As of December 2014, Chef Tony Wun joins St. Regis Singapore as their new Executive Chinese chef and helms Yan Ting as well as the hotel’s Chinese Banquet.
With more than 35 years of culinary experience, Chef Wun is an award winning chef with titles such as Honorary President of the France International Chef Club (China) – he has even served distinguished dignitaries like Minister Mentor Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and former US president George Bush, Know that if you do try out his food, if it’s good enough for the upper echelons, it’s probably good enough for us average folk.
Presenting authentic flavours of Cantonese Cuisine from Hong Kong, Chef Wun enjoys creating modern gastronomic dishes that are not just delicious, but also nutritious.
A specially selected group of media people (well I’d like to think I was special anyway) were kindly invited to a dinner tasting of Chef Wun’s new Cantonese menu. Most of the dishes are in sampling size by the way, and we tried a variety from the new set menu as well as the a la carte one.
Trio of Appetizers: Shanghai-styled Smoked Fish, Cucumber with Olive Oil, Marinated Jelly Fish with Scallion Oil. Part of Chef Wun’s Signature set menu and not available as a la carte.
It’s recommended you start with the milder cucumber first then work up to the stronger flavours lest you mask the taste of the crisp cucumber.
The smoked fish has great flavours infused within but the number of bones really makes it hard to swallow, literally. In away, you savour the tender fish meat more by taking tiny bites and periodically picking out strands of bones.
The jellyfish here is a lot softer than the usual crunchy fare you get as cold appetizers at Chinese wedding dinners, and the textures are an absolute joy in the mouth. The scallion oil could be a little more intense though, as by itself the jellyfish is pretty bland.
Double-Boiled Sea Whelk Soup with Black Garlic Served in Teapot ($28). Chef Wun really struck gold with this double-boiled goodness. Each sip is so concentrated with umami flavours from the black garlic and whelk, I wish the magic tea pot would never stop pouring. Cantonese chefs don’t fool around with their soups.
Don’t forget to open up the tea pot to plunder the sea whelk within too.
Macau-style Oven-baked Pork Ribs (right) and Barbecued Pork Neck Meat (left) ($14).
The pork neck in particular really impressed me with its well caramelized exterior – crispy, subtly sweet and resembling char siew marinate, but different. A relatively lean meat yet supple to the bite.
The baked Pork Ribs were equally soft and has a good wet spice rub that contrasts it from the pork neck.
Steamed Yellow Fish with Preserved Vegetables and Minced Garlic. Part of the set menu.
A very simple dish typical of Cantonese cuisine, the choice of fish was unusual though, using the yellow fish instead of the common varieties.
The yellow fish prove to be very fresh, clean and goes well with the preserved vegetables with nary a hint of fishiness. Each small fish is suitable for one person’s consumption.
Cantonese-style Stir-fried Wagyu Beef ($68). Using Australian Wagyu Beef with Marbling Score 9, this buttery beef gets a Chinese makeover.
Heavy notes of black pepper together with pungent garlic pretty much masked the natural beef taste, but provides respite from the heavy fat content so you don’t get too weary of consuming this soft marbled meat. Overall still quite well-balanced in each flavour profile, showcasing the subtleties of light Cantonese cooking styles.
Braised Mushroom filled with Dried Scallops. Part of the set menu.
Yes, a whole dried scallop is stuffed in the centre of the mushroom. Slicing apart each element then reassembling them into one mouthful was a delight. The braised sauce in particular deserves much praise for its viscous consistency and light flavour that serves to tie the entire dish together.
Wok-fried Rice with Sea Urchin and Fish Roe. Also part of the set menu.
Perhaps the name of the dish led me to high expectations, since uni (sea urchin) is one of my all-time favorite ingredients for its distinctly creamy, oceanic flavour.
This piquant flavour I was looking for seemed lost in the fried rice though, with hints of its aroma but not the taste. You can still visually find small pieces of uni within the rice though, but the flavour was too subtle to differentiate for me. Perhaps for someone with a more sensitive palate they would identify it.
Without name-dropping sea urchin though, the fried rice itself is actually superb. The fried scallion provided texture contrast while just the right amount of oil was used in the frying, resulting in a light and clean fried rice.
The new creations by Chef Wun exemplifies sophisticated Cantonese-style cuisine with its light, well-balanced touches. The usage of non-Chinese, premium ingredients are also mostly well-thought out and incorporated smoothly into each dish. Yan Ting’s new chef ad menu will please the most ardent fans of Cantonese cuisine and even the side-liners.
Check out our Yan Ting Dim sum review for more details about the restaurant.
Chef Tony’s Signature Set Menu is available at $168++ per person.
Expected Damage: $80 – $100 per pax