Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dining out: Xi Yan

So the long awaited day finally arrived... we dined at Xi Yan last Wednesday.

I'll leave you to visit DSD's blog for pictures (hopefully with the proper names of the dishes?) but here's my take on it.

With several alcoholics (yes... I'm including myself) at the table, we ordered a Chilean Cabernet Sauv and a South African Pinotage. The chilean was ok, but the south african was quite tasty, even better than the one I liked at Wine Co.

But on to the food!

We started out with a lobster with dual dipping sauces - mint and a chilli-based one, which most people preferred.

Eps and I had tried a version of tofu with pork floss at Central the week before and we hadn't enjoyed it much, so I was a bit apprehensive about this one. But it was thankfully, different and much better. It was topped with some salted egg yolk and the sauce was far tastier and lighter than the one at Central which was more like a dark soy sauce.

One memorable dish was the Japanese tomatoes with a sesame-wasabi sauce - four large (monstrous even) skinless tomatoes that were so sweet and juicy, they changed my mind about tomatoes being suited only for tomato sauce.

Another signature dish is the Szechuan chicken - chicken, yam noodles and century egg, topped with chinese parsley, peanuts and doused with a fiery chilli sauce, which left a numbness in the mouth. You could go for the 'original' (which we did) or a toned-down heat. And boy, was it hot. I felt like I could breathe fire after that, yet it was so good I couldn't help it but go for a second helping.

I also enjoyed the garoupa coated with shrimp paste and deepfried - its crispy skin with the salty shrimp paste and the soft flesh of the fish, oh delightful. It rested on a bed of pomelo bits, chili and onion. Nice contrast.

But fried stuff always tastes good, so the oysters coated with fermented bean curd and deepfried, was also yummy.

The pork cheek was tasty, to be eaten with lime sections and a thai-style chilli sauce. And the dish of cloud ears with lotus roots was a nice change - I've only had black fungus in japchae and I've never been too fond of it, so I was surprised to find myself taking a second helping, it was just that tasty.

The major disappointment of the night had to be the glutinous rice with beef shin. The rice was dry and tasteless, despite the waitress' explanation that the beef shin was placed on top of the rice to allow the juices to seep down into the rice.

Before bringing on the chicken ginseng soup (just like grandma used to make!) a platter of fruits soaked in suan mei juice was brought out, to cleanse the palate and I think that also sorta helped whet the appetite a little as well. After all there were still 4 more items to go.

The soup, the old young happy news (lao shao bao xi) - which was dou miao and some pickled cabbage - xi yan's famous tang yuan (made with five special ingredients and damn was it tasty - i could've had another couple more) in ginger soup. and at the end, we were treated to a baked alaska, for we were sorta celebrating DSD's 27th - and the chef made it specially for her. And to finish off the night, a shooter of calamansi, honey and whisky - light and fruity.

The dinner, which had about 12 courses, took four hours and cost us about $100 each, including wine. The dinner itself is $80.
Almost like a wedding dinner, without the yam sengs and bad food.
Highly recommended!

Xi Yan
38A Craig Road
Tel: 6220-3546
Dinner starts at 7.30pm.
Closed on Mondays.


huckerby said...

old young happy news??

olduvai said...

yeah well that's what they called it