Mandarin Court Chinese Restaurant (previously going by the name of ‘Pine Court’), located on the 35th floor of Mandarin Orchard Hotel, is known to some as ‘one of the best dim sum restaurants‘ in Singapore.
This time, Six&Seven lets you in on their festive offerings for the upcoming Dragon Lunar New Year in 2012. (Yes, it’s not even halfway to Christmas and we’ve already tossed yusheng!)
While the layout of the hotel itself can be quite confusing–with the lobby situated on the 5th floor alongside their famous Chatterbox and Triple Three restaurants, and Mandarin Court is separated to the 35th floor–I do quite fancy difference, which makes a statement about the quality and service one would expect to enjoy.
Something not to be missed – and it goes well with practically everything – is their homemade XO Chilli. I don’t even take much spicy stuff, but this savoury, slightly spicy paste with diced, dried shrimp is simply addictive. You should have seen how much we polished off – I was even eating it by its own!
The one problem I have with yusheng is the mess that’s left on the table after all the chopstick-tossing, auspicious phrases-yelling. Lucky Mandarin Court has taken that into consideration, so the Salmon & Crispy Fish Skin Prosperity Toss ($68 for 2-4 persons, $108 for 8-10 persons) came in a huuuuge bowl.
I like the addition of ‘crispy fish skin’–thin, crisp deep-fried salmon skin–which retained its crunchiness even with the dressing. Many a times, yusheng turn out to be a ‘soft’ mix of ingredients, so this added crunch was welcomed. You may add additional ingredients such as salmon, lobster and abalone at $18, $48 and $68 respectively.
Besides a special traditional plum sauce, virgin olive oil and spring onion oil were also used–an excellent recipe for the health conscious–to lubricate the tossing process. The touch of sweet-sour plum sauce and slight fragrance from the oil dressings – proportions of which have been clearly been calculated beforehand to prevent an overly wet concoction – easily made this an appetizing start.
The Baby Abalone Fortune Pot ($368 for 5-8 persons, available for takeaway) was virtually a pot of gold with all their ingredients: pig trotter, dried oyster, baby abalone, dried scallop, sea cucumber, black mushroom, roasted duck, live prawn, drunken chicken wing, goose web, ‘Tientsin’ cabbage, carrot, black dace, gluten puff, yam, black moss, pacific clam, Chinese sausage. (Yes, it is that many.) Shark’s fin is also a choice of ingredient in the list, but in sight of the sustainability of the natural environment, Mandarin Orchard offers more dried scallop as an option to replace it.
I faced a bit of trouble with the prawns, which seemed to be a little overcooked, but the other items were executed well in a delicious gravy. Chinese sausage is known to be a tad dry and tough, so I am most impressed with how ones inside were soft and flavourful, without being overly salty. The soft, rich yam chunks were also a hot favourite at the table – everyone was discreetly scooping it into their bowls!
Look at all the other goodies under the pile of luxury items!
In comparison, the dish of Steamed Sea Perch with Yunan Preserved Vegetable is definitely not as strong in terms of flavour. However, the white flesh is delicate and slightly sweet, highlighted by the crunchy preserved vegetables.
Looking as though a tornado had messed up the dish along its way to the table, the ‘Typhoon Shelter’ Roasted Chicken was not one bit a disaster. The meat might not be the most succulent–probably due to the process to achieve that nicely golden-browned skin–but has a slightly nutty flavour. The almond flakes added a characteristic aroma while the laksa leaves gave a nice touch of spice when you bite into it.
As much as I hate to admit, the sinful combination of fried batter bits and chicken skin is definitely the best part of dish.
I almost freaked – for the sake of my growing waistline – when this huge plate of noodles were served. ‘Think of all the carbohydrates!!‘, my mind screamed. Thankfully, it turned out to be Stewed Fish Noodle with Conpoy & Enoki Mushroom.
Made from fish paste, it possessed a springier and firmer texture than normal noodles – I was surprised I couldn’t even cut it using chopsticks! It was almost akin to eating fish balls, but in the form of noodles. While it is not exactly outstanding, this light dish serves as a healthy alternative for those conscious of their carbohydrate intake.
I’m a big fan of desserts, so I was obviously looking forward to this dessert of Red Bean Soup with Green Tea Dumplings. Unfortunately, this dish is not getting my vote. The red bean soup had been cooked with orange peel, which only serves to add a very peculiar taste. The dumplings were plain, chewy balls of flour; it would have been better had there been filling of some sort. In addition, the green tea flavour was simply too light and easily overpowered by the accompanying soup.
Whatever could be more sinful/gratifying than having two Lunar New Year delights combined? Using only their special, homemade smoked pork, the Bak Kwa Nian Gao is a glutinous rice cake studded with bits of bak kwa and pan-fried with a bit of eggs.
Emitting a slight bak kwa aroma, this cute dish – which resembles what a grandmother would prepare – had an ‘eggy’ sweetness and a interesting mix of chewy textures.
Best part of it all, is that Mandarin Court has thoughtfully put together 10 different signature menus ranging from a simple, yet heart warming, $98++ per person menu (minimum 2 persons) to an extravagant $1,888++ meal for 10 persons, so there’s more than enough choice to budget yourself.
The Lunar New Year festive menu runs from 13 January to 6 February 2012.
Did it turn us on?
The Fortune Pot sure did brighten up my day with its bountiful treasures!
Mandarin Court Chinese Restaurant
333 Orchard Road
Telephone: (65) 6831 6285 / 62
Lunch – Monday to Friday: 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dim Sum Brunch – Saturday, Sunday & PH: 11.00am to 2.30pm
Dinner – Monday to Sunday: 6.30pm to 10.30pm