Sunday, September 24, 2006

Li Bai

Upon repeated recommendations by my friend, my gf and I decided to give Li Bai, the flagship Chinese restaurant of Sheraton Towers Hotel, a try last night. (My friend happens to be one of the senior managers of the hotel by the way) Everything was arranged for me courtesy of my friend, ie. the reservations, request for menu etc. So it was with high expectations that we made our way to Li Bai to honour our 7pm dinner appointment on this lovely saturday evening.

Located at the basement of Sheraton Towers, the entrance to Li Bai is a little discreet and not visible to people who are walking down the stairs. The diners in the restaurant are in full view through the floor to ceiling windows though. Once in, we were greeted and politely shown to our table by the Asst. Manager. There were a limited number of tables and most were occupied by families. The chairs were made from black leather and together with the black mao suits that the serving crew donned, gave a very business like atmostphere. Add the wooden beams and subtle lightning, you get a very classy environment.

We had the set Menu A, which at $68+++ per pax, came with fresh scallops salad, double boiled shark's fin soup with Yunnan ham and winter melon, pan friend fillet of beef steak, braised beancurd topped with crabmeat and fungus, fish noodles with king prawn and cream of mango and sago.

The scallops salad was zesty and tangy, which according to the waitress, was made by using lemon and chilli, which was pretty impressive. The scallops were really fresh, but its taste was overpowered by the sauce, which I feel is a pity. Next up was the shark's fin soup. What can I say, except that this was really really well done. The fins were in abundance and the soup was light and not too salty. The fins were of quite a premium grade and were simply delightful! The yunnan ham was a little too salty though, but I guess it did give the soup an extra flavouring. The winter melon was nice and soft and blended well with the soup. Following the soup was the pan fried fillet of beef steak. It was thinly sliced, a little sweet and chewy. Something different from the beef that I've tried. My gf's roasted duck(she doesn't take beef) was really good. The skin was crackling cripsy and the meat was firm and tasty.

I'm a sucker for beancurd and the beancurd with crabmeat and fungus didn't disappoint. The servings of crabmeat and fungus were generous and the gravy thick and starchy, complementing the soft and quivery home made beancurd. Thumbs up for this dish as well. The last dish of our main course was the fish noodle with king prawn. I personally like this dish best. The noodles were thick and chewy and the gravy was full of flavour. The king prawn was nicely presented and freshly succulent. But alas, goodness comes in small portions. The dessert of cream of mango and sago was nicely chilled, but tasted ordinary and somewhat out of place from the exquisite cuisine we had consumed earlier.

Well the dinner cost me a leg for it, standing at $162/- for 2 pax. Good place to patronise if you like a classy environment to impress, or would like some fine cantonese cuisine. Service was good, but a little too hurried if you ask me, probably due to the full seating. Try it if you have spare cash to burn. The food is well worth it.

The table set up

The interior

The menu

Our order

Yam Slices

Fresh scallop salad

Shark's Fin soup

Shark's Fin soup again

Pan Fried Fillet of beef steak

Roasted Duck

Braised beancurd topped with crabmeat and fungus

Cross section of the beancurd

Fish noodles with king prawn

The Long Jing tea

Cream of mango and sago

The bill

Final Verdict:
Ambience:8/10 (Very sombre and classy)
Value for money:7/10


Address: Sheraton Towers basement. Reservations recommended. Parking (self, not valet) is complimentary with a meal at Li Bai.

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