Bangkok Post reviews
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: October 18, 2013 at 8:10 am
The recently relaunched Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel hits the spot
The newly renovated dining hall of the restaurant continues to uphold Shang Palace’s grandiose character.
For a highly competitive, ever-evolving restaurant industry at this very moment, terms like "new menu", "renovation", "visiting chef" or "reopening", may mean nothing much more than just some mandatory business jargon that no longer excites diners.
Yet, there are millions of things worth boasting about the relaunch of the Shang Palace.
The Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok's Chinese restaurant, which first opened in 1986, recently went through a major restoration all right. But the scale of its renewal is far more than one could imagine. The renovation cost 120 million baht, and the investment isn't just for the new look but also to strengthen the five-star hotel's culinary standpoint, very solemnly and impressively.
Some of the delicious dim sum delicacies which are freshly cooked to order.
Unlike the gloomy ambience in the old days, today the 300-seat Shang Palace appears more cheery. The restaurant's extensive wall along the hotel corridor was replaced by floor-to-ceiling windows allowing the natural daylight shining into the spacious dining room with brand new set of decor.
However, the setting continues to represent the restaurant's grandiose character. The place is decked out in the subtle hues of crimson, fawn and gold with prodigious beautiful crystal chandeliers, carved wooden panels and graceful paintings of Chinese flowers on silk walls.
A substantial amount of the high investment has been lavished on the rebuilding of the kitchen, too. The extraordinarily extensive cooking hall is a strictly temperature-and-hygiene controlled (the hotel even has two full-time hygienists to ensure its high sanitary standard), and featuring several chambers deliberately assigned for different culinary purposes. They include a seafood room with live fish tanks, a dim sum assembly room, a barbecue room with state-of-the-art BBQ ovens and broilers (for the likes of roasted goose, Peking duck, suckling pig and BBQ ribs) and a meat plating room. While stir-fried and steamed items are cooked at the main cooking hall equipped with an extensive line of super powerful gas ranges.
Of course, the kitchen hasn't been upgraded for nothing. The much-loved cuisine of Shang Palace has been refreshened too with three new master chefs from Hong Kong, led by Sham Yun Ming, the restaurant's new executive chef.
If you're there for lunch, don't miss a variety of dim sum especially the all time best-selling prawn dumplings (120 baht) and ha gao dumplings (110 baht).
The wok-fried lobster with butter, ginger and onion sauce.
Meanwhile Chef Sham's new dim sum introductions such as crab meat xiao long bao (120 baht), vegetable and mushroom dumpling (70 baht) and deep-fried shrimp and sesame spring rolls (90 baht) were also superb. The first was Shanghainese soup dumpling that's very juicy and tasty. The second presented half-circle dumpling with soft translucent skin that revealed inside a crunchy and colourful filling made with carrots, baby green peas, mushroom and water chestnuts. The third was a truly scrumptious and crispy shrimp cake.
Every single choice of dim sum was cooked to order and served piping hot straight from the steamers. And if it's made with prawn, you are always guaranteed a sumptuously generous mouthfeel of plump, fresh, and never frozen, prawn meat.
From the BBQ selection, we were pleased with roasted goose Hong Kong style (880 baht) accompanied by homemade sweet plum sauce. The meaty goose offered a super succulent dark meat and ever-crispy skin that intermingled wonderfully with the plum sauce.
Also worth having is Peking duck (1,900 baht), which was served traditionally in two courses. The mahogany-coloured skin of the duck was carved at our tableside and enjoyed with steamed flour sheets and Shang Palace's exclusively-concocted hoi sin sauce. While options for the second course are stir-fried minced duck meat with fresh lettuce and sauteed duck with black bean sauce.
Fish aficionados can't afford to miss the steamed black garoupa Hong Kong style (150 baht per 100 grammes). The fish meat was plump and graced with masterly cooked ginger and scallion soy sauce that's subtly rich in flavour but light in texture.
Hong Kong-style roasted goose.
Our party of three was highly impressed by the wok-fried lobster with butter, ginger and onion sauce (450 baht per 100 grammes), Chef Sham's signature. A gigantic, one-kilogramme Phuket lobster exhibited very chewy and naturally flavoursome meat that's smartly fragranted, but not at all overpowered, with the mild-tasting sauce.
Shang Palace's all-time favourite, which is never found at other restaurants, is steamed sticky rice with crab meat in bamboo basket (1,800 baht). This generous portion is great for sharing especially if you like the flavour profile of bajang (sticky rice wrapped in triangle shape with bamboo leaves).
One of my dining companions loved the pan-fried beef fillet with garlic and black pepper (1,900 baht). The prime quality beef, very tender but still yielded a pleasant chew, was cut into cubes and tossed with well-seasoned black pepper sauce before being topped with crispy deep-fried patong ko bread.
For dessert, we ordered braised bird's nest in whole coconut (1,300 baht per person) and chilled mango pudding (180 baht). The first was highly collagen and very soothing, and the latter _ a super luscious Asian-style panna cotta made with tropical fruit, proved one of the best I've ever tasted.
Shang Palace has an extensive collection of beverages. Other than a variety of Chinese tea blends, there are also a good list of wines, cocktails and coffee _ classic and house-blends. Try the minty After Eight coffee (180 baht) and you'll never regret it.
The restaurant has four exclusive rooms, with 10-40 seats, plus a corundum that can handle 110 guests, for private dining and functions.