“Say you’re joking”, said the Shopper Girl. “You’re not really thinking of taking me to a food court for our wedding anniversary”?
Well indeed I had, the Loft Food Court at Central Chidlom in fact. Remembering that I seldom prevailed in arguments with the Shopper, I said “what do you fancy then”?
“After three weeks of Thai, Thai and more Thai I want something like Cantonese”.
Coming to think of her suggestion, so did I. Inquiries later on with the concierge at the Landmark Hotel in Sukhumvit solicited their advice that the best Chinese restaurant in the Sukhumvit was in fact in the hotel. “Well they would say that”, as I thought of the famous Mandy Rice Davies comment from all those years ago on a completely different subject matter.
I went up to the 10th floor and took the precaution of booking a table for later that evening. When we arrived a lovely girl dressed in traditional Thai costume asked “do you have ID”? Bewildered, I stammered “why”? “There is security presence this evening, everyone must have ID”.
I explained that we were guests of the Landmark. She peered into her computer for a few moments and then said “is alright”, and led us to a table for two at the side of the restaurant.
When I asked why there was “security”, she waved her hand at a large table of gentlemen diners at the other end of the restaurant and said “deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Trade and Chinese Trade delegation”. “Oh, well that explains everything”, I drolly exclaimed to the unarguable Shopper Girl.
Looking around Sui Sian it soon became apparent that this was indeed a very upmarket Cantonese restaurant. Its livery consisted of brilliant scarlet offset with black woodwork interspersed with intricate Chinese carvings. In a word, it was lavish.
A young waiter who introduced himself as “Tommy” handed us the voluminous menu consisting of something like a 150 dishes plus an extensive dim sum menu for other parts of the day.
I ordered a bottle of Heineken beer while the Shopper Girl opted for her usual Bombay Sapphire G&T and additionally I asked for a pot of Oolong tea.
Whilst sipping our drinks it became apparent that the VIPs were having a great time with much raucous laughter emanating from the large table at the other end of the dining area. I remarked to Shopper Girl that the difficulties of languages were overcome by everyone in the VIP area apparently being able to speak English, the international language.
After perusal and consideration of the many items on offer, I selected some of my favourite dishes which I knew no Cantonese kitchen worth their cleavers could stuff up. So it was one hot and sour Szechuan soup, a serve of spring rolls, a dish of King Prawns with seasonal vegetables in “piquant sauce” and a serving of special fried rice.
On the other side of the table, the Shopper Girl opted for won ton soup, a serve of spring onion pancakes for entree and Westlake Duck for her main. On giving the order to our waiter Tommy, I mentioned that we would be sharing the entrees and the mains and asked if we could have the main courses served one at a time.
Another bottle of Heineken was ordered as well as another G&T for the girl and the tea pot was topped up in readiness to accompany our evening meal.
Almost immediately a small dish of crudités swimming in red vinegar and soy was placed on our table as a form of Chinoise amuse busche.
After a wait of some 15 minutes, our waiter arrived with two steaming bowls of soup. In fact they were so hot we had to let several minutes elapse before we could commence to slurp the contents.
The hot and sour soup was just as it was meant to be. Redolent with red from an infusion of chilli oil, and thick with cloud ear fungus, whipped egg and bean shoots, it cleared all of the sinuses as well as leaving a pleasant tingling sensation in the throat.
The Girl exclaimed that the chicken stock was superb and in which were five glutinous dumplings. I took a spoonful and I concurred that the clear flavoursome stock was indeed that of a highly superior stock, which had obviously been somewhat laboriously decanted several times.
Another interval of some 15 minutes elapsed before our waiter arrived with our entrees. My order of spring rolls consisted of three medium size portions. They were neither exceptional nor of poor quality, just the standard issue of spring rolls that could be found at any reasonably decent Cantonese restaurant anywhere in the world.
The rolls were accompanied by two dipping sauces, one being the ubiquitous sweet and sour and the other a hoi sin type of sauce thinned with the addition of a little soy sauce.
On the other side of the table it became obvious that the Shopper Girl had won the battle of the entrees. Her dish of two lovely spring onion pancakes turned out to be absolutely delectable. I pinched half a pancake and I immediately wished I had ordered the same. Oh, well, at least I got to try a little of the lovely pancakes.
Another interval of some 10 minutes went by until Tommy arrived with our main courses and the special fried rice. We got the tea pot topped up once again and I ordered another Heineken.
My dish of King Prawns with seasonable vegetables and the piquant sauce was a culinary triumph. The translucent prawns, in which there was a generous serving of 12 medium sized molluscs were surrounded by delicately carved slices of carrot, tiny bushes of broccoli and quartered brown onions. The piquant sauce turned out to be a chicken stock infused with a little chilli oil and finished with a dash of Chinese rice wine. The oval dish looked so spectacular it seemed a pity that it would be demolished by eating it, but that is exactly what happened with considerable help from the Shopper Girl who said “I was going to order this before you beat me to it”. Really, I think not!
I had asked for our mains to be served separately one at a time, but as usual, both arrived together like our entrees had earlier in the proceedings. Her Westlake Duck was something like my spring rolls during entree time. The dish was like a Toyota Camry, in that it was sturdy, dependable, reliable and seen a thousand times before at many other restaurants in other places on our planet. Nothing wrong with it and nothing inspiring, it was nonetheless tasty and satisfying.
The accompanying special fried rice was somewhat disappointing in that it was not particularly hot in temperature and neither was it as delectable as the same dish I often do back in Melbourne.
Having finished our mains, I inquired if there was ice cream on the menu. Tommy nodded in agreement and so it was that several minutes two dishes of multi-flavoured ice cream arrived. The ice cream was OK, like the spring rolls and Westlake Duck of earlier in the proceedings, it was neither memorable nor outstanding in contrasting taste.
Over on the other side of the room the VIPs had reached the stage of expensive cognacs and much loud laughter and speeches were taking place. It would seem that a trade agreement had been reached. More power to them!
Overall, the dining experience as Sui Sian was very pleasant. It would have to be one of most lavishly furnished Chinese restaurants that we have ever dined in and for that alone the evening of our wedding anniversary would remain memorable.
A little while later I summoned Tommy for our bill for the evening’s proceedings:
Drinks: 3 x Heinekens at 150 baht each, 450 baht; 2 x Bombay Sapphire gin and tonics at 150 baht each, 300 baht; a pot of Oolong tea topped up twice, 65 baht. TOTAL: 815 baht.
Food: 1 x Szechuan hot and sour soup, 90 baht; 1 x Cantonese dumpling soup, 90 baht; 1 x serve of spring rolls, 90 baht; 1 x serve of Cantonese Spring Onion cakes, 90 baht; 1 x King Prawns in Seasonable vegetables, 299 baht; 1 x Westlake Duck, 275 baht; 1 x special fried rice, 120 baht; 2 x serves of multi flavoured ice cream, 100 baht each. Crudites free. TOTAL: 1245 baht.
GRAND TOTAL: 2069 baht + 10% service charge + 7% VAT. =2421 baht which at the time equated to $AUD81.
For the price, I considered the meal to be exceptional value, in glorious surroundings making for a memorable wedding anniversary dinner.
SUMMARY: Ambience, 10/10; service 9/10; food, 7/10; value for money 8/10. TOTAL: 34/40.
VERDICT: If you are looking for a nice night out in an upscale Cantonese restaurant in the Sukhumvit area, it would be hard to surpass the Siu Sian restaurant. It represents good value for money in a beautifully furnished restaurant along with a voluminous menu and very nice food presented in a stunning manner along with friendly professional service.
WHERE: Sui Sian restaurant is located on the 10th floor of the Landmark Hotel, 138 Sukhimvit Road. BTS Skytain station Nana is almost directly outside the entrance to the hotel.
CARDS: Accepts all of the usual international suspects at no additional charge.
RECOMMENDATION: Highly recommended for upscale Cantonese dining or for a special occasion. Reservations probably not necessary for the evening meal but would be advisable for dim sum during the earlier hours of the day.