The wife has already knew what she wanted to try, the “Journey To The West” six-course menu before we arrived. To be respectful, we ask what mum wanted to eat. After flipping the menu over and everyone had a chance to view it, mum asked any ideas? What would be good? Aha, the sentence the wife has been waiting for. Let’s try the Journey To The West menu ok?
What’s this Journey To The West menu? Ms Lim (she was wearing a name tag) the service staff who was attending to us said that this menu has been in the planning for 9 over months by Chef Alan Chan and the restaurant manager. They tested with various ingredients for the various dishes to come up with their interpretation based on the literary legend “Journey To The West” 西游记 (Xīyóu jì). Each dish has a story. The menu looks like those secret manuals we watch on TV. The hand bound book with the distinct blue cover!
The meal service started with tea served in those cups with covers just like in the ancient drama serials.
The starter was individual portions of pickled wong bok. It’s like a Chinese version of Kimchi. Not as spicy and pungent as the Korean ones. It’s more subtle in taste and very addictive!
After a while, the first course was served:
东海龙宫奇珍异宝 (Dōnghǎi lónggōng qí zhēn yì bǎo)
The service staff that serves us the dishes will first tell us how the Chef comes out with this dish and how it relates to Journey to the West and they are really enthusiastic in telling you the story. You wish you have read these classics to fully understand them!
It was told to us in Chinese so I can’t really catch all of it. It’s about Sun Wu Kong (Monkey God) going to some Tong Hai. Tong Hai or the Eastern Sea is where these treasures of the seas is found. This is not the full story, my Chinese is ‘half past six’.
The first course is a seafood combination platter with 3 parts. This is the Alaskan Crab. 2-3 pieces of the claws had been peel out nicely. It’s beautifully wrapped around in a thinly sliced cucumber and topped with some caviar and gold leaf. Very nice!
The middle of the platter is the Chilled Abalone that has been braised with Japanese wine. It’s so nicely prepared and tasty. One of the nicer abalones I had in 2013! It’s a 6 head abalone.
The chef has actually sliced the abalone so that you can just pick it up and eat with your chopsticks. They have sliced it so nicely you don’t notice it has been sliced until you stare at it!
The 3rd part is slow cooked lobster with passion fruit sauce. So well done, you just put it in your mouth and enjoy. We were wondering what was the green tangy tasting salad below it. Some of us said it tasted like apple and some guava, it’s because we ate it all together with the lobster and sauce. Then we confirmed with the service staff. It’s a combination of apple and guava that has been thinly sliced! Nice combi!
花果山孙猴泡汤乐 (Huā guǒ shān sūn hóu pàotāng lè)
The story telling continues. We did not catch it all, but we understood it when we were there. A few days later we forgot the story, so I can’t retell it here. It was something about monkeys fooling around some Hua Gua Shan.
The dish is a double-boiled monkey head mushroom soup with chicken, fig and sea coconut. The monkey head mushroom has a very nice texture, it’s spongy and it suppose to be great in medicinal value. I never had sea coconut in soups before and no it was not sweet like in desserts, this soup doesn’t take like thick syrup dessert, but the usual Cantonese Soup.
(We will probably have this combination when we visit our parents for meals soon. )
The next dish came in a gourd shape vessel. It had dry ice below it as well, so it was ‘smokey’ when it was served to the table. A very impressive appearance.
Out of curiosity, we asked if the story telling can be told in English, giving the excuse our Dad doesn’t understand it, unless you speak Baba Malay. No problem! This guy that served us told it to us in halting English, but we were so happy we understood it!
The story is about Sun Wu Kong not invited to some Empress party and he got angry and made a big fuss and destroyed the party. I did not take notes, we were just anticipating the food and the taste, so I can’t remember exactly the story, but Sun Wu Kong apparently stole some pills that made him immortal.
This was the ‘pill’. It was such a delicious pill.
It’s a braised seafood ball with carrot broth. It was a mix of prawns, fish and it’s like a big Siu Mai but tasted much better and there sweetish carrot broth complements it. It’s nice and warm. Don’t wait too long to eat it. There’s dry ice below the gourd and somehow it cools the bottom and the sauce gets cold. I can eat a few of these pills!
It was a story about some Princess, some ‘Fan’ that she has is able to extinguish some fire. Sun Wu Kong is trying to trick her to give him the fan. The Princess’ husband is Niu Mo Wang. The something about Sun Wo Kong hitting Niu Mo Wang with some stick. (OK, I am bad in telling the story)
We just can’t wait to tuck into such a beautiful dish. The platter has been painted with gold paint. The ones that they use in pastries. This is sous vide short rib served with Chef’s sauce. It’s quite a huge piece of beef and we were so happy to poke our folks to the fork tender beef.
If you fancy some gold paint, you can slide your beef along the plate and have gold plated beef!
This is really good. I am still thinking about this now.
I can’t remember the story by now. It was a bit too much Chinese Literature over a few hours. We wondered how the service staff can remembered so much details in their story. Our next table ordered something similar and the lady on the next table asked, if they memorized it all? The guy actually said yes! It was easy though for him as he had read them when he was young. OK, we were impressed.
This dish was steamed mixed grain rice with cod and Spanish Chorizo wrapped in bamboo leaf. This was good. The wife just told me as I am typing this, it’s really so so fragrant. Every mouth you eat, you want more of it!
It’s interesting that Chef uses Chorizo in Cantonese cuisine. It’s a spicy rice and one of these days I will try to replicate this without the cod. I have all these ingredients at home. I hand carried some Chorizos back from holidays and it’s all kept in the freezer.
盘丝洞的迷情诱惑 (Pán sī dòng de míqíng yòuhuò)
I have totally forgotten the story for this dish. We were just wowed by the presentation of it. It’s a warm almond cake with red peach soup and vanilla bread pudding ice cream.
The warm almond cake was fragrant as you bite into it, not too sweet too. The soup if we were not told it’s red peach, we would have thought it’s raspberry puree. It’s cold and it goes nicely with the warm cake. The ice cream was of course nice. I have a weakness for ice cream. I did not eat the sugar hair, but I did finish the gold film on top of it.
We giggled when more things came out. It’s a 6 course meal but there was an amuse bouche and petit fours to end. It’s like having French fine dining here! It’s a piece of osmanthus cake and a pineapple tart.
It was a very entertaining meal! Throughout the meal we had story telling and at the end, there was a present too! The service staff brought out a big huge board and ask us to pick a paper that has been stuck on it. Those paper correspond with these bookmarks you see above. All handmade by them!
We were quite happy with the meal. The six-course menu is priced at $138 per person. With the tea and other addons, the bill for the night for us was $840 plus.
We took a brochure and it says this promotion starts on 5 Dec 2013 to 5 January 2014. So it’s 3 more days to go if you are interested in it. Mother in law was won over by the food and the service here.
It’s available Mondays to Saturdays for Lunch (11:30 am to 2:30 pm) and dinner. (6 to 10 pm). On Sundays there’s only the dinner service.
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard
Tel: +65 6831 7220