Hopefully the headline interested you enough to read all of
this week’s review. Let me assure you, that it is worth it! Let me also assure
you that the Fujian is a very different kind of Chinese restaurant, so forget
all notions of “A number 169, a 332 and fried rice for everyone, thank you.”
The Fujian is one of the many restaurants within the newly
opened Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Resort, but is the only one dedicated to
Chinese cuisine. It also has its own dedicated Chinese chef, Jovi Cheng, who
like his name, is certainly a happy ‘jovial’ chap!
When you enter the resort compound, the Fujian is set back to
your right, behind a small nest of exclusive shops (Khad Dara), in a two storey
building described as being an elegant Sino-Portuguese style mansion, with
tasteful 19th century Chinese decor from the late Qing period. (Since I have
problems differentiating between late Qing and early Ming, and always
remembering that two Wongs cannot make a white, I shall just believe them!)
Whatever, both storeys feature much black lacquer furniture,
and (surprisingly) comfortable high-backed seating, Chinese lanterns and staff
in maroon and black silk. The table settings are superb and the wine glasses
reading the menu, it is important to understand that it is not set out in the
usual everyone sharing and can somebody turn the carousel (lazy Susan) so I can
have some more prawn dumplings. The concept here is that the diner chooses
individual plates. Your choice will not be filched by someone from the other
side of the table!
It begins with Appetizers (B. 160-320) including Mongolian
smoked pork rolls, Shanghai chilled aromatic beef shin with Mandarin orange
peels and deep-fried vegetarian bean curd rolls.
Soups follow, and there are many choices, from the double
boiled Yunnan mushroom (B. 180) through to the supreme bird’s nest with crab
roe (B. 2,100).
Of course, if you really want the exotic, then you have your
choices in abalone coming from Africa, Japan or Australia, at suitably exotic
Main courses range in price from B. 300-1,250, but most are
around the B. 500-700 region and include grouper fillets, snow fish, pork
tenderloin, crabmeat, prawns, lamb and beef tenderloin, done in many different
The menu finishes with vegetables, rice and noodle dishes and
We tried many dishes during a relaxed evening and I was not
disappointed by any of them. However, stand-outs were for me, the grouper
(garoupa) fillets with Yunnan ham, and the beef (East meets beast) that was so
delightfully presented on its gold-leaf platter. (I could not bring myself to
just call it a ‘plate’.) I must also mention the home-made noodles, probably
the best I have tasted anywhere, and the chocolate tower dessert similarly
So how do you describe a wonderful culinary experience that
was nothing at all as you had previously imagined? While the Fujian certainly
has all the Chinese trappings and Chinese ambience, the end result is certainly
something quite unique. I am told that the dim sum lunch is more traditional,
but the evening menu, with the plated individual orders, has elevated Chinese
dining into something that reflects the internationality of not just the resort,
but that of haute cuisine these days. Make no mistake, “Fusion” (a much
over-used word) is not the correct terminology here. I would describe the Fujian
as producing modern, innovative, and imaginative nouvelle cuisine dishes in an
elegant Chinese atmosphere. It is a culinary experience that should be tried by
anyone who has even the slightest pretensions of being a gourmet, as opposed to
being a gourmand.
Not an inexpensive night out, but the best never is. Very
highly recommended. I would also suggest that booking one of the three private
rooms for a group would result in a sensational evening.
The Fujian Chinese Restaurant, Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Resort, 51/4
Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Road, M1 tambon Tasala, telephone 053 888 888, fax 053
888 999, email [email protected] Open seven days, 11.30 a.m. - 2.30 p.m.
for lunch and 6.30 p.m. till 10.30 p.m. for dinner. Very secure parking within
resort car park.