Flavours at Zhongshan Park is the latest restaurant to open its door at the food haven stretch of Balestier road. The hotel restaurant at level 1 of Ramada Singapore serves authentic Straits Chinese cuisine coupled with a selected mix of international and western favourite. Understandable since it is a hotel restaurant and the need to cater for the different guest's palate.
Started with a pre-dinner mocktail, Curry Leave Mijoto while we waited for the rest of the table to arrive. The drink was very refreshing and surprisingly the curry leaves gave the drink a tad of a aromatic spiciness which complemented with the sweet and lemon flavours of the drink, giving it a total new experience which was enjoyable.
Appertiser was Kueh Pie Tie ($14.90) which the crispy pastry cup was stuffed with thinly sliced seasoned turnip and carrots slow cooked with pork belly. Topped with a bit of the homemade chilli, it was bursting with delightful flavours.
A refreshing and delectable Pork & Cucumber Salad ($14.90) that is tossed with shallots and sambal belachan. The contrasting textures of the slow cooked pork confit and cucumber was quite an enjoyment.
Nonya Itik Tim ($20.90) is a traditional Nonya dish in which the duck is stewed in pork ribs soup with sour plum, pickled mustard green, tomatoes and fresh chilli. The soup was nicely balance in flavour not too sour. While roast duck is added which I enjoyed, traditionally the soup does not come with it.
Stir fried in a hot black bean paste and bell peppers, the Stir Fried Slipper Lobster was fresh, meaty and springy.
The Nonya Beef Rendang ($24.90) was very well received by the table. Using the premium cut of the beef cheek in a rich spice paste and simmered in a coconut milk with lemon grass and tamarind water, the beef simmply melted in the mouth. It was very tender.
A staple of Peranakan cuisine is the Nonya Ayam Buah Keluah ($26.90) consisting of braised chicken and keluak nuts. Sometime the flesh of the nut is mixed with minced pork and prawns before it is stuffed back into the nut. For the version at Flavours, it is more straightforward without with pork and prawns.
The succulent Chilli King Prawns "Singapore Style" was stir fried in a savoury tomato and chilli gravy that tasted similar to our chilli crab gravy. The table was actually asking for some Man Tou or bun to clean off the delicious gravy.
The gula melaka and peel fresh durian work harmoniously for the beautiful Durian Pengat with Pandan Jelly dessert to wrap up the dinner on a sweet note.
Flavours at Zhongshan Park is an ideal place for authentic Straits Chinese cuisine. Family style communal dining takes centrestage at Flavours where guests are encouraged to share and sample all the culinary delights the restaurant has to offer.
For full review and photos, visit www.sgfoodonfoot.com
Having tried the food at an invited tasting and at a revisit, I have to say that I'm really liking the Peranakan fare here. The hubby, who's half-Baba as well, gave this restaurant his stamp of approval. The price points here are, admittedly, a little steep, BUT, considering the premium ingredients that go into the dishes (the more luxurious cut of beef cheek is used here in the rendang), a meal here is reasonably value-for-money.
Service was, at both the invited tasting and revisit, sincere, attentive and genuine.
1) Kueh Pie Tie ($14.90): what sets this apart was that the bang kwang (turnip) was braised with pork belly. This was really quite awesome and finished in seconds at the revisit.
2) Pork & Cucumber Salad ($14.90): pork belly strips are tossed with fried and raw shallots and cucumber strips. At the tasting, chinchalok and half a lime were served on the side, so we could moderate how much of each we added to the salad. I actually thought the salad was good enough on its own without the need for the salty pungency of chinchalok. That said, a fork-dipped bit of sambal was brilliant in grounding the refreshingly clear salad with a fragrant spiciness. At the revisit, the chinchalok was tossed in together with the salad. Even though I'm not a fan of chinchalok, the flavours melded pretty well. That said, I still prefer the non-chinchalok dressed version.
3) Nonya Itik Tim ($20.90): at the tasting, the chef just dumped chunks of roasted duck into a soup with sour plum, pickled mustard green and tomatoes, resulting in a weak but overtly salty soup base lacking in depth of flavour. At the revisit, I was glad the chef took on board our feedback at the tasting, and properly simmered the duck into the soup. I could taste the duck essence this time, but there was still room for improvement. The duck bones could be simmered for another hour or so.
4) Beef Rendang ($24.90): beef cheek is used here, so the meat is plastic-fork-tender. No chewing required! Loved this at both the tasting and revisit, a must-try here.
5) Chilli King Prawns 'Singapore Style' ($22.90): This is the prawn version of our locally beloved chilli crab. 2 HUGE prawns, in a chilli crab-styled gravy that's good to the last drop. Anor must-try.
6) Stir-fried Slipper Lobster ($26.90): both times, the crayfish was perfectly cooked in a lightly spiced black bean paste with bell peppers and sweet onions. Also a must-try.
The cocktails are pretty good as well. The resident mixologist fuses the east with the west quite commendably. Try the one with curry leaves, it's like drinking muruku. Or the one with cucumber and mint, it'll help douse the flames in your tummy.
See the full review at http://thehungrybunnie.blogspot.com
I went to Flavours last night because a friend of mine, Lily, is a new employee and she recommended it. Lily formerly worked at Dan Ryans's and I have been a loyal customer of hers for years so seeing her new place of work was a no brainer. This restaurant is located on the first floor of the new Ramda hotel in Novena. Very stylish open feel to the restaurant and well spaced tables so you are not on top of the next group. We let Lily pick our entire meal start to finish and were very happy.
We ordered the Kueh Pie Tie for starters which is Braised Sweet Turnip with Pork Belly & Prawns in Traditional Pastry Crust. Great flavors by itself and the spicy dip that came with it provided a good kick. For the mains we went for a peranakan trend and had Nonya Beef Rendang which is Beef Cheek in a Rich Spice Paste & then Simmered in Coconut Milk with Lemon Grass & Tamarind Water. The beef was extremely soft and melted in your mouth. Very flavorful paste that I could not get enough of. We also got the Nonya Ayam Buah Keluak whic is Braised Chicken & Keluak Nuts. My first time tasting those kinds of nuts....very unicque and good flavor. For dessert we had the Durian Pengat with Pandan Jelly - Peel Fresh Durian with Gula Melaka and Chendol with Gula Melaka. Red Bean, Coconut Milk & Green Chendol make for a good mix.
I highly recommend this place not only for the food but the service. I honestly don't know how Lily and the rest of the staff could have made dinner a nicer experience.
For full review & pics, visit here
Kudos to the kind folks from Hungrygowhere, for inviting me to this food review session.
Situated in a hidden historical corner off the main buzz of Balestier Road, the road name is no stranger for savvy motorists & elders who witnessed the nation’s independence.
A glance at the menu suggests that it prides itself to offer some of the better known Malayan Straits Chinese (aka Nonya) cuisines, and offers a small selection of continental foods for the less adventurous foreigners.
Curry Leaf Mojito *courtesy of Heritage Lounge
The zesty flavor of the lime juice & sprite is naturally lemony sweet, the ginger ale packs a little prick to the taste, while the crushed curry leaves gives a lingering spicy aroma.
Kueh Pie tie (pronounced; kway-pai-tee)
The consistency to the juicy crunch for the pork belly braised turnip was quite impressive, and the cracker crunch in the crust is evident that it is prepared ala-minute.
Pork & cucumber salad
The pork confit is nicely done, tossed in shredded cucumber, shallots & sambal belachan. The spice & seasoning do not overbear the natural flavors of the composition, neatly balanced I’d say.
Cucumint freeze *courtesy of Heritage Lounge
This ice slush concoction is an instant hit for me. I have good reason to believe this will be an all time favorite for continental guests as well, for it works well to beat the heat & humidity of our tropical climate.
Nonya Ayam Buah Keluak
A signature dish for the peranakan people, but please manage your expectations as the slight modification to the composition, as is catered for foreigners to better adapt towards the dish.
Nonya Beef Rendang
The Nonya style has a tangy flavor to it, in lieu of lemongrass & tamarind. The choice cut of meat is also rather unique, because beef cheeks is a lot more juicy & tender compared to other commonly used shin or loins.
Chilli King Prawns “Singaporean Style”
Who would not have heard about the Singpaorean Signature Dish- Chilli Crab? I’d say they are fresh sea catches, because the meat is naturally sweet & doesn’t flake away.
Durian Pengat with Pandan Jelly
The pandan jelly on top is light & fragrant, so it works well with the puréed durian, because durian is strong scented & naturally sweet. You may also request for post meal coffee or tea to be served alongside this dessert, because you wouldn’t need sugar for your hot beverage, given the full flavored sweetness.
The ambience & services rendered was hospitable and not overdone. The waiting crew paced their attention well so we could have our peace to enjoy the food, plates were replaced & iced water was topped up very timely.
This restaurants opens at the new Ramada hotel at Jalan Ah Hood (off Balestier road) and serves a mixed variety of asian dishes.
We had an opportunity to try out some dishes during the restaurant organised food tasting event.
Food: We started off with some mocktails the unique drink was a mocktail made with curry leaves, sprite, lemon juice. Interesting but too sweet for my liking. I prefer a drink with more fruit flavour. The curry leaves add an interesting touch to the drink.
I must highlight the following dishes: their kueh pie tee is one of the best I've eaten, full flavoured and great presentation. After this we were served a cucumber laced with three layered pork strips, good balance of pork and tangy cucumber specially served with "chin cha lok" - the Malaccan preserved baby shrimps. Unique taste.
For mains, we shared four clay pots of: a) ayam buah keluak chicken, tasty and with enough nuts for 4 persons, sauce is not overly spicey but retains the unique buah keluak taste. Good to share with 2 not so hungry persons; b) the nonya beef rendang - wow, they use beef cheeks here for the beef, special tasting and its got the cheek tendon that makes it a special dish. c) the slipper lobster fried with pepper - tasty but the serving could be larger and finally my favourite dish d) the large prawns in a garlic-tomato sauce, so tasty it makes you want to lick the sauce off the claypot, which I didn't do of course - decorum !
For dessert we tried two, the durian pengat with gula melaka, and the chendol. Order the durian pengat instead of the chendol to finish off a satisfying meal.
Value: Got to see the menu and prices for each dish were on the high side but they are large portions, so chose to share a main claypot dish with two instead of ordering one each pax.
Service: Pleasant, quick to top up water, clearing dishes unobstrusively. Good well trained staff.
Ambience: Lovely setting, comfortable tables and chairs, a place to stay hidden.