It's a yearly affair to celebrate Ah Ma's birthday at a Teochew restaurant but for her 80th birthday this year, we decided to try out Silk Road in Amara Hotel, since I've heard several good reviews about this place. This restaurant has been around since 2001 and is one of the earliest places that serves authentic Sichuan cuisine in Singapore
Since it will be CNY in less than a week's time, we took the opportunity to try the CNY set menu for $128/pax. We booked a private room for a group of 14 and the food and service--from the start to the end--were truly impeccable.
Before the Eight Treasures Yu Sheng, we had the mandatory longevity buns were unprecedentedly fluffy and delicate. But it was the first time for everyone to have crispy fish skin and golden silverfish in the luxurious Yu Sheng which came with sliced abalones, cured salmon, jellyfish, ikura roe and tobiko roe as well. The chef's special Spicy Sichuan Garlic Sauce wasn't as fiery as I would love, in fact, rather sweet for me, but it was a refreshing change to the usual dressing.
The Double boiled free range chicken soup with shark bone's cartilage and dried scallops was nourishing and creamy but it was too salty.
Fortunately, the same issue did not happen for the Steamed Free range chicken infused with salt (白切盐鸡). The chicken was beautifully cooked to a tender soft with a glistening shine on the skin. It came with a side of minced ginger in shallot oil but I thought the meat itself was already flavourful to stand on its own.
The Soy-glazed Baked Cod with Bonito sauce (日式焗鳕鱼) was the best dish that evening. The fish was uber fresh-so good that even my Ah Ma who usually don't take commercial fish gives her full thumbs up. It was melt-in-the-mouth tender, with bonito flakes and sake-Mirin sauce that gave the fish a delicious umami dressing. Simply faultless buttery indulgence at best!
We all know that sea cucumber is one of the highly prized delicacy especially during CNY and this came in the dish of Braised pork knuckle with sweet chestnuts. The theatrical piece of pork knuckle received a generous pour of the aromatic dark sauce but all flavors have already been absorbed into the meat thanks to the 6-hour long slow cooking process. You can imagine all the ladies at the table were aiming at this collagen-rich dish.
The Deep Fried Prawns with Golden Pork Floss gave everyone a nice surprise as the floss is mixed with curry powder! Aromatic but not spicy, the prawns were another hit with its sweet succulence.
But the steamed fragrant rice with Chinese sausages was the faultless finale of indulgence. It's nothing like those sizzling claypot rice with dark soy sauce. Here, the rice worked magic with a special blend of fragrant soy sauce that made it so irresistibly delicious. Not to forget the salted fish and two kinds of sausages (Sichuan sausage and traditional Chinese sausage) that brought additional sweet-savoury flavors to the dish.
Desserts were originally Nian Gao and fried Sesame dumplings but the restaurant was flexible enough to accommodate a change to either a choice of Mango Pomelo and Lemongrass Aloe Vera Jelly.
Before the desserts, we had the Longevity noodles (寿面), as a traditional practice for the birthday dinner. But little did we did not expect the restaurant to arrange it in such an exquisite manner. Understanding that everyone was already full to the brim, the chef and his team had tastefully prepared them in mini portions, plated with a sweet lotus paste-filled "flower" and the "寿” character written with raspberry sauce! The longevity noodles are quite unique because they are thick and chunky la-mian handmade by the noodle chef. The toothsome texture reminded me of udon and the broth was very tasty.
But the most touching moment came when the noodles chef presented Ah Ma with a special version that had a longevity figure hand-crafted using noodle dough! What a talent he is! Ah Ma was so happy and couldn't stop grinning. We were truly grateful to the restaurant team for going the extra mile to make the dinner such a memorable one for my ah ma and my family. In fact, we learnt later that the chef from Sichuan actually took the entire afternoon to create the figurine! Full marks for effort and sincerity.
Being a huge fan of Sichuan cuisine, I'm already eyeing the spicy chicken, mapo tofu and spicy handmade noodles for the next trip. If you are still searching for an excellent Chinese restaurant in town? Look no further. This is it.
Silk Road @ Amara Hotel Singapore
165 Tanjong Pagar Singapore 088539
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm daily
Dinner : 6pm to 10.30pm daily
Reservations and enquiries:
Tel: (65) 6227 3848
For menu : http://singapore.amarahotels.com/promotions/2017-chinese-new-year-silk-road/