The Noble House at the Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers has prepared a delectable journey to the Guangdong region of China with their Cantonese Favourites menu, available through November. Chef Ralff prepares an assortment of dishes that serve as exceptional examples of Chinese food to those that have only ever eaten it out of a take-out container. Even for those that may have grown up eating the real thing, the dishes on Chef Ralff’s Cantonese Favourites are sure to compete with the best.
Walking into Noble House is like leaving the chaos and congestion of Egypt behind for a brief moment to experience the serene atmosphere of traditional Chinese culture. The setting of simulated Chinese architecture and ambient lighting immediately dispels all the anxiety that traffic has probably caused you. The extraordinary staff is all smiles and courtesies as they greet and seat you, making you feel like a real Noble
. Get it? See what I did there?
The Teppanyaki chefs are also trained assassins.
The dim sum platter we ordered was a perfect starter. The several perfectly packed semi-transparent pillows of seafood and veggies provide a range of flavour to warm up your taste buds. The little bastards also serve as an excellent cardio workout for those, like me, who haven’t quite mastered the refined art of chopsticks.
I am proud to say that I didn’t resort to a fork and knife until after my first few failed attempts to get the main course from the plate to my mouth. Props to the waiter who strategically placed the napkin on my lap, awkward as it was.
Speaking of the main course...
The sizzling chicken with shallots and vegetables in Hoi Sin sauce could be heard from a mile away. Still hot, bubbling, and, well, sizzling, it landed on our table flanked by sides of fried rice and noodles. The Hoi Sin sauce wasn’t quite as spicy as I would have liked, but, I’m a freak when it comes to my capsaicin tolerance, or so I’ve been told. Regardless of my mutant power to put really hot stuff in my mouth, it was still very good. The crispness of the peppers and onions balanced out well with the tenderness of the chicken.
The pan fried scallops and minced shrimp with broccoli and oyster sauce were so appetizing I almost forgot to get a picture for my review.
That was a close one.
The scallops and minced shrimp make these little bundles of pure pelagic joy when combined. Paired with what was quite possibly the most perfectly cooked broccoli I’ve ever had in my life (it’s a fine art, really) for a distinctly delicious Chinese dish.
Then came the scariest part of doing food reviews (at the really good places): dessert. I’ve never heard of fried bananas. Or, perhaps I had, but my subconscious spared me the painful joy of having to endure something so glorious as a fried banana. Look at this thing...
It’s. So. Beautiful.
What a way to end a great meal. I’m pretty sure some part of my mind achieved nirvana eating this thing. The crunchy caramelised sugar that surrounded the soft sweetness of the banana was like some ark of the covenant trying to keep the divine force of the fruit from melting my face.
Speaking to Chef Ralff after the meal it became clear the passion he has for his art. Having been at the Fairmont for about a year and a half, he still doesn’t take the opportunity for granted. While the current menu theme is Cantonese Favourites, Chef Ralff confesses that his real favourite to cook and eat is Szechwan cuisine. Originating in the southwestern part of China, Chef Ralff loves to cook with the spices and the liberal amount of garlic that many Szechwan recipes call for. “I love spicy food,” he says, after I confess my undying love for the chili pepper as well. Brothers in the church of Capsaicin, he gives me a brief explanation on the theory of yin and yang as it applies to food, where the lighter, brighter flavours identify with the yang, and darker, bolder flavours with the yin. Even before the lesson in the cosmology of cooking, it was pretty evident that Chef Ralff is a master.
Check out the Noble House in the Fairmont Heliopolis all throughout the month of November for their Cantonese Favourites. You can also follow them on Instagram @fairmonheliopolistowers.