There are so many Chinese New Year specials on offer at different hotels and restaurants, what distinguishes one from the other? We bring you the highlights.
Café Vienna (Royal Plaza on Scotts, 25 Scotts Rd., 6589-7799) is offering a Bruneian version of yu sheng (we didn’t know Chinese New Year was big in Brunei). In the sultanate, you would be served yu sheng comprising mango, apricot, pineapple and fresh, not smoked, salmon. Add to that Café Vienna’s mango sauce and you have a ripe concoction. Available Jan 28-Feb 12, $48 or $68 per platter. Open daily 7am-midnight.
Over at Upper Club (#02-01A CHIJMES, 100 Victoria St., 6338-1313), you can lo hei with a twist. At this ballroom dance club, elegant tai tais come to show off their moves with fit dance partners. What would make a better Chinese New Year show that this? Yu sheng is served here during the New Year period, alongside a reunion dinner menu and Lunar New Year menus. Book a ringside seat now. Yu sheng available Jan 26-Feb 12, from $28 per platter; reunion dinner menu available Jan 26-27, $88 for six courses, $118 for eight courses; Lunar New Year menu available Jan 30-Feb 12, $88 for six courses, $118 for eight courses. Open Sun-Thu 7pm-2am; Fri-Sat 7pm-3am.
Plunge into Chinese New Year at Carlton Hotel’s Pool Bar (70 Bras Basah Rd., 6311-8195). Here you can enjoy a Chinese New Year steamboat dinner under the stars, which sure will be different from being in a large noisy restaurant. Lobster, crab, crayfish and other seafood are on offer, as well as items from the grill like sambal stingray. Available Jan 27-28, $28.80 per adult, $14.40 per child; Jan 29-30, $38 per adult, $19 per child. Open to non-hotel guests Fri, Sat and eve of public holidays 6:30-10pm.
Szechuan Court (3/F, Raffles the Plaza, 80 Bras Basah Rd., 6431-6156) simply goes over the top with its Chinese New Year offers. The normally mild yu sheng is given some kick here with spicy Szechuan sauce. Made with crushed Szechuan peppercorns, this sauce will certainly add punch to the raw fish salad (from $48 per platter)—we just hope it won’t knock it out. To really indulge, go for one of the restaurant’s Supreme Pot of Gold. It comprises an encyclopedic list of ingredients: From the medusa like six-headed abalone, to sea cucumber, white conpoy, scallops, dried oysters, prawns, mushrooms, black moss, duck, pork, chicken and deer! At $56 per person, we hope it brings as much prosperity as its auspicious name suggests. Yu sheng available through Feb 12; Supreme Pot of Gold available Jan 21-Feb 12. Open Mon-Fri noon-2:30pm, 6:30-10:30pm; Sat, Sun and public holiday noon-3pm, 6:30-10:30pm.
Element Restaurant (Amara Singapore, 165 Tanjong Pagar Rd., 6879-2607) is also offering Szechuan yu sheng (from $28 per platter). This dish is ordered à la carte at this normally buffet restaurant, and a Chinese New Year buffet accompanies it. While not much to shout about food-wise, the buffet is very reasonably priced at only $36 per person for lunch and $43 per person for dinner. For that, you get standards such as Beijing duck, roasted pork, duck braised with sea cucumber and other predictable Chinese fare. Great for lunch or a casual dinner. Yu sheng and buffet available Jan 21-Feb 12. Open daily 6am-1am.
At Hai Tien Lo (37/F, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd., 6826-8338) a particularly exotic variety of yu sheng is available—sea urchin. This rich meaty shellfish is tossed with the usual yu sheng ingredients, and you can also choose to add ingredients such as jellyfish and geoduck clams. Served alongside yu sheng are set menus that include signature Hai Tien Lo dishes such as Beijing duck with goose liver, and abalone braised with mushrooms. Yu sheng available Jan 23-Feb 15, from $28 per platter, sea urchin yu sheng starts at $48 per platter. Chinese New Year set menus start at $78 per person. Open daily noon-2:30pm, 6:30-10pm.
M Hotel (81 Anson Rd. 6421-6063) is offering a great value-for-money Chinese New Year package. At $498 per table for lunch and $598 per table for dinner, these packages come with BYO wine and spirits with no corkage, a $50 drinks voucher for the hotel’s J Bar and free flow soft drinks, mixers and Chinese tea. And the food, before we forget, comprises six courses for lunch and eight for dinner. Available through Feb 12.
Bottoms up with yu sheng at Town Restaurant (G/F, The Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square, 6877-8128). This establishment is offering an Pernod and apple martini yu sheng–we’re not kidding. It comes with berries, red and green apple, peaches, Avruga cavier, Atlantic salmon, hazel nuts, and olive oil topped with Pernod and apple martini. Even we are impressed. Other variations are also available, including Japanese and Thai, each with their own mix of exotic ingredients. If the thought of fanciful yu sheng is too much for you, the traditional form is also served. Yu sheng available Jan 28-Feb 12, from $48 per platter. Open daily 6:30am-11:30pm.
For a classy Chinese New Year gift, get Conrad Centennial Singapore’s Golden Peony Classic Box ($28). Comprising six New Year pastries—pineapple, red plum, sweet potato, sesame with salted egg yolk, and white lotus—this gift box comes in elegant red packaging, and is great for clients or associates. No flimsy plastic red-top containers here—save those for your own stockpile of Chinese New Year goodies. Available through Feb 12 at Pastry Palette, The Gift Shop, G/F, Conrad Centennial Singapore, 2 Temasek Blvd., 6432-7309. Open daily 7am-11pm; Chinese New Year pastries available from 10am.
More gorgeous Chinese New Year gifts are on offer at Shangri-La (Lobby, 22 Orange Grove Rd., 6213-4473). Always out to impress, the hotel has come up with a new creation—black sesame nian gao ($28.80)—and continues to purvey old favorites like the bird’s nest and musical box hamper ($168.80). Its cookies come with a lovely tea leaf set ($38.80), which is a perfect gift for a formal occasion. Available through Jan 27. Gift counter open daily 11am-9pm.
And why stop at individual gifts when you can get a hamper? Over at Marriott Singapore’s Lunar New Year stall (Lobby, 320 Orchard Rd., 6831-4708) you can create your own hamper or choose from ready-made ones. Expect traditional goodies such as pineapple tarts, love letters and bak kwa as well as less traditional items like whisky fudge and chocolate pralines. Available through Jan 27. Gift counter open daily 10am-10pm.