Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chinese New Year treats at Park Palace, Grand Park Hotel

Its almost Chinese New Year...or at least, each year, the celebrations start earlier and earlier. Media tastings have begun, and I have already attended quite a few. Today's post is on an interesting one...tradition with a twist...offered by Grand Park Hotel's Park Palace Restaurant.

Tucked in the second floor of the Grand Park Hotel, this restuarant looks newly renovated and spiffy. Nice interiors.

I was invited for a media tasting, and the table setting is also indicative of the festive atmosphere, with splashes of traditional colours - orange representing gold, gold leaf, red.

As is traditional for the season, the meal began with yusheng...

A bit special...with gold leaf on the shredded radish and croutons. The raw fish was also interesting as sashimi grade yellowtail is offered. The fish tasted excellent. The croutons were less obvious than cheaper alternatives, and offered a nice crunch. The sauce was also a bit more restrained, allowing the fresh ingredients to shine.

Next, an utterly traditional roast suckling pig

But served in an untraditional twist...the skin was removed and served on a piece of steamed bread coin with a dark, sweet sauce reminiscent of those used in Peking Duck, complete with sprigs of spring onion.

Superb suckling pig. The skin was an ultra crisp crackling, expertly carved such that there was hardly any fat lingering on the underside. The taste was superb...light, yet robust. The sauce and spring onion added two additional dimensions, one pushing towards a richer taste, and the other cutting the richness...wonderfully balanced by the neutral palate offered by the bread. Excellent dish, one of the best suckling pig skins I have eaten.

The rest of the pig was whisked away and to be returned as a second course later.

A beautifully presented deep fried garoupa was next

The presentation is excellent, and deserves a double plus. The meat, already filleted and deep fried was nicely cooked...crisp outside, juicy within. A sweet and sour sauce is prescribed and went well. In this august company of dishes presented that afternoon, the fish was my least favourite...but having said that, in another restaurant or another time, this quality of fish at this level of cooking would be very appreciated.

The piece de resistance for a CNY dish has to be the pen cai

With 18 ingredients, this huge pot of treasure is truly a sight to behold...the ingredient list are as follows: Sliced Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Scallops, Prawns, Whole Conpoy, Roast Pork, Roast Duck, Soya Chicken, Tien Shin Cabbage, Lotus Root, Black Mushroom, Bai Ling Zhi Mushroom, Nameko Mushroom, Broccoli, Wood Fungus, Gingko Nuts, Duck Webs, Beancurd Sheet, White Radish, Sliced Sea Perch Fillet, and Sea Moss. Phew, what a mouthful...indeed there was sufficient to feed 10 with at least 3 servings, each with a different set of ingredients as they are laid on the pot as layers.

And to add to the spectacle, the chef flambes the pot by your table, with Henensey VSOP.

Tastewise, this dish cannot be faulted. The premium ingredients shone, and the briasing liquid was superbly crafted...each ingredient adding its own wonderful flavour, aroma and taste to the dish. The radish, simple, humble vegetable as it is, truly shone in the dish...absorbing all the intensity and releasing it with each bite. Truly an excellent dish, and certainly one of the best pen cai I have eaten.

Then the second serving of the suckling pig was presented...

The rest of the pig, sans part of the skin is then oven baked with lemongrass. The meat was tasty, tender with a rather strong lemongrass flavour.

The rice dish was next

Billed as the "Auspicious glutinous rice with foie gras and preserved meat", the twist is in the use of a typically French ingredient in a rather traditional Chinese dish. I must say I am impressed. The glutinous rice is made into a cupcake like shape and pan fried till the outside is crisp, the inner still moist and sticky. Within the insides are stuffed the preserved meats traditional for the season, and atop sits a slice of foie gras. Nice twist, and taste good.

And finally the desserts in the form of steamed mini pumpkin dumpling with green bean paste

The dish looks amazing. Beautiful, looking like little pumpkins. The skin is similar to ang ku kueh, though a bit tougher. This is the style of modern desserts...not so sweet, just a touch to clean the palate after a rich meal.

Nice Chinese New Year banquet style presentation. Great dishes.

This is an invited tasting. Thanks to Jean Ng for the invitation and hospitality.

Blog Promotion: Complimentary bottle of house red wine per table of minimum 10 pax. Please provide promotion code: "Ho Chiak blog" when you call to make your reservation to enjoy this speical.

Also available is an Early Bird Special: Book now and dine-in from 21st Jan to 7th Feb to enjoy 20%off to Lunar New Year Set Menus or A’la Carte.

Park Palace Restaurant
Grand Park Hotel
10 Coleman Street

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