While one Michelin-starred Jiang Nan Chun’s Albert Au only joined the restaurant recently, he’s already making an impression with one of the most well executed Chinese menus we’ve seen in a while.
Titled Signatures by Executive Chinese Chef Albert Au, is a multi-course menu of precise bites showcasing the chef’s breadth, and understanding of ingredients. Nothing is superfluous, and modern touches are thoughtfully executed.
Everything begins with Au’s mastery of soups and stocks – a rich, golden superior stock, for example, brings out the sweetness and succulence of braised star garoupa and daikon; while a lighter purer-tasting stock is used with handmade noodles and baby abalone to end the meal with some levity. Meanwhile, double-boiled fish maw soup with sea whelk and conpoy arrives deceptively clear-looking, but is packed with incredible depth of flavour.
(Related: The best seaoning isn’t salt)
A trio of appetisers is where Au showcases a few non-traditional touches. Deep-fried prawn toast sees refinement with the usage of sweet, briny blue prawns; while an almost glass-like tile of crispy suckling pig skin comes balanced out with a dollop of caviar and a sweet-and-sour red wine jelly.
(Related: Where to buy premium live seafood)
Other highlights from the meal include typhoon shelter-style lobster – where the shelled crustacean is lightly deep-fried and served with an aromatic combination of crispy fried garlic, black beans, and dried chilli.
For the meat lovers, Au’s tender, fatty honey-glazed char siew is a must-try; as well as a beautifully lacquered piece of braised “dong bo pork belly” – which has been treated such that the meat is tender but not fall-apart; while the fat melts in one’s mouth but doesn’t impart any feelings of greasiness. To cut the richness, fresh pineapples and dried fruit also feature in the dish.
Dessert, on the other hand, takes things a little further West with an oolong tea-infused Jivara chocolate sphere with kumquat from Four Seasons Hotel’s pastry kitchen.
While not part of the Signatures menu, we’ve also heard on good authority that Au’s Peking duck – roasted with mesquite wood and carved tableside – is one of the best around.
Also uncommon for a Chinese restaurant – wine pairings are available; as well as a selection of delicious sparkling teas from Copenhagen (which is both the name of the brand and the teas’ provenance) that work great as an aperitif.
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, 190 Orchard Boulevard. Tel: 6831-7220