Chief Food Hunter. Seth doesn't promise good reviews, only honest ones. Occasionally gets angry emails from restaurant owners for not giving a stellar writeup. Instagram: @sethluicious
“Contemporary and Grand CNY menu”
The thing I’m still trying to get used to being a Food blogger, is having your seasonal meals pushed forward in time. Christmas dinners are eaten in November, Moon cakes get sent in July, while Chinese New Year Lo Heis are done in December. This gives the bloggers time to write and push out reviews before the actual menu is launched.
So here I find myself at Pan Pacific Hotel’s Hai Tien Lo restaurant on another Chinese New Year menu pre-launch held in December.
Hai Tien Lo Cantonese Restaurant has shifted from the 37th floor to the 3rd floor after a massive Pan Pacific revamp, and although losing the nice view, still has a lavish and grand ambiance that looks like the interior of an imperial palace.
Today we’re sampling items from the Chinese New Year Set Menu 2014.
Prosperity Yu Sheng for Year of the Horse (马年鱼生捞起). We started with this colossal Yu Sheng that could probably feed a whole school. For my non-Chinese friends, the mandarin character on top of the Yu Sheng is the word ‘horse’ (馬). This represents the 2014 animal sign of the Chinese zodiac calendar year that is coming.
After portioning into individual plates, I find this yu sheng lacking in sauce condiments. Perhaps this Yu Sheng was just too big, and the condiments either didn’t get mixed well enough, or just wasn’t sufficient.
Trio of Dim Sum Combination (春季三点心意). All the way back, we have a prawn and crab dumpling shaped into a mutant fish that whispers ‘kill…me..’ I suppose. Despite its weird appearance, it was no doubt a tasty morsel filled with succulent meat.
In the middle we have a scallop dumpling, and lastly a vegetarian dumpling, which all had superb fillings with a light skin that isn’t too thick and gooey.
Lobster Broth with Seasonal Vegetables and Black Moss (发财翡翠龙虾羹). As a Cantonese, I love soup and this was amazing. Huge chunks of lobster with a thick, starchy seafood infused soup and bits of soft vegetable that cut through the otherwise repetitive broth taste.
Traditional Stewed Eight Treasures Duck (海味莲香八宝鸭). The ‘eight treasures’ inside are Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Dried Scallops, Barbecued Pork Belly, Bamboo Shoot, Mushrooms, Salted Egg and Lotus Seeds. Lovely braised sauce with the tender mish mash of ‘treasures’ inside.
A sort of mix pot of fine ingredients, frankly most of such Chinese dishes don’t really serve to compliment the entire dish, but still taste pretty good due to the quality of each individual ingredient.
Wok-fried Rice with Foie Gras and Sliced Barbecued Suckling Pig (乳猪鹅肝炒丝苗). Put 3 of my favourite things to eat all together and you will undoubtedly have a winner. The Foie Gras is first pan seared, then the remaining rendered fat is fried with the rice for more Foie Gras infused fragrance in the grains. The shredded cabbage on top is to again, disrupt the ‘jelat’ or overly fatty taste of the Foie Gras and suckling pig.
Absolutely delightful dish, this is highly recommended.
Chef’s Special Dessert accompanied with Prosperity Chinese New Year Cake (吉祥如意伴甜味). On top we have the Hashima 雪蛤 soup with Ginseng, which if you have no idea what Hashima is, don’t ask. I found it lacking in sweetness and the Ginseng taste seemed overpowering as a flavour.
The bottom 2 cakes are both Nian Gao (年糕), a traditional red one fried with egg coating and another variant made with coconut and coated with coconut shavings. Pretty average I guess as I’ve been eating Nian Gao for 20 over years, so I can’t really be surprised.
Excellent complex dishes like the foie gras fried rice, but as mentioned a couple dishes weren’t my cup of tea. I would still recommend Hai Tien Lo for a Chinese New Year dinner for it’s amazing ambience and overall good food.
Hai Tien Lo Restaurant’s Chinese New Year menu starts 20 January to 14 February 2014.There will be 2 seatings from 6-8 pm and 8.30-10.30 pm on 30 January (eve of CNY), and only set menu will be served.
Expected Damage: from $108/pax for set menu
Hai Tien Lo 海天楼 Restaurant: 7 Raffles Boulevard, Pan Pacific Hotel (Level 3), Singapore 039595 | Website