With Lunar New Year 2018 set upon us in approximately three weeks time, this is perhaps the time for many to decide upon that ideal reunion setting. While traditional sets that include Yu Sheng and Pen Cai will be a highlight for many, some may opt for something a little lighter, delicate, and yet full of impressive qualities.
Step in Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Tian Fu Tea Room’s Reunion Imperial High Tea where guests, for $38++, get to indulge in a simple, yet lavish assortment of bite-sized savoury and sweet dim sum delights, complete with tea. Choose to dine at the UOB Plaza outlet on the 60th floor, and for an additional $10++, the oriental high tea comes complete with a specially crafted cocktail for the festive season! Available from 1 February to 4 March 2018, and with UOB Cardmembers enjoying one free diner with every three paying adults, this is one reunion event not to be missed!
It has been some time since I visited Si Chuan Dou Hua at the UOB Plaza. Having been away for over a year, I was most impressed with the revamped interior.
The furnishings have been updated, and are now contemporary, sleek, and classy.
The private room for 20 is still spectacular, with only $1000 in minimum spending required for a reservation.
But what is most impressive is the stunning view from the 60th floor. That height towers over most skyscrapers, and it certainly gives one a breathtaking, panoramic perspective.
The Reunion Imperial High Tea can be reserved at either the main restaurant seating area or at the adjoining restaurant bar, Chuan @ The Sixtieth. The biggest perk of dining at the restaurant bar is that a window seat is almost guaranteed!
Before we started the high tea proper, we had the privilege of having bartender Gabriel Li share with us a short cocktail-making demonstration, with a focus on technique and the recipe behind the restaurant’s Iron Maiden ($26++) cocktail. Made from Gin infused Tie Guan Yin, aromatically floral elderflower liqueur is added to a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice. Zest, sweet, fragrant and citrusy, all in a single package! Delish!
For the Reunion Imperial High Tea, however, all guests who dine at the UOB Plaza outlet, start off a serving of Jubilant Gathering craft cocktail. Served in a traditional three-piece Chinese tea cup, this cocktail is made with an infusion of vodka and chrysanthemum tea.
Even more unique was the addition of a lemon ice ball that while chilling the drink over time, would slowly alter the overall flavours with new zesty and tangy complexities. I found this cocktail highly refreshing, with a crisp smoothness that was wholesome and satisfying. It has never occurred to me to use tea as part of a cocktail mix. I am now keen to try experimenting!
To begin any Lunar New Year proper, perhaps it is still auspicious to bring in a little Lo Hei! The Imperial High Tea set, however, gives each diner an individual portion of Prosperity Salmon Yusheng paired with a side of Long Jing. Simple, traditionally flavoured, and yet presented more closely as a salad complete with lettuce and a dressing! Nevertheless, the flavours were sweet, fresh, and a great starter!
Up next was the Dim Sum basket for each diner. Presentation was simple and clean, but it was the flavours and textures that blew me away. I loved the Steamed Assorted Mushroom Dumpling for that fine, slightly chewy skin and savoury interior. The Steamed Prawn & Scallop Dumpling was a burst of freshness and sea-sweetness. The Steamed Seafood wrapped in Seaweed lent that deep umami and bite in the midst of the all the savouries. And the Crispy Yam Puff in Curry Paste was a marvel in textural play. Worthy dim sum for a return visit? Definitely!
For something then to fill the tummy further, the restaurant then presents the Glutinous Rice with Diced Chicken Wrapped in Lotus Leaf. Of course, the dish does not come wrapped in lotus leaf and is all neatly presented for you to savour. Still, nevermind that little thought. The main object of attention here, the glutinous rice, deserves praise through and through. While this dish can be underseasoned or chewy, I found this particular portion from the restaurant to be warm, tender, fatty, lusciously flavoured, and once again, satisfying. Unfortunately, no second portions here. A glass of Da Hong Pao tea is also served here to both break the heavy flavours, as well as to quench and cleanse the palate before dessert. Tea lovers will know that Da Hong Pao is an extremely expensive and premium Oolong tea, and is said to be served up only for the most dignified of guests.
Desserts were a slightly quieter affair with an assorted trio of Pan-fried New Year Cake, Steamed Dumpling with Lotus Paste, and a Golden Fish Shape Mango Pudding. I felt that the mango pudding, though creamy, could do with a touch more notes of brightness and sweetness. It was the New Year Cake that impressed. Layered in flavours of original, pandan, and gula melaka, the new year cake was a delight to partake in. Not overly sweet, and yet scented with the delicate fragrance central to each ingredient.
Before the meal ended, I was introduced to a, exclusive, select craft beer made in partnership between Si Chuan Dou Hua and Brewlander. Grace by Brewlander invokes a good use of Lychee Red Tea as part of the brewing process, lending the ale-like lager a sweet, lychee fragrance. The flavours are, however, not fruity sweet, and instead crisp, refreshing, with very fine carbonation that tickles the senses. A must order when I’m back! $16++ regular / $12++ happy hour.
Chuan @ The Sixtieth
The Reunion Imperial High Tea at Si Chuan Dou Hua is one Lunar New Year reunion event worth the visit. While the set menu at the PARKROYAL on Beach Road outlet is cheaper at $38++, I highly recommend going for tea at the UOB Plaza outlet. For an additional $10++, each diner is served an exclusive craft cocktail. The dim sums are, for me, gorgeously textured and flavoured. The view, simply divine. And to the way I see it, this is one high tea best had with a close, small group of friends or family as you while the afternoon away!
The Reunion Imperial High Tea is available 1 February to 4 March 2018. UOB cardmembers enjoy one dines free with every three paying adults. Maybank cardmembers enjoy 18% discount off. Do note, the high tea menu differs at both outlets.
Thank you Si Chuan Dou Hua for the invitation.
Si Chuan Dou Hua
TOP of UOB Plaza
80 Raffles Place
UOB Plaza 1
Reservations: 6535 6006
PARKROYAL on Beach Road
7500 Beach Road
Reservations: 6505 5722