Last Updated: February 1, 2018
The year of the dog has gotten many of us in a tizzy with pups photographed in red mini oriental outfits and Yu Sheng spreads designed like doggies. This was the welcome we received when Ellenborough Market Cafe at Swissôtel Merchant Court held an early Lo Hei dinner.
The interior was mostly clean and white-washed, save for the quirky mix of printed tiles that lined the ground. Although they are offering the Prosperity Buffet (from $68 per adult) from 5 February to 2 March, the highlight of the evening was the Prosperity Set Menus, running during the same period, priced at $788 or $988 for a table of 10 diners.
Without delay, the dinner started off with an unveiling of the themed Salmon Yu Sheng, adorably designed to resemble a dog (of course). I must say, aesthetics aside, the portion was hefty, complete with a generous serving of smoked salmon to satisfy everyone’s scramble for the protein.
Our first course was a Double-boiled Fish Maw With Dried Scallop And Cordycep Flower. For someone unacquainted with how this dish should traditionally taste, I have to start by saying that the scent was the first thing to hit me.
I liked how soothing the soup was, and how springy the fish maw was.
For a rainy evening, the soup warmed me up instantly and prepared me for the feast that was to unfold over the next hour or so.
Next up was the poultry segment of the meat, and there laid before us was an Imperial Herbal Chicken. I was slightly surprised to see two whole birds nesting in a semi-clear broth that lent the meat its flavour.
It was delightfully juicy and fall-apart tender that our server could effortlessly tear the entire thing apart using only a serving spoon!
Although I knew that there was going to be many more dishes to fill my stomach with, I had very little discipline in holding myself back from helpings two and three.
The table was then presented with a Hong Kong Styled Fried Garoupa, which looked downright appetising. Its undeniable sheen drew me in, while the fleshy meat was flavourful and delicate. Judging by the table’s response to it, they agreed with me too.
For seafood, we had the Braised Abalone And Sea Cucumber With Australian Broccoli. I like broccoli that is cooked soft with a slight bite, and this met that point. To make vegetables appealing, let alone pleasurable to eat, is a challenge in itself, and this dish made the decision to go for seconds very easy.
Next up, we were served our daily serving of fibre, with the Wok-Fried Asparagus With Pearl Scallop In XO Sauce. The pearl scallops were aromatic and had just the right balance of sweet and salty, all thanks to the XO sauce.
Moving on to carbs, we had a Fried Glutinous Rice Wrapped In Lotus Leaf. If I wasn’t already full from the myriad of dishes prior, this dish definitely hit the spot. Very reminiscent of duck rice (in terms of flavour), this piquant plate was dense and satisfying, making the possibility of dessert a rather challenging consideration.
Lastly, and thankfully, dessert was Double-Boiled “Hasma” With Red Dates. I was grateful that it was a light one, as I doubt I could’ve taken anything heavier. Although light on the stomach, it certainly did its job of cleansing the palate, with its slight sweetness.
With so many dining options every lunar new year, I totally understand the frustration of having to satisfy everyone’s expectations during the annual reunion dinner. But from someone who doesn’t celebrate Chinese New Year, I can say that I enjoyed this spread more than I’d expected to. You’re more than welcome to take that as a hint.
Expected damage: Prosperity Buffet (from $68 per adult). Prosperity Set Menus ($788 or $988 for a table of 10 diners).