Wan Li starts afresh

Chinese Sous Chef Alan Choong
presents a platter of main course dishes
Where can you savour exquisite halal Cantonese cuisine in an elegantly furnished modern Chinese restaurant in Johor Baru?  At Wan Li restaurant in the Renaissance Johor Baru hotel, master chefs led by one of the top ten chefs in the nation, Chef de Cuisine Khairuzzaman Ahmad Hadzri, are pooling their skills and resources to create a menu of contemporary Cantonese dishes to impress discerning diners.  Chef Khairuzzaman, better known as Chef Man, is applying his versatility and experience to present classic dishes with innovation and exceptional quality so that each dining experience will be satisfying and memorable.

Since Wan Li restaurant received the Samak/Sertu Certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) in May 2014, Chef Man has been working with his culinary team to create a menu that matches the restaurant’s new beginning.  In addition to meticulously handmade dim sum and an ala carte dishes, Wan Li will serve menus that are tailor-made to the customers’ taste and requirements.  Designed with five private dining rooms, the restaurant presents opportunities for exclusive events and special celebrations. 

Chef de Cuisine Khairuzzaman Ahmad Hadzri [Left onwards]
Dim Sum Sous Chef Go Yong Jia, Chef Alan Choong and
Chef de Partie Tee Jerri, with platters of creatively
presented appetizers
“Since obtaining the certification in May, we were ready to open our doors to Muslim diners,” said General Manager, Marc Cosyns.  “While Samak is not mandatory, it is among the ways to regain our customers’ trust,” he added.

Working with Dim Sum Sous Chef Go Yong Jia, Chinese Sous Chef Alan Choong Wah Loon and Chef de Partie Tee Jerri, Chef Man and his team recently introduced an exciting new dining experience at Wan Li.  

A behind-the-scenes demonstration was presented for diners to understand the minute details that go into preparing and presenting a meal that not only looks good but also tastes good.  The menu was a unique combination of imaginative and creative contemporary Cantonese cuisine that reflects the restaurant’s reputation as an elegant fine-dining Chinese restaurant in JB.

Chef Alan Choong [Left] and Chef Tee Jerri working
together to create an elegant presentation of main
course dishes
Samples of appetizers were items that required different styles of preparation like deep-fried, smoked, pan-fried and chilled salad, all served on one platter.  These items were crispy soft shell crab with mushroom king oyster, smoked duck breast with honeydew and slices of cucumber marinated in garlic and black vinegar, pan-fried scallop with supreme sauce and lemon prawn salad with seasonal vegetables. 

To prepare traditional ginseng chicken soup, Chef Jerri explained that they use organic chicken from the village or kampung which is boiled with ginseng and a variety of herbs and ingredients for 6 hours.  Then the soup concentrate will be steamed for a further 6 hours to condense all the goodness into the soup.  This double-boiled village chicken ginseng soup is served in individual bowls as a fortifying health tonic.

Dim Sum Sous Chef Jia carefully weighing
each piece of pastry to create pretty
Pandan lotus puffs for the dessert platter
Hong Kong chef-trained Dim Sum Sous Chef Jia demonstrated his meticulous handwork in preparing five types of dim sum from fresh ingredients in various cooking methods.  From deep-fried taro croquettes, pan-fried Shanghai dumpling, steamed prawn and scallop dumpling, steamed golden custard bun to baked char-siew puffs, each item was painstakingly prepared by hand before cooking.  His skilled craftsmanship was again demonstrated when he carefully weighed out each piece of pastry to create pretty Pandan lotus puffs for the dessert platter.

For the main course, Chinese Sous Chef Alan presented a platter with braised abalone and sea cucumber with abalone supreme sauce, mango Peking duck on a golden egg roll char-siew, fillet of steamed sea bass and braised Yee Fu noodles topped with a slice of deep-fried fillet of garoupa fish.  

This set meal of exquisite Cantonese cuisine was complemented by sips of Chinese tea and rounded off with a delectable dessert of cold bird’s nest and a side of freshly-baked Pandan lotus puff.  With advanced orders, customized set meals may be served for 2 to 20 guests.

Delectable dessert of a cool tumbler of bird's nest
with a freshly-baked Pandan lotus puff
Take advantage of the All You Can Eat promo of authentic Hong Kong dim sum at RM39++ per person, 8-course special Dong Zhi set meal at RM188++ per person and New Year set meat at RM198++ per person.  

Wan Li is a halal Chinese restaurant at the lobby level of Renaissance Johor Baru hotel located at 2, Jalan Permas 11, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya.  For reservations, Tel: 607 – 381 3333.  For more info visit website: www.renhotels.com

Facade of Wan Li Restaurant at the lobby level of the Renaissance Johor Baru hotel
A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Streets Johor on 2 December 2014

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