The last weekend before the Lunar New Year is upon us, and in a matter of 6 quick days the Snake Year will make its presence felt with all joy and prosperity. In tradition with what is familial, this is the time when families and friends come together to partake in moments of a past gone by and renew relationships for a prosperous year ahead. At the Xin Cuisine restaurant with its warm, homely feel, this is just like dining at home. A classic joy of reunion and happiness.
New Year at Xin Cuisine is made a little more unique with their Xin’s Superior Fruit and Seafood Yu Sheng ($488) decked in a myriad of fruits. From Mango, Rock Melon, Jackfruit and Pomelo, this Yu Sheng is touched with gems of tangy sweet Pomegranate and layers of lettuce and greens. To top it all off, the dish is adorned with Gold leaves for extra colour and symbolism for prosperity.
As an accompaniment to the dish, guests will be served with 7 different fresh seafood. The sashimi in ice carving above features Salmon, Sweet Prawn, Geoduck Clams, Australian Lobster, Japanese Cobia, and Abalone is an excellent visual appeal for all guests at the dinner table.
The Salmon like a flower
After the big lo hei! Admittedly, even with all the fruits to give it that tropical and sweet touch, the Yu Sheng still felt strongly traditional with good amount of sweet plum sauce enveloping the ingredients. The pieces of sashimi were fresh and a bonus to chew with every bite. Delectable.
The next course to leave one expressing a satisfying sigh is the Superior Soup with Bamboo Pith and Fish Maw ($28). Slightly thick, and collagen rich with a stock that is a tad sticky, savoury, and richly flavourful – this is the soup to go for. The bamboo pith for all its youthfulness comes with a firm crunch resonating in each bite, while the fish maw was thick and gelatinous. Fresh fish maw is evidently on another scale of divine culinary goodness altogether.
For a hearty serving of rich delights to share, go for the Xin’s Eight Treasures Duck ($198). This claypot of intense goodness features the ever tender duck stuffed and braised with abalone, fish maw, mushrooms, greens, sea cucumber, snow lotus seeds and more. I believe I found chestnuts in there. It was an exceptionally well done serving that tasted way better than the messy organized look it carries in the above picture.
Another delight for this New Year is the Sauteed Yacon with Prawn, Scallop and Fresh Mushroom (from $38). The prawns and scallops were decent, glazed in that savoury rich sauce that brings out the flavours of the sea. I rather enjoyed the crispy basket as its somewhat neutral flavour gave contrasting textures with flavours of prawn well soaked within.
As Fish is symbolically well received at any Chinese New Year dining table, this portion of Steamed Marble Goby with Cordecep Flower , Mushroom and Fungus (Season Pricing) could be one option. While I enjoyed the flavours of soy well embracing the cotton textured fish, the presentation for this serving is not exceptionally well done.
Then again for another dish that left me feeling impressed all over. The Sauteed Snow Lotus Seed with Scrambled Egg and Crab Meat (from $32) is one refined delicacy that makes its own hallmark. Crispy basket notwithstanding, the lightly flavoured scrambled eggs with crab gave a nice contrast in savoury scents and sea sweetness. Top that with the slightly chewy snow lotus seeds, this dish stood both visually attractive and delicately tasty altogether. My favourite dish of that night, and definitely something to go along with some fine White wine.
Desserts at Xin Cuisine this year! Xin’s Premium Layered Nian Gao reminded me of Kueh Lapis carefully done and now sliced and pan fried for that crisp skin. Chewy with a hint of sweetness, this nian gao was very well done and not exceptionally heavy in flavour. Of course, for a trademark and favourite, there is the Fried Sesame Balls with Red Bean and Liquer Chocolate Filling ($8 for 4). Be careful as it is hot! And once you bite the first bite, slowly savour the hot sweet liquer for that compelling kick in the entire dessert.
Xin Cuisine’s dishes become more deftly executed with each passing year. My clear favourites this Lunar New Year are definitely the Eight Treasures Duck and the Sauteed Snow Lotus Seed with Scrambled Egg and Crab meat. They are very well done, and a touch different from the norm yet retaining that sense of traditional familiarity to hint that certain flavourful values still hold true. For all the joys of the reunion dinner, there is Xin Cuisine to consider. A little off the city centre, but with that comes great space to celebrate it with great company.
Thank you Xin Cuisine for the invitation.
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
317 Outram Road
Reservations: 6731 7156