Saturday, August 20, 2011
Yú Cuisine at Marina Bay Sands
Yú Cuisine is the only Chinese seafood restaurant at Marina Bay Sands. You might not notice it easily, as it's near the far Western end of the Shoppes (where Todai is). "Yú" refers to 渔, meaning fish, and you'll see the fish not only live in display tanks, but also as glass ornaments hanging overhead.
The modern blue and silver decor with wavy curves and bubbles lend the restaurant an underwater effect. There is a private dining area that's clad in a warmer theme (see photo, extreme right), but still with fish motifs in the lamps.
Yu Cuisine is run by the people behind Bosses (黑社会), the Chinese restaurant at Vivocity with the triad-like name. I had the pleasure of meeting the boss of Bosses, who turns out to be...a lady. Jun Low not only started Bosses, but also Central (Hong Kong style cafe), the Bread Story bakery chain in Malaysia, and now Yu.
Jun was a stockbroker for seven years before pursuing F&B, where she now enjoys being hands-on in almost every detail. And before her stockbroking days, she was jet-setting around as a Singapore Girl (SQ air stewardess). What a life! Ah, I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo of her to show you. We were too busy chatting and eating!
Jun insisted we try some dim sum. Yu Cuisine gets more creative with dim sum than Bosses, so there are a few items here you probably won't find anywhere else.
One of the most popular items is the Dinosaur Rice Roll - a giant cheong fun with crispy tempura-like batter and popiah-like turnip filling, topped with meat floss. Unlike cheong fun wrapped youtiao, the fried batter somehow stays crispy even after a long time! So you crunch into a playful mix of textures.
Jun has some poetic names for some of her dim sum creations too. Like 白玉袍 (literal translation: White Jade Robe) - scallops with mushrooms enveloped in what looks like cheong fun but is actually a thin sheet of sliced white radish.
Can you guess what this is? Believe it or not, this is "lor mai kai" or steamed glutinous rice with chicken - kinda done omu-style with the fried egg enveloping it. I thought it was oyster omelette at first!
They do have conventional dim sum too. I like the Pan-fried shredded yam cake, as it doesn't taste too starchy and has enough savoury ingredients within.
When she started Bosses, Jun managed to persuade Hong Kong chef Chiu Ka Wai who had just retired to join her. He has more than 40 years of experience in Cantonese cuisine and now oversees both Chinese restaurants as Group Executive Chef.
Together, they come up with new ideas for dishes like the Smoked Soya Sauce Chicken.
They smoke this for just five minutes, but what a difference it makes! I normally prefer roasted chicken to soya sauce chicken, but I was won over by the richly complex flavours in this one. The meat is also very moist (another plus over roasted chicken, which can be sometimes dry).
The creativity doesn't stop with food. They have also done some unusual stuff with Chinese teas. Here's the Citrus Divine - Superior Guan Yin infused generously with oranges. I like this. Why not go over the top, right?
Yu Cuisine recently added a champagne bar just upstairs with concoctions like Chinese tea cocktails, but you can enjoy the same drinks downstairs too.
Here's their "Choctail" - hot chocolate spiked with a variety of liqueurs (Cointreau, Creme de Menthe or Cherry Brandy) or syrups.
Even the dessert we had is like a fun science experiment - Liquid warm grass jelly that solidifies as it cools. Almost like having two desserts in one. Warm grass jelly is eaten in Hong Kong, but not commonly seen here.
There are quite a few other signature items on Yu Cuisine's menu. Besides dim sum, there's seafood, and the grilled or roasted items. Creamy butter prawn, Peking duck, and so forth. The Hong Kong Aberdeen "typhoon-shelter" crabs (stir-fried with lots of garlic, scallions and chilli peppers) is another rare find in Singapore.
Yes, I think I'll be back.
10 Bayfront Avenue
#B1-08/09 The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 7318
Open Daily: 11am – 11pm
Much thanks to Jun and Allynna for their warm hospitality, and to Marina Bay Sands for arranging the interview.
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