Shangri-La Hotel is mixing it up again, this time under a fiercely hot flame. Following a string of Michelin-starred chefs who have come from Europe to show off their skills and creative talents over the past couple of years, this month the hotel is hosting Chef Leung Yu King, Executive Chef of Island Shangri-La Hong Kong’s one starred Summer Palace Restaurant. Chef Leung joined the restaurant when it opened in 1991 as a third fryer, moving up the line until he was promoted to executive chef in 2017, retaining the restaurant’s one star.
Chef Leung’s carefully thought out menu, available only from 25th until 29th September, is a homage to classical Cantonese cuisine, cooked by a true master of the art, who manages to modernise the traditional, through its use of innovative ingredients, its artistic presentation and its focus on health, making for a very exciting food experience.
At the heart of Cantonese cuisine is the wok hei, literally ‘breath of the wok’, which requires years of practice to master and a soupcon of magic to perfect. Heat at far higher temperatures than most kitchens can reach is used in combination with fat and a quality wok, to give a complex hint of char to food cooked in a way designed to keep each and every single ingredient’s flavours intact.
This eight-course lunch and dinner menu has been designed to show off some of Summer Palace’s most acclaimed dishes, and each dish plays alongside the next like a finely orchestrated concert conducted by a maestro. Starting off with an amuse bouche of chilled cucumber with garlic and balsamic vinegar, a simple little dish showcasing the fresh organic cucumber, with an overall hint of tartness designed to whet the appetite. As the palate begins to salivate for more, the next deep fried dish fully satisfies at the first crunch of the deep fried shrimp toast, the shrimp from the south of Thailand firm and fresh, and sings to life by the aromatic flavours of the truffle pesto. Chef Leung then tones it all down to a hush with a double-boiled marrow ring, stuffed with conpoy, which is dried scallops, served with French morel mushrooms and wolfberries. The subtle flavours of the soup comes from the infusion of Yunanese ham, chicken and pork, and with the added deep seafood tastes of the shrimp as well as the mushroom, the soup hums softly and gently in the mouth. The palate cleaned and ready for the next serving.
There is an uplift to the tempo with this next dish, which is also mild in flavours, but filled with super foods with its smashed jicama and pops of millet, all to highlight the performance of the sweet and succulent crab, the star of the show. This is a light bite, which sets a jaunty tone for the burst in tempo to come. All notes hit hard and strong with the next dish of stewed Australian beef cheek, tender on the tongue and steeped in a rich and deep glaze, Chef Leung says is Summer Palace’s secret recipe. The sweet and spicy sauce, with a hint of curry, has another hidden purpose, in that its ingredients also act as natural tenderisers for the meat.
The chef offers a gentler tune in the next dish which is an homage to vegetables. Mustard plant, bamboo fungus and shitake mushrooms are braised and served with a light stock, another soft dish which sets the pace for the aria to come.
A sneak peak into the kitchen showed us the sheer creativity and skill it takes to perfect this friend rice dish. Jasmine rice is fried – wok hei style – with egg white in what appears to be its own mini concert, as the chef adds, takes away, raises and reduces heat, over and over again until each grain of rice is perfectly cooked and glazed, enveloped in a soft aroma of char. Diced scallops and little slithers of bamboo are added, as well as beetroot juice, making the colour pop to a pretty pink. A little sprinkling of dried shrimps tops up the dish with a bold finish. The dish arrives almost too pretty to taste, almost.
The classic meal ends on a classic note with the timeless Chinese favourite, of double boiled yam with lotus seeds, lily bulbs, red dates and wolfberries swimming in a warm sauce which is naturally infused with sweetness from the Chinese dates. Again, the dish is brimming with super foods and the focus is on turning the rather saccharine classic into a healthier and tastier version.
For a truly authentic Cantonese food experience, elevated to modern trends and palates, this meal hits all the right notes.
25-29 September 2019
Lunch: 11.30 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Dinner: 6 – 10 p.m.
THB 1,688++ per person
China Kitchen, level 1
Advance reservation required, limited seats available. A specially curated wine selection is offered by the bottle. For further enquiries and bookings call: +66 53 253 888 or Email us at: email@example.com