
Our first dessert was the trendy Golden Custard Bun or Liu Sah Bao. The soft bouncy bun was filled with a sweet and savoury filling made with pumpkin flesh and salted egg yolks.
The final dessert was the Chilled Mango Puree and Pamelo served on top of a glass of dry ice. The dry ice gave the dessert a dramatic look and feel while keeping the sweet mango puree nicely cold.
After our sumptuous meal, Executive Chef Foong took us on a tour of the kitchens in Renaissance Hotel. We walked through a cavernous labyrinth of kitchens and sections catering to various needs like Halal and non Halal, Wan Li's kitchen, BLD's kitchen, banquet kitchen, room service kitchen, bakery and so on. There is even a room where all the live seafood is kept. I noticed that everything is thoughtfully laid out, and spic and spank. It speaks volumes of Executive Chef Foong's organisational expertise and leadership.
This is Chef Lor Kar Yue, the man behind Wan Li's outstanding roasts. Chef Lor had previously worked in the Michelin Star Hakkasan Hanway Place Restaurant in London before joining Wan Li as the roast chef.
Restaurant name: Wan Li 万丽轩 Restaurant (at Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel)
Address: 2, Jalan Permas 11. Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, Masai, Johor
Hours: Lunch/ Dinner
Date visited: 6 June 2013