Thursday, August 9, 2012

Singapore National Day Oriental Brunch at Jiang-Nan Chun Restaurant (Four Seasons Hotel)

Happy 47th Birthday Singapore! To celebrate the occasion many restaurants around town have put up special "National Day" set menus at a "special" pricing of SGD47 ... one of them being Jiang-Nan Chun over at Four Seasons Hotel. They've put their popular Weekend Oriental Brunch up for SGD47++ instead of the usual SGD58++, so what better day than today to sample the restaurants' delicacies?

And sample is the operational word here, because with one hundred (!!) different kinds of dim sum on offer, you'd need to be a champion competitive eater to stand any chance of eating the entire menu at one seating.

The darling and I take stock of the nine-page menu and set a pre-stuff-your-face strategy of keeping ourselves to just three or four items from each page.

From the Soups & Porridge page we order:
- Braised Hasma with Shredded Fish Maw and Dried Scallop
- Double-Boiled Morel Mushroom with Chinese Cabbage and Black Chicken
- Porridge with Pork and Century Egg

The soups were a pretty nice start to the meal - they'd had obviously been boiled for significantly long enough for the flavors of the ingredients to be extracted into the liquid. The Porridge, however, was notable only for its' mediocrity - smooth but utterly bland.

Next up, the Appetizers:
- Crispy Roasted Pork Belly
- Chilled Poached Hong Kong Kai Lan
- Deep-fried Fish Skin with Salt and Pepper

I really dug the siew yuk. Nicely roasted with thin, crispy skin, I ended up ordering another serving. The Kai Lan was also pretty nice, if a bit unconventional as it's the first time I'm eating almost-ice-cold vegetables. The Fish Skin ... well, it was sort of like potato chips made of fish skin instead of potatoes.

We then move on to page 1 of the Dim Sum:
- Deep Fried Prawns Dumpling served with Mayonnaise Sauce
- Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp
- Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun
- Steamed Scallop Dumpling with Luffa Melon and Crab Roe

Portions are pretty small - an example being the siew mai, which came in bite-sized pieces; probably not an issue since you can order as many of them as you want. Overall pretty par for the course taste-wise, except for the Scallop Dumpling which had (relative to the size) skin that was way too thick and hard.

- Fried Carrot Cake with XO Chili Sauce
- Deep fried Spring Roll with Crabmeat, Scallop and Egg White
- Baked Flaky Pastry with Barbecued Pork, Bacon and Ham coated with Sesame Seeds
- Deep fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Shrimps

The Spring Rolls were terrible - we couldn't taste the crab meat or scallop at all.

On to the Seafood menu, where we try:
- Steamed Cod Fillet with Preserved Mustard Leaves and Olives
- Steamed Cod with Minced Green Ginger and Spring Onions
- Stir-fried Scallops with Asparagus
- Deep-fried Prawns with Butter and Oat

The two Cod dishes were on opposite ends of the like-dislike spectrum. I thoroughly enjoyed the Cod with Green Ginger - being much less "gingery" than yellow ginger; but the other Fillet was flaky and dry. Prawns and Asparagus in the other two dishes were notably fresh.

At this stage, our already-full stomachs forced us to throw in the towel, which sadly meant ignoring the entire Meat, Vegetables & Beancurd and Rice & Noodles sections, and skipping straight to the Desserts:
- Chilled Aloe Vera with Lemongrass Jelly
- Fresh Mango Pudding topped with Pomelo
- Chilled Longan and Almond Beancurd
- Oven-baked Mini Egg Tart

Egg Tarts could have used a bit more time in the oven at the "baking the pastry" stage, and the Mango Pudding was, putting it nicely, simply not up to par. I liked the Aloe Vera / Lemongrass Jelly though - a nice refreshing end to the meal.

The biggest surprise of the night, for me, was the Peking Duck (1 serving per person only). Despite the restaurant bandying it around as one of the signature dishes, I found it a bit crap. I'm not sure how long the duck skin had been sitting in the sauced-up pancake, but there was absolutely no crispiness left. What's the point of eating non-crispy duck skin? I also didn't like that the restaurant left out the scallion.

While the one hundred dishes available are probably without rival anywhere else in the restaurant world, the dishes do lack in consistency. The dim sum and the dishes were mostly "not too bad," with a few of them being delicious, and a few going on the "would not order again" list. No different from your standard normal distribution, then.

We also noticed that once the dining room started filling up, the kitchen wasn't able to churn out food quick enough. We ended up sitting the entire three hour lunch session, much of that time waiting for food despite "ordering in advance" - which is a first for me in any restaurant.

Jiang-Nan Chun is located on the 2nd floor of the Four Seasons Hotel - within walking distance from the Orchard MRT (walk through ION and Wheelock Place to maximize air-conditioned time). The Weekend Brunch times are as follows:

Sunday (first seating) - 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sunday (second seating) - 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Saturday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm



  1. your pictures are making me crave dim sum! :D eikkkk! but 3 hours is a long time for lunch!

    1. Yeah, we would have been done a lot sooner if our orders hadn't taken SO LONG to arrive =_=;

  2. ooo, sounds like the restaurant was a bit overwhelmed with the response, and the quality control might have dipped. nice strategy with your ordering techniques ... i think i might have done the same, though i'd definitely try to order something from the meat section still! :D

    1. Yeah, I definitely over-estimated my stomach capacity, I wanted so badly to try some meat but I would probably have started throwing up if I stuffed anything else down the chute =[

  3. erm that always happen when the restaurant is packed with people...perhap for buffet need to arrive early than other ppl...

    btw how r u lately??so ur darling start working in SG d?

    1. Yalor, I arrived there on the dot of opening hour, at first Ok geh but then after 30-45 minutes can feel the food super slow to come out liao.

      Yah, she working liao :)

  4. Like the way they present the cripy pork belly....looks really tempting!

    1. Was delicious, too! Not quite the same style as KL style (for example Mooi Mooi siew yuk) which tends to be more "loose," this one the meat and fat layers were very firmly held together. Skin was super crispy though, like keropok hehe.