“A Szechuan Themed Lunar New Year’s Lunch”
At the helm of Shisen Hanten is Chef Kentaro, synonymous with grandiose Szechuan cuisine, with a twist of Japanese influences. This year, we bloggers were invited for a taste of the Chinese New Year set menu, a rich eight course dining experience.
The menu heavily features seafood, and each dish is carefully thought out with significance and meaning attached to it. This also includes other festive goodies, like the Hokkaido Pumpkin Cake, Fish Nian Gao and the Golden Ingot Pineapple Tart.
As with all reunion lunches and dinners, family and friends gather round the table to toss the Yu Sheng, for good luck and prosperity.
“Lo Hei” Yu Sheng with Abalone, Spanish Ham, Crispy Fish Skin and Salmon. Of course, every Lunar New Year gathering starts off with the auspicious Yu Sheng. This yu sheng is made of the same components for its significance. As with the salmon, the other ingredients were very fresh. Shisen Hanten makes sure that the sauces do not drench the shreded vegetables, but lightly coats it instead.
The crispy fish skin was added last so that it would not be soggy under all the yu sheng sauces. It was a refreshing addition to what would have otherwise been a familiar and soft chinese salad.
Bird’s Nest Soup with Alaskan Crabmeat and Crab Roe. The mix of delicate textures made this dish a very balanced and hearty one. The amount of crab meat was very generous, and I personally felt like I was being served a bowl of liquid gold. It is a fantastic substitute to sharks’ fin soup.
Stir Fried Scallop and Clam with XO Sauce served with Seasonal Vegetable. The scallops were naturally sweet, and the XO sauce was a bit too subtle. Everything blends rather well in your mouth but more spice would have been preferred.
Braised “8-headed abalone” and Dried Oyster with Beancurd. This dish is all about the money! The abalone and dried oysters in their beancurd sacks resemble gold ingots, while the black sea moss in the middle, well, sounds like “getting rich” when you translate its Cantonese moniker into the Mandarin one (i.e faat choy to fa cai 發財).
The abalone did not have a rubbery texture, and was about as tender as a steamed mushroom; while the dried oysters were decently braised without much pungent odour left.
Steamed Turbot Fish, Traditional Style. If you’re expecting something salty and soy sauce based, be prepared for something different. The combination of sweet sauces and dates best compliments the natural sweetness of the turbot fish. It is very unusual to have Chinese restaurants serve this fish, but it does have an auspicious sounding name (in dialect) and was most definitely a pleasant surprise.
Braised lobster with Homemade Ramen. By the time we reached this dish, a many of us at the table felt that the portion was a little large. But we weren’t complaining about the size of the braised lobster! This dish did not disappoint in flavour though!
At the end of the whole course we were thoroughly stuffed. Chef Kentaro left no room for other lunar new year goodies after this well-rounded 8 course meal. Shisen Hanten offers private dining rooms, as well as round tables that seat more than 8 pax a table. The goodies are on sale from 26th January to 5th March 2015.
Check out Shisen Hanten’s CNY 2015 Menu.
Expected Damage: From $98 per pax; Sets include red packets, a bottle of wine and a pair of mandarin oranges.