Eating out: Wing Lei Palace @ Wynn Palace
I am biased as I have to say that the decor at Wing Lei Palace is my favourite in Wynn Palace as it’s theme is green and gold, my favourite colour green so tastefully done, and peppered with tassels and art deco motifs.
I was told however, there wasn’t any art deco inspiration behind the conception and the visually stunning interiors were inspired by the belle époque and Chinoiserie designed by Roger Thomas.
Emerald green and gold run through the beautiful restaurant naturally lit by floor to ceiling windows with decorative tassels hanging from Chinese-inspired lanterns and beautiful brocade drapery. The tassels and colour also remind me very much of Morocco.
I was invited to a tasting for a piece I’m writing so I didn’t have the liberty of choosing my menu and definitely have to be back to get a feel of the full menu.
There is a tea sommelier in house and the menu is focused on Cantonese cuisine, peppered with regional influences given a contemporary creative twist. Chef Ho puts the focus on delicate, healthy and well balanced flavours.
I haven’t had the chance to try the soups – the hallmark of a good Cantonese restaurant is the soups. There are 11 on the menu rotated on a daily basis and I was told that the pig liver soup and green papaya peanut fish tail soup are some of the favourites.
A litmus test that differentiates a great Cantonese restaurant from a good one is the barbeque roast meats – Char Siu and Siew York, grilled marinated pork and pork belly with the perfectly cooked crackling.
What was a surprise is chef Ho uses Chinese pork, none of the fancy imported Iberico or Kurobuta pork that other fine Chinese restaurants are doing and he said he did a tasting of all the different types of pork and settled on the Chinese one.
“A good Char Siu depends on the meat, it has to be the right side of fatty, neither lean nor too fatty which can make it too rich and greasy. In Northern Chinese cooking, the barbeque meats are roasted with wood fire. Here, in the South, traditionally we cook it over charcoal for the smokey flavor, but in modern times, we use gas and the results are just as good. We make our own marinate for our barbeque roasts and this differs from chef to chef and is the core difference in flavours.” Explains Ho.
I started with the chef’s Premium Selection, that includes Barbeque pork with honey, chilled enoki mushrooms, Cordyceps Flower with sesame oil and a hint of Sichuan peppers.
The selection of dim sum includes xiaolongbao – tasty grenades of Shanghainese steamed dumplings filled with a rich pork base broth, deep fried shredded turnip stuffed with cheese and a custard bun in the form of a mushroom dusted off with cocoa.
I was pleasantly surprised with the deep fried shredded turnip presented in the shape of a lotus root with an equally cute Chinese name 藕断丝连 which is often used in the context of love, that when you break up you make a clean break – but with the lotus root – for anyone who has tried cutting the root, it leaves this stringy trails and you can’t make a clean cut.
The stringy cheese stuffed in the turnip creates that same effect. So, poetry in food. :)
We had other dishes like Wok-fried Wagyu beef with rice crackers is another modern rendition served with pine nuts, and one of Wing Lei Palace’s signature dishes is the simmered garoupa filet with egg white in supreme chicken broth – the gold colour from chicken and carrot broth cooked separately.
The highlight of this dish is the egg white pearls that I was told is added at very high heat, and stirred in broad strokes, to create those little pearls.
When you get to dessert, the classic Deep-fried Sesame Ball Filled with Custard is topped with Bird’s Nest, giving the crispy sweet ball extra bite and what the Chinese enjoy as “mouth feel”. And everyone loves a mango sago soup to finish.
Can’t wait to be back on my own dime and getting acquainted with the menu.