Sunday, 27 March 2016

Grand Mandarina – New Outlook for 2016 [MEDIA INVITE]

Grand Mandarina

It was more than 18 months ago, I was invited for food tasting in Grand Mandarina Singapore. (Review available here). I still remember vividly of their melt-in-your-mouth Char Siew, Crispy Roast Pork and the stir fried pork neck with glass noodle. It was one of the highlights of my food escapade in 2014.

Executive Chef Eric Yeo and CEO Chef Benson Tong

In 2016, Grand Mandarina will reposition themselves to target more of communal dining, as well as Wedding Banquet. With New CEO, Chef Benson Tong and Executive Chef Eric Yeo, at the helm, Grand Mandarina ('GM') will introduced new items to the menu progressively to tie-in with their current favourite dishes in GM.


Private Room in 2nd Floor

Feeling a sense of deja vu, this tasting session was held in the same room as it was in 2014. The appetizer or more closer to amuse-bouche was the Pickled Mini Tomatoes with Sour Plum and Micro herbs. A combination of sweet and tangy provided a good palate cleanser and arouse your appetite at the same time.

Amuse-Bouche

Steam Vegetarian dumpling with dice assorted mushroom and vegetable in black pepper (野菌蒸素饺 - $4.80 for 3 pcs). An almost transparent crystal skin provide a sneak peak of the fillings of the dumpling. It is springy and the mushroom fillings is juicy yet subtle. The piece of chive is used to tied the dumpling and provide contrasting taste than the mushrooms.

Steam Vegetarian dumpling with dice
assorted mushroom and vegetable in black pepper

Crispy Rice roll filled with smoked shredded duck and bamboo shoot (烟鸭脆肠粉 - $7.50). What a creative dish. The rice rolled is soft and smooth, covered the crispy spring roll skin filled with smoked duck. A soft and crispy combo, that can be eaten by itself, or pour a dash of soya sauce onto it.

Crispy Rice roll filled with smoked shredded duck and bamboo shoot 

Pan-fried bun filled with mince pork and cabbage (椰菜生煎包 - $5.00 for 3 pcs). This remind me of the pan-fried bun in Beijing. Except, the version at GM is less oily. The skin is crisp and flaky, while the fillings of mince pork and cabbage provided a similar taste as the Chinese dumplings.

Pan-fried bun filled with mince pork and cabbage 

From the oven, we have the platter combination of Signature Crystal Char Siew (蜜汁叉燒 - $18), Crackling pork belly (化皮烧腩肉 - $18) and Roasted Duck with summer truffle sauce (黑菌脆皮鸭, - $32 ). The Char Siew itself is definitely worth a visit to GM. It is glossy, sweet and succulent, almost to the point of melting in your mouth. The secret to it is the char siew was cooked to about 95 percent complete. Upon order, it was dipped in liquid sugar and torched to perfection.

Signature Crystal Char Siew, Roasted Duck with summer truffle sauce,
and 
Crackling pork belly
Signature Crystal Char Siew - Up Close

The mini cubes of crackling pork belly has a thin layer of the crispy skin, with delicious fats and succulent meat as well. A touch of mustard provide a nice tangy touch to the roast pork. Meanwhile, the roast duck with summer truffle sounds like a star dish. The skin was crispy and the meat is lean and tender. There is a touch of gaminess as Malaysian duck used for this dish. Though GM infused truffle to the sauce, it tasted really subtle almost non existent. Personally, Chinese herbs should be used in this dish instead of being fusion.

Roasted Duck with summer truffle sauce

Deep fried Chilean Seabass with crispy fish skin served with egg white crumble and golden broth ($26/pax). This is one of the new item in the menu. A fine dining dish to showcase Chef Eric's creativity and skills. Presentation – Perfect; Taste – Perfecto. The seabass was a combination of crisp, with slightly firm yet juicy meat. The fish skin is has a nice crispy bite to eat while the egg white and robust golden broth provide different texture and flavour to the dish.

Deep fried Chilean Seabass with crispy fish skin
served with egg white crumble and golden broth

Vegetarians are not forgotten as well. GM new creation of Steam wild yam in Imperial sauce ($12) was just delightful. Simple and subtle flavours of the yam was enhanced with imperial sauce and finely chopped chilli padi. So watch out for the spicy kick after your first bite.

Steam wild yam in Imperial sauce 

King prawns in Coconut, coconut crustacean broth with silken longevity noodle ($26). Prawn noodle, atas version. Using whole Thai coconut as a bowl, it gave you the wow feel on the presentation. The cloudy broth is filled with sweet prawn flavours, robust with a bitter twist of the prawns shell used. The broth is quite peppery and it makes your stomach warm up after you slurp the broth. I find the mee sua type noodle used are to soggy for my liking, however it did well to soak up the broth. The prawn is big, juicy and fresh. For additional flavour, you can add a layer of charred leek to the prawn noodle.

King prawns in Coconut, coconut crustacean broth
with silken longevity noodle 

Dessert was a special creation by Chef Eric, not in the menu. A combination of Durian Pengat in black sesame bowl, with red bean and coconut ice cream. The light coconut ice cream goes well when paired with the red bean. The colourful gels on the plate acted as the sauces to the ice cream. While the pungent durian pengat is full of Durian yumminess in it. Yum Yum.

Dessert - Off the menu

Overall, I was pleased to comeback for second tasting at Grand Mandarina. The standard of the food remain as good as I remember and I hope the new direction is able to garner more customers for GM. My pick for this tasting is the Deep Fried Chilean Seabass and GM version of Prawn Noodle. Cheers!!

Thank you very much to Miss Chocoholic and Grand Mandarina Team for the tasting invitation.

Food: 8.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: n/a (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80; $81 & Above

Grand Mandarina
325 New Bridge Road
#01/02-00
Singapore 088760

T: +65 6222 3355
IG: @GrandMandarina
OH:
Mon – Fri: 11.30 – 14.30; 18.30 – 22.00
Sat & Sun: 11.00 – 14.30; 18.30 – 22.00



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