Food picks: Jade's Chinese New Year feasts, Edomae sushi at Sushi Ayumu, matcha drinks from Hvala, and more

CHINESE NEW YEAR AT JADE

With Chinese New Year in less than six weeks, it is time to start planning for family reunion meals. It is best to book early if you are going for a feast at Cantonese restaurant Jade at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Jade’s executive chef Leong Chee Yeng has meticulously crafted six festive menus (from $118 for set menus with a minimum of six people, or $88 a person for an individual set menu or vegetarian set menu; dishes can also be ordered a la carte).

The most decadent of them all is the eight-course Grand Fullerton Golden Feast ($2,388 for 10 people, order two days in advance). It features a Gold Rush Yusheng with lobster, Australian abalone and Norwegian salmon, all shaped into a cute piglet; and a Triple Bliss braised and roasted pork belly (above) with steamed mantou and crispy suckling piglet skin, topped with caviar – a luxurious version of the kong bak pau.

Other delicious options include the pork tripe soup spiked with a dash of Hennessy XO cognac; and Full Of Luck deep-fried Chilean seabass with hawthorne sauce.

Do not miss chef Leong’s delicate baked yam paste “nian gao” tart ($7 a pair for dine-in or $30 nett for a box of nine, takeaway only); and Baked Golden Pineapple Piglets ($9 a pair for dine-in or $33 nett for a box of nine, takeaway only). These Chinese New Year goodies are available from Jan 9 to Feb 19.

WHERE: Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square

MRT: Raffles Place

WHEN: Jan 21 to Feb 19, 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.30 – 11pm daily

TEL: 6877-8911/8912

INFO: E-mail [email protected] for reservations

KOHAKU TENDON’S OCEAN TREASURES

I have a weakness for tendon (Japanese tempura on rice), but the one bowl wonder of fried goodies can get boring after a while.

But not at Kohaku Tendon, which has introduced a winter-themed tendon called Winter Ocean Treasures (left, $21++). New ingredients include monkfish liver (ankimo), which has a light and crispy exterior and soft and creamy interior, and snow crab leg with sweet flesh.

I like that the batter includes dried seaweed, as it adds more umami to the dish without masking the seafood flavours. Other ingredients include prawn, squid, Japanese fishcake filled with cod roe, and king crab stick.

Each tendon bowl is topped with ikura, which adds just the right amount of saltiness to the dish.

WHERE: Kohaku Tendon outlets at 03-311 Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard; 02-34 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road; and Boat Quay, 64 Circular Road

MRT: City Hall/ Chinatown/Raffles Place

WHEN: Till Feb 3, 11.30 – 4pm,5 – 10pm daily (Suntec City and Chinatown Point), 11.30am – 4pm, 5 to 10pm (weekdays, closed on weekends, Boat Quay outlet)

INFO: www.facebook.com/kohaku.tempura

MATCHA AT HVALA


Matcha latte by Matcha at Hvala. PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK

I visited Hvala when its Japanese teahouse in Chijmes opened about six months ago.

While the drinks were good, the service left much to be desired as staff tried their best to cope with the crowds.

The first outlet at [email protected] is a takeaway concept selling matcha-centric (Japanese green tea) drinks and soft serve.

I am glad that operations at the Chijmes branch have stabilised and that the standard of drinks has remained consistent.

Fans of matcha can pick from traditional whisked matcha (hot or iced, from $5.30), matcha tea latte (hot or iced, from $5), or matcha ice blended ($5.50 or $6).

I like the minimalist space, and if you have time to linger, sit at the counter to watch your matcha being whisked. Pick the type of matcha you want, from the more bitter Tsuki option, to the rich and umami Hana matcha.

For a quick takeaway, get the tea latte – matcha or hojicha (roasted green tea) – or have a blend of a matcha shot with hojicha syrup. You can choose to have your drink with less or no sugar, and the drink has the right amount of milk.

If you are not into matcha, there is also has a good variety of Japanese oolong, hojicha, and black tea.

Pair your tea with a selection of cakes ($7.80 each) including goma (black sesame), matcha azuki and honey earl grey hazelnut.

WHERE: Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street

MRT: City Hall

WHEN: 11am to 9.30pm daily

INFO: www.facebook.com/HvalaSingapore

TRADITIONAL EDOMAE SUSHI AT SUSHI AYUMU

After Japanese restaurant Hashida Sushi’s shock closure at Mandarin Gallery in June, the same space was replaced with another brand – Sushi Ayumu – in the same month.

While I have always enjoyed dining at Hashida Sushi, the experience is no less exquisite at Sushi Ayumu, as the 36-seat restaurant is helmed by head chef Ryoichi Nakatani. He has 26 years of experience with traditional Edomae sushi – the style of sushi developed in Edo, the old name of Tokyo.

Chef Nakatani’s reverence for seasonal ingredients is evident, even in the warm sushi rice that is seasoned with an in-house blend of three types of red vinegar.

Nigiri sushi highlights include kohada (gizzard shad), which is sliced into thin strips and braided to achieve a softer texture, and finished with a touch of yuzu zest.

Nodoguro (black throat sea perch) from Kanazawa gets a lovely sear with binchotan (Japanese charcoal), which enhances the flavour of the fatty and tender meat.

Also getting the binchotan treatment is kamasu (barracuda), topped with just the right amount of uni (sea urchin) salt.


Signature Ayumu roll at Sushi Ayumu. PHOTO: SUSHI AYUMU

The restaurant’s signature Ayumu roll (above, available for dinner) is filled with chutoro (medium fatty tuna), bafun uni, buri (yellowtail) and shiso leaf.

Prices start at $120 for lunch, which includes 12 pieces of nigiri sushi, and at $280 for dinner.

The meals also include an appetiser, soup and dessert, as well as sashimi for the more premium options. It will be worth the splurge.

WHERE: 04-16 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road

MRT: Somerset

WHEN: Noon to 3pm, 7 to 10pm (Tuesdays to Sundays); closed on Mondays

TEL: 6733-2114

INFO: www.sushi-ayumu.com

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