Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
All rights reserved
Food photos are of real food with NO photoshop
The implacable and indomitable Travelling GourmetTM is given the wrong information when invited to…
MAKE a food tasting review of 5 months old Grand Mandarin restaurant in Chinatown. Getting to the restaurant was an annoying adventure in itself because of the directionally challenged Wong Jiaxin, the Marketing Executive for the restaurant. Her email to me stated:
>> Dear Mike,
It is located at Chinatown mrt exit H. 🙂
The information she gave me was so WRONG! I arrived at Chinatown MRT station to fnd NO exit H. Instead there were exits A, B, C and D. I checked with two different MRT uniformed staff who told me that Outram Park station is the nearest to the Grand Mandarin restaurant. I called Wong Jiaxin to be told: ” I’m very busy doing a tasting…you can come from Chinatown station also, just walk to Pearl Center…” The MRT staff were standing beside me so they heard this as my Android phone was on Speaker mode. The MRT staff shook their heads and told me in no uncertain terms, “It’s a good 20 minutes walk away from this station, Chinatown!” The MRT staff advised me to take a train to Outram Park, and kindly brought me to the North East Line which was quite a walk away. I decided to call the restaurant and spoke to the Manager, Kenny Chee. It turned out that Kenny is my friend who used to be at the Peach Blossoms restaurant in the Marina Mandarin hotel. When I arrived at Outram Park station and got to the top of the stairs at Exit H, Kenny was there to meet and welcome me with a smile. This helped a little to calm me down because I was in a foul mood! I felt like shooting someone many times with a Beretta 92FS 9mm pistol. At the restaurant which was only a minute’s walk from Exit H, I met Wong Jiaxin and she did not even apologise to me for giving me the wrong information but said, ” I live in Chinatown and you can also walk from Chinatown station…” I told her, “Why don’t you walk from Chinatown to the Grand Mandarin restaurant yourself and time it on your watch?” Obviously she was never in the Girl Guides where they teach map reading. As Michelangelo said: Trifles make perfection and perfection is NO trifle!
The food was served. The Grand Mandarin Appetizer Platter was nicely presented on a rectangular plate. The big Deep Fried Prawn coated with Creme Lemon Sauce was yummie and I was pleased that it was not coated in Wasabi Mayonnaise which is so passe.
The Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin was way too sweet and had some caramelized sugar on the crispy crackling. I wrapped it in the Shisho leaf that it was on and popped it into my mouth. Nowadays diners are very health conscious so anything too overly sweet is not Kosher any more. Crispy Soft Shell Crab coated with Chicken Floss and minced Curry Leaves was also a tad too sweet.
A tonic herbal soup was next. One of my favourites, Double-Boiled Chicken Soup with Cordycep Flower. It was delicious and the herbs were balanced and not too overpowering. There were also red Wolfberries and red dates which I love!
A real winner which I was pleased to devour was Steamed Silver Cod with a grated Pink Ginger Topping in Bonito Sauce. It was a big chunk at 150g! The ginger added a nice zing to the sexy, al dente moist thick flakes of cod! Excellent!
Tuck in Duckies! Roasted Duck with Perigord Truffle Sauce looked really good on the plate but I only got a small piece when it was portioned out 😦 There was not enough Truffle in the sauce and therefore not enough of that addictive Truffle flavour and aroma. The skin was crispy though.
A healthy Tofu with Crab Meat and Egg White in a Carrot Broth was flavoursome and warmly satisfying. The presentation was inspired and impressive.
CARBO! In the age of food phobia, many diners also tend to shun Carbohydrates because they are fattening. However, the Stir-Fried Crystal Vermicelli with Pork Collar in an XO Chilli Sauce was skilfully done. The 2mm diameter thick transclucent vermicelli reminded me of the Bigoli with Cavallo (Horsemeat) Ragu in Verona, Italy. The tender pork was very yummie too but the Chilli XO Sauce was not spicy enough.
The best part of the meal is of course Dessert. There were two. One was the cuddly dome shaped Custard Pow with liquid Salted Duck Egg Yolk inside just oozing out seductively when you bite in! OMG! Fabulous!
The other dessert was a ModCanto refeshing Green Apple Jelly with a tangy globe of Lime Sorbet. I liked the sour flavours and the Malic Acid from the Granny Smith apple. I must mention the Harmonious Dragon premium tea which goes well with the cuisine. It also helped to put me in a more harmonious disposition.
The Chef here is my friend, Singaporean Chef Eric Yeo. Chef Eric was previously at the splendid Peach Blossoms restaurant in Marina Mandarin hotel. Perhaps that is why he named the restaurant the Grand Mandarin...I must also commend Manager Kenny Chee for his excellent service, superb inter-personal skills and good public relations, although he is not in charge of MarCom per se.
You have to eat three or more times a day so…make sure you eat well!
Grand Mandarin Restaurant
325 New Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6222 3355