KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — As the forthcoming Chinese New Year celebrations are likely to be spent in the comfort of home, restaurants such as Restaurant 195 have started to offer full course meals for takeaway.
For me, Restaurant 195 has always stood for fine Cantonese fare. Previously known as Restaurant Chef Choi, the restaurant is now housed in a bungalow at Jalan Ampang.
The restaurant is offering two family set menus for takeaway to celebrate the Year of the Ox. It features five dishes that can feed six or 10 people.
If you prefer, you can swap some dishes from the set menu with a selection from their a la carte menu. Their yee sang is a separate purchase allowing you the freedom to customise your preferences.
Your takeaway will be packed in a nifty basket covered with insulated material. This makes it easier to transport and retain the heat for the various dishes. You can also keep the basket to utilise it for any future takeaways too. (For Chinese New Year, red baskets will be used!)
Chinese New Year is not complete without the boisterous tossing of yee sang. The restaurant offers three versions topped with jellyfish, ocean trout or abalone. Prices start from RM158 for the jellyfish and ocean trout for the regular sized portions. The abalone yee sang is RM188 for the regular sized.
What's nice about their yee sang is the combination of ingredients that include a variety of pickled items such as onions, leeks or qiu tao and ginger. There's also candied kumquats, and some freshness from carrots, radish and pomelo.
For crunch and texture, you have pok chui crackers, toasted peanuts and sesame seeds. Toss it all together with their own-made plum sauce and enjoy.
I had great joy adding each ingredient for the yee sang and saying all the auspicious greetings aloud. Maybe tossing yee sang at home is better as you definitely can be as noisy as you wish, toss as high as you want and not care much about what people say or the mess you make.
Oh and of course, there's the joy of finding hidden treasure like the abalone or the ocean trout. Priceless!
For the takeaway, we tried out the family set menu B that starts with a roasted crispy farm chicken. This was paired with pepper salt and plum sauce.
The skin retains a slight crispiness with a nice savoury taste. Dip pieces of the chicken in the salt to give it an addictive, savoury kick. You will enjoy the juicy meat that still tastes good when reheated.
Of course it's not a celebration without luxurious or auspicious ingredients. The braised mini abalone with mushrooms, black moss and vegetables will fit that criteria perfectly. The black moss or fatt choy in Chinese holds the meaning "to prosper", which makes it a must for Chinese New Year since it's everyone's dream to get rich.
For the abalone it has a tender bite with a slight briny taste while the mushrooms are also braised until it is tender. The sauce for the dish is given separately so you can easily heat it up and add it just before serving.
If you love salted egg yolk, the baked crystal prawns with golden sauce will satisfy your cravings. As the fairly large sized prawns are baked, there's none of the oily aftertaste.
The prawns also have a fimer bite to them signalling their freshness that pairs well with the savoury taste of the salted egg yolk.
For the fish dish, an essential to celebrate Chinese New Year since it symbolises "nian nian you yu" or abundance, it is served deep fried. A sweet and sour sauce is poured over the fish that gives it a slight piquant taste, making it an appetising dish.
They use red snapper fish for this dish. As the sauce is packed separately, just pour it over when you're about to sit down for lunch or dinner.
The highlight of the menu is their famous lap mei fan or steamed rice topped with an assortment of waxed meats including the prized goose liver sausage. This is served in a claypot to keep it warm, which you need to add an extra RM50 deposit for the takeaway. The money will be returned to you once you send back the claypot in its original condition.
Once you open the claypot, just take a whiff. As the waxed meats are steamed on top of the rice, you get the fragrant aroma of rose wine from the preserved meats that makes your mouth water.
The selection of waxed meats include lap cheong, lap yuk and waxed duck. The lap cheong is soft with a hint of wine while the lap yuk is not too hard. Even the waxed duck is not overly salty.
However, the star of the dish is the prized goose liver sausage that has a distinct aroma of rose wine with a soft texture. They also give you siu pak choy vegetables too.
This is packed separately so they don't wilt in the claypot's residual heat. If you do have leftovers, it will still taste good the next day if you steam the rice and waxed meats together to reheat them.
The set B is priced at RM1,154 for six persons. For 10 people, it is priced at RM1,766.
For set A, you get to enjoy a variety of different dishes except the lap mei fan which is the same one served for set B. You can slowly enjoy a juicy roast duck that is prepared with traditional herbs.
For the fish dish, they will offer braised fish fillet with beancurd rolls, making it perfect for those who don't like messing with fish bones. You also have baked crystal prawns but this version is paired with rice wine. For the vegetable dish, there's stir fried Iberico pork with asparagus in XO sauce.
The set A is priced at RM788 for six persons. For 10 people, it is priced at RM1,136.
If you wish, look at their a la carte menu to swap dishes from the set menus. It's only dishes such as their barbecued crispy pork, BBQ iberico pork, sweet and sour Iberico pork served with pineapple cubes and the stir fried Iberico pork with XO asparagus that require an additional charge, if you replace them in your set menu.
Other items on their takeaway a la carte menu include their signature deep fried crispy prawns served with haw flakes, steamed farm chicken with vegetables or stir fried sliced Australian beef with onion and ginger.
If you wish to just take away their lap mei fan, this is possible. Their regular portion (RM168) can feed up to 6 people, while the larger portion is RM268 that is good for 7 to 10 people. The deposit of RM50 for the claypot will also apply.
Restaurant 195 is at 195, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 9am to 6pm (Monday to Saturday). Orders must be placed two days in advance via WhatsApp to 012-3285111 or 012-6111403. If you wish for delivery, you will need to arrange for your own third party delivery service.