Dim Sum At Yan Ting Of St. Regis

2008September05-YanTing-33

The story floating around is that when Yan Ting first opened, a food critic from a major business newspaper in Singapore requested (or demanded, depending on who you listen to) to do a review there. Now, everyone who knows anything about restaurants will tell you that a restaurant goes through a period of “warm up” to have everyone get in the groove of things. (See Chap.2 Tuckman Team Development Model on page 45. There will be a test this coming Monday.)

Unfortunately, no one in the restaurant business can risk offending a food critic, much less someone from a newspaper that a majority of your intended customers read. The review was predictable and the Chef was fired the next day.

This is why this blog is not a big gas-pole who insists on eating at the latest restaurants and that to be the first to review the latest restaurant, you have to be a mean duck.

This lunch all started when we were invited by Yahoo! to taste the mooncakes at Yan Ting of St. Regis. We browsed through the menu and we saw that it was good. I was especially attracted to the roast meats section which included the intriguing cold wine-marinated beef. And so we made a reservation for lunch.

The fare is what you will expect of an up-market dim sum restaurant. Personally, I would have been at a loss at what to order (this being my second dim sum lunch of 2008). Fortunately, Wye Leng, the Marketing Director for St. Regis was hosting a lunch at the next table and picked out what were her favorite dim sum.

Elegant Setting

What stood out was the crystal dumpling with scallop. It was a delicate-looking concoction where the sweetness of the scallop threatened to overwhelm the sweetness of the pork. The Xiaolongbao came in a small China bowl. It was the same size as the ones you find in Shanghai. The girls complained that the dumpling stuck to the bowl and tore when you tried to extricate it, thus spilling out the meat broth inside. I thought this was ok, since I just drank the broth (sweet, hot and delicious) before consuming everything else.

We were excited to see the Pork Trotters in Black Vinegar on the menu but we were rather disappointed with the lack of depth and sweetness that comes from slowly simmering the black vinegar for an extended period. Having said that, I finished up the trotters and the exceedingly overcooked egg; waste not want not. While on the subject of disappointment, forgo the Pork Buns totally; while it was soft and fluffy, there was a surprising lack of pork.

And speaking of pork, the fried carrot-cake was outstanding; fat, luscious chunks of soft carrot cake embedded with little bits of preserved sausage that explode in your mouth with flavor. Excellent.

Foodkeh.
Xiao Long Pao          Fried Carrot Cake With Preserved Sausages
Pig Trotters In Black Vinegar          Fluffy Steamed Pork Buns

So what about the roasted meats that drew our attention in the first place? The roast pork was outstanding. The skin was sandpaper dry and crisp and while it was juicy, there is no layer of fat as shown in the photo below. I was told later that it was Kurobuta pork but I’ve yet to confirm this.

The roast duck was dry and hard to chew, I would have preferred a little more fat on this. Of all the meats, the cold wine-marinated beef was a subtle affair that took a lot of chew to extricate the flavor. The jury is still out on this.

Roast Pork
Roast Duck          Cold Wine-marinated Beef Shank

The nice thing about lunching with foodies is that we are all like-minded. Having finished up all the dim sum, we were at this stage where the Chinese will term as “mouth still itchy”. It was an instantaneous agreement when the subject of Peking Duck was brought up. Of course, being modest people, we only ordered half a duck. It was ceremoniously rolled out on a trolley by a cook and two lovely assistants who proceeded to prepare the Peking Duck. I’m not sure if there were 108 cuts, but there’s film footage of what happened out there along with the infamous Alien Autopsy video.

There was a difference in opinion about the slices of skin. The ladies felt that there should only be skin with little or (even better) no meat at all. Personally, I felt that a little meat on the skin is ok. I like my Peking Duck pancake a little chewy with some duck fat. But we all agreed that the stir-fried duck meat on Lettuce was really good. I thought it was outstanding because of the oily duck meat was punctuated with little bits of preserved cabbage against a cool background of Lettuce. I can eat this all day, everyday. 🙂

2008Sep05-Yanting-1-5
Peking Duck          Diced Roast Duck in Lettuce Wrap

Surprisingly, we were still peckish, so I suggested a carbo dish to top up. SFF suggested Fried Rice Rolls (Cheong Fan) which I thought was a good call.

It came piping hot, and if you don’t know what it was, you’d be guessing it was a plate of very good fried Kway Teow. The rice rolls were chewy with a good bite and lightly spiced for that tinge of heat. Definitely one of the best rice rolls I’ve had in a long time.

2008Sep05-Yanting-1

And just when we thought it was time to rest and call for the bill, Lorraine, the marketing executive who, with Wye Leng, hosted the Mooncake tasting, appeared. She was shocked and dismayed that we didn’t order their Soup-Of-The-Day. We were informed before by Danny, the Wine Sommelier and Restaurant Manager, that the Soup-Of-The-Day was a must-try, but it didn’t register in our minds during lunch.

We were glad that Lorraine changed our minds. The Soup-Of-The-Day was Fish and Pork with Red Bean soup. Clean-tasting, rich without being cloying, grainy and sweet (pork, fish and red beans are sweet ingredients and I tasted red dates and a hint of rock sugar), it was fantastic.

What seemed odd to me was the soup came with slices of pork and fish atop a mound of red beans and a bowl of soy sauce. This is because after being boiled, the remnants become dry and hard and not that pleasant to eat. I guess it’s to show some authenticity.

2008Sep05-Yanting-1-3
Fish & Pork With Red Bean Soup          Fish & Pork With Red Bean Soup

Dim Sum lunch at Yan Ting was surprisingly good. The menu is small but well represented. We were told that the Sunday brunches at Yan Ting had a bigger selection, but I would prefer quality to quantity. And speaking of quality, the dim sum is not the in-your-face, big flavors; rather I found them to be light and subtle in taste, more suited for quiet reflection and contemplation rather than frenzied stuff-your-face. But what separates Yan Ting from the others is the service. It is excellent. The service staff are well-spoken and discreet without that presumptuousness so common in other places.

Forget about buying expensive mooncakes to impress your in-laws or parents; bring them here for a casual dim sum afternoon. And don’t forget to order the Soup-Of-The-Day.

Color Calibration. Used the D2X Mode III +9 Saturation


Posted on 11th Oct 2008 in Cantonese

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There Are 6 Comments

 

sheryl commented on October 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm


The food looks unbelievable, like it’s too good to be true. though I’m not sure that lunch here will be just “casual”.


 

pamm commented on October 14, 2008 at 12:15 am


hi! i was google-ing teppanyaki and i came across your site

http://food.recentrunes.com/?p=1305

i referred to the post above and the place seems pretty nice! do you still remember the rough price of it? let me know, email me back if possible! i kinda want to know the price pretty badly. thanks!


 

Ivan commented on October 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm


@sheryl: Lunch was a casual affair but I would not recommend donning the Singapore National Dress of T-shirt, Sandals, Bermudas and a Fanny-pack for lunch there.


 

Ivan commented on October 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm


@pamm: Unfortunately, it was a treat from my team, but I do recall it was reasonable for a Jurong-based restaurant.


 

Camemberu commented on October 15, 2008 at 6:35 pm


Wow looks very classy and refined. Love the scallop dumpling photo!


 

Ivan commented on October 23, 2008 at 11:19 am


@Camemberu: Thanks! It was a great lunch!


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