My first encounter with Chef Melvin Lim's creation of Ah Hood Burger was during the Ultimate Hawker Festival 2014. It was a combination of Savoury Kong Ba Bao and Salted Egg Yolk Lobster Crab Cake with Curry Mayonnaise. I was impressed by its creativity and the tastiness of its creation.
So when we were looking for a place for a friends' gathering, we decided to give Flavours of Zhongshan a try. The Chef had just recently came out with a Semi Buffet Zichar. In case you are confused, it is a combination of buffet spread with some ala minute zichar dishes. It is also a fusion style of cooking where the some of the dishes are the meeting between East and West style of cooking.
For starters, we decided to attack the buffet counter. The cold seafood selection have salmon sashimi, prawns, scallops and mussels. The sashimi are fresh and decent. Although the sashimi are not the top of the line, it is good enough. The scallops, mussels and prawns are fresh as well. For the papaya salad and glass noodle salad, Little Devil (LD) feels that it has been toned down to suit the common folks. Unlike the original Thai version.
In the mix salad sections you can choose from the local version of DIY Rojak or the Ceasar Salad, the western version. We tried the local version, we find the Rojak paste is quite tasty. There was even an oven to toast the you tiao. On that day, they have western version of suckling pig. Although the meat is tender, the skin was very disappointing. It has become 'lembek' (Indonesian word soft, chewy and tough).
The pre-cooked dishes are combination of local flavours such as beef rendang, babi pongteh, Bak Kut Teh, steam pork ribs, scallops dumpling and kueh paitee. The one that impressed me the most is the Beef Rendang. It basically melts in your mouth and rich in flavour. So far it is the best dish for the night. The BKT is not far behind, the peppery broth provide a good wake up call for the appetite.
|From Top Left Clockwise: Suckling Pig, Beef Rendang, Scallops Dumpling, Kueh Paitee,|
Bak Kut Teh & Babi Pongteh
Now, for the ZiChar part of the meal. For entree, we were served Crispy Beer Marinated Pork Belly, Deep Fried Scallops Tofu with Seaweed Salad and Baked Miso Cod. The pork belly was tender and well flavoured by the beer marinate, however the skin was not crispy, instead it was chewy. The scallops was moist internally, really complement the light and crispy batter. Meanwhile the cod fish was just tasty and cooked just right.
Next we can choose two out of three for beef, pork and chicken. We decided on Black Pepper Beef and Pork in Red Wine Honey Ginger. The beef was just tender, succulent with a little bit of heat coming from the black pepper sauce. Although the pork was considerably tender but the taste was just quite ordinary for me.
For seafood, we have Butter Cereal Prawn and Fish in Flavours Signature Sauce. The prawns were fresh and the dish was just fragrant. It will be better if the prawns are more crispy, so we can just ate the skin without peeling it. The signature sauce was good, however there was slightly unpleasant taste in the fish.
Sauteed Kailan with Hae Bee Hiam was the pick for vegetables and Fried Rice with “Stoccafisso” Salted cod to round up the CiZhar dishes. I did not manage to try the vegetables, but from others they commented that the Hae Bee Hiam lacks of punch. The fried rice got a decent wok hei, it has a subtle saltiness from the cod fish.
Desserts from the buffet with choices of soft serve ice cream, Peranakan desserts & Shots, cakes, French Pastries and Tau Suan. I was totally stuffed, so I end up with only with Durian pengat shot, which was packs with durian flavours and well-balanced with gula melaka; And some fresh fruits. One of our friend commented that the soft serve ice cream tasted more like a full whipped cream instead of ice cream.
|From Top Left Clockwise: French and Peranakan Pastries; Fresh fruits, Jelly Shots and Durian Pengat;|
Soft serve ice cream; And Durian Pengat Shot
The décor of the place is bright with a combination of modern with Peranakan flair. Lots of flower were used to decorate the table or divider between seats.
Service was very good. The service staff was friendly and attentive. Although we have a bit of mix up during the reservation, the restaurant gracefully corrected the mistake.
Overall, Flavours at Zhongsan Park provide a good spread for its ZiChar semi buffet. While it is good trying to impress customer with ZiChar dishes, but most of the dishes are ordinary and lacks a 'ohm' taste. With the exception for the beef rendang, baked cod fish from amuse bouche and durian pengat shots, the only other memorable thing for me are the friendliness of the service staff. There are lots of room for improvements, I do hope it can be done soon. Cheers!!
Food & Drink: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50, $51 – 80.
$40++ per adult, $20++ per child (4 - 12 years of age)
$48++ per adult, $24++ per child (4 - 12 years of age)