My favourite Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur is the Overseas Restaurant at Imbi Road, and where I usually gather with my in-laws when visiting the city. This time, to avoid the holiday traffic chaos at Bukit Bintang, we opted to try the Han Room (awarded Best Restaurant 2012 by Malaysia Tatler) at The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City, just adjacent to the Mid Vally Megamall.
These two interconnected malls combined has hundreds of shops that offer mind-boggling hedonistic opportunities to seriously lighten your wallet.
And then there’s Thai Odyssey hidden in Basement 2; a sanctuary for you to escape from the mall madness to soothe your shopping-induced aches with superb Thai-style massages expertly delivered by experienced therapists in a blissful ambience.
On to the food, The Han Room’s decor is that of the usual Hong Kong-style family Chinese restaurant with a brightly lit expansive dining hall, designed with a liberal use of wood and warm colours, and echoing with loud conversations.
We scored a nice circular cubicle that is partitioned with see-through wooden slats that offers some privacy while keeping you attuned of the din in the packed dining hall. Our gripe is that the air-conditioning blasting from the top was way too cold.
The food turned out much better than I had expected, with nicely plated modern interpretation of classic dishes as well as innovative creations. The first dish of Roast Meats Platter heralded a good start, with the Char Siew as good as those at Overseas Restaurant – charred, succulent and with the right degree of sweetness; while the duck was crispy-skinned, tender and full-favoured.
The Paku Vegetables tossed with a tangy and spicy sauce is refreshing but an acquired taste.
The Crispy Pork Belly wins the crown for the evening; perfectly fried pieces of tender pork with cloves of soft pungent pan-roasted garlic.
The braised cod fish was fresh and aromatic, just a tad on the salty side. I particularly like the dried beancurd skin imbued with the flavoursome sauce, as well as the molten garlic bulbs.
The Sautéed Vegetables were a little bland, which turned out to be good fodder for the saltier dishes.
The Spinach Tofu was tasty with a decent sauce, topped with Shimeji mushrooms.
The Wolf-berry Spinach & Winter-melon in a superior broth was very delicate.
We were really looking forward to KL’s ubiquitous Hokkien Mee. The black sauce was very good and the generous sprinkling of pork lard crackling was decadently delish but the dish was let down by the poor quality of the noodle, lacking the doughy firm texture that I like.
The Mee-pok fared better – al dente and fragrant strands of flat noodles just simply tossed with lard, soy sauce and mushrooms.
We ordered 2 desserts. The Lotus-paste Pancake was yummy; crispy skin ensconcing not-too-sweet paste.
We finished with the Lemongrass Jelly; an icy cold and very refreshing end to a good feast.
Han Room left a very good impression on all of us, delivering creative Cantonese cuisine with competent execution in a nice ambience. Service was good too, especially considering the crowd. A worthy competitor to Overseas Restaurant, especially on the Char-siew front; and warrants an entry into my to-eat list in KL.
Lot G243,G246 &G247,
The Gardens Mall,
Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3 2284 8833