Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Xin Cuisine CNY Yusheng and Pen Cai
Fancy a yusheng with six kinds of sashimi?
This is the stunning "Yusheng with Bling" from Xin Cuisine at Holiday Inn Atrium. It comes with a coral-like shaved ice sculpture bearing sashimi-grade lobster, tuna, amaebi (Japanese sweet prawn), salmon, geoduck clams and Japanese cobia. It just makes you go, "Whoa!" when you see it.
Look at the rosette of Japanese cobia. This is a fish I have not come across before. It's a white fish, and looks much like swordfish (mekajiki).
The shredded vegetables are presented like a pyramid, topped with real gold leaf for prosperity in the lunar new year. The Yusheng with Bling (S$388 a la carte) is part of the Bountiful Harvest festive menu ($2011 for 10 pax).
The waitress places all the seafood on top of the salad and proceeds to squeeze lime and pour on the sauces and seasoning. The sauce is specially concocted inhouse, and the chefs have made it so that it is not too sweet.
I love the crunchy crackers that represent gold ingots filling the house.
And away we "lo"! Everything tastes really fresh and we did not get sick of eating this, plate after plate. It was just the HungryCow and I at this tasting, and we managed to polish off more than half of this.
Xin Cuisine is also offering several "pen cai" options. The Imperial Pen Cai is packed with premium ingredients like whole Australia 3-head abalone, superior shark's fin, fish maw, deer tendon, sea cucumber, goose web, sea moss, dried oyster, black mushroom, wild bamboo pith and Chinese baby cabbage, all stewed for hours in a superior stock made with shark cartilage broth.
The stock is marvellously rich and savoury. I also liked the deer tendon (it really tasted like deer) and the goose web. The abalone is also tender, not rubbery.
Ours was a tasting portion. This pot in the foreground is the actual size of pen cai, S$888 (inclusive of service charge and GST), good for 10 persons. The whole abalone alone usually costs S$58 per piece, and there are 10 pieces in there.
There is also a Seafood Prosperity Pen Cai (S$388 big, S$288 small). That comes with lobster, abalone, shark's fin, sea whelk, fresh scallop, dried scallop, dried oyster, fish maw, jelly fish, sea cucumber, black mushroom, sea moss, bamboo pith, Chinese cabbage, radish and homemade fish ball in a seafood stock.
You can also take away the Imperial Pen Cai to enjoy at home with the family. It comes in a very deluxe silk carrier, inspired by imperial robes.
While we were there, we also got to try the roasted pork, which is pretty good. I must come back and try the dim sum someday.
There are also various snacks - from top: Xin's radish cake with waxed meat, glutinous rice ball, nian gao (sticky glutinous rice cake) - chrysanthemum, and coconut flavours. The nian gao with chrysanthemum (with yellow batter) really tasted like it had a huge infusion of chrysanthemum. However, the orangey one with coconut is much more subtle. I think perhaps they used coconut juice, and not milk.
The sesame coated glutinous rice ball is no ordinary snack. It's made with a very strong champagne truffle inside! I have to apologise to alcohol-lovers everywhere - the champagne centre was so strong, I had to pour some of it out. But it is delicious.
This is available at S$2 each (a darn steal, if you ask me!)
Xin Cuisine has a variety of private rooms, all of which come with extra couch seating on the side. You can relax there and chat either before or after dinner. It also lends a rather homely feel to the place.
The rooms are all named after some signature teas, such as White Peony, Dewdrops, and Bamboo Green.
Our room was the Morning Blossom Pearl Tea (Jin Shang Tian Hua), and we got to sample the tea as well (available at S$6 per person). It comes with a very pretty clear teapot and teacup. The cleverly double-walled teacup is designed so that you will not be scalded by the heat of the tea when you hold the cup.
Come down and see the display of festive goods they have at the entrance of the restaurant. They also sell homemade XO sauce, honeyed cashew nuts, black sesame & walnut ingot pastries, as well as orange and macadamia nut pastries. The carrier bags for the pastries are so pretty too.
Many thanks to Tracy of the Holiday Inn Atrium and Xin Cuisine for the invitation. I'd been wanting to come and try the food here, after hearing some chefs speak well of Xin. It proved to be quite an enjoyable lunch.
Level 4, Holiday Inn Atrium
317 Outram Road
Tel: +65 6731-7173
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