9-15 October 2015 #779

Taste of Singapore

Chef Sam Leong’s innovative fusion cuisine lifts simple dishes to a loftier level
Ayesha Shakya

Apart from its iconic skyline and reputation as one of the most liveable countries in the world, there is one more thing synonymous with Singapore. No, not just the haze. It is its food. With dishes ranging from Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chilly Crabs and Roti Prata, the tiny city state offers a multi-ethnic cuisine that is the most eclectic in this part of the world.

Good news for us, we can now experience this culinary treat in Nepal too. Soaltee Crowne Plaza is featuring special menus from seven award-winning chefs until November and we were there to sample the Singaporean/ Chinese cuisine by celebrity chef Sam Leong that is on offer till next week.

To begin with, we sampled a glass of the Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. Pleasantly rich in taste, a few sips of the wine was enough to set the mood for the evening. We started off with an appetiser, the tempura lychee stuffed with crab meat (Rs 1,050). Garnished with spring onions and sweet sauce on the side, the salty and sweet components of the dish complemented each other perfectly. With its lychee exterior and crab meat stuffed inside, the mixed blend brought out a unique flavour. Although the exterior was crispy, the tempura was light and did not feel too oily.

All photos: Ayesha Shakya

The second on the appetiser list was the Chef’s signature wasabi prawns (Rs 1,150). Sprinkled with sesame seeds and resembling dumplings, the prawns were soft and the lightest tinge of wasabi was enough to tingle your tastebuds.

The appetisers did what they were supposed to: make us crave for more. The wok-fried chicken made of home-made black pepper sauce with ginger and spring onions (Rs 850) was divine. The spice from the black pepper sauce was just enough to mellow the lingering taste of the wasabi, and similar to the appetisers, the chicken was fried lightly and was just the right amount of crispy.

The next main dish was the braised egg noodles with shitake mushrooms and poached vegetables (Rs 750), which left us in a gastronomic swoon. As a quintessential Cantonese dish, it was not heavily seasoned, bringing out the natural flavour of the food. After feasting on seafood and chicken, the only vegetarian option on the menu made the dinner feel wholesome.

To end the three course dinner we had the mango pudding with candied pears, basil and pistachios (Rs 390). While the pear compot may have been a tad too sweet, its pairing with the mango pudding blended well.  

This is on a different par from food you get in hawker centres around Singapore. Chef Leong’s innovative fusion cuisine lifts simple dishes to a loftier level. Suffice it to say, you won’t be booking a flight to Singapore before Dasain when you have a little Singapore right here in Soaltee.    The current menu is featured from 28 September to 11 October and customers can choose between a two course or three course meal, the latter featuring a free second glass of wine. The coming weeks will be taken over by Chef Takagi Kazuo for Japanese cuisine, Dean Brettschneider for bakery items and Theo Randall for rustic Italian cuisine.