Name of restaurant: Peach Blossoms
Type of cuisine: Modern Cantonese
An old-timer at the Marina Mandarin, Peach Blossoms completed its $1 million face lift just late last year. While some of its dishes may not be traditional fare, the restaurant’s modern Cantonese cuisine steers away from exaggerated flourishes. It’s still distinctly Cantonese fare; with a few subtle adaptations made to classic recipes.
Peach Blossoms’ main dining area and the Lotus private dining room
Situated at the fifth floor of the Marina Mandarin, the restaurant’s recent makeover welcomes a new plush setting, complete with wide windows that makes the dining rooms look warm and spacious. The restaurant is now decked with rosewood furnishings and cream carpeting; the recent revamp also expands its seating capacity from 170 to 180 while keeping the tables comfortably spaced apart.
Charcoal-grilled wagyu beef with Hong Kong-style sesame dressing ($68 for the small portion, $118 for the large portion) and the baked lobster with sliced garlic and white truffle oil
The Harmonious set menu ($1,488++ for 10 diners) features two stand-out dishes that breaks away from traditional Cantonese food.
Ever tried wagyu beef in your yu sheng? Even Cantonese cuisine purists should give this dish a chance. After one too many plates of salmon yu sheng, why not match your yu sheng with charcoal-grilled wagyu beef instead? The sesame dressing goes perfectly with the wagyu beef, making the meat more suitable than you may think for the classic dish. If your relatives are non-beef eaters, opt to replace wagyu beef with fish options; the light sesame dressing is a refreshing change from the usual sweet plum sauce.
The baked lobster with sliced garlic and white truffle oil is another unusual Chinese New Year special; a dish exclusive to the Harmonious set menu. A fresh lobster is baked and garnished with garlic and truffle oil; take in the piquant whiffs of truffle oil for a modern Chinese rendition of your seafood main.
Of course, traditional staples like the double-boiled soup and the pen cai are still a must-have at most Chinese reunion dinners.
The abalone treasures pot at Peach Blossoms (two sizes: $248 for 4 to 6 diners and $398 for 10 diners)
In between the heavier main dishes, the restaurant’s double-boiled chicken broth with gingko nuts and cordycep flower ($35 per person) is a much-welcomed palate cleanser. The simple comforts of a warm, soothing broth; just perfect for cool and rainy January days.
The hearty pen cai is a Chinese pot chock full of premium ingredients and Peach Blossoms’ Abalone Treasures Pot (featured above) is no exception. With two portions available at $248 (for 4 to 6 diners) and $398 (for 10 diners), the dish contains 17 ingredients, which include the fish maw, quail, sea cucumber, dried scallops, marinated soya chicken, roast duck, roast pork, deep-fried live prawns, mushrooms and of course, the prized 10-head quality whole abalone.
Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus and the Red Dates Cake with Coconut Milk ($28.80 each)
At the end of your meal, have some of these sweet sticky nian gaos (featured above) for good luck. While most of such sticky new year cakes are sweetened with just brown sugar, the additional flavourings make Peach Blossoms’ nian gaos stand apart from the norm. These chilled sticky cakes are chewy, almost pudding-like; an enjoyable change from some of the more savoury Chinese desserts.
The Peach Blossoms Chinese New Year set menus start at $98++ per person for the Auspicious set and the vegetarian Victorian set. The six course Auspicious set menu includes tuna and salmon yu sheng, braised shark’s fin soup, abalone with pig’s tongue, steamed sea perch and glutinous rice. Menus for larger dining groups include the seven course Blissful set ($348++ for 4 persons); the most decadent of which is the Imperial set ($2,388++ for 10 persons).
While some of your older relatives may balk at the few unusual dishes, we think that diners who tire of the same-ol’ celebratory dinner dishes will appreciate these little breaks from tradition. The rest of the restaurant’s festive menu features mostly conventional new year fare that should quell grumblings from your elders.
Takeaway orders for these Chinese New Year specials start from January 16 to February 6, 2012. Peach Blossoms is located at Marina Mandarin Singapore, Level 5, Tel: 6845 1111, email: .
The restaurant’s lunch hours: 12pm to 2.30pm on weekdays and 11am to 2.30pm on weekends and public holidays. The restaurant is open from 6.30pm to 11pm daily for dinner.