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.
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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.