Following the massive relaunch in February 2016, the revitalised Jiang-Nan Chun (located within the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Singapore) is out to raise the standard of Chinese food in Singapore. The first thing you will notice as you walk in this newly-refurbished space is how beautiful everything looks. In fact, the design of Jiang-Nan Chun draws inspiration from both the actual Jiang-Nan region as well as other Chinese influences.
The design elements in the restaurant are contemporary and elegant. I love the relatively dark ambiance (unlike most Chinese restaurants) and how refined the whole space looks. There are a number of private dining rooms at Jiang-Nan Chun which will cater to the various sizes of dining parties. In fact, we hear that there is even a private room with its very own entrance and exit - perfect for celebrities and dignitaries!
The private rooms are beautifully-appointed and if you are looking for an intimate space for a private dinner, this should really be on the top of your list of places to consider. Some of the private dining rooms come with a TV (which has the same selection of cable and satellite channels) and one of them even comes with a private bar!
While the focus has largely been on the private rooms, the main dining hall itself is beautiful. The turquoise wall by the side is remiscent of the idyllic Yangtze River (the longest river in Asia at 6,300KMs) and the top of the dining hall has lights that draw inspiration from fishing nets.
You can't say you have been to Jiang-Nan Chun without ordering the Jiang-Nan Chun Signature Peking Duck (S$98++). This specially-prepared duck is served tableside by the Chef himself. The duck is roasted in a wood-fired oven and while many Chinese restaurants opt for lychee wood, the Jiang-Nan Chun Signature Peking Duck is roasted using a relatively uncommon Mesquite wood for over 14 hours. The result of this? Perfectly crisp skin that is skillfully removed by the chef himself and the most beautiful aroma one could ever imagine.
To add a touch of indulgence (and to be honest, brilliance) to the Peking Duck dish, Jiang-Nan Chun serves it with a pretty generous serving of caviar on the side. Various condiments (including two different types of sauces) are also served on the side for you to enjoy the amazingly-roasted duck in various ways. My favourite way of eating it? Spread a generous amount of Beijing-style sauce on a piece of thin pancake, place a succulent piece of duck in the middle, top it off with some caviar and eat the skin separately - but you know, that's just me!
While most of us have had our fair share of soft-shell crab, the Soft-shell Prawns with Sliced Almond and Crispy Rice (S$15++) is quite something to behold. The prawns (which should be eaten with their shells) are tossed in a beautiful concoction of saltiness with traces of unique spices while the sliced almond and crispy rice added a different level of crunchiness and texture to the dish. While I did enjoy the dish, I do not personally think I would be able to consume more than two pieces at a single seating because of how savoury the dish is.
While I didn't used to think that dim sum can be done exceptionally, Jiang-Nan Chun has certainly changed my mind. The trio of dim sums (tasting portion) sampled featured the Char Siew Sliders with Homemade Pickled Green Chili (S$15++ per Serving), Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Mushroom (S$2++ per Piece) and Crispy Flaky Pastry with Black Pepper Beef (S$3++ per Piece). The Char Siew Sliders were delicious but I did not really understand the pickled green chili - perhaps I am just not a huge fan of sliced chili in general. The Steamed Shrimp Dumplings were my favourite - to call it 'Har Gow' simply would be an insult. I love how delicate and chewy the skin was and that crunchiness that you get from the fresh shrimp, coupled with the texture from the mushroom is really quite something to behold. The Crispy Flaky Pastry with Black Pepper Beef uses a filo pastry exterior and the fillings were deliciously and not overly sweet.
If I had to pick my favourite dish from the dinner at Jiang-Nan Chun, the Sea Whelk, Maca, Dried Scallops and Pork Ribs double-boiled soup (S$38++) will have to be it. Maca is a Peruvian ginseng that is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient as it believed to be a type of super-food - it is also allegedly great for men who are looking to increase their performance in discreet locations. I absolutely love how hearty and comforting the soup made me feel - painstakingly boiled over a long period of time to extract the natural flavours from the pork ribs and the dried scallops.
Jiang-Nan Chun has some of the most unique decanters in the industry - my favourite is this mouth-blown piece that resembles a horse. The restaurant is currently running a special wine-pairing promotion at S$65++ which includes 3 glasses of wine to match the dishes you have selected. Oh and remember if you do get this unique decanter, keep your fingers away from the horse (as tempting as it may be) as this mouth-blown piece is extremely delicate.
Jiang-Nan Chun does an interesting take on the Baked Sea Perch on Egg Custard, Ginger and Supreme Broth (S$25++) - the sea perch is baked lightly atop a bed of soft egg custard. That's right, the egg custard actually sits gently under the fish (that's not the plate!) and the contrast of texture between the protein and the custard is actually quite an interesting one.
Looking for something hearty? Try the Wagyu Beef Oxtail with Lemongrass-infused Oil (S$32++) which is served in a claypot and there is definitely enough to feed 4-6 adults.
One of the things I really appreciate about Jiang-Nan Chun is the desserts - instead of the typical 'Chinese desserts' that you get at most of the other restaurants (which to me personally, feels a little soulless), you get a contemporary take on the sweet treats here. My personal favourite? The Crispy Salted Egg York Puff Pastry with Almond (S$12++) - light and crispy on the outside but oozing with almond goodness on the inside.
All in all, the relaunch of Jiang-Nan Chun at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has definitely set a new benchmark in Chinese food within Singapore. The prices are definitely on the higher side (considering it is after all located in one of Singapore's most luxurious hotels) but I personally think that it is justifiable and I can't wait to return with my family sometime soon!
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.