Bangkok’s popular bastion of Cantonese cuisine has a degustation menu that can’t fail
FAMOUS FOR scrumptious dim sum and Cantonese cuisine, Bangkok’s much-loved restaurant Lin-Fa is blowing out the candles on its 27th-birthday cake with a terrific degustation menu.
The restaurant on the ground floor of the Sukosol Hotel opened in 1992 as a high-end teahouse that discreetly catered to prominent politicians – you might have heard the joke about a prime minister being selected around one of its dining tables.
But a major revamp in 2008 turned Lin-Fa into an elegant fine-dining restaurant. Spread over two floors, it boasts towering glass and chromed-steel partitions perforated to resemble silk and ceiling lamps that resemble birds’ nests.
Beyond the open dining space are 10 private function rooms that can seat up to 189 people among oak furniture and crystal chandeliers. On display are beautiful porcelain and antiques from the collection of restaurant and hotel owner Kamala Sukosol.
New executive chef Jeremy Harris, who’s spent the past seven years at luxury hotels in Shanghai, has unveiled a tantalising nine-course sampling feast in which traditional Cantonese flavours meet modern ideas in cooking and presentation.
“There aren’t a lot of classical Chinese restaurants left in Bangkok and Lin-Fa is one of the few restaurants that still offers really authentic dim sum and Cantonese,” he says. “We wanted to do something different to celebrate Lin-Fa’s long history and show off our creativity.
“So the menu is smaller and the presentation more modern, while the flavour remains original. This isn’t a new direction for the restaurant – the main concept is still the same, with the focus on classic Cantonese dishes and especially dim sum.”
All this month and through September, the set menu can be had for Bt2,500. Add an extra Bt999 to have each dish paired with a selected wine.
Charcoal-infused Xiao Long Bao & Lobster Salad
Charcoal-infused Xiao Long Bao and Lobster Salad gets the banquet rolling. Xiao long bao is a popular Shanghai-dumpling, here filled with Alaskan king crab meat. The Canadian lobster salad features a homemade mayonnaise.
For a very different texture and look, Signature Fish Maw is served with tiger prawn in flavourful imperial sauce that’s been cooking for eight hours. Both of these openers go very well with Joseph Mellot, Chateau de la Jousseliniere 2010.
Fish Maw and Tiger Prawn with Imperial Sauce
“The fish maw was inspired by Lin-Fa’s usual fish-maw soup. The twist is in mimicking the taste, but not the soup,” Harris says. “Instead, the soup is the classic dark colour and the flavour is different from the cheap, clear ones you’re typically served at a wedding. We’ve used high-grade maw to make a traditional Cantonese soup and it really tastes great.”
Grilled French Oyster with Cantonese Black Bean Sauce
Grilled French Oyster arrives on a bed of sea salt topped with delectable black bean sauce, a wonderful marriage of East and West. The oyster is fresh and the bean sauce chases off any fishy tang. Have it with Tahuna Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay 2014 from New Zealand.
“We use a lot of oysters here and most come from France,” says the chef. “You can eat them raw, of course, but we wanted to try something more Cantonese – steaming the shellfish with classic black bean sauce.”
Slow-cooked Duck Leg with Mango Sauce and Pickled Vegetables
The slow-cooked Duck Leg is crispy but juicy, soaked in the sauce of fresh Nam Dok Mai mangoes and presented with pickled vegetables. A fine accompaniment is Cono Sur Bicicleta, Pinot Noir 2016 from Chile.
Abalone Tart with Clear Yunnan Ham Broth and Crispy Shellfish Wonton
Looking partly like a Western dessert, the mouth-watering Abalone Tart comes with a cup of light and clear Yunnan ham broth and a crisp-fried wonton filled with shellfish and pork.
“This is a little bit fusion, but the flavour is very Cantonese,” says Harris. “It’s a kind of traditional sauce in Cantonese cuisine made from best-quality abalone. The presentation is simple but it’s a very nice flavour, very unique.”
Wok-fried Wagyu Beef with Black Pepper, Capsicum and Spring Onion
For the main course I choose tender Wok-fried Australian Wagyu Beef with black pepper sauce, capsicum and spring onion. (The other choice is sliced grouper.) The steak goes well with Sileni Syrah, Hawke’s Bay 2013 from New Zealand.
Thai Eggplant and Prawn Napoleon with Crispy Garlic, Ginger and Basil
Next up is soft layered Thai Eggplant and Prawn Napoleon with crispy garlic, ginger and basil and Egg Noodles mixed with king crab meat.
Egg Noodle with Alaskan King Crab
The meal ends with a refreshing Thai Lychee Sorbet with crispy ginger and coconut sago and smooth, sweet Taro Mousse on sticky rice with gingko nuts and slices of sweetened Chinese dates, all topped with coconut milk.
Gingko Nut with Sweet Taro Mousse
Lin-Fa has its amazing dim sum buffet for lunch every weekend. It costs Bt795-plus.
GREAT FOOD, FINE WINES
Lin-Fa is on the ground floor of the Sukosol Hotel and open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6 to 10.30.
Book a table at (02) 247 0123, extension 1820, or www.TheSukosol.com.