jay rayner is right when he says it is the cauliflower ming style that will convert you to the way of yming. the menu says it is crunchy, delicate and savoury. it is all of those and a little more. it tastes deceptively of a deep chicken broth and you'd be hard pressed to believe it was cauliflower had it not been for the distinct texture of the florets. aside from the savoury there is a hint of chili but only as warmth on your palate. on our first visit here with a we had the cauliflower ming style and the prawn rolls with almond flakes. in contrast to the cauliflower these were mild, wrapped in the thinest and flakiest pastry with slivered almonds. it is quite a marvel that despite being deep fried there was no visible oiliness. just a mere sheen on the plate where the rolls and cauliflower had once sat.
in its decor, yming is an antithesis of chinese restaurants. the carpet muffles conversation and is soothed by gentle (and somewhat elevator sounding) music. there are no black, red and gold lanterns and the tables are spaced comfortably apart. the service is impeccable and unobtrusive. the teal-green exterior intimates the calm and simplicity of the restaurant.
our saturday night dinner started on the cauliflower ming style and was followed by chicken in hot sesame sauce and a wok roasted beef northern style. i always try and balance our choices so if o picks a 'dry' stir-fry, i try and match it with something with a bit of sauce. the waiter seemed to be quite pleased with our order saying we had the balance right in terms of chili, sweet and sour. i always have boiled rice as i find that quite aside from being very filling, egg fried rice masks more subtle flavours especially fish. o always has egg fried rice.
i loved the beef. the slices were soft and fried medium rare so that the centre was a light pink with darker sides. the slick of sauce was viscous and was salty sweet like molasses. o's choice of chicken in hot sesame sauce contrasted well with the slight sweetness of the beef. the cubes of mild white meat teamed with sweet red and yellow peppers were made firey by the addition of sichuan peppers. these small peppers pack a punch which is more heat and warmth. they can momentarily feel peppery on the palate when you bite them but that feeling recedes to be replaced by heat. i love biting them just for that sensation. they have on o the effect that whole green chilies have on my dad, that is their foreheads glisten with perspiration.
from our first visit, i must make mention of the fish slices in chinese wine sauce. but i think we got the contrast of flavours wrong the first time round by pairing the very mild fish with equally mild mains. it is nice to have a contrast of chili to add a little bit of heat. i am hoping that some day o will let me have the much coveted steamed sweet buns or oriental pancakes with red bean paste. the steamed sweet buns are a particular weakness. but for now, as usual, we had gelato as o's dessert preferences dictate the sweet conclusions of our dinners.
yming's on our list of favourites so i am sure we will back. and next time i'll be ordering the ma po tofu and dry cooked beans. we owe a very big thanks to jay rayner for his perennial appetite for good food. i've never been let down by his recommendations. so if you don't trust me, read chinese whispers. it'll convince you to go.