Seasonal Tastes-The Westin Xi’an 知味咖啡厅

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Article By Haytham

Westin Hotel, No.66 Cien Road, Qujiang New District.
曲江新区慈恩路66号威斯汀大酒店G层
(029) 6893 8367
5:30am – 10:00pm

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 208-228RMB

PROS: Great, authentic SE Asian food; good service

CONS: Chinese coconut milk

Ithought I knew what to expect from hotel buffets: common dishes, though exquisite, but taste bland and ordinary; seafood that are simply boiled and probably captured a week ago. This particular seafood festival stands above the rest with Chef Lim Meng Seng, a chef with a deep understanding of southeast Asian delicacies, and over 40 years of experience in top hotels. The strong spices and tender texture of the meat dishes are awe-inspiring. Every piece of chicken has a tender texture: the grilled chicken satay is done perfectly, not dry nor undercooked; and the Nonya chicken’s flavour is truly elevated when being soaked in coconut milk. When I pressed my fork onto it, there was no resistance, as if I am piercing through a pudding.

Bak-kut teh, the “meat and bone tea” is what I would have in Singapore every Sunday after church. A bowl of rice, soup with pork ribs and a small plate of vegetables in thick soy sauce would be the perfect worldly meal after my soul is fed. The bak-kut teh delivered by Chef Lim showed me the gourmet version of this dish. Any chef, from Jamie Oliver or Garden Ramsay to your grandmother would tell you that meat with bones is the finesse; the difference in the quality would lie in the processing of the raw material and control of the temperature, time taken to cook it and even the pressure in the boiler. The bak-kut teh in Westin is the best I have ever tried so far, for it has checked all the requirements to perfection.

Laksa is rice noodle cooked with coconut milk and spicy curry. It is always the top choice in the school canteen, and I have had my fair share of laksa from different restaurants. It is indeed a bit of disappointment in finding that the laksa in Westin is a bit under-flavoured. Chef Lim, who is extremely friendly and patient, explained that it is because the coconut milk produced in China is less rich than in Malaysia, and has guaranteed to improve it. This minor slip is completely understandable, since I was there on the opening day and realize the level of pressure our chef is dealing with. In finishing this review, I find myself considering who to take when I visit Westin again, for the perfect laksa before this summer ends.

Haythan can be reached at reviews@xianease.com

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