Saturday, 19 April 2014
Meisan Szechuan Restaurant at Mutiara Johor Bahru Hotel 眉山菜馆
Meisan Szechuan at Mutiara Johor Bahru Hotel 眉山菜馆 is an long established restaurant with a very good reputation among Johoreans.
Lily from Mutiara Johor Bahru Hotel invited me to lunch at Meisan.
I must say, Meisan 眉山 really lived up to it's impeccable reputation.
Indside Meisan, the decor is the classic Chinese style with lots of wood panel, flooring, decorative beams and furniture, ornamental vases and Chinese scroll paintings. Besides the large dining hall, there were private dining rooms with full length windows. I would say Meisan restaurant has one of the best ambiance in JB.
Chef Chan, the key man behind Meisan has over 30 plus years' experience in the industry. Originally from Negri Sembilan, Chef Chan had worked in many places in Malaysia and a Szechuan 四川 restaurant in Singapore.
Over the years, Chef Chan has tweaked and refined the Szechuan dishes to suit local preferences and taste buds. I did not find the overpowering fiery spiciness often associated with Szechuan food but instead found that Meisan has used spiciness to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients, rather than dominate them.
Let's eat, and I'll show you what I mean.
First up was Braised Fish Soup with Pumpkin.
The live sea bass fish was filleted, and cut into large chunks. Part of the fish was poached and the remainder lightly battered and deep fried.
The poached and fried fish slices were submerged in a creamy sweet pumpkin soup loaded with savouriness extracted from fish bones. There was also hints of pepperiness.
We can taste the natural sweetness of the tender fish.
The deep fried fish, slightly crisp outside while tender and moist inside, added a different mouth feel and a bit more savouriness to the dish.
I love this unique sweet, savoury and slightly peppery fish dish.
Next was the Szechuan classic Sauteed Prawns in Dried Chili (RM45 for medium serving).
Fresh good sized succulent prawns shelled and sauteed in a savoury spicy sauce with loads of dried chili peppers.
The crunchy plump prawns were sweet and juicy with it's prawny flavours well complemented by the spicy sauce.
The homely Braised Brinjals with Minced Chicken and Chili (RM24 for a medium sized serving).
This was a lovely braised brinjal (egg plant). Velvety soft, silky smooth and richly saturated with savoury sauce with bits of minced chicken and teasingly slight hints of spiciness.
The Lamb Chop with Mongolian sauce (RM25 per individual serving).
Made with New Zealand lamb, the chop was tender and flavourful. The Mongolian sauce was heavy with spice aroma and a flavourful blend of savoury and mild spiciness.
This lamb chop is another Must Try.
To enjoy the Mongolian sauce we had a few of Meisan's fried and steamed buns (RM2 each).
The bouncy golden brown fried buns were not greasy and inside they were warm and fluffy. Perfect sponge for the delicious Mongolian sauce.
Tasting at a Szechuan restaurant, surely got to try the iconic Szechuan soup right? :P So, I requested for this :D
I have never been to Szechuan, so I don't know what is authentic Szechuan soup 酸辣湯. But, most of the Szechuan soups that I have come across have a robust sour, and some even have, a sharp, harshly stinging spicy taste.
Not this one at Meisan - it was much milder and gentler.
Bits of eggs, spongy mushrooms, scallions, soft tofu, crunchy black fungus in a smooth starchy soup. Mostly sweet, slightly savoury, tangy and almost shy hints of spiciness.
A little too timid for my liking, perhaps because I have been conditioned to brace for sweat inducing, tongue numbing spicy Szechuan soup.
Our dessert was this Deep Fried Egg White Dumpling filled with Red Bean Paste (RM7 per piece). Nice eggy and sweet dessert with a soft, bouncy, fluffy mouth feel.
Good, well executed food, nice classic Chinese fine dining type ambiance, attentive and warm waiting staff (note this is a invited tasting). Slightly premium but very reasonable pricing given the food quality and ambiance.
Restaurant name: Meisan Szechuan 眉山菜馆
Address: Mutiara Johor Bahru Hotel, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Century, Johor Bahru
Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm | 6:30pm to 10:30pm
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert
Date visited: 26 Mar 2014
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