Lai Po Heen@Mandarin Oriental

Demona: Lai Po Heen. Famous for its dim sum. Apparently, the place is packed almost everyday, and queueing up is common during weekends. I had been here a few times already, but this was the first time my brother came to eat here. A promise between my aunt and him. As you walk in, you could see the talented chefs cooking in their open-for-all-viewing kitchen on your left. The ambience of this place was really relaxing, yet you get a feel of being in a chinese eatery. You could see many foreigners eating there as well.

Demona: This is the pict of the 4 types of chillis presented to us. Green chillis, red chillis, and two types of chilli paste. Next to it was the steamed ground nuts. No steam ground nuts can beat my late grandma’s Mooncake festival steamed giant ground nuts.

Demona: The chilli paste! GOBBLES. It was a little too salty though. Lai Po Heen got lucky this time. I did not request for another cupful of chilli paste.

Demona: This is the pict of the “Har Kaus”. Har kaus, siew mais and char siew paos are a must-present-on-the-table dishes when it comes to dim sum meals. However, my aunts had forgotten to put a “tick” on the char siew pao section this time (Sobs. No CSP CSP CSP.) The har kau was a major let down. Upon my first bite, I realised that the skin was a little too dry. Maybe they had been steamed a few times already. The prawns were also bland, despite having parsleys in it (you can see them in the pict). Probably har kau chef’s bad day.

Demona: This is the pict of the “Siew Mais”. According to my aunt, there should be 3 colours, instead of 2. Green, yellow and red. Wasn’t too sure why they were left with 2 now. The siew mais were pretty tasty. The pork meat was very well minced (you can taste the porkiness) and mixed (smooth), therefore you would not find pieces of meat stuck between your teeth eating it. The only downside was the “economical” amount of crab roe on top of each siew mais.

Demona: This is a pict of the fried carrot cake. It was only average tasting for me. Quite oily alright, but most fried carrot cakes are anyway. It lacked spicyness as well. I would not order this dish again on my future trips here. The best one I ate so far was from a pasar malam in Bukit Beruang, Melacca and the dimsum restaurant in Summit USJ.

Demona: This is a pict of the deep fried prawn rolls. I had no say on this, as I did not get a chance to try this dish out. It was finished up by the rest while I was busy trying to get Dogma’s camera to work.

Demona: This is the “Chee Cheung Fan”. Major disappointment. It came looking really tasty alright, but to my dismay, its taste is a total opposite. I have no idea why they fried the cheung fans, making the dish very oily. Not to mention, it lacked meat fillings.

Demona: This was my favourite dim sum! Prawns wrapped in a fish cake, rolled on with almond flakes and deep fried. The mixture of the chewy prawns and fish cakes and crunchy nuts in your mouth was just plain delicious! Although I could see oily deposits on the almond flakes, I did not mind it at all. Let loose the cholesterol level for now.

Demona: This is a pict of durian cakes. Lai Po Heen’s “JIU PHAI” dessert. I have not eaten a durian since my highschool days, no idea why, but the interest in eating it died away. Initially, I turned the dessert down. After much persuasion from my aunts to give it a try, I finally gave in. I chose the smallest piece from the lot. (BTW, a serving comes in 3 pieces of durian cakes).

Demona: This is a close up shot of the inside of the durian cake. It is basically, durian flesh, blended with whipped cream, and wrapped into bite sizes using its skin. It was already pre-refridgerated, thus, the feeling was like eating chilled durian flavoured souffle. Not as bad as I thought it would be (as I dislike the taste of durian), but one piece was more than enough for me. If I were to eat alone, I would definitely left the other two pieces behind. The after taste of it lasted really long. There was still smell of durian after burping many hours later. YIKES.

Verdict: The meal came up to RM 178, for 6 of us. A person cost about RM 30 each. Pretty steep pricing, but alas, we were eating in a restaurant in Mandarin Oriental. It was only NORMAL to pay such a sum for a meal here. I thought it wasn’t too bad anyway, since we had 8 baskets of dimsums, 1 plate of chee cheung fan and fried carrot cake, and 3 servings of durian cakes, and the miscellaneous such as towels, steamed ground nuts, teas etc. A pleasant place to have a relaxing lazy Sunday brunch once in a while ($$$), but do skip certain dimsum dishes which you are not highly keen on, as they do not come cheap and you do not want to overstuff yourself.

Bonta wines

Krug 1985 (Magnum):
Eye: Pale to medium yellow
Nose:Subtle nose of citrus upon opening and fine bubbles. After 30min in the glass, the nose was intense honeyed and yeasty/brioche.
Palate: Structured citrus attack upon sipping, which slowly developed into a secondary yeasty/bitter lift in the mid palate. Medium to long length.
Verdict: Still at it’s infancy, this magnum bottle could have been better 8-15 years down the road. Very elegant, immensely structured with fine bubbles. My first Krug and hopefully not the last!
Price: 800Usd
Ratings: 4.4/5

Cupole 2005, Tenuta Di Trinoro:
55% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot,4% Cesanese, 4% Uva di troia
light red
Nose: Cooked vegetables with hay
light attack,tad bitterness in mid palate, harmonious tannins. short to medium length Verdict: it’s an ok wine. nothing to shout about. Interesting nose of intense cooked vegetables due to the over ripened Cabernet franc
Ratings: 3.3/5

Cupole 2004, Tenuta Di Trinoro:
Eye:light red
Cooked vegetables with hay
Similar to 2005, but 2004 has a stronger attack of fruit
same intense cooked vegetable but with more fruit
Ratings: 3.3/5

Franchetti, 2004 Tenuta Di Trinoro:
60% petit verdot,40% Cesanese d’Affile
deep red
beautiful intense nose of currant, leather and black fruits
Harmonious, well integrated tannin, good structure with long length.
Verdict: Amazing for an petit verdot. This wine is elegant and beautiful. Pairs well with red meat and could develop further 2-4 years time. Checking online shows that this wine is about 100usd. Not exactly value for money but hey, it is still a great effort for the winemaker

Passopisciaro 2005, Tenuta di Trinoro
100% nerello mascalese
Clear light red
Cherry and strawberry
light, pinot-like elegance but lacking the purity of a great burgundy pinot. crisp tannin. Length was medium
Verdict: Online retailed for 40usd. This wine is similar in style to a burgundy pinot. It is closer to a burgundy than most new world pinot. However, it is lacking on the purity, mineral. Pretty good effort but nothing to shout about.

Trinoro 2006, Tenuta di Trinoro
blend of merlot, cab franc and cab sauv
medium red, massive alcohol leg (15% alcohol accoding to the winemaker)
Nose: herbicious, cooked vegetable,
tannic, with currant and red fruits coming out after 30min in glass. medium finish
Verdict: Great intense fruit compared to 2003. Big wine and has great potential ahead. This could be the best Trinoro in years to come.
Price: 330 usd
Ratings: 4-4.5/5 in 10 years time.

Trinoro 1998, Tenuta di Trinoro
(70% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot)
Eye: Deep purplish red
intense bordeaux nose, leather, tobacco and herbal
Structured, harmonious tannin, plums, currant with a long finish.
Great effort. The second vintage of Trinoro and it’s already drinking well. With great harmony, integrated structure and superb nose. It could still develop further.

Trinoro 2003, Tenuta di Trinoro
(42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot)
Eye: deep red
sweet herbal nose with berries and tobacco, with alcohol
tannic with sweet berries. alcoholic. medium finish,
Verdict: still at its infancy. Wait for a couple of years and probably it could be as beautiful as the 98. If you are patient, do get the 2006 and keep.
Ratings: 3.8-4/5 in 6 years time

all in all, get the 2006 Trinoro if you are patient and looking to drink 8-15 years down the road. Get the 98 if you want enjoyment now or 5 years down the road.
Priced around 330usd per bottle for the 2003 vintage, the trinoro is expensive and not exactly value for money.

In terms of value, i would have gone for the franchetti @ 110 usd among the wine tasted today.

some interesting stories which the winemaker was sharing with us.
1) her russian clients bought trinoro and drink it together with Vodka.
2) Prime minister of Cambodia treated her a Margaux 82, ON THE ROCK.
3) Some russian super rich will fly their jet to collect their wines, or yearly delivery to their yatch in monaco, with payment made 1 year in advance