Fine Dining

Yanxi 宴喜 @ Chin Swee

They claimed to win the Asian Gourmet Chef 2018 of Dim Sum if there’s such a thing. But Executive Chef Ben Yapp’s dim sum creations are definitely a work of art as well as good eats.

Chefs with accolades

The introduction to Yanxi focused on how each one of the two executive chefs has earned their stripes from different culinary competitions around the world. Executive Chef Chan Wai Keong (ex-Mott 32) was “known” as the “Chef God” 厨神 and Executive Chef Ben Yapp (ex-Fullerton Bay) of the dim sum department was an international award winning dimsum chef. But how difficult is hotpot? There’s an ala carte menu, but it was the dimsum menu that dazzled.

Quail Egg & Bonito Flakes Siew Mai 木鱼花松露鹌鹑蛋烧卖

Quail Egg & Bonito Flakes Siew Mai 木鱼花松露鹌鹑蛋烧卖

Each siew mai was presented like a basket of goodies, with an entire quail egg, truffle pesto and bonito flakes topped with the traditional minced prawn. A good start with this steamed dim sum.

Teochew Style Steamed Cod Fish, Tomato, Mushroom And Preserved Vegetable Dumpling 潮州蒸鱼饺

Teochew Style Steamed Cod Fish, Tomato, Mushroom And Preserved Vegetable Dumpling 潮州蒸鱼饺

It’s an eclectic mix of ingredient that has nothing to do with the traditional Teochew dumpling. Even the appearance did not suggest anything Teochew except for the translucent dumpling skin. I could not taste the tomato.

肉骨茶小笼汤包 Bak Kut Teh Xiao Long Bao

肉骨茶小笼汤包 Bak Kut Teh Xiao Long Bao

This xiaolongbao (Shanghainese soup dumpling) surprised me that it worked perfectly – innovative yet one can still relates to its origin. The successful xiaolongbao needed three things – super thin skin with intricate folds that does not disintegrate when taken from the steamer using chopsticks; a scalding hot mouthful of soup in the dumpling; a wonderfully delicious pork filling. Chef Ben has fulfilled all three, and the soup was replaced with bak kut teh instead of a pork consommé, the local pork rib broth did not seem out of place in this xiaolongbao. Highly recommended.

红尘贵妃笑 Imperial Shrimp Paste With Salted Egg Custard

贵妃笑 Concubine’s Smile is a varietal of the lychee that can be found South China that once was transported to Changan (modern day Xian) just to win the simple smile of the Emperor’s favourite concubine. Since it is associated to the best thing in life for your love ones, and this salted egg yolk custard puff was made with this in mind. The luxurious salted egg yolk custard was filled in a shrimp paste ball encrusted with bread crumbs dyed red that when deep fried resembled a lychee. Beautifully presented in an artificial branch to resemble the sought-after fruit. Beautiful and delicious.

Netted Prawn & Tobiko, Spinach Infused Rice Roll 苋菜脆皮鲜虾肠粉

Netted Prawn & Tobiko, Spinach Infused Rice Roll 苋菜脆皮鲜虾肠粉

OK, I cannot decided whether place this under the category of Cantonese rice roll 肠粉 or Hokkien popiah 薄饼. Netted Prawn & Tobiko, Spinach Infused Rice Roll 苋菜脆皮鲜虾肠粉 is their take on 炸两 (ja léung). Either or, this was not tasty as it was too dry to be a rice roll and too wet to be a popiah.

Cold Poached Chicken In Handcrafted Chuan Xiang Sauce 川香口水鸡

Cold Poached Chicken In Handcrafted Chuan Xiang Sauce 川香口水鸡

Cold Poached Chicken In Handcrafted Chuan Xiang Sauce 川香口水鸡 is made without alteration from the Sichuan style, and quite authentic as that.

芝士白汁蜗牛酥 Escargot Puff With Cheese And White Sauce

芝士白汁蜗牛酥 Escargot Puff With Cheese And White Sauce

The soil was made with crushed Oreo biscuits, the snails were made with puff pastry and stuffed with escargots which are, as the shape implied, snails. Think of them as escargot cheese and bergamot puffs instead of curry chicken puffs. Came with a spicy dip which was totally unnecessary.

General Tso’s Chicken 花香烟熏左宗棠鸡

General Tso’s Chicken 花香烟熏左宗棠鸡

There’s a documentary made about General Tso’s Chicken 左宗棠鸡, in which the original Hunan chef that came up with this called it a nonsensical American Chinese food. I tried it in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, New York, Atlanta, and everyone of them tasted different. One thing was constant – deep fried chicken pieces coated with a sweet, sour, sometime fiery stick sauce just like buffalo wings. This was exactly that, an American fast food coming back to haunt us in a Chinese restaurant.

Crispy Gold Dusted Black Tofu 脆皮黑金豆腐

Crispy Gold Dusted Black Tofu 脆皮黑金豆腐

No wonder purple is considered the colour of royalty. The purple paper towel used to hold the black tofu caught my eyes when this dish was presented on the table. I was bedazzled by the colours on this place that I forgave the rather bland tasting deep fried tofu.

Stir-fry broccoli 蒜香西兰花
MICHELIN Herbal Seafood Ee Fu Noodles

And the next two courses were just run-of-the-mill stir-fry vegetable and a noodles dish to herald in the next highlight of the meal – the desserts. The ee fu noodles came from the Michelin-dreaming Mott 32 that Chef Chan heralded from. Usually desserts in a Chinese meal are quite boring. Yanxi has made it something to look forward to.

菠萝蜜仙露拼洋参菊花糕 Jackfruit Sago With Ginseng Chrysanthemum Jelly

菠萝蜜仙露拼洋参菊花糕 Jackfruit Sago With Ginseng Chrysanthemum Jelly

This instagrammable dessert is Michelin-worthy with two very traditional Cantonese desserts plated together. 菠萝蜜仙露拼洋参菊花糕 Jackfruit Sago With Ginseng Chrysanthemum Jelly took the 杨枝甘露 Sago with Mango and Pomelo and combined with the 桂花糕 Osmantheus jelly. This new combination surpassed the traditional and yet gave me that reassuring finish in a Chinese banquet.

3.6 Hokkaido Milk Charcoal Egg Tart 北海道鲜奶竹炭芝士烤塔

Hokkaido Milk Charcoal Egg Tart 北海道鲜奶竹炭芝士烤塔

The inspiration for this next dessert came from the Portuguese egg tarts made famous by Stow’s Bakery in Macau featuring a Portuguese-style charcoal-infused shell, English-style Hokkaido milk custard, and burnt cheese topping. I would prefer the shell to be crustier. Yes 3.6 was on the menu, referring to the famous milk Hokkaido.

蜜芒雪媚娘 Mango Mochi

蜜芒雪媚娘 Mango Mochi

Daifukumochi 大福饼 has a very beautiful Chinese name called 雪媚娘 “Beautiful lady in the snow”. The exterior of the daifuku is a sweet, chewy rice skin and it is usually wrapped in crème fraîche with seasonal fruits like strawberries. Here, it was mango with mango mousse on a bed of crushed Oreo biscuits.

Afterthoughts

Can a restaurant function without celebrity chefs these days? Why would every restaurant try to sell the chef’s accolades and not its food? Yanxi was quite a turn-off because of the over-selling of the chefs. But my opinion changed when I tried the dim sums. They were very good and innovative, and the superlatives for the chefs were not needed. Also the service staff at Yanxi was fantastic, very friendly and always there to help with your requests no matter how ridiculous. Recommend to go their dim sum.

Yanxi Dim Sum & Hotpot 宴喜
175A Chin Swee Road, Singapore 169879
Tel : +65 8858 9711

Visited in Jun 2022

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