12th January 2013.
Chinese New Year is just a few weeks away and the culinary maestros at Park Palace Restaurant in Grand Park City Hall Hotel have concocted a delicious Chinese New Year feast for all to enjoy. The food at Park Palace Restaurant is inspired by the cuisine in Shunde, a district located at the Pearl River Delta in Foshan Prefecture of Guangdong. The district is renowned for its freshwater fish and fresh produce and it is apparently the hometown of the founders of the Hong Kong-based Grand Park Hotels.
Here in the former shophouses of the St. Gregory’s Place, Vinleon and I had the opportunity to sample the gastronomic delicacies that in the Chinese New Year Menu titled Golden Treasures of Prosperity.
Keeping in line with the “golden prosperity” theme and the Shunde-inspired cuisine, the Golden Shunde Yu Sheng is a luxurious take of the yu sheng with a savoury twist.
Instead of salmon, fresh, milder and more savoury Yellowtail (Hamachi) was used and the base consisted of crispy fried vermicelli and beautifully decorated with ginger, spring onions, crunchy capsicums and finely grounded peanuts. The mixture is then tossed in a special concoction of fragrant peanut oil and premium soya sauce. This less sweet and more savoury rendition of the yusheng was given a finishing touch of gold dust and gold flakes.
After the yusheng, the Imperial Suckling Pig makes its grand entry. The meticulously selected pig was from Hunan and the chef believe that the pig has to be below 5kg in weight to the yield the best results from roasting and does not have the overpowering gamey flavour. The suckling pig was aired dried and roasted for around 20 minutes.
This was easily one of my favourite dishes for the day with a very crispy skin, accompanied by a tasty, tangy sauce. This dish is also available as take-away.
The Golden Happiness Crispy Garoupa looked like a carefully crafted sculpture. This fish has very crispy skin and it was surprisingly not oily. The sauce resembles sweet and sour sauce and went quite well with this crispy dish. However, I personally found the meat to be a tad dry.
Perhaps, the star of the day is the Chinese New Year Prosperity Flambé Pen Cai. The pen cai is a symbol of abundance and this pen cai certainly did not disappoint. With at least 18 luxuriant ingredients including New Zealand Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Japanese Dried Scallops, Fresh Australian Scallops, Prawn Balls, Sliced Sea Perch Fillets, Roasted Duck, Roasted Pork Belly, Duck Web, Soya Chicken, Fatt Choy, Assorted Mushrooms, Lotus Root, Broccoli, White Radish, Beancurd Skin, Gingko Nuts and Black Fungus, this is nothing less than an indulgent treat.
And to top that off, the pen cai was flambéed with cognac which imparts a mild tangy sweetness to the sauce.
I personally enjoyed the Pen Cai a lot, I thought the whole concoction was well-executed, and with a myriad of ingredients inside, there is something for everyone to enjoy. This delicious delicacy is available for takeaways and I was told that it will come with the ceramic pot as well!
The Imperial Suckling Pig was served once again after it was being baked with Lemongrass. We were told that certain restaurants would discard the entire suckling pig, hence it the Park Palace decides to the cook the remaining meat and serve as an effort to reduce wastage of food.
Lemongrass is an unusual ingredient in Chinese cuisine but the chef explained that lemongrass was chosen because it remains fragrant when used in oven baking and it will help to further enhance the taste of the suckling pig hence bringing out the full flavours of the young piglet.
Next up we had the Auspicious Glutinous Rice with Foie Gras and Preserved Meat. Park Palace explains that the usual method of steaming would result in an otherwise monotonous dish hence they pan fried the glutinous rice and foie gras instead.
It was a very nice dish, the bottom of the glutinous rice ball was crispy adding some crunch. The bits of preserved meat embedded in the rice ball have a bacon-like flavour to it and the foie gras was rather mild and had a mousse-like quality. The three varying textures and flavours make a tasty combination.
Lastly, we had a pretty looking Steamed Mini Pumpkin Dumpling with Green Bean Paste to finish off the meal. This colourful and petite looking dumpling reminded me of those Thai “Look Chub” in Erawan Tea Room. Overall, I think there is a theatrical element to the whole meal with each dishes entering with a wow factor in terms of visual and a number of them were outstandingly delicious too.
Available from 21st January to 24th February, the Chinese New Year Set Menus go for:
$78++ per person (a maximum of two persons)
$288++ per table (for four persons)
$438++ per table (for six persons)
$588++ per table (for eight persons)
$788++ to $2388++ per table (for ten persons)
You can find more details about the menus here. Early Birds who book from 21st January to 7th February get to enjoy 20% off the Lunar New Year Set Menus or A’la Carte.
DBS and HSBC Credit Card Holders are entitled to a 15% discount on Chinese New Year Even Pen Cai Set Dinner if you book before 25th January as well as a 15% discount on Chinese New Year Festive Goodies (21st January -24th February) except Pen Cai takeaway.
MayBank, UOB, Standard Chartered, Bank of China and OCBC Card Holders get to enjoy 10% off Chinese New Year Festive Goodies (21st Jan – 24th FebruarY) except for Pen Cai takeaway.
Lastly for the readers of the4Moose, you can enjoy a complimentary bottle of house red wine per table of minimum 10 persons. Remember to quote “the4Moose” when you make your reservation via email/phone.
Grand Park City Hall
10 Coleman Street
Special Thanks to Karen, Kelyn, Jean, Andy, Chef Chan and Chef William from Grand Park City Hall for inviting and hosting us.