Having already visited Yan Restaurant numerous time, I find myself back at the Cantonese restaurant for the new and expanded menu put together by their new Executive Chinese Chef Lai Chi Sum. He has injected a soulful element into the fine Cantonese cooking at Yan.
Shark Cartilage Broth with Wanton 4.5/5
Dinner at Yan started with a bowl of smooth and creamy Shark Cartilage Broth with Wanton ($18/pax). The wantons in the soup look like 2 goldfish swimming in the soup. They are wrapped in a thin translucent skin with minced chicken and crunchy prawn filling.
Baked Crab Shell with Crab Meat and Onion 4.2/5
I remembered having the Baked Crab Shell with Crab Meat and Onion ($18/pax) when I was younger but I have not seen this on the menu for a long time. I was told that the dish was created in Hong Kong back in the early 80s when the economy was booming from overseas investments and business from America and Japan. Cantonese restaurants back then introduced dishes with Western influences so as to attract these high spending diners. The flower crabmeat is removed from the shell, cooked in bechamel sauce, mushroom and onion in superior stock before stuffing it back. It is then covered with bread crumbs and baked for 3-5 mins. You get the texture from the bread crumbs and the sweetness from the flower crabmeat and caramelized onions.
House Special Bake Pork Ribs with Black Olive 3.8/5
A new dish on the menu is the House Special Bake Pork Ribs with Black Olive ($13.80/pax). Chef Lai uses the Teochew preserved pitted black olive to pair with the pork rib. The pork rib is steamed and fried to golden brown before being sauteed with black olive sauce. A layer of sweetness coated around the succulent pork rib.
Steamed Kampong Chicken with Ginger Spring Onion 4.8/5
I felt the Steamed Kampong Chicken with Ginger Spring Onion ($25 half/ $50 full) best showcases Chef Lai's private dining style of cuisine. Using free range kampong chicken from Malaysia, the tender chicken is topped with chopped ginger, spring onion and scallion oil. The highlight is the ginger spring onion and scallion. It is so flavourful that I can have it alone with the steamed rice. This dish is a must try and needs to be order a day in advance.
Steamed Thousand Layer Beancurd 4.5/5
Though the menu has expanded, it has also retained some of the all time favourites such as the Steamed Thousand Layer Beancurd ($22/$33/$44). The skillful knife skill of the chef is demonstrate in the dish, cutting the silky tofu into equal shape and sizes.
Braised Mee Pok with Fresh Mushroom and XO Sauce 4.8/5
The other dish I enjoyed a lot is the Braised Mee Pok with Fresh Mushroom and XO Sauce ($22/$33/$44). This is probably the most expensive mee pok I ever eaten but it certainty won me over with the noodle's texture and the flavourful sauce that holds the dish together. Everything components simpl come together like a beautiful painting.
Chilled Peach Resin with Diced Honey Dew 3/5
Wrapping up the dinner is the Chilled Peach Resin with Diced Honey Dew ($8). A light and refreshing dessert that is ideal to wash down all the richness and somewhat cleanses the palate.
Overall I have enjoyed the new dishes on the new menu. I like Chef Lai's new finely executed home-style meals. Indeed he has brought heartwarming dishes to the table and rejuvenated Yan.
Noted: This is an invited tasting.
Yan Restaurant (宴)
National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew's Road
Tel: +65 63845585
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)
Daily: 1130am - 230pm, 6pm - 1030pm
1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit D. Turn left and walk down North Bridge Road. Turn left onto Coleman Street. Walk down Coleman Street. Walk to destination. Journey time around 5 minutes. [Map]