Located at National Gallery Singapore, Yan (宴) which means ‘feast’in mandarin has been well known for its exceptional flavours and beautiful elegant classic Cantonese dishes. With new Master Chef, Lai Chi Sum, who has been trained in the best traditions of Cantonese cuisine with almost two decades of experiences as an Executive Chef at an established Chinese restaurant group in Singapore, coming onboard, Yàn’s menu is going under a subtle rejuvenation. I am quite excited to share that Chef Lai has introduced his ‘私房菜’ or ‘private dining style’ into the menu. Not only does the new items requires some long forgetten culinary skills, effort and precision while preparing the dishes. So much so that, some diners refer Chef lai’s cooking as the long lost flavours!
It is always good to start a meal with soup, a bowl of piping hot soup. We had Shark Cartilage Broth with Wanton ($18 per pax) which was packed with collagen and the essence of the ingredients used (chicken, pork trotter, lean meat, conpoy and shark cartilage that are obtained through sustainable approach). The soup was steamed for 6 hours and boiled at high heat for 15 minutes. Lastly, the soup was sieved to give that smooth consistency. But that was not all, the wanton with minced chicken and prawn filling was totally delicious and the black fungus and
bamboo shoot added more textural bites to the soup. This is definitely a soup warming soup to have.
Baked Crab Shell with Crab Meat and Onion ($18 per pax) was another crowd pleaser but the origins of this dish was relatively interesting. This dish was born in Hong Kong during the early 80s when the economy was booming with investors from America and Japan. In order to woo these high-spending diners, premium Cantonese restaurants introduced dishes with western influences and Chef Lai learned to make this dish then. The preparation of this dish was time consuming as the crab meat needed to be removed from shell before it was cooked with bechamel sauce, mushroom and onion in superior stock . Lastly, the crab filling was put into the empty shell, topped with bread crumbs and baked at 3-5 mins. Chef Lai chose flower crab, hence the crab meat tasted sweeter with more delicate and fine texture.
Another dish that won my heart was the Steamed Kampong Chicken with Ginger Spring Onion ($25 for half;$50 for whole) which required advance order of 1 day ahead. The free range kampong chicken from Malaysia was steamed for 25 minutes and served with chopped spring onion, ginger, salt and scallion which were fried with peanut oil before being poured over the chicken before serving. The meat was really tender and soft so make sure you order this 1 day in advance!!!
Steamed Thousand Layer Beancurd (Sml – $22; Med – $33; Lge – $44) was a test of one’s culinary knife skill. The beancurd was so evenly and thinly sliced! Steamed Topped with diced Honey glazed Pork, Conpoy, Mushroom and Gingko Nuts, it was a great dish to pair with some rice!
House Special Bake Pork Ribs with Black Olive ($13.80 per pax) was one of the signature dish at Yan. As olive was one of the most common staple ingredient in many traditional Cantonese dishes, it was a no brainer that the highlight of the dish was that black olive sauce made from Teochew preserved pitted black olive from China. Authenticity, people! This is one of those dish that you would want your cantonese elderly to try as it was quite a long lost flavour that one can hardly find elsewhere.
Before you proceed to some carbs loading dish, don’t forget to order the Yan Peking Roast Duck (Half – $45; Whole – $90). The Peking duck skin was so crispy and aromatic that one can eat it on its own but paired with house made crepe, plum sauce, some cucumber strips and spring onion, it was as heavenly.
I was never a huge fan of carbs and by the time Fried brown rice with diced vegetables and pine nuts in claypot (Sml – $22; Med – $33; Lge – $44) and Braised ‘Mee Po’ with Fresh Mushroom and XO Sauce (Sml – $22; Med – $33; Lge – $44) were served to the table, I was almost filled to the brim. But I couldn’t stop eating the Braised mee pok! It was a very simple dish but the housemade XO sauce which contains than more than 20 ingredients was totally so addictive!
They said always leave some space for desseert. I think that is a great advise to follow. Especially if it is a dessert with beauty property. One of the new dessert on the menu was Chilled Peach Resin with Diced Honey Dew ($8) and this natural resin from the peach tree contains collagen which was known to improve the skin elasticity! Not to forget that the peach resin also help to promote bowel movement and has blood cleansing properties! So don’t forget to order this. This is such a delight to end the meal.
While the menu has expanded, all-time favourites and seafood delicacies presented in artistic and contemporary plating still remain. I like how Chef Lai has allowed diners to experience those cantonese long lost dishes, which require both skills and time to prepare, once again in a comfortable and elegant setting. Yàn is not just suitable for small intimate gatherings and business luncheon, it is also great for large events and weddings. There are also three private rooms available for people who prefer to have some privacy. Can’t wait to be back again!
#05-02 National Gallery Singapore 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957
Tel: +65 6384 5585
Operating Hours: Daily
Lunch: 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner: 6:00pm to 10:30pm