Our team goes undercover to suss out the latest and most talked about restaurants in town
After a major refurbishment, Wan Hao’s transformation from an oriental oasis into a modern ‘House of a Chinese Scholar’ concept exudes a subtle elegance, complete with curated art pieces and artistic calligraphy. Ornate décor replete with rich gold and black hues beckon a sophisticated ambience, while plush furnishings and an opulent gold and brown interior add the finishing touches. Also abundantly incorporated in the restaurant’s design are the four ideals of a Chinese scholar – qin, qi, shu and hua, each of which are represented by four-seater booths reminiscent of giant jewel boxes.
As with the décor, the menu has also undergone an impressive revamp under Executive Chinese chef Brian Wong Shiuh Yean. His latest menu offers elevated fine dining Cantonese cuisine featuring premium ingredients, further complemented by a novel wine list. Minimising the use of salt, sugar and oil, Wong believes in highlighting the natural exalted flavours of premium ingredients, as he uses only the finest and freshest produce possible for his creations. New recommended dim sum dishes include Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Black Truffle & Cordyceps Flower ($6/2 pieces), Crispy Mango Prawn in Rice Roll ($6.50/portion), Deep-Fried Taro Dumpling with Mini Abalone & Scallop ($10.50/2 pieces) and the Vegetarian Pan-Fried 5 Grain Pumpkin Cake ($4.50/2 pieces), none of which are heavy or oily. Though we would have preferred more of the creamy pumpkin in the cake, the grains – think oats, pearl barley, buckwheat, adlay, black glutinous rice and Gordon Euryale – successfully rein in the nourishing and healthy aspect of the dish.
While the rare Chilled Duck Tongue with Spicy Sauce is a tad chewy and coarse, we were very impressed by the Spicy Hong Kong Style Bi Feng Tang Deep-Fried Iberico Pork with Fried Garlic (both $12/portion), as the succulent pork is fried with a heady amount of crispy puffed rice, curry powder, garlic chips and seaweed. For a heartier dish, the Wok-fried Local Lobster in the same style ($22/100gm) makes for a luxurious main. The health-conscious will approve of the new Stewed Bird’s Nest with Egg White, Crab Meat & Superior Soup ($68/person), where the collagen-packed soup is served separately to highlight the sublime flavours that result after braising Chinese ham, old chicken and pork loin for more than six hours. Other must try new meaty creations are the Deep-fried Prawn with Black Truffle Mayonnaise and Broccoli ($35/portion) and the Wok-fried Iberico Pork with Home-style Spiced Sauce ($30/portion) which features strips of tantalising pork encased in a crisp yam basket amid black beans and vegetables.
For those hankering after classics from the old menu, the Executive Set Lunch ($68/person) offers dim sum such as Steamed Pork Siew Mai, Jellyfish, Roast Pork, and Deep-fried Prawn with special Salted Egg Sauce. Unfortunately the prawn wasn’t as crispy as we would have liked it to be, but the crackling on the cube of roast pork more than makes up for the disappointment there. The menu also includes Wong’s classic main of Baked Cod Fish with Egg White, and a very comforting soupy dish of Assorted Seafood, Superior Soup and Rice.
End on a sweet note with the newly added Chilled Coconut Pudding with Purple Glutinous Rice Sauce ($10/person) or the lighter Double-boiled Peach Resin with Red Dates ($16/person), which is delicious either hot or cold. If you are a durian fan, order Wong’s new Deep-fried Crispy Durian for its creamy interior ensconced in a crunchy exterior ($16/4 pieces). It’s no surprise that the restaurant fills up fast over both lunch and dinner, and unfortunately service falls short when things get busy, so expect lengthy waits from time to time. But when such bountiful ingredients are in play, sometimes it’s ok to linger over a meal and enjoy the pleasures of near faultless cooking. 320 Orchard Road, Marriott Tang Plaza. Tel: 6831 4605
Average dinner bill for two, with drinks: $220
Must-tries: Spicy Hong Kong Style Bi Feng Tang Deep-fried Iberico Pork with Fried Garlic, Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Black Truffle and Cordyceps Flower, and Chilled Coconut Pudding with Purple Glutinous Rice Sauce
Book a table at Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant with Chope.