Jiang-Nan Chun is the Chinese restaurant housed in the second level of the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. The venue reopened in 2016 after extensive renovation and has garnered very good reviews for its signature dishes – particularly the Peking Duck which is roasted over a wood-fired oven. I visited Jiang-Nan Chun recently, my first time in the award-winning restaurant, due to the launch of a new 6-course seasonal menu which features some exquisite ingredients which are available or at their best at this time of the year.
I was particularly awed as I first made my way inside the dining hall. The interiors are a mixture of traditional Chinese design with modern and creative twists. Look closely and you’ll find seemingly everyday kitchen and dining objects transformed into art pieces! The restaurant also has a couple of beautiful private rooms with modern creature comforts for family gatherings or corporate dinners.
I started the set dinner with a combination of Wok-fried Prawn with Dragon Well Tea and Slow-cooked Lobster with Poached Apple and Yuzu Dressing. It is recommended that one starts with the prawn. Mine came succulent and juicy – thanks in part to the Dragon Well or Longjin Tea which has a flavor that is at its richest this time of the year. I then followed with the lobster which had an interesting juxtaposition of flavors. The poached apples brought a zing to the palate while the light yuzu dressing added complexity to the delicate lobster flesh.
Next came the Braised Pumpkin Soup with Scallop and Shrimp Dumpling. Having just returned from a trip to Russia where I had several bowls of pumpkin soup, I was particularly keen on comparing the flavors here. Jiang-Nan Chun’s version is surprisingly light and less gooey – more on the pumpkin and less on the cream (if at all) and this is evidenced by the slightly darker color of the broth. The rich flavors of the squash are prominently featured and highly nourishing. Upon serving, the dumpling that comes with the soup sits like a plump goldfish or a fan – depending how you look at it – that is simply waiting to be devoured.
I was really looking forward to the Steamed Cod Fish with Bamboo Shoots, Mushrooms and Minced Pork that came next. First of all, cod is always a good idea and I always am keen to see how different cuisines interpret this fish in the culinary sense. Mine came slippery and with an almost melt-in-your-mouth quality. The minced pork add saltiness to the sweet white flesh. Personally, I preferred eating the fish as is.
The Braised Six Head South African Abalone with Fuzzy Gourd and Conpoy is delivered in modest size – it is the most decadent dish in the set menu. A piece of dried scallop is exquisitely ringed by fuzzy gourd or winter melon but in my view, the highlight is the abalone – naturally salty and oh-so-buttery with the right amount of chewiness. You will want to wantonly slather the dark superior stock on this piece of mollusk. Don’t judge me but let’s just say I was still intending to have a go at the stock even after devouring the abalone.
The carbohydrate dish that goes with a Chinese set meal is usually heavy but I must say I was not prepared for the Hong Kong Noodle Soup with Beef Short Ribs that followed. I was served a hearty bowl of beef chunks swimming in soup with copious amounts of noodles. What surprised me is that despite the natural purpose of the carbohydrate dish as a filler, the noodle soup could actually stand on its own. The noodles were springy – and not easily broken just the way I like it while the beef chunks were delicious.
I ended the meal with my favorite type of Chinese dessert – Almond Tofu. Jiang-Nan Chun’s version is silky. While the menu only describes it being topped with lychee, the tofu is actually topped with a mixture of rose and lychee for an added kick.
Jiang-Nan Chun’s new seasonal 6-course menu is priced at S$138++ per person and is available for both lunch and dinner.
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard
Reservations: +65 6831 7220