Popular restaurants for Chinese New Year reunion dinner filling up fast

Ku De Ta’s Signature Yusheng and Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant’s Stir-fried abalone, dried oyster, chinese sausage & mustard greens (above). -- PHOTO: MAJESTIC BAY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Ku De Ta’s Signature Yusheng and Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant’s Stir-fried abalone, dried oyster, chinese sausage & mustard greens (above). -- PHOTO: MAJESTIC BAY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Ku De Ta’s Signature Yusheng (above) and Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant’s Stir-fried abalone, dried oyster, chinese sausage & mustard greens. -- PHOTO: KU DE TA SINGAPORE
Ku De Ta’s Signature Yusheng (above) and Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant’s Stir-fried abalone, dried oyster, chinese sausage & mustard greens. -- PHOTO: KU DE TA SINGAPORE
Summer Palace’s Nutritious Bird’s Nest And Pear Yusheng and Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Prosperity Suckling Pig stuffed with glutinous rice (above). -- PHOTO: SI CHUAN DOU HUA
Summer Palace’s Nutritious Bird’s Nest And Pear Yusheng and Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Prosperity Suckling Pig stuffed with glutinous rice (above). -- PHOTO: SI CHUAN DOU HUA
Summer Palace’s Nutritious Bird’s Nest And Pear Yusheng (above) and Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Prosperity Suckling Pig stuffed with glutinous rice. -- PHOTO: THE REGENT SINGAPORE
Summer Palace’s Nutritious Bird’s Nest And Pear Yusheng (above) and Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Prosperity Suckling Pig stuffed with glutinous rice. -- PHOTO: THE REGENT SINGAPORE
Peony Jade’s goat-shaped deep-fried glutinous rice with minced pork and mushroom and Man Fu Yuan’s Salmon and Japanese Hokkigai Yusheng with Ponzu Sauce (above). -- PHOTO: INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE
Peony Jade’s goat-shaped deep-fried glutinous rice with minced pork and mushroom and Man Fu Yuan’s Salmon and Japanese Hokkigai Yusheng with Ponzu Sauce (above). -- PHOTO: INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE
Peony Jade’s goat-shaped deep-fried glutinous rice with minced pork and mushroom (above) and Man Fu Yuan’s Salmon and Japanese Hokkigai Yusheng with Ponzu Sauce. -- PHOTO: PEONY JADE
Peony Jade’s goat-shaped deep-fried glutinous rice with minced pork and mushroom (above) and Man Fu Yuan’s Salmon and Japanese Hokkigai Yusheng with Ponzu Sauce. -- PHOTO: PEONY JADE
Jade Restaurant’s Eight Happiness Gold Rush Yusheng with champagne jelly, salmon, olive oil and peach dressing. -- PHOTO: THE FULLERTON HOTEL SINGAPORE
Jade Restaurant’s Eight Happiness Gold Rush Yusheng with champagne jelly, salmon, olive oil and peach dressing. -- PHOTO: THE FULLERTON HOTEL SINGAPORE

Popular restaurants for reunion dinner are filling up fast

Chinese New Year is more than six weeks away, but anyone hoping to have reunion dinner in a restaurant on Feb 18 should book now. Many popular Chinese restaurants and zi char eateries are filling up quickly, with several fully booked.

Hua Ting Restaurant at Orchard Hotel has been fully booked for Chinese New Year Eve dinner since last July. About 40 per cent of its customers made reservations for this year when they were having reunion dinner last year.

Other fully booked places include Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant at Carlton Hotel, Yan Ting at The St Regis Singapore and zi char restaurant Keng Eng Kee in Alexandra Village.

Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel has tables only on its alfresco terrace. Wan Hao Cantonese Restaurant at Singapore Marriott Hotel is full for its first seating at 6pm and so is Jiang-nan Chun at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. Both have limited space for their second seatings. All three hotels will also offer reunion dinners at their ballrooms. Hai Tien Lo at Pan Pacific Singapore is almost full, while about 90 per cent of the restaurants run by the TungLok Group are at capacity too.

Of the 45 restaurants SundayLife! spoke to, most say menu prices are up by between 5 and 25 per cent this year, due to the higher price of premium ingredients such as seafood and Chinese delicacies, as well as the rising cost of manpower.

Restaurants which need to hire more staff over the festive period to cope with the increased number of seatings say this also contributes to higher prices.

A spokesman for The Regent Singapore says the price of lobster and pea shoots has increased by about 10 per cent, while Tao Seafood Asia's owner Adrian Lee, 36, says the price of fish maw from New Zealand has jumped about 20 per cent since last year.

The price of bird's nest, mostly from Vietnam and Indonesia, has increased by 8 to 10 per cent, says Four Seasons Hotel director of food and beverage Lee Kelly.

Prices of such ingredients typically increase in the lead-up to Chinese New Year due to higher demand, as items such as fish maw and abalone are viewed as auspicious.

In addition to traditional offerings of seafood, lamb and mutton dishes also feature on many menus to coincide with the Chinese zodiac of the Goat. These include herbal tonic mutton soup, lamb shank, and lamb with sliced ginger and spring onion.

SundayLife! lists the restaurants that are filling up quickly, as well as other options such as Chinese, modern Asian and seafood restaurants, for the reunion dinner.

rltan@sph.com.sg

euniceq@sph.com.sg


RESTAURANTS FILLING UP FAST

PEONY JADE

What: Themed 8 Rhapsodies Of Spring, new dishes on the festive menu include baked rack of lamb with deep-fried yam strips seasoned with truffle oil ($78.88, serves up to six diners); Flourishing Fortune, steamed black-eyed pea cake with golden pumpkin, Jinhua ham, dried shrimps and mushrooms ($38.88); and Prosperity And Smooth-sailing, goat-shaped deep-fried glutinous rice with minced pork and mushroom ($9.88 for three).

Where: Keppel Club, Bukit Chermin Road, Peony Jade Function Hall; Block 3A Clarke Quay, 02-02

When: On the eve at both outlets: 6.15 to 7.30pm, 8.30 to 10.30pm; 4.30 to 5.30pm (Keppel Club outlet only). Open throughout Chinese New Year.

Info: Call 6276-9138 (Keppel Club) or 6338-0305 (Clarke Quay)

MAN FU YUAN

What: Enjoy the new salmon and Japanese Hokkigai yusheng ($98+ or $148+) served with ponzu sauce, Japanese surf clams, salmon, fried vermicelli, shredded vegetables and topped with gold flakes. Executive chef Kwan Yiu Kan has created a special yusheng platter (additional $688++) for gatherings of up to 30 diners. Complete the meal with mango and pineapple-flavoured koi fish nian gao ($56+).

Where: InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road

When: Two seatings on the eve: 5.45 to 7.45pm, 8.15 to 10pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year.

Info: Call 6338-7600

KENG ENG KEE SEAFOOD

What: Two set menus available: $428 or $528 for eight to 10 diners. Dishes include yusheng, shark's fin and Marmite pork ribs.

Where: Block 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, 01-136

When: Only one seating on the eve, from 8.45pm. Closed on the first two days of Chinese New Year.

Info: Call 6272-1038

KIMLY LIVE SEAFOOD

What: Highlights on the popular zi char restaurant's menu include steamed marble goby in fragrant celery sauce; crispy yam with salted egg crab; steamed kampung chicken with rose wine; and fried mee sua with salted fish and shredded duck. Set menus start from $288+ for six people, available from Feb 6 to March 5.

Where: Tradehub 21, 18 Boon Lay Way, 01-98

When: Three seatings on Chinese New Year's Eve at 5, 7 and 9pm. Closed on the first day of Chinese New Year.

Info: Call 6686-4665

BLUE LOTUS CHINESE EATING HOUSE

What: Each of the three set menus (from $88++, minimum four people) start off with tea-smoked salmon yusheng with Japanese cabbage, sweet pomelo, salmon skin and white bait. Highlights include deep-fried marble goby with pickled chilli sauce; braised pig trotter with jus; wok-fried Kagoshima wagyu beef with peppercorn; and chilli pomelo crab claw. Lunch bookings made till Jan 31 for festive set menus (20 people and above) get a complimentary suckling pig. OCBC card members enjoy this offer till Feb 16.

Where: Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way, 01-13

When: Two seatings at 6 and 8.30pm on the eve. Closed on the first two days of Chinese New Year. Set menus from Feb 1 to March 5.

Info: Call 6339-0880

JADE RESTAURANT

What: Enjoy the signature Eight Happiness Gold Rush Yusheng with champagne jelly, salmon, olive oil and peach dressing (from $68++ to $138++ a person). Other highlights include sauteed lobster with chicken floss and spiced fragrant salt ($88++ for a 700g lobster); poached minced fish and mutton fortune dumpling.

Where: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square

When: Only second seating available on the eve at 8.30 to 10.30pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year.

Info: Call 6877-8188

WAN HAO

What: Five set menus (from $118++ a person) and a festive a la carte menu are available. Highlights include lobster yusheng; deluxe abalone pen cai with three-head abalone, conpoy, fish maw and sea cucumber; double-boiled supreme bird's nest in whole chicken; and stewed ee-fu noodles with lobster.

Where: Singapore Marriott Hotel, 320 Orchard Road

When: Limited slots for second seating available on the eve from 8.30 to 10.30pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year.

Info: Call 6831-4605

JOYDEN CANTON KITCHEN

What: The restaurant's main outlet at West Coast is almost fully booked. Highlights at this sister outlet include wok-fried tiger prawns with caramelised walnuts in citrus sauce and imperial song-zi garoupa and pine nuts in sweet and sour sauce.

Where: HillV2 Shopping Centre, 4 Hillview Rise, 02-21

When: Two seatings on the eve at 5.30 and 8pm. Closed on the first day of Chinese New Year and closed for lunch on the second day.

Info: Call 6465-9988

CHINESE RESTAURANTS

SUMMER PALACE

What: Festive dishes include Peach Blossoms In The Snow ($150++ a serving) - scrambled egg whites and lobster crowned with a confetti of crisp conpoy; and Nutritious Bird's Nest And Pear Yusheng ($148++). Other items include Mini Buddha Jumps Over The Wall; Braised Superior Bird's Nest With Lobster And Gold Leaf and nian gao. Set menus start at $478++ for four people or $988++ for 10 people.

Where: The Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Level 3

When: Two seatings on the eve: 6 to 8pm and 8.30 to 10.30pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: 6725-3288 or 6725-3289

CRYSTAL JADE PALACE RESTAURANT

What: Expect dishes such as home-style herbal tonic mutton soup ($48++ a serving); sauteed lamb cubes with sliced garlic ($40++ a serving); and Golden Happiness Fruit Yusheng ($128++), a twist to traditional yusheng with starfruit, rock melon, pomelo, mango and deep-fried yam strips, among other ingredients. A set menu for 10 people starts at $1,798++.

Where: Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road, 04-19

When: Two seatings on the eve, 6 and 8pm. Closed on the first two days of Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6735-2388

PU TIEN

What: The restaurant chain, which specialises in cuisine from Pu Tien in Fujian Province, will serve items such as Treasure Pot with sea cucumber, dried bamboo clams, pork belly and trotters, and housemade beancurd; and Stewed Yellow Croaker fish. Set menus start at $148++ for four people.

Where: Nine outlets including Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard, 02-205; Vivo City, 1 Harbourfront Walk, 02-131; and Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central 5, B1-27

When: On the eve, three seatings for groups of seven or more: 4 to 5.30pm, 6 to 7.30pm and 8 to 9.30pm. For smaller groups, there are four seatings: 4 to 5.15pm, 5.45 to 6.30pm, 7 to 8.15pm and 8.30 to 9.45pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6336-4068 (Marina Square), 6376-9358 (VivoCity), 6781-2162 (Tampines Mall) or go www.putien.com

SI CHUAN DOU HUA

What: Dishes include Prosperity Suckling Pig stuffed with glutinous rice ($328, only at UOB Plaza, order one day in advance); sliced roast lamb with celery and carrots ($68); Golden Lamb Prosperity Yusheng with crispy rice grains coated in gold flakes ($88); and pan-fried soy milk new year cake.

Where: Three outlets, at UOB Plaza, 80 Raffles Place, 60-01; Parkroyal on Beach Road, 7500 Beach Road; and Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, 181 Kitchener Road

When: Two seatings on the eve: 6 to 8pm and 8.30 to 10.30pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6535-6006 (UOB Plaza), 6505-5722 (Beach Road), 6428-3170 (Kitchener Road) or go to www.sichuandouhua.com

MIN JIANG AT ONE-NORTH

What: Tuck into an Assorted Fruit And Vegetables Lo Hei yusheng, made with ingredients such as dragonfruit, mango, rock melon, cucumber, yam and sweet potato as well as nuts and sesame seeds. Other dishes include Braised Pork Belly In Tianjin Cabbage Roll With Sea Treasures.

Where: 5 Rochester Park

When: Two seatings on the eve: 6 to 8pm and 8.30 to 10.30pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6774-0122

MODERN ASIAN

KU DE TA

What: Executive chef Frederic Faucheux draws on Chinese and Singaporean influences in his Lunar New Year menu. Highlights include Dynamite Butter prawn in a spicy cereal and creamy butter sauce; five-spice braised pig ears with wasabi coleslaw; crispy Peking duck breast with hoisin sauce and kumquat chutney; and the signature yusheng with scallop, tuna and salmon sashimi.

Where: Ku De Ta, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, Bayfront Avenue

When: Two seatings on the eve: 6 to 8.30pm and 8.30 to 11pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6688-7688

SEAFOOD

COVE99

What: Choose from three seven-course menus (from $399++), with dishes such as braised whole abalone with black moss and seasonal vegetables; braised Boston lobster with truffles; and yusheng with whole baby abalone, sliced black truffles, salmon and geoduck sashimi and gold flakes.

Where: 72 Peck Seah Street

When: Three seatings on the eve: 4 to 5.30pm, 6 to 8pm and 8 to 10.30pm. Get free yusheng with salmon sashimi and 10 per cent off when you book the 4pm seating. Closed on the first two days of Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6224-0991

MAJESTIC BAY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

What: Choose from a variety of set menus (from $388). Highlights include empurau yusheng; steamed live soon hock; baked Australian lobster with Shanghai rice cake; and stir-fried abalone, dried oysters, Chinese sausage and mustard greens. A dim sum ($68 a person) and vegetarian set menu ($60 a person) are also available.

Where: Gardens By The Bay (below Flower Dome), 18 Marina Gardens Drive, 01-10

When: Two seatings on the eve: 5.30 and 7.30pm. Closed on the first day of Chinese New Year. Set menus are available from Feb 9 to March 4

Info: Call 6604-6604

BUFFET

CAFE BRIO'S

What: Chinese New Year-themed dishes include crispy prawn fried with salted egg and curry leaf; braised fatt choy, dried oyster with sea cucumber and Chinese mushrooms; pork knuckle stew served with garlic, baby yam, chestnut and mushrooms. The buffet (from Feb 9 to March 5) costs $48.88 (weekday and Sunday lunch), $66.88 (Monday to Thursday, except Chinese New Year eve dinner), $72.88 (Friday to Sunday dinner), $98.88 (Chinese New Year Eve dinner) and $44.88 (high tea barbecue on Saturday, 2 to 5pm).

Where: Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, 392 Havelock Road

When: Noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 10pm daily. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6233-1100

WINDOW ON THE PARK

What: Enjoy dishes such as salmon yusheng; braised pearl abalone on broccoli; and stir-fried chicken morel with spring ginger in kumquat orange sauce. Buffet lunch costs $38 nett and dinner $48 nett.

Where: Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, 11 Cavenagh Road, Level Two

When: Noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10pm on Chinese New Year Eve, Day One, Feb 25 and March 5

Info: Call 6730-0192

ZI CHAR

TWO CHEFS

What:Reunion meals start from $188 for six people. Dishes include yusheng and crab meat shark's fin. A deposit of $50 to $100 is required, depending on the set menu booked.

Where: Block 116 Commonwealth Crescent, 01-129

When: Three seatings on the eve at 5, 7 and 9pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6472-5361

SIN HOI SAI

What: Set menus start at $388++ for 10 people. It includes treasure pot with abalone and prawns; yusheng and dessert.

Where: Block 55, Tiong Bahru Road, 01-59

When: Two seatings on the eve at 6.30 and 8.30pm. Open throughout Chinese New Year

Info: Call 6223-0810