So Jiang Nan Chun finally opened its door with a new look and a new master chef! Chef Tim Lam of Ying Altira Macau fame has recently been made the head chef of this much coveted restaurant which has been sorely missed due to its recent long renovation break. Jiang Nan Chun has always been at the forefront of its game in the local Cantonese culinary world, especially in the past 2 decades.
One of the pioneers of fine Chinese cuisine, this is where you will bring your future Mother-in-law or to impress your most important business guest. The Chinese New Year fare in Singapore is a little different from the one in Macau, especially with our unique Yusheng, so we were all psyched and highly anticipating of what Chef Lam would make out of this.
The Prosperity Salmon Yusheng with Abalone, Japanese Surf Clams and Bird’s Nest ($98-small, $138-large) was Chef Lam’s first attempt at making perhaps the most signature Singaporean CNY dish, and it certainly did not disappoint. Luxury aside, the balance between the seafood’s savoury and the sweetness from the marinated vegetables and sauce were well taken care of, exemplifying the highly skilled culinary prowess of the chef. Though I thought the bird’s nest that was thrown in was a little extravagant, but since it is once in a year grand affair, maybe I should ask, “why not?” instead.
After the messy but fun Lohei ceremony, it was followed by a plate of amuse bouche Greenhouse Tomatoes in Plum Sauce (part of a 6 course CNY vegetarian menu at $108 per person), which was both made in an ideal portion and acidity to wake up the palette.
My Cantonese Grandmother will love the Double-Boiled Pork Ribs Soup with Sea Whelk, Maka and Dried Scallops ($38). This nourishing soup was made with the most premium Chinese herbs that not only pampers the tastebuds but also overwhelms in health benefits. My Grandmother always says the double boiled soup is the most important litmus test in judging the quality of a Cantonese restaurant. Now I know what she means.
I literally had a blast with the Wok-Fried Boston Lobster in Black Bean Sauce ($38 per person and $218 per person in a 6 course set menu). The lobster was sweet in itself but the Black Bean Sauce elevated to a new level. I could reimagine the fiery fire and the old wok that goes into fusing the charred taste into the meat of this crustacean. It was peppery fragrant and came with it a tinge of peppery spiciness aftertaste that made this dish very enjoyable.
As a big fan of fried rice, I thought Chef Lam did an excellent job with his Fried Rice with Crab Meat, Butterscotch Mushrooms and Dried Scallops in Abalone Sauce ($16 per person and $168 per person in a 6 course set meal). Once again he demonstrated his skills in crafting this exquisitely made fried rice. The Abalone sauce was the icing on the cake. It was definitely one of the highlights of this meal, with the deep flavours of the braised sauce permeating every grain of the rice. The local Teochew community will be happy to see their luxury-comfort food made a permanent fixture in JNC’s menu.
The Coconut Nian Gao ($40.65nett) and the Homemade Pineapple Tarts ($40.65nett) are two takeaway items that Jiang Nan Chun had perfected. We had the former pan fried, served au natural, as its own without sugar nor sweet sauce and it was delicious!
The Pineapple Tarts, elegantly shaped like Four Season’s symbolic pine leaves would make for a huge statement gift. Each one the size of a golf ball, the filling was made with a pineapple paste with a smooth jam-like texture. The buttery flaky skin was thin enough to barely cover the filling yet thick enough to hold the composition intact.
The delicacies mentioned are available in the special CNY menu sets (customisable, from $138, $168, $218) from now till 1 March 2, 2018.