The Park Hotel Clarke Quay celebrates the Year of the Rat with a specially curated menu crafted by the hotel's banquet chef, James Wong. The chef, with 40 years’ experience under his belt, challenges himself to come up with brand new dishes for the hotel’s Lunar New Year dinners every year, inspired by how he would cook up a reunion dinner feast for his own family.
We sampled the 8-course Ultimate Success Menu ($768++ per table of 9 to 10 pax), which features some of Chef James’ interesting ideas on Lunar New Year dishes.
There’s no better way to kickstart a Lunar New Year dinner than by tossing yu sheng. Normally you will be served the Prosperity Tuna Yu Sheng, but I highly recommend you get this Auspicious Abundance Yu Sheng (add $38 nett to course menu). It has plenty of premium ingredients to aspire for a prosperous new year like pan- seared US scallops, ikura, white and green radish, purple cabbage, carrot, alfalfa. The most distinctive part of this yu sheng are the crispy “lao shu fen” crackers, which are fried, then coated in a dry batter, then a wet batter, and finally deep-fried.
I’m not fond of Chinese soups, but this Pumpkin Soup with Braised Shark’s Fin, Crabmeat and Winter Melon was truly hearty with a hint of sweetness. Inside includes a generous portion of fish lips, fish maw, crab meat, and sea cucumber, dubbed the ‘four treasures’ by Chef James. All the seafood are cut to small pieces so you can easily enjoy them with the soup.
I always look forward to the fish dish, my favourite staple among Lunar New Year menus. Fish symbolises abundance for the new year, and there was plenty to like in this plate of Steamed Garoupa with Yellow Bean Paste. The savoury yellow bean paste is made in house, and you can savour the blended ginger, garlic and red chill in every mouthful. Quickly devour this as with most steamed fish, it doesn’t taste nice cold.
Ablone represents good fortune. In this Braised Baby Abalone with Chinese Mushroom, Sea Cucumber and Chinese Spinach dish, each baby abalone is slow cooked independently with superior stock, then oyster sauce and soy sauce are added to enhance its flavours. This results in a tender abalone that melts in your mouth.
Prosperity and unity are the values chicken represents, and my table was certainly united with how much we liked this Chicken with Chinese Sausage, Lily Buds, Black and White Fungus. The chicken is marinated overnight, then steamed the very next day with the black and white fungus. Before the black and white fungus are added however, they are poached in superior stock together with pre-fried Chinese sausages and lily buds.
Prawns in Cantonese are pronounced ‘ha’, sort of like laughter, which signifies happiness. And I was very happy to have these this Baked Prawn with 2-Style Potato Salad and Golden Almond Flakes. It’s a mix of hot and cold, with Singapore sourced baked prawns topped with warm Idaho potato salad, bacon bits and almond flakes (all baked together) sitting on chilled mashed potatoes and mayonnaise. The best part, it’s already pre-peeled for you!
The noodle dish for evening, the Tossed Egg Noodle with Crabmeat, Ham, Onsen Egg & Egg White is topped all over with delicious egg white gravy mixed with crabmeat, prawns and milk, concealing the deep-fried (then blanched) wantan noodles underneath. I dived in to this dish quickly to savour the still-little-bit crispy noodles with the smooth egg white mix. Don’t forget to toss the noodles together as a group to get all the flavours mixed in.
While the rest of my table was completely stuffed, I had enough tummy space for an extra bowl of this Chilled Mango Pudding with Lychee Pearls. Like boba, each lychee pearl literally bursts in your mouth with flavour, while every scoop of the smooth mango pudding was soft and luscious.
The other set course menus available include the 8-course Prosperity ($698++ per table of 7 to 8 diners), 7-course Longevity ($648++ per table of 6 to 7 pax) and 6-course Harmony ($388++ per table of 4 to 5 pax). These are available from January 10 to February 8 for lunch (12pm to 2pm) and dinner (1st seating: 5.30pm to 7.30pm; 2nd seating: 8.30pm to 10.30pm). Do make a reservation.
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
1 Unity Street,
Tel: +65 6593 8888
January 10 to February 8, 2020
Lunch: 12pm to 2pm
Dinner: 1st seating: 5.30pm to 7.30pm; 2nd seating: 8.30pm to 10.30pm