[Review] Yan Ting @ The St Regis Singapore: The Place For Exquisite Cantonese Cuisine



Yan Ting is one of those dining venues that brings back a treasure trove of fond memories and finer moments. It is one of our favourite places to dine at on special occasions. I recall having celebrated my mum's 60th birthday here a couple of years ago. As a dining venue, this Michelin-rated dining establishment is the cornerstone of many other joyous family gatherings all year round.

It is indeed the ideal place to celebrate life in part because of its intimate, graceful and tranquil atmosphere, which is complemented by the uncompromising service standards of the St Regis.
 
The restaurant has been around for a long time and I reckon that it has not undergone much refurbishment. Nevertheless, it has aged well, like fine wine and still impresses with its artistically designed interiors with contemporary architectural and modern sophistication. The light tones and colour scheme of the furniture, tablecloths and other finishings brings a very tranquil, peaceful vibe to the restaurant, and an intrinsic sense of assuredness, both hallmarks of a fine dining establishment in terms of ambience.

On this occasion, we opted for specific items on the dinner ala carte menu, as we wanted to customise our meal and there were some favourites that we were keen to reminisce and re-experience.

For our starters, we had Yan Ting's Specialty "Kung Fu" soup, one of their signature, award winning dishes presented by their masterchefs. We had the Double-boiled Sea Whelk Consomme with Black Garlic served in Teapot (S$22++/serving) and the Double-boiled Oxtail Soup with Supreme Chinese Tonic (S$22++/serving).

Both were masterfully crafted and I would best describe it as an intense concoction that brings out the essence of each ingredient. It was served piping hot, with very strong, distinctive flavours from the sea whelk and oxtail and a lot of depth to it. We both enjoyed it but we wished that their portions were bigger. A few sips from that little teapot and it was finished. But what a beautiful, nourishing concoction it is!

Highly recommended for diners who need that extra nourishment after a stressful day of work. This is soup for nourishing the soul.

Another soup that we highly recommend is the Double-boiled Baby Cabbage Consomme with Matsutake Mushroom (S$14++/serving).

This is as authentic and faithful to the traditional cooking techniques of Cantonese cuisine as you can get and showcases the cooking excellence of their masterchefs. It is a simple dish, yet it does not taste too one dimensional. A perfect balance and harmony between the artisanal produce of baby cabbage and matstake.

We also ordered the Cantonese-style Stir Fried Venison with Black Pepper Sauce (S$22++/serving) which was both tender and succulent. 

As a dish, I think it is very underrated because the service staff probably would not recommend this ahead of the more mainstream meats such as the Wagyu beef and so on. But we liked it mostly because we got a bit bored of eating beef and not many restaurants are able to bring out the best in the venison meat. This is testimony to the fact that the exquisite Cantonese fine dining at Yan Ting can allure palates to satisfy even the most discerning gastronomes.  

One of Yan Ting's other signature Cantonese classics that we absolutely revere is the Crispy Rice with Alaskan Crab Meat in Lobster Broth (S$28++/serving).

Not many restaurants serve this dish and what we like best about this dish is the medley of natural flavours emanating from the diverse ingredients. It also tasted really nutritious and epitomises their unpretentious cooking philosophy of bringing out the natural flavours from the freshest of ingredients. The crispy texture of the rice also ignited a deeply rewarding contrast to the immensely flavourful lobster broth and crab meat.

Of course, every dinner/ celebration must have a sweet ending. For desserts, we had the Chilled Orange and Pumpkin Cream with Coconut Ice Cream (S$12++/serving) and the chef's signature Chilled White Sesame Panna Cotta with Red Bean Puree (S$12++/serving).

Both were fantastic, but I have to say that the panna cotta is certainly a trailblazer in terms of infusing a touch of Cantonese traditions in a typically Italian dessert.

Overall, Yan Ting has been one of our favourite restaurants to dine at and it is not difficult to understand why. Top notch service and excellent food always bring a smile to our faces. :)


Yan Ting
29 Tanglin Road,
The St. Regis Singapore, Level 1U,
Singapore 247911
 
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[Recipe] Peranakan Apom Bokwa with Banana Pengat Sauce


Since my initial Facebook & Instagram posts on the hands-on Apom Bokwa Workshop I attended at The Peranakan a few weeks ago, a few of you PM-ed me for the recipe.

For those who are unfamilar with what Apom Bokwa is, it is a traditional Peranakan/ Straits Chinese dessert consisting of mini pancakes served with a rich banana sauce.

I can't say that I am the expert at making Apom Bokwa, because I also attended the workshop and learnt many new tips from Chef Gabriel Khoo. But with credits to the kind folks at The Peranakan, they have allowed me to share it online here. As usual, I have included a few tips below to make your cooking adventure a little easier.

For the real thing, do attend the hands-on Apom Bokwa Workshop at The Peranakan (Level 2, Claymore Connect Shopping Centre, Orchard Road). The restaurant also conducts hands-on Nasi Ulam Workshop.
  • Apom Bokwa Workshop: Saturdays, 3pm, S$60/pax
  • Nasi Ulam Workshop: Sundays, 3pm, S$60/pax

Nasi Ulam is a dish that is rarely available at restaurants because of the hard work required to prepare it, so don't miss this opportunity to learn it straight from the chef. Book early to get your preferred date! :)

Apom Bokwa with Pisang (Banana) Pengat Sauce

Credits: The Peranakan
Yield: 30 portions

Ingredients

(A) Pancake Batter
500g self raising flour
120g glutinous rice flour
1 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast
900ml water

(B) Pisang Pengat Sauce
100g water
2 pandan leaves
100g gula melaka/ palm sugar
400g coconut milk
3 bananas, sliced
1/4 tsp fine salt

(C) Blue Pea Flower Extract - Optional
30ml water
a handful of dried blue pea flowers


Directions

1) Prepare the batter.
Add all (A) ingredients, except water, together in a bowl. Mix well. Then, add water and stir until the batter is smooth.

Tips: Avoid placing the yeast and salt together. Salt will slow down/ kill the yeast, resulting in batter that may not rise.

 
2) Set aside.
Cover the bowl, preferably with a damp tea towel, to allow the batter to rise. Set aside for at least 1 hour.

Tips: Place the batter in a warm place, e.g. kitchen, because the yeast works better in warmer temperatures.

3) Boil.
To prepare the banana sauce, first boil the water with knotted pandan leaves and gula melaka. Reduce heat when the gula melaka is dissolved.

4) Stir.
Add coconut milk and bananas, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened.

5) Remove from flame.
When the sauce is thickened, turn off the flame. Add salt.

Tips: If your mixture is too watery, add a little corn starch to thicken it.

 
6) Check batter.
After at least 1 hour, the batter should have risen sufficiently.


7) Prepare blue pea extract.
Pour hot water over the blue pea flowers. Steep for 10 min until the water is dyed blue.

8) Prepare blue pea batter.
Pour 1 to 2 tablespoon of batter into the blue pea extract. Mix well.

Tips: If the blue pea batter is still a little runny, add a little more batter. The thicker this blue pea batter is, the more defined the patterns will be later.

9) Cook.
Lightly grease the apom mould. When the oil is hot enough, scoop batter into the mould until it is 3-quarters full.

10) Design (Optional).
Add the blue pea batter. Make swirls or create other patterns.

Cover and heat until it sizzles and it is fully cooked. (You need not flip the pancake to cook the top.)



Serve hot.
It is now ready! Serve hot with pisang pengat sauce. :)




(Update) March 2019 
My friend, X, prepared some apom bokwa using the above recipe. As she did not have blue pea flowers, she used food colouring. That's fine too!


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[Review] Full of Luck Restaurant's Chinese New Year 2019 Menu

For those looking for an affordable, more casual dining experience in the heart of Holland Village this Lunar New Year, one can consider Full of Luck Restaurant, located right next to the Buona Vista MRT station exit.

During our recent visit, the restaurant was already decked out in simple Chinese New Year decorations which complemented  the homely wood-based setting.
 


With Full of Luck being the sister restaurant of Li Bai Restaurant at Sheraton Towers and our previous memorable experience at this restaurant, we naturally had high expectations.

The Chinese New Year menu was already available, so we decided to try the 2-pax festive menu (S$118++). Below is our review of the dishes.


Appetisers


Full of Luck's version of the Yu Sheng with Smoked Salmon & Yuzu Dressing consists of an assortment of unique ingredients to not only create a differentiated product, but really enhance the flavours of this traditional raw fish salad. These include smoked salmon, dried lotus root, cranberries, blueberries, lychee and strawberry pearls (that burst in your mouth!) and yuzu dressing. 

Indeed, Full of Luck’s rendition of the Yu Sheng is sure to delight anyone with sophisticated tastebuds.


The Peace & Bliss Fish Maw Clam Soup was warm and aromatic, and made for a nourishing and hearty experience.

Mains


Prawns are a mainstay of Chinese New Year menus due to their symbol of happiness. These Traditional Wok-Fried Black Garlic Prawns were full of flavour thanks to the skilful infusion of black garlic which gave the dish more depth.


This Crunchy Medley of Vegetables with Lilybulb was really just a healthy dish full of mushrooms, gingko nuts, pine nuts and lilybulbs. We liked how the lilybulb offered a refreshing flavour.


The Chef's Special Crispy Hakka Kurobuta Pork reminded me of traditional Shao Rou. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, we liked how the mustard complemented the pork well.


The portion of crabmeat in this Longevity Stewed Fish Noodles with Crabmeat and X.O Chili was pretty generous and I liked this dish. We heard that this was a new dish and would be introduced in Full of Luck's refreshed menu in a few month's time.

For those who cannot take spicy food and are more health conscious, however, you  may prefer their signature poached seafood rice instead.

Dessert


The Refreshing Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus Fragrance was light and refreshing. Best accompanied over sips of 8 Treasures Tea.

Overall


Overall, Full of Luck Restaurant is an affordable, casual version of Li Bai, the highly acclaimed Cantonese restaurant, without compromising on the quality of ingredients and its refined, traditional cooking. We loved how it showcased traditional Cantonese cooking, with a modern twist.


We recommend it for cosy family gatherings. Of course, the auspicious name and convenient location right outside the Holland Village MRT are a major plus for families considering a venue for their Chinese New year celebrations!


Full of Luck Restaurant
243 Holland Ave, Singapore 278977
(Holland Village MRT Exit B)
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[Review] Little Flower Hut: Affordable Flowers with Free Same-Day Delivery

 

No one would disagree that flowers perk up one's day. No wonder, flowers are given on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, grand openings, as table flower arrangements or for other occasions. :)

Birthday Flowers

When Little Flower Hut kindly offered to send me flowers for my birthday, instead of choosing a usual bouquet, I felt that an actual plant offered a more sustainable option. After all, a bouquet lasts for about a week, but a plant can last for years. Don't you agree?

Indeed, this pot of Phalaenopisis Orchid is still thriving in my garden. The addition of the birthday balloon and a customised card definitely added a festive touch to the occasion.

Wide Range of Flower-Based Gifts

Little Flower Hut is a home grown Singapore florist which offers a wide range of flower-based gifts and hampers - from flower arrangements, hand bouquets to baby hampers etc. Having been in the industry since 2010, its florists work tirelessly to seek the finest flowers from our local flower markets to deliver the finest blooms.

Free Same-Day Delivery


One of Little Flower Hut's unique selling point is its ability to do same-day deliveries at no extra cost if you order before 4pm. Its 24/7 service availability is also a very useful option for those want to give a last minute cheer-you-up bouquet to a special friend.

Affordable Price

Have a friend who just had a bad day at school? Or a spouse who is going to have a long day at work?

There is always something for everyone at Little Flower Hut. With bouquets starting from less than S$40, nothing stops one from picking a little gift to light up one's day.

Valentine's Day Gift


Bright red roses are traditional symbols of romantic love, beauty and passion. The different number of stalks also represent different messages. For instance, 3 stalks represent a pure "I Love You", while 9 stalks represent "I Love You Forever".

With Valentine's Day round the corner, Little Flower Hut is offering its red rose bouquets at special prices. Pick the corect number of flowers to convey your truest feelings. :)

Online Florist


Head over to LittleFlowerHut.Com to scroll through its selection. With a wide selection of flowers such gerberas, hydrangeas, lilies, roses, sunflowers and tulips, there is definitely something for everyone.


LITTLEFLOWERHUT.COM
41 Jalan Terubok,
Singapore 576650
(Strictly by appointment only)
+65 6503 9750



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[Review] Chinese New Year 2019 Menu at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant (Sheraton Towers Singapore)



Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant has always been one of our favourite Chinese restaurants in Singapore. I remember years back going on dates with my then-girlfriend, and now wife at Li Bai. They are known for serving top notch food accompanied by exotic premium ingredients.

I recall once we had this really huge enticing Canadian oyster, which was the size of my palm. I had never eaten such a huge juicy oyster before and this is why there is always a sense of wonder and intrigue when we go to Li Bai for a meal.

They are certainly among the best, in their craft, among the likes of Summer Pavilion, Golden Peony, Summer Palace, Hai Tien Lo and Yan Ting. As you can probably tell, we are really fond of Cantonese cuisine as it tends to be subtle, refined and nourishing.


Recently, I experienced the exquisite Cantonese cuisine curated by Executive Chinese Chef Chung Yiu Ming for Li Bai's 2019 Chinese New Year menu. Below are the key highlights:

1) Australian Lobster, Salmon Roe and Hamachi Yusheng Loh Hei Platter


 


Specially flown in from Japan, a generous serving of sliced hamachi and a dollop of salmon roe are served atop a melange of quintessential ingredients like pomelo, yam, pumpkin seeds, sweet potato, white radish, carrot and pickled ginger. The salmon roe also added a slight tinge of saltiness and was a burst of flavours.

This was certainly one of the more lavish Lo Heis that I have had and the Australian lobster, salmon roe and hamachi added a touch of grandeur and luxury to it.

2) Braised Bird's Nest Soup in Mini Pumpkin



Fragrant and nourishing, the Braised Bird's Nest Soup in Mini Pumpkin was simply put, just rejuvenating for the mind, body and soul. I liked that it was served in a fresh mini pumpkin too.

3) Braised Abalone and Stuffed Beancurd Skin with Sea Cucumber, Dried Oyster and Black Moss



The abalone was succulent and combined well with the really delectable, flavourful dried oyster. It is certainly a virtuoso culinary execution of this traditional Lunar New Year dish.

4) Pan-fried Kurobuta Roll served with Crispy Noodle and Matsutake Mushroom



In my opinion, what makes this dish stand out is the Matsusake mushroom which has this distinct aromatic flavours and made the dish intensely satisfying. The gravy was also made from the same mushroom which made the entire dish consistent with the unique flavour of the mushroom. It is also a nice change from the truffle mushrooms that most restaurants serve nowadays

5) Water Chestnut Cake, Pan-fried Nian Gao with Cane Sugar and Almond Cream with Hasma



The highlight amongst the desserts was the Nian Gao. Its sourish taste and crunchy texture of the apricot complimented and provided contrast to the sweet nian gao which was was crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.

A healthier alternative to the traditional nian gao, the new Nian Gao with Cane Sugar and Apricot draws the natural sweetness from cane sugar complemented with a hint of tartness from the apricot for a refreshing twist.

The Almond Cream with Hasma was served warm and soothing.

Conclusion


If Li Bai has a flair for poetry, then I would certainly consider its restaurant namesake to have a flair for creating memorable epicurean dining experiences for its esteemed guests.

Its food is certainly top notch and I doubt anyone can go wrong in choosing Li Bai for the upcoming Convivial Celebrations in ushering the Year of the Pig. I really feel that anyone can be rest assured and set your mind at ease and toss to a year of abundance and good fortune with your family.


Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant
Sheraton Towers Singapore
39 Scotts Rd
Sheraton Towers Singapore
Singapore 228230

Telephone: +65 6839 5623

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