This elegant Cantonese restaurant located on the fifth floor of the City Hall building within National Gallery Singapore has been drawing crowds since it opened late October.
Helming Yan’s kitchen is Master Chef Chan Kung Lai from Hong Kong whose culinary career spans more than two decades. The comprehensive menu offers expertly executed seafood items along with typical Cantonese delicacies like roasts, dim sum and double boiled soups. Served in a young coconut, the fortifying chicken soup sweetened with red dates, longan, and scallops is a must.
The chef’s rendition of the Typhoon Shelter crab, a famous Hong Kong dish, comprises large pieces of crab spiked with a blend of fried chilli, spring onions and aromatic minced garlic steeped in black bean sauce. Meat-wise, try the glistening Peking duck skin wrapped in homemade crepe or roast suckling pig served three ways – crispy skin paired with pancake and condiments, pork shoulder meat, and oven-baked fillet perfumed with lemongrass.
For business gatherings, Yan has three plush private dining rooms, whose walls are artistically adorned with a flight of swallows. Those who are keen on post-dinner drinks can head up to the Smoke and Mirrors rooftop bar overlooking the verdant Padang for a tipple or two.
CNY specials to try: Order the premium hamachi sashimi yu sheng with golden flakes in Shun De style alongside the luxurious Buddha Jumps over the Wall, which comes with whole braised four heads abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw and mushroom, and double-boiled conpoy soup. Yan does not serve shark’s fin but for a touch of decadence, slurp up one of the nourishing hashima soups – braised hashima withfresh crabmeat or braised hashima and fish maw in superior stock.There are also eight Prosperity Set Menus to choose from, starting from $108 per person. Yan is open throughout the 14 days of Chinese New Year.
Yan, #05-02 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, S(178957). Tel: 6384 5585. www.yan.com.sg
Renowned Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting launched its steamboat outlet late last year on the mezzanine floor of the newly renovated Claymore Connect (formerly Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade). This dining spot with an extensive menu of over 150 dishes and eight soup bases is certainly worth seeking out.
Hotpot Chef Desmond Wooi who has more than 10 years’ culinary experience uses only premium ingredients for the soup bases. The integrity of flavour is intact as the soups are painstakingly prepared from scratch every day, and simmered for hours. The kitchen team also makes (upon order) fine quality items like prawn dumplings, meatballs and handmade fish paste noodles (you can request for pumpkin, spinach, beetroot or black truffle versions).
Some of the highly recommended steamboat stocks include the tangy tomato soup with century egg and coriander, and the rich shark’s bone cartilage soup with fresh bean curd sheets. Those who crave for local flavours will enjoy the bak kut teh version. Each steamboat vessel comes with two separate compartments so you can enjoy different soup bases. The semi-open kitchen counter is laden with all manner of condiments which you can select to pair with your steamboat.
During lunchtime, diners can opt for a quick and convenient set menu priced at $26 per person. The lunch set features a variety of hearty hotpot ‘gan guo’ or casseroles. Tuck into creations with gutsy flavours like spicy chicken, kurobuta pork belly with salted fish, and fried sea perch tingling with fermented beans, garlic and chilli. To have a complete meal, you can request for one of the soup bases to be added, along with mushrooms, vegetables and noodles.
CNY specials to try: The restaurant is offering premium hotpots for the Lunar New Year celebration from now till 14 February. Priced from $88 per person, they include a Boston lobster set and Japanese Wagyu beef set. These hotpots brim with fresh scallops, live prawns and handmade pumpkin fish paste noodles, alongside your choice of broth. For a more lavish affair, the set menu at $118 per person features premium specialties including abalone, king garoupa, U.S. Angus sliced beef, U.S. Kurobuta pork, and handmade black truffle fish paste noodles. To top off the experience, diners (party of four) will enjoy a special dessert well as a complimentary bottle of house wine or sparkling house wine.
Hua Ting, Claymore Connect, Mezzanine Level #01-08, 442 Orchard Road, S(238879). Tel: 6739 6628
Empress, at the historic Asian Civilisations Museum, is a new Cantonese restaurant by the ever-expanding Prive Group. Facing the Singapore River, it took over the spot, formerly occupied by Indochine Waterfront. Eschewing tablecloth and superfluous décor, the high-ceilinged dining area is fitted with elegant furnishings balanced with Chinese elements. Thanks to the well spaced-out tables, this light-filled space is ideal for impressing clients over lunch. In the evenings, the large glass doors open out to the balmy al fresco terrace – a lovely place to sip a pre- or post- dinner bubbly or a refreshing Asian-inspired cocktail.
Executive Chef Ricky Leung who hails from Hong Kong executes dishes with much flair. His king prawn dumpling in a thick supreme broth impresses with its deep, heartwarming flavours. Crowd-pleasing specialties include the Triple Roast Platter comprising crackling roast pork, char siew with a sticky glaze, and sweet and sticky pork ribs with rich marbling – all superbly prepared and testament to a kitchen that knows its stuff. We were told that the restaurant uses Spanish Grain-Fed Duroc pig breed for its porcine delicacies.
The chef also presents a selection of tofu creations including a lobster ‘mapo’ tofu pot, which offers a piquant punch and partners well with the enjoyable vegetarian Fried Brown Rice Medley. For the last course, tuck into sticky date and longan pudding with goji berry swirl ice cream or refreshing Jasmine tea-poached pear resting on sweetened ‘cheng teng’ ice shaving.
CNY specials to try: The Chinese New Year Prosperity Menus from now till 22 February includes a $68 set lunch and $118 set dinner. Both menus offer a variety of dishes including sautéed king prawns with mushroom and XO sauce, roast meat platter with roast suckling pig and roast duck, as well as ‘Lucky Orange’ – a whole mandarin orange brightened with a filling of orange granita and soymilk panna cotta, and partnered with Jasmine tea syrup and orange blossom biscotti.
Empress, 1 Empress Place, Asian Civilisations Museum, #01-03, S(179555). Tel: 62388733. www.empress.com.sg
04: Joyden Treasures
Joyden Treasures at Leisure Park Kallang is a heritage restaurant that rolls out well-researched time-honoured dishes along with a selection of the owner’s family recipes. This outlet is the third and largest by Joyden Concepts, a family-run business. Sherman Ong, head of business operations at Joyden Concepts shares, “Being the second generation [the family has been in the F&B industry for the last three decades] to helm the group, we are committed to staying true to our family’s philosophy of rejuvenating classic recipes and cooking methods.”
Some of the standout recipes include a whole red grouper steamed in a soothing homemade soymilk broth flavoured with fresh ginger, chives, straw mushrooms and black fungus. The succulent fish is scattered with golden fried enoki mushrooms for added crunch. Another recipe conceived by the owners is the deep-fried jumbo prawns bathed in thick dark sauce perfumed with sesame oil. If you are dining in a group, go for the traditional salt baked crab. Sri Lankan crab is spiked with a blend of wok-fried salts and spices and baked at a low temperature to maintain its succulence.
Expect a taste of nostalgia with Joyden’s unique version of Phoenix Beancurd Skin Prawn Rolls. A mixture of fresh prawns, salted eggs, century eggs and coriander is stuffed between delicate sheets of beancurd skin, and deep-fried until golden. For something wholesome, savour the double-boiled seafood soup with dried scallops and fish maw, mingling with a plump pork wonton in a hollowed-out old cucumber.
Another best-seller is the crispy fragrant duck (pictured above), which is executed with finesse. A whole duck is gently simmered with herbs and spices, and then deep-fried to crisp the skin. The tender meat is shredded and stuffed into steamed lotus-shaped buns, and further livened up with sambal and orange sauce, plus a few slivers of homemade pickled papaya and cucumber. End your meal on a sweet note with old school treats like the steamed brown sugar ma la gao or peanut ang ku kueh tinted with the juice of natural ingredients such as carrots.
CNY specials to try: Joyden’s version of yu sheng comes with abalone, salmon and snow pear. The slivers of snow pear add natural sweetness to this auspicious dish. The set menus include unique creations like wok-fried lobster with scallop and premium XO sauce in yam ring, traditional braised sea cucumber duck, and roast chicken with crispy enoki mushroom and a tantalising sauce made with citrus fruits and plum sauce. Joyden is closed on 8 February but the Chinese New Year set menus are available from until 9 (dinner only) to 22 February.
Joyden Treasures, 5 Stadium Walk #02-42, Leisure Park Kallang, Singapore 397693 Tel: 6446 8488. www.joydentreasures.com.sg
05: Paradise Teochew
Opened late last year, the Paradise Group’s latest Paradise Teochew Restaurant located on the third floor of Chinese Swimming Club is an ideal place for family gatherings.
Diners can expect classic Teochew cuisine crafted by Executive Chef Cheng Fa Kwan who has more than 30 years’ culinary experience. The chef hails from Hong Kong and grew up in a family of Teochew chefs. One of the first dishes that he learnt during his younger days is the steamed diced chicken wrapped in delicate egg white crepe. The skillfully prepared egg white parcel is filled with chicken elevated with Chinese ham, diced water chestnut and bamboo shoots.
The restaurant rolls out more than 100 types of Teochew-style signatures prepared using the freshest quality ingredients. Light appetisers and braised specialties along with a variety of seafood and meat items are available. Try the Teochew combination starter composed of Teochew pork roll, Teochew prawn ball and pan-fried scallop with minced garlic, then dive into the typical Teochew dish of sautéed pomfret fillet complemented with tomato and salted vegetables. For your carb fix, go for the ‘flattened’ crispy pan-fried noodle accompanied by a sweet and sour dip made of vinegar and sugar – a dish typically found in Hong Kong’s Teochew restaurants.
CNY specials to try: The restaurant offers nine traditional set menus starting from $368. The decadent Fortune Set Menu ($2,688 for 10 persons) comes with items such as Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng, Teochew style roasted suckling pig, braised Australian whole abalone in brown sauce, braised Australian lobster with dried flat fish, steamed star garoupa, wok-fried glutinous rice with waxed meat and conpoy, and tau suan with bird’s nest.