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Set on the fifth floor of Paragon, the restaurant is opulent and grand—a feeling accomplished by its long and dimly lit corridor entrance. Inside, the split levels give an illusion of spaciousness. The opulent feel is further emphasised with standing chandeliers, plush carpeting and leather seats. There are 10 private rooms available for business meetings and private celebrations.
Designed to showcase regional specialities, the menu places significant emphasis on Teochew and Guandong cuisines, and there is also a good balance between traditional dishes as well as more contemporary, fusion interpretations.
Start with the combination of chilled foie gras with Japanese sake, chilled abalone and crab meat salad, which come impressively plated on a bed of shaved ice. The chilled abalone, slicked in savoury sauce, is to-die-for, but the foie gras and strawberries leave much to be desired. Thankfully, the double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw and dendrobium more than makes up for it. The clear broth tastes both clean and flavourful at the same time, and isn’t overly herbaceous as some Chinese soups can be.
The winning dishes continue with the baked lamb rack with red wine and black pepper sauce—the meat is treated and cooked beautifully, and we appreciate that it doesn’t have a strong gamey smell. The red wine and black pepper sauce also balances the red meat very well.
Another signature to order is the angel hair pasta with seafood and black truffle. No doubt a fusion dish, the angel hair pasta is cooked to al dente perfection, and even resembles the springy texture of handmade wanton noodles. The accompanying truffle sauce is also earthy and complex.
For sweets, go for the classic Teochew dessert, orh nee (yam paste). The restaurant’s version is silky smooth and not cloyingly sweet.
The wine list is acceptable, with a balanced emphasis on Old World and New World wines, along with a selection of trophy wines. The selection of wines by the glass is compact—there are only two whites and two red for wines by the glass—but to be fair, most of the patrons tend to drink beer and Chinese tea.
The service here is personable but not intrusive, and the servers all displayed great knowledge of the menu. Our captain had some great recommendations for food, while our waitress displayed great initiative—she noticed that the strong tea they served before the meal was left untouched, and suggested that she bring us the tea at the end of the meal instead, as a digestif.
Lunch for four, with three glasses of house wines, cost $319.