Li Feng, is truly a surprise.
For a long time, Mandarin Oriental had the classic Xin Hwa as their main dining venue, famous for serving high quality classic chinese favorites, and for their dimsum brunches. Li Feng, the new Chinese restaurant that was recently unveiled to replace Xin Hwa, definitely has a big shoe to fill.
Still occupying the same area as before, Li Feng’s unique entrance takes you to a completely different look of a Chinese restaurant. Look above at the ceiling and you will see a contemporary stylized ‘sea’ of hand-made crystal glass, with amber crystal junk sails plying their route across the sea, developed and fabricated by the much-vaunted Czech crystal sculptors, Lasvit. The subtle colors of earth colors and streaks of blue, gives a much needed break from the overly used red and gold for Chinese dining venues.
One look at the menu, you’ll soon get an idea that Cantonese is still the main theme, although with slight tweaks and modern twists here and there. That day, we tried some of Li Feng’s new signatures that were developed by Mandarin Oriental Jakarta’s Executive Chinese Chef, Chef Loy, and Chef Fei, one of China’s most notable young chefs is also the man behind the celebrated Jiang at Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou.
As a starter, we were served with the incredibly addictive deep fried salmon skin with salted egg yolk sauce. Salted egg yolks seems to be the craze lately, but this one dish, is probably one of the most addictive one I’ve tried. The salmon skin is extra crispy, and the egg yolk sauce, which can be too rich, is perfectly balanced with the spiciness of the chili padi.
Curious with Li Feng’s dim sum selections, I sampled the spicy XO scallop dumplings, and the black squid Ink dumplings with seafood and fish roe, which was both very pleasant, but the most anticipated was Chef Fei’s signature swan shaped dim sum, dramatically served with dry ice mist, resembling real swans in a enchanted lake. The deep fried dim sum pastries are filled with black pepper duck meat stir fry.
Another must try, especially if you are feeling a little bit under the weather, is the Imperial Kung Fu Soup of fragrantly calming stewed chicken and quail with matsutake mushrooms cordyceps flower, and dried longan that will definitely settle any rumbles in your body.
Next, we tried the incredibly juicy sauteed US beef with Szechuan Pepper and Chili, and one of the most popular Cantonese exports, the sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and bell pepper that was beautifully presented with sugar weaving on top, suspended with three wood pegs.
For the vegetable, we tried the simple wok fried string beans with dried shrimps and garlic, and for the carb load, we were served with the braised hele crab with japanese rice in hoisin sauce. The crab is abundant in portion, and is mixed with the fried rice, including the shell. Simple, yet remains satisfyingly comforting.
Even after a lengthy meal, we all know there’s always room for dessert. Now, a Chinese restaurant usually isn’t somewhere I would look for desserts, but in Li Feng, i was quite surprised by how pleasant the dessert they are serving. We had the Dessert Platter with three small portions: the deep fried glutinous rice dumpling with jelly and coconut milk, the classic chilled mango with sago cream and pomel, and my favorite, the blueberry and cream wrapped in white snow skin, another one of Chef Fei’s signature.
For anyone that is serious about their Chinese food, this restaurant is a must visit and its modern takes on Chinese classics are surely a refreshing option for just about anyone used to the usual Cantonese selection. Li Feng has met the expectations.
Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Special Capital Region of Jakarta 10310
Hours: 11:30AM–2:30PM, 6–10:30PM