Shisen Hanten and The Balvenie present a gastronomical whisky-pairing dining experience

I remember telling my colleague Dexter about this media tasting, and how much I enjoyed it, to which he responded that he’d never once had a meal served at a Michelin-starred restaurant that he wasn’t absolutely blown away by. And I can’t think of a single thing as apt as his bold proclamation that completely encapsulated my experience at two Michelin-starred Shisen Hanten, the second of six restaurants in Singapore to present their specially curated menus. Inspired by craftsmanship and heritage, The Balvenie and MICHELIN Guide have come together to present Handcrafted Bya gastronomical journey in the form of an exceptional whisky-pairing dining experience

the balvenie whiskey

Executive sous chef Ling Heng Yao of Shisen Hanten explored a new dimension of flavour through pairing and infusing Szechwan dishes with The Balvenie’s handcrafted single malt whiskies, uncovering various tasting notes that are unique to every individual’s memories, experiences, and interactions with the drink.

the balvenie 14 year old

Chef Ling’s Salt-Baked Abalone with Szechwan sauce was inspired by the honey, vanilla, and citrus notes of The Balvenie 14 Year Old The Week Of Peat. The shellfish is marinated in Shisen Hanten’s signature sauce, a heady combination of sweet bean sauce, sweet fermented rice, salted black soy bean, Szechwan peppercorn oil, and Pixian doubanjiang, fermented broad bean paste.

salt baked abalone

I found it a heady, multidimensional explosion of flavours that enveloped the tastebuds, and packed the welcome punch signature to Szechwan cuisine. The abalone is set on toasted salt in a claypot and salted-baked for three minutes, before being served with a splash of the whisky, resulting in a smoky, spicy aftertaste, courtesy of The Week Of Peat.

the balvenie 17 year old

The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old makes an appearance next—a whisky matured first in American oak barrels, which imbue the liquid in soft, sweet, vanilla notes, after which it is transferred to European oak sherry casks. The second cask ageing then elevates the whisky further with rich, spicy flavours that translate into depth, and an unmistakeable fullness of flavour.

dungeness crab soup

Its fruity sweetness is paired with the Dungeness crab, known for its flesh’s natural sweetness and firmness, which is then served in a broth of free-range chicken stock, dried scallop, hairy gourd, and wood ear fungus. I found that the pairing of the soup with the dram of 17 Year Old DoubleWood brought to the forefront an unexpected sweetness. It doesn’t fight with the savoury soup for the spotlight, but rather dances in tandem—a sublime combination notes and flavours that elevates the texture of the Dungeness crab beyond all expectations.

Most of us immediately think of wine when we think of food pairing, but the foray into pairing food with The Balvenie’s whisky shows that there are realms of possibilities worth pursuing, simply because they are that good. It elevates the Szechwan cuisine we all know and love into a gastronomical occasion that’ll leave you with tingly tastebuds and an insatiable appetite for a future venture into a similar dining experience. Reservations for Shiten Hansen can be made here.

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Price: $ $ $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro

333 Orchard Road, Orchard Wing Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Level 35, Singapore 238867

Our Rating 5/5

Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro

333 Orchard Road, Orchard Wing Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Level 35, Singapore 238867

Operating Hours: 12pm - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Mon to Fri), 11am - 2.45pm & 6pm - 10pm (Sat & Sun)

Operating Hours: 12pm - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Mon to Fri), 11am - 2.45pm & 6pm - 10pm (Sat & Sun)
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