[编辑 Editor 吕大人 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer 黄大人]
In this cut-throat, competitive food scene, new restaurants come (and go) all the time, which is highly fascinating for us nosh hunters out there. We know all too well, but what’s really impressive are establishments that have stuck around for the long haul, and we’re talking restaurants that even date back decades before some of us were even born.
As the first international class hotel in Johor Bahru, Mutiara Hotel went through several name changes and upgrades over the last 35 years, but one thing remains unchanged – Meisan Szechuan Restaurant and its hallmark of warm and welcoming hospitality. For some reason, this restaurant is really popular with our parents generation, and by that, we mean that the Meisan name has been really established in JB for decades.
位处新山世纪花园 Mutiara Hotel 二楼的眉山，其可容190人的中式典雅室内格局，鹅黄灯光下映着古意极浓的华丽家饰，丝毫不因岁月流逝而显疲态，餐厅同时也特设了5间各可容10人的贵宾包厢 (包厢亦可五合为一体举办小型家宴或婚宴)，只见窗外的街景依旧，记忆中的美食滋味只增不减。
Located on level 2 of Mutiara Hotel and centring on authenticity, Meisan‘s interior has a very traditional and antique flair which helps it stand out from most of the other Chinese restaurants, and further accentuates a traditional ambience and mimics an old Chinese tavern which can comfortably accommodate 190 pax, albeit much classier. For intimate occasions, this long-standing hotel restaurant features five elegant private dining rooms catering for 10 to 50 guests, where we can savour their various signature dishes in our own time while soaking in the familiar street sights from our childhood days.
四川酸辣汤 Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup
胃里缓缓流过的温暖如春，有着健脾养胃功效的四川酸辣汤 (Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup, 小 RM23; 中 RM34; 大 RM46)，风味隽永，上眉山川菜馆自是得让自家桌上也有其踪迹。「惊艳的自是鲜脆的木耳葱段与柔绵的蛋花，羹汤里的酸浓度略胜辣度一筹，透粘香醇，每一口久久不散，浓情化不开啊。」
Serving authentic Szechuan cuisine generally known to be fiery and quite overwhelming, the chefs at Meisan tweak their recipes to favour local preferences (definitely ours). Although not particularly spicy, this silky version of the classic Szechuan-style Hot & Spicy Soup includes traditional ingredients like earthy tree ear fungus, tender bamboo shoots and lily buds is so tummy-warning that it hits the right spicy and sour notes so no complaints here.
食验味星 Rating ★★★★
北京鸭 Peking Duck
只需一口，即能让人将此给牢锁於五星味蕾档案中。眉山的北京鸭 (Peking Duck, RM84) 纵横美食界卅五年，早已被饕客称之为国境内之最，俨然就是这儿的大明星。
Tasting almost as good as the celebrated bird of Quanjude fame in Beijing, this longtime Chinese classic consists of crisp roast duck skin (with a little meat) complemented with vegetables and sweet hoisin sauce wrapped in a thin crepe. Thank goodness, Meisan lives up to its “superstar” billing when comes to their signature Peking Duck.
The process of preparing the Peking Duck is an elaborate one, and the high temperatures of the oven roast the duck skin to a beautiful amber crisp, all the while preserving the soft succulence of the red meat. Roasted to perfection, carved and sliced on the platter before our very eyes, the duck meat was served in plain crepes alongside julienned scallion and cucumber to complement the duck. We can then decide what to do with the rest of the duck meat, and the chef will whip up duck noodles the way we want it. This local’s (and overseas) favourite is so hugely popular that loyal patrons make orders well in advance.
食验味星 Rating ★★★★★
冬炎蒸石斑 Steamed Garoupa with Tom Yam Sauce
被宠坏了的味蕾，尝着这与观感匹配的冬炎蒸石斑 (Steamed Garoupa with Tom Yam Sauce, 时价)，嘴里翻腾着冬炎波涛，饱吸汁液的活儿就让香馒头来担吧！「石斑的弹嫩云集於肉身处，简直命中味蕾靶心。」
This Steamed Garoupa might have been done in Cantonese style, but the Tom Yam Sauce gave the dish a slightly fiery spice. Steamed to a firm texture and tends more to the sweeter side which some might like, the fish was done to a good degree of perfection and emits a fresh taste as it flakes with bites. To round off this sumptuous dish, none of us hesitated to finish the mantou buns and wipe up all the flavourful spicy sauce!
食验味星 Rating ★★★★
宫保虾球腰果 Wok-fried Prawns with Dried Chilli & Cashew Nuts
川味中极具代表性的宫保料理除了宫保鸡丁外，异曲同工的尚有这道宫保虾球腰果 (Wok-fried Prawns with Dried Chilli & Cashew Nuts, 小 RM42; 中 RM63; 大 RM84) 。脆鲜大虾以红油辣椒干与酥脆腰果入菜，勾芡后那酸甜异香的浓酱均沾於虾肉上，万事俱备只欠东风啊！「请来碗白饭吧！」
The use of dried chillies and cashew nuts at some parts made our next dish taste reminiscing of Kung Po Chicken (another popular Sichuan’s favourites, this Wok-fried Prawns with Dried Chilli & Cashew Nuts lived up to its recipe and description. The perfectly blended sauce base gave an inviting, silky texture to the already well-balanced flavour of the large and succulent prawns, and every chew of it releases tiny squirts of sleek oil that ooze and complements wells with the sauce to give us a terrific coalescence of sweet, sour and slightly spicy taste. More rice, anyone?
食验味星 Rating ★★★★☆
干煸四季豆 Fried String Beans with Minced Chicken
老马识途的饕客来到眉山，总会点选这几味馆中名菜，名气响当当的干煸四季豆 (Fried String Beans with Minced Chicken, 小 RM19; 中 RM28; 大 RM38) 伴着鸡肉粒煸炒至香酥咸鲜，「白饭仍旧身负重任啊！这好下饭！」眉山版本的四季豆并无切段，原先挺直的四季豆早已让耐心十足的师傅们给柔软了身子，筷子每一回夹起的，都是完整的软香川味。
Another signature dish within Szechuan cuisine, the Fried String Beans with Minced Chicken is another must try. The texture of the dry-fried vegetables is similar to that of grilled ones with a hint of smoky flavour, and the withered surface of the string beans holds the spices well, creating an appetising, intense and pungent taste that pair perfectly with our steamed rice!
食验味星 Rating ★★★★
高丽豆沙 Deep-fried Egg White Dumpling filled with Red Bean Paste
指尖尚未触碰时，还以为这是泡芙呢！这高丽豆沙 (Deep-fried Egg White Dumpling filled with Red Bean Paste, 每件RM9) 融合了馒头与蛋皮的绝妙蓬松口感，内馅还潜藏了微甜的含皮红豆泥，认真好味呢！
We wrapped up our meal with the Deep-fried Egg White Dumpling filled with Red Bean Paste. Hot from the pan, the puff-lookalike dumpling is fluffy on the outside while remaining chewy on the inside. Bite into it, and the velvety red bean paste coats our mouth with sweetness for a really gratifying finish.
With this, we concluded our Sichuan education for the day!
食验味星 Rating ★★★★
【大人小分享】眉山川菜馆每月亦会推出不同主题的美食特价优惠，想要获取最新讯息，可别忘了紧密追踪酒店脸书专页 Mutiara Johor Bahru 哦！
Be sure to look out for Meisan Szechuan Restaurant‘s monthly specials by following them on Facebook!
眉山川菜馆 Meisan Szechuan Restaurant @ Mutiara Johor Bahru
Address: Mutiara Hotel JB No 779, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Century, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.
Contact: +607 – 330 0300
Time: 11.30am-2.30pm (Lunch); 6.30pm-10.30pm (Dinner)
NO PORK, NO LARD