Li Feng At Mandarin Oriental Hotel- The Most Ravishing Cantonese Restaurant
Eve Lovelle was invited to dine as guest at Li Feng – Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Mandarin Oriental proudly presents Li Feng, the most ravishingly lavish Cantonese restaurant in Jakarta. Li Feng’s existence has only been merely over a month and it is situated across the well known French resturant, Lyon. The space is culturally embedded inspired by the voyage history and spices trade between China and the old Jakarta, Batavia. The idea was incorporated into the interior of the place featuring hand made crystal glass arts on walls and ceilings, and detailed mapped paintings.
Every dish Li Feng crafted was masterfully planned and executed. Not only do the dishes excel in quality, but they are impeccably stunning with every utensil specially imported and hand-picked to visually elevate the appearance of the dish. The various Cantonese specialties offers an authentic outtake of flavours, pecked with a modern twist towards the presentation of the dish.
The masterminds behind Li Feng were talented Chef Fei and Chef Loy. Chef Fei has been recognised as one of the most notable young prodigy of China’s culinary world, and he is also the man behind the celebrated Jiang at Mandarin Oriental in Guangzhou, China. Chef Fei’s has won awards for his creative innovations, and was recently titled as The Best Chef In China 2016. Chef Loy established his career in Singapore but has taken over Mandarin Oriental Jakarta. He has more than a decade of experience working in fine dining settings, and he is also part of the Singapore’s Chefs Association and Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Every dish evolves directly from the use of fresh ingredients to get the most out of the natural flavours that they believe would delight customers.
Our first entrée were dumplings that came in a personalised bamboo case. Both were a rich start to get our tongues down rolling, the Scallop dumpling was perfect in all its ingredients without superfluous elements. Unfortunate that I quite abhor the taste of squid ink though how mildly flavoured it was on the dumpling skin. I still very much enjoyed the inserts of seafood mince within. We dipped them in homemade chili that you can ‘optionally’ purchase if you request, its great for home use for any Chinese based cooking.
An outstanding dish was this in particular, the crisp and salted flavour brings you the high. The dish presents a proprietary blend of not just salted egg but also various spices with aroma extracted out of the curry leaves. Simple dish with superlative flavours – ‘we were already intrigued by now.
Notice the backlit lights on the walls? It embraces an archaic etched and gilded map of Asia. The wall art displays an ancient connection between China and Java, and the beautiful artwork was illustrated at 1602 by an Italian missionary named Matteo Ricci. What a sight to diners as they
would should be enthralled by the amount of history soaked into the place.
The Swan Dumpling is Li Feng’s Signature Dish – The plating was absolutely stunning. When liquid was poured over onto the plate, it plays in contact with the hidden dry ice underneath, sublimes to gas creating an exaggerated drama. How beautiful, thoughtful, and ingenious?! Again, another squid ink coated dish, but easily forgiven for the scant-to-none squid ink flavour it encompasses. Almost charcoal-like based flaky puff pastry with black pepper duck meat within. The texture was kind of like curry-puffs if I have to compare to another, but flavour wise so different to it.
If you know me well, you should know that clear herbal soups are my favourite kinds of soups. How very well impressed I was to be told that I can have soup this way. Pour over soup to the cup and drink it like you normally would when you drink tea. You can use chopstick to grapple the rest of the elements and eat it straight from the tea pot. The soup was another of my favourite dishes. It was a light based soup that demands a complex array of elements to make it right. Honestly, what wonderfully seasoned broth.
I idolise over the way the beef was made, or should I say, the type of beef used in this case. Stir fried Szechuan Beef is typically served at many Chinese restaurants with the primary meat being shredded. Li Feng’s rendition was way more luxurious and exquisite with beef cubes done in medium doneness.
I have to make another confession, I am not a fan of String Beans/ Long Beans/ French Beans or whatever sorts of the same family or category so my review on this one might be biased. However, my seat mates seemed to be enjoying them and I can imagine the fried garlic would’ve enliven and do these string beans justice.
The dish illustrates a bird’s nest with spring onions tied on sticks, and sugar spun webbed around the top of the nest – Whoa such fun. Swirl some of the sugar spun on your chopstick and then grab the chicken bits for added sweetness.
The rice had a really nice gloss and the texture glides through the tongue receptors unlike normal rice. I was surprised as to whether it was the rice itself or the sauce that made such consistency possible. Taste wise it was superb and I enjoyed every scoop of it. The only thing, perhaps you can accuse me of my laziness from getting dirty, cracking the shells to get every inch of meat out (because these are boyfriend duties ain’t I right?). But I did it anyway, I did it guys! Would’ve been such a waste to throw out a good juicy meat if I don’t. Perhaps a mallet and a cocktail fork would’ve been useful. I definitely recommend this one dish to pair them off with other mains.
Li Feng accommodates up to about 80 seats. There are a total of three private dining rooms which are the ideal location to celebrate an occasion. I can imagine having a family dinner here and I know my family would be so in love with this place.
After the mains come dessert. The proper sequence starts with the fried chick and then the middle before the most right. You start from the hottest to the coldest item on the plate. I was excited to try out the chick (although couldn’t bear to bite its head off at first) as the description wrote ‘deep fried glutinous rice dumpling with frog jelly and coconut milk’. The taste was like sweet custard encased by sweet glutinous rice and light crumbs, and oh heck yes it was molten! After that was all chugged down to the belly I found out that Frog Jelly is literal and not just a metaphorical term, huh WHAT?! Apparently Frog Jelly is a Chinese dessert ingredient extracted from the dried fatty tissue found near the fallopian tubes of glass frogs – *eyes dilated*, OH What have I done?! I would have skipped this one if I was told that at first, but… truthfully speaking, it was pretty darn good.
The middle item was a blueberry snow skin dumpling, and it was sweet and creamy I can almost picture a box of it in a Japanese packaging. The last one on the right was chilled mango with pomelo sago cream, yum! I’d say yes to anything mango!
Notice the blue stylized ‘sea’ of hand-made crystal glass, with peeks of amber crystal junk sails hanging on the ceiling? It symbolises junk sails embarking its journey from China to Java. I was deeply impressed with the analytical minds that fabricated such a visionary venue. I mean, look at the outcome! Li Feng is without a doubt the perfect place, everything you could possibly want to experience in a modern Chinese restaurant. Another tremendously worth-while mentioned factor would be its uncompromising commitment to service. Big shout out to Maximilian von Reden (GM of Mandarin Oriental), and Nadia K. Tika (Communication Executive) for organizing this meal. I had the most enjoyable time.
Li Feng – Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Jl. MH Thamrin
Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
Tel: o21 2970 4981