The New Sea Cellar at South Sea Seafood Sets Out In High Spirits
With a heritage dating back to the late 80s, seafood dining icon South Sea has once again, transformed the seafood dining scene with the introduction of its new wine and dine concept. Mirroring the gleaming row of fish tanks, South Sea’s latest piece de resistence – the Sea Cellar – is an impressive construction of stainless steel and slabs of glass. Yet this glass tank houses culinary delicacies of a different kind. Row upon row of specialty wines float in airy suspension in the cool climate-controlled interiors of South Sea’s stylish wine cellar.
At the media night, South Sea General Manager Terence Wong announced South Sea’s rebrand into a premium seafood wine and dine haven — a notion inspired by the industry stereotype that wines are usually only synonymous with Western food pairing.
“It’s true that wines usually accompany Western dishes, but seldom with Asian dishes, least of all seafood. Based on our observations and feedback from our customers, the Malaysian F&B landscape lacks an avenue to relish seafood paired with wine as a business philosophy. This is where South Sea’s new seafood wine and dine concept fills the void!”
“It would be interesting to ‘taste the fireworks’ when we marry seafood with wine. We are not referring to eating seafood and drinking wine as individual experiences, but deriving a synergistic and holistic taste satisfaction from the appropriate combination of these two delightful indulgences,” enthused Terence.
In order to achieve this vision, the new wine cellar now houses 225 varieties of selected wines; and as a rule, no retail or supermarket wine brands are used. This is to ensure that the quality of the wine perfectly complements and accentuates the refined flavours of South Sea’s cuisine.
On that awesome night, the media were given a preview of the new wine cellar and a selection of its fine wines were paired with a 5-course menu comprising a chilled Carpaccio of lobster and geoduck served sashimi style or dipped in South Sea’s signature herbal consommé, braised abalone with sea cucumber & shiitake mushroom, signature Scottish razor clam, char-grilled New Zealand lamp cutlets and Alaskan spider crab in two distinct flavours. Here, I would confessed that the marching of dishes were spectacular and just terrific !
Gabriel Fernandez Bosch, the wine principal and expert from Miguel Torres in Chile, was invited to pair the delectable seafood repertoire with the most sophisticated wines in order to create harmonious, palate-pleasing combinations.
On the new business direction, Terence reminisced, “It’s been a very exciting ride for us. 20 years on, South Sea still stands tall as a place for quality seafood and a rendezvous point for many family celebrations, friendly get-togethers and business meetings.”
“The refreshed South Sea goes beyond a quality dining experience, and instead provides a feast for the senses, from the authentic array of visually and gastronomically appealing seafood as well as fusion creations, to the warm, welcoming ambience and now a thoughtfully chosen collection of wines to enhance excitement and exhilaration.
Additionally, South Sea is also unique in its use of digital platforms to engage with customers and fans, including communication via website, Facebook and Twitter. We’re also looking to incorporate iPads to facilitate more efficient order-taking in the near future.”
In 1987 saw the inception of the New Nanking Seafood Restaurant, a family run business. The founder, Wong Sin Sang (who possesses a long list of F&B credentials) helmed the outlet and made it immensely popular with its quality seafood dishes. He supervised the preparation of dishes and passed on his vast experience and culinary ideas to the growing number of cooks and kitchen aides. In order to continue his legacy for providing great meals and memories to his guests, Mr. Wong finally opened the South Sea Seafood Restaurant in 1989 serving great Chinese traditional and fusion seafood.
While staying true to its vision of delivering “the freshest seafood in town”, South Sea’s new outlook promises diners an elevated gastronomical experience with refurbishments that took a year to complete.
This facelift boasts enhanced aesthetics integrated with practicality and functionality, embodied in a chic, stylish ambience. Alluring, elegant yet pleasantly unpretentious, and welcoming are just a handful of descriptions encapsulating the simplistic yet functional environment here. The reinvigorated indoor and outdoor surroundings are accompanied by soothing jazz music in the background to enhance the exuberant dining experience. Customers may even feel a sense of romance and intimacy as they seemingly dine in a far-away resort overlooking the glittering lights of the airport runway.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, customers will first be greeted by South Sea’s colourful mascot, a magnificent Rainbow Crab, which towers above a lavish courtyard surrounded by a beautiful landscape of vibrant flora, tropical gardens and water pools. “We want the inspirational display of colours and nature to set the mood for customers before they even start dining!”, remarks Terence as he surveyed the scene with a critical eye.
Past the therapeutic fountain at the main patio, customers will step into a dining area set in a fashionably quaint rustic ambience with earthy hues and tones that evoke a sense of comfort, harmony and longevity. “Food comes from the earth – which prompted us to select materials, colours and designs possessing an earthy feeling,” explained Terence.
It was addictive, not the tobacco but the pre drink. Miguel Torres Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Rose Reserve, it was suiting and delicious. I kept washing and wet my mouth with it. Toasting the glass was thrilling. The dining room was packed as I had expected. If one who gave up a seat that night would be a huge lost as the food to be served was terrific.
The entréments were paraded on the table in advance, a range of Mediterranean sampler of gourmet cheese, oven baked grisinni, marinated kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes and sweet pepper stuffed with Greek feta cheese. I picked one of them up by chance and it was fabulous in taste and yummy milky texture. Well I was away from my sat busying taking photos, lensing my camera. Sipping my glass of Torres Vina Esmeralda was just exciting, cheers !
The highlight of the night came swiftly while the hungry lions and tigers were getting ready to prey. I can see their eyes bluging with anger and great desire. Instead of protruding their claw, they were actually clanging onto their big soup spoon. The Chef’s signature herbal consomme was kept to boil but within seconds the thinly sliced lobster and geoduck meat were wiped out clean. In fact I joined the ritual too like a beast that got let loose. YES it was just terrific. The taste, the texture can be felt in every single bite, it was marvelous indeed. It was a fantastic start, definitely a charmer by itself. Having a glass of lite Torres Vina Sol White truly bind the joy of eating. I think I had two glasses, I just can’t count that evening.
Talking about fabulous treats, I had that moment when the next dish was set in front of me on our table. Its funny to see everyone kept silent while having their mouth widely open. They looked silent induced with joy and not wanting to be disturb. Well having to be received by a braised Abalone, Sea Cucumber & Shiitake Mushroom in superior chicken bouillon I would have acted the same, I did !
The Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay played well too, boosting up the dish flavor without any hesitation.
“Wow!” I told myself. Now my eyes got turned on. It was not that sexy at all but it was damned pretty. Smells good. A well tucked braised Scottish Razor Clam topped with sautéed garlic and glass noodle sets the crowd with such a delight. A piece was definitely not enough to kill the kick but I have to settle with what I was served. It was superb!
An east meet west dish kept me wondering and the waiting was just perfect, not too long. The char-grilled cutlet of grass-fed New Zealand lamb was glazed over with a delicious oriental honey. The tasting was suiting well with the red Torres Gran Sangre De Toro. The sweetness of the glaze and the taste of the lamb cutlet just amazed me. So well crafted and so well precise in perfection.
One of my dream was perfected this year, indulging the Alaskan spider crab was goal. Here they had it down in three lovely dishes. Steamed egg with the use of the Alaskan spider crab shell was truly genius. It was delicious, silky, smooth and smells good. The next to it came the salt and pepper Alaskan spider crab with was smashingly good, very fresh and the meat itself had a great texture. The third dish was Chef’s Signature Alaskan Spider Crab with cheese emulsion that was coated with a hint of sweetness and creamy while the other one was salty and dry. I found both dishes was done to excellent and yet simple. Sipping into my new red Miguel Torres Cordillera Carignan was a nice thing to do . . . . I was left a bit tipsy by then. Nice. What a feeling !
It was not the end, we were surprised with a noodle dish before the dessert and it was not listed on the day’s menu. We had this terrific braised noodle with lobster head and tail. It was so well braised that the brown sauce just soaked up the noodle without any complication. It really got my attention. I believe so with the rest of the guests as I could hear the silence interval for a minute or so.
Well who can resist Haagen Daz ice cream, I can’t,. The work like drugs and my addiction to them is speechless. Yes I have a tub of it and yet still craving for more. But, but the dessert wine Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro was out of this world. I was adorable and I kept raving about it. I should had smuggled some back but I was rather drunk at the moment to do so. wakakaakakakakaka!
The interior, the ceiling lamps reminiscent of sea shells cast warm illumination over a dining area interspersed with more than 46 skirted tables and rattan chairs on railway wood. For private dining, there’s the enclosed air-conditioned dining area, which is both comfortable and intimate. Whatever the case, customers can easily access and directly order from the state-of-the-art aquariums that are home to over 80 types of seafood livestock and shellfish, ensuring an unparalleled taste of freshness.
After a hearty meal and just before leaving, guests were charmed by the “Smiling Man” – a quirky statue of a jovial man rubbing his big belly in satisfaction and bidding customers farewell. I wished at that moment some pretty guests would come forward to rub my belly !
It’s truly the perfect summation of what the new South Sea has to offer on that night. I was left with such a fabulous culinary experience.
For more information on South Sea, please log on to www.southsea.com.my.