Fit For Royalty

A once host of MIGF Gala Launches for many years, the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel makes a welcome return to the Festival with its flagship Cantonese outlet Summer Palace. The last time we saw this sprawling five-star property take part in the Festival was in 2013, so its comeback was highly anticipated.

It was at the palatial-like Summer Palace that diners recently met for an MIGF menu review that featured, among others, a bevy of musical performances by selected guests. Among these where Vision Four Media Group Chairman Tunku Shahabuddin Tunku Besar Burhanuddin, Metro Kajang Holdings Berhad Managing Director Tan Sri Datuk Eddy Chen Lok Loi, Asia Vision International Ltd Chairman Dato’ Simon Wong, Standard Chartered Bank (M) Berhad Chief Financial Officer (Country Finance Division) Mabel Lau and Festival Advisory Committee Members Datuk Dr Redzuawan Ismail aka Chef Wan, Jeffrey Perera and Key Soon Yue.

Dato’ Steve Day, Datin Su Wai Fun, Yogi Thakker, Tunku Shahabuddin Tunku Besar Burhanuddin, Datin Seri Jeanette Burhanuddin, Sooria Perera and Jeffrey Perera

Irene Siow, Mabel Lau and Tho Yow Yin

Dato’ Simon Wong, Datin Michelle Wong and Yogi Thakker

Key Soon Yue, Ruby Elizabeth Chua, Casey Goik and Dato’ Alex Nah

Farah Halim, Chef Wan and Datin Su Wai Fun

Dato’ Alex Nah, Dato’ Steve Day, Yvonne Yip, Sooria Perera, Jeffrey Perera and Key Soon Yue 

Having recently undergone extensive refurbishment, Summer Palace impresses immediately upon entering and the first thing that caught guests’ eyes as they arrived were the ornate porcelain vases that flank the reception desk. Making their way into the heart of the restaurant, they were greeted by floating balloons and cocktail tables where they gathered for pre-dinner drinks and canapés.

A steady stream of hot and cold canapes to tease taste buds

Serving staff carrying trays of salmon skin with salted egg yolk, smoked duck with sesame sauce, and lemongrass chicken made their way around, whetting appetites and paving the way for the five-course menu that lay waiting. Adding melodic charm to the proceedings were the Flavour Strollers, a two-piece band that belted out classics, from Sinatra and the Beatles to a string of Latin numbers.

The Flavour Strollers

The hotel’s F&B Manager Nelson Pillai welcoming guests to the dinner while Chef Dixon Lai Kuok Sing looks on

The group pose for posterity

When the last of the guests arrived and the group was complete, MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day called for the kitchen and restaurant teams to come forth, introducing each in turn. The star of the evening was Chef Dixon Lai Kuok Sing who began his culinary career as a young boy, helping out his mother in the kitchen. Drawing influence from a myriad of experiences in everyday life, he aims to translate these through his recipes and his MIGF menu showcases this perfectly.

A red carpet led guests to the beautiful private dining room where they were seated at two round tables, decked for a regal repast. The first course emerged from the kitchen shortly after – a platter that combined chilled sea cucumber, baked scallop and deep fried almond prawn roll. Many of Chef Dixon’s dishes contain an element of fruit in them, while also combining hot and cold elements. His starter illustrated this perfectly.

Summer Palace Platter – Chilled Sea Cucumber Red Date Jelly, Baked Scallop with Black Garlic Cream and Deep Fried Almond Prawn Roll

No Chinese meal is complete without a soup course, and Chef Dixon’s came in the form of double boiled rock melon with whelk and fish maw. Fragrant and full of complex flavours, the delicate broth has a cooling effect and is flush with nutrients.

Chef Dixon setting up the soup course – Double Boiled Rock Melon with Whelk and Fish Maw

This was followed by the first of the main courses which brought together smoked beef cheek with lychee wood and pu er tea. This hot dish was hearty and wholesome, the meat fall-apart tender and the sauce that covered it a heady mix of sweet, sour, salty and savoury.

Smoked Beef Cheek with Lychee Wood and Pu Er Tea

It was here that Dato’ Simon rose from his seat to give a riveting performance of some well known Mandarin songs which had the whole group singing along by the end of it. Backed by the Flavour Strollers, the impromptu concert was met with cheers from all around.

Dato’ Simon reels off a few hits for the group

Chef Dixon’s cold main of angel hair, crab meat, abalone, avocado and pumpkin coulis came next – a cooling counterpoint to the dish that preceded it, but just as flavourful and palate pleasing.

Cold Angel Hair served with Crab meat, Abalone, Avocado and Pumpkin Coulis

Rounding out the menu was a black swan croquette stuffed with durian paste, as pretty to look at as it was to eat. Washed down with chilled hawthorn tea, the sweet ending left diners with a gorgeous taste of summer.

Black Swan Croquette stuffed with Durian Puree

With the evening drawing to an end, Chef Wan and Mr Perera took to the microphone to thank the teams on behalf of the whole group, mentioning that the hot-cold combinations featured in the menu were exquisite and a pleasant departure from the norm. Hearty congratulations were extended to each member of the team, bringing the Summer Palace dinner to a close.

Chef Wan giving his review of the evening’s repast

The Full Festival Menu at Summer Palace costs RM220 nett per person without wine and RM245 nett per person with wine.

Click here to read more about the restaurant, chef and Festival menu.

For more pictures, click here.

Sponsored by Vision KL, Festival Publicity Dinners help create and sustain the MIGF buzz throughout the Festival month. These dinners provide an excellent way for the organisers to individually recognise the professionals in each Festival Restaurant and to thank everyone involved, from the restaurant managers and service teams, to the Master Chefs and their kitchen staff.