Mandarin Oriental might not be the biggest hotel group, however with 15 restaurants across its portfolio, they have already acquired 23 Michelin stars. In other words, they take food seriously! Whenever people discuss about high end Chinese restaurant, there’s a good chance you’ll hear the name Li Feng, Mandarin Oriental’s contemporary Chinese restaurant.
Before turning into Li Feng, which literally means beauty in abundance, in 2015, the Chinese restaurant was known with its previous name Xin Hwa. Chinese restaurants are notorious for being traditional, and only appear to the older audience. However, you’ll have different impression when you step in to Li Feng. While trying to retain its distinctive classic Chinese touch, Li Feng also felt modern, ethereal, and contemporary.
Hong Kong-based LRF Designers Limited is the one who responsible for such atmosphere. When you look closer, you’ll notice that the interior is inspired by the voyage history and spices trade between China and Batavia, the old Jakarta.
While dining, guests will enjoy viewing “A Voyage to the South” artwork, a large-gilded glass piece by artist Helen Poon from Hong Kong that features an ancient etched and gilded map of Asia drawn up in 1602 by an Italian missionary named Matteo Ricci illustrating the ancient connection between China and Jakarta.
The kitchen was led by Chang See Loy, Li Feng’s Singaporean Executive Chinese Chef. Chef Loy is working closely with Chef Fei from Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou to design the whole menu. Chef Fei is an award winning young chef from China, in fact, he has won numerous awards, including The Best Chef in China 2016. In June 2018, his signature restaurant Jiang, was awarded first Michelin Star in the inaugural Michelin Guide for Guangzhou 2018.
Chef Loy defines Li Feng’s cuisine as traditional Cantonese menu with modern presentation. “Of course, there’s a little bit of Szechuan influence, I know Indonesians love spicy food,” he said. “Chinese food is all about the sauce, we have 3 signature sauces here: dim sum sauce, chili sauce, and XO sauce.”
It’s quite easy to get lost in the staggering number of mouth-watering menu in Li Feng. However, it’s nice to know that Li Feng also features the photo of the food in the menu. Some fast food restaurants may disappoint when you find the foods presented are far from their photos. Not here in Li Feng, what you see in the menu is what you’ll have, almost spot on!
If it’s your first time in Li Feng, Chef Loy gives some recommendations about which menus to order. “Try our Deep-Fried Swan Dumpling with Black Pepper Duck Meat and Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk,” he said. You’ve seen the Swan Dumpling in the Internet, in fact, that’s what you get when you type the word “Li Feng” in Google. At first, we thought the iconic menu is just about the look and smoky dry ice. However, a bite of the Swan convinces us the otherwise. This is how a signature menu supposed tobe done! Hands down the best fried dim sum in town!
Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk is the gourmet version of the current famous Singaporean snack. Of course there’s no competition, it’s like comparing artisan pizza with frozen pizza that’s available in supermarket’s freezer. The crispiness of the fish skin and the distinctive taste of salted egg yolk make it one of the best appetizers in Li Feng.
It’s difficult to resist any seafood menus in Chinese restaurant, but we find it hard to look for bad things about Wok-Fried Angus Beef with Bell Pepper and Special Sauce as the main course. The tenderness of the beef is extraordinary; you can even use the spoon to cut it, effortlessly. If halal is not an issue, we highly recommend the Cantonese BBQ Platter. Faith in humanity, restored! Almond and Black Sesame Dumpling with Peanuts is a wonderful dessert to end the dining experience in Li Feng. Think of it as the fine dining version of Japanese mocchi.
As food connoisseurs, we always believe dining experience is more than just about filling your tummy, or the taste. It’s about the impression you get from the place. You might think we exaggerate it, but we’ll say our impression anyway: if you know a suicidal person, take him to dine in Li Feng, at least, he’ll have another reason to live, it’s that good!