Food Picks: Si Chuan Dou Hua, Tempura Tendon Tenya, Milkfish

The full-bodied, double-boiled Japanese black garlic Kanto sea cucumber soup is packed with ingredients, flavour and natural sweetness.
The full-bodied, double-boiled Japanese black garlic Kanto sea cucumber soup is packed with ingredients, flavour and natural sweetness.PHOTO: SI CHUAN DOU HUA RESTAURANTS

Si Chuan Dou Hua's tasting menu from new chef

Savour refined Cantonese fare by Si Chuan Dou Hua's new executive Cantonese chef Hoo Chee Keong, 38.

Formerly from the likes of Chinese restaurants Mott 32 and Majestic Restaurant, he has been running the kitchen at the restaurant chain's UOB Plaza outlet since April 1.

His repertoire is best showcased in the six-course tasting menu ($88++).

Start with the refreshing Three Delicacies Combination platter, which comprises chilled housemade bean curd with century egg; crispy fish skin with fish roe; and shredded celtuce with sake and fresh crab meat.

I love a good soup, and the full-bodied, double-boiled Japanese black garlic Kanto sea cucumber soup ($38++ a person) is my favourite from the menu. It is packed with ingredients, flavour and natural sweetness from the black garlic.

The mains are Instagram-worthy - deep-fried cod with a tangy passionfruit sauce ($22++ a person), followed by spare ribs ($18++ a person) smoked with apple and lychee wood.

I could slurp up bowls of the braised vermicelli with fresh clams and bittergourd ($12++ a person, or $24++ a portion for two to three people), where the soup stock gets it sweetness from the juicy clams.

The dishes are also available on the a la carte menu. Other highlights include deep-fried cod with cordyceps flower in housemade soya bean stock ($26++ a person), and braised Boston lobster pearl rice and crispy rice toppings ($68++ a portion, good for three to four people).

Chef Hoo is off to a great start and I'm excited to try more of his offerings.

Where: Si Chuan Dou Hua, 60-01 UOB Plaza 1, 80 Raffles Place
Mrt: Raffles Place
Open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily
Tel: 6535-6006
Info: E-mail top@sichuandouhua.com

Salmon tendon at Tenya


The new items will be introduced at Tempura Tendon Tenya's Orchard Central outlet from July 14. PHOTO: TEMPURA TENDON TENYA

Two new items will get me going back to tendon specialist Tempura Tendon Tenya's second outlet, which opened on Wednesday (July 7) at Ion Orchard.

While it sounds ordinary, the Salmon Tendon ($14.90) does not have just tempura salmon. It comes with a plump Hiroshima oyster, Camembert cheese, mashed potato and ohba (perilla leaf) - all coated in a light tempura batter and fried to perfection.

Yes, fried cheese and mashed potato are the ingredients I never realised were missing from the tendon I've eaten all these years.

Add $6 for the new spicy cold Inaniwa udon, available only as part of a set meal. The chewy udon is served in a sauce and topped with crunchy goodies such as crispy tempura batter, cucumber strips, Japanese leek and sakura ebi. Taberu layu (red pepper and garlic seasoned oil) adds a hint of gentle heat.

The new items will be introduced at its Orchard Central outlet from July 14.

Classics are available on the menu, such as the signature Tenya Tendon ($8.50) and Kakiage Tendon ($8.90).

Where: Tempura Tendon Tenya, B4-56 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn
Mrt: Orchard
Open: 11am to 10pm daily
Info: Click here

Milkfish's seafood soup


Go for the signature soup set ($16.80), which comes with a choice of rice or noodles, two side dishes and a drink. PHOTO: MILKFISH

Casual restaurant Milkfish may be new to the food scene, but its partner Ao Broth is known for its all-natural soup without monosodium glutamate or preservatives.

Go for the signature soup set ($16.80), which comes with a choice of rice or noodles, two side dishes and a drink.

I get a good portion of sliced red snapper, one prawn, a housemade minced pork patty, clams, vegetables and tofu.

The broth - sans milk - gets its fairly creamy consistency from slow-cooking for more than eight hours. It is light and neither fishy nor oily.

I like the sides as well - marinated chilled tomatoes and an "Oriental salad" which reminds me of the version by restaurant chain Din Tai Fung.

It is a bold move to sell a hawker dish at restaurant prices and to open in a mall where the rent is higher. However, you get quality ingredients, and Ao Broth usually prices its soup packs from $14 for 500ml.

For a more fancy option, go for the Premium Soup set ($32.80), which includes half a lobster, an abalone and scallop.

Where: Milkfish, B1-44F Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road
Mrt: City Hall
Open: 11am to 9pm (Sundays to Thursdays), 11am to 9.30pm (Fridays and Saturdays)
Tel: 6254-4946
Info: Click here