The lunar new year is fast approaching, and tis’ the season to make reunion dinner bookings! Since almost every Chinese family gets together for this meal, and it is really tiring to cook for large numbers of people, restaurant bookings are snapped up really fast.
Since these meals are usually costly due to the high demand, why not go for something of really good quality, especially since this is going to be one of the treats of the year? For a spread that will wow your family, Peony Jade’s “8 Rhapsodies of Spring” is probably second to none.
For a start, the traditional Peony Jade Yu Sheng （鱼生）is so phenomenal that it comes served in three large platters. The usual shredded vegetables are artistically arranged to depict a bonsai tree (see bottom right corner photo above), another plate decked with lotus root chips, pine nuts, yuzu juice and a dash of truffle oil, and finally the piece de resistance, the plate below, resplendant with lobster sashimi, salmon sashimi, ikura (salmon roe), fresh shrimp, Alaskan Crab Claws, tuna sashimi and uni (sea urchin)!
I was totally floored by this, which would have been my first time trying Uni, after seeing it on Instagram so much. The 鱼生 dish did seem a tad more Japanese than Chinese, given the variety of fresh sashimi. After the waiter seasoned all the gorgeous sashimi with powder, and we tossed it all, the uni seemed to have melted like sauce into the rest of the ingredients! I managed to find one small morsel of it, and experienced its unique pungency! The raw lobster was especially delicious and flavourful. Priced at $198.88, this serves up to 15 guests, and is available for dine-in at Keppel Club only. I must say that having eaten this, I feel like I need not eat anything else this Chinese New Year, and still feel like I have celebrated the year of the Goat in lavish style.
The Pen Cai (盆菜) was enormous, and laden full of premium ingredients. The friendly restaurant manager, Francis, explained how it had 18 ingredients, when most other hotels even, only had 12-13 in their Pen Cai. The takeaway pot is priced at $468.88 for 6 pax, and $598.88 for 9-10 pax, with 1-day advance order required.
In case you are wondering, here is the whole glorious list of delicacies within:
1. whole 10-head Australian abalones (原隻10頭澳洲发财鮑),
2. whole Sakura Chicken (原隻樱花雞),
3. whole pork knuckle (豬手1隻),
4. golden oysters (蚝豉),
5. roast pork (腩仔肉),
6. South African spikes sea cucumber (海參),
7. fresh whole scallops (鲜帶子),
8. pork tendons (蹄根),
9. fatt choy (發菜),
10. fish maw (魚肚),
11. king prawns (大蝦),
12. whole shiitake mushrooms (北菇),
13. homemade sea-grouper mousse cake (大海班魚球),
14. whole golden dried conpoy (柱甫),
15. taro (芋頭),
16. beancurd skin (枝竹),
17. radish (蘿蔔), and
18. broccoli (西蘭花)
When divided out into single portions, each individual bowl was piled so high with ingredients that really gave the sense of ‘overflowing abundance’.
Thereafter, there was a dish of “Roast US Goose with Chef’s Special Broth” ($188.88, serves up to 12 pax), which was a delectable twist to the usual roast goose, which tends to be a tad dry. Immersed in this special broth, the tender goose, air-flown from the US, makes for a very unique roast meat dish.
The cute little fried sheep you see on the top-right photo below, is actually a “Deep fried glutinous rice dumpling, with minced pork and mushroom” ($9.88 for every 3 pieces, available for dine-in only) within, served with “Steamed Black-eyed Pea Yam Cake with Golden Pumpkin“. The filling was very tasty, and the presentation super cute.
We were also served “Slow-Fire Stewed Lamb with Bamboo Shoots and Chestnuts” (photo above, bottom-left), ($78.88 for 6-8 guests) . Since 羊 also refers to lamb – this dish is another nod to the zodiac sign of the new year. True to its reputation as a fine dining restaurant, even the requisite rice course was a “Claypot jasmine rice with Chinese Sausages, Liver Sausages, and Home-made Air Dried Duck Drumstick“. Premium ingredients at every turn.
Then it was dessert time! What we saw was truly a feast for the eyes! Right below you see “Peony Jade’s ‘Huat Ah!’ Prosperity Goats Gift Set” ($88.88 per set) which is an intricate pastoral scene arranged on a large Lazy Susan. All the goats are edible, grazing on a bed of coconut shavings, tinted green.
If you’re wondering what the goats are made of, their exterior is meticulously sculpted from soft snowskin, the kind you find on snowskin mooncakes. Bite in, and the interior is filled with a mix of peanut and bean paste, crunchy with just a hint of the savoury.
Surrounding the goats in the photo below, are “Glaced Kum Quat with Vanilla Beans” ($18.88 per jar, one day advance order required). The tangy Kum Quat are soaked for seven days (no less!) in syrup, such that their interiors are infused to sweetness. 甜中带酸，as it was explained to us. There were vanilla spores in the syrup too, as they are soaked together with vanilla pod, prior to being served. This was my favourite dessert, given how refreshing it was after so much good food.
Finally, there was the visually arresting “Lotus pastries” which is also called “风生水起花开富贵发财盆栽“($78.88 for a box of 8). These were filled with low-sugar white lotus paste, with Salted Egg Yolk and Macadamia Nuts. There were so many exclamations when we saw them bring this out, and you can see why. It takes a long time to arrange them as such! It was a special treat for this media tasting, so we felt honoured indeed.
We were so thoroughly impressed both by the quality of food and the artistry behind their presentation. Thus, when we were presented with the Executive Chef and the Pastry Chef, spontaneous applause rang out. They looked so young to be such masters at their craft too! Kudos to them in coming up with such a sumptuous feast for all our senses!
There are still numerous other specialities on the menu that you can indulge in, including “Steamed & Braised Hybrid Garoupa with 5 Treasures in Claypot” ($168.88), “Baked Caramelised Pork Hock with Apple and Green Mango Slaw topped with Black Vinegar” ($68.88) for 8-10 guests (dine in or takeaway), as well as “Braised Duck with Lotus Seeds & Fresh Chestnuts, Grandma Style Whole Duck in Claypot“, priced at $168.88 with a complimentary Atlantic Salmon Yu Sheng. Most of us present felt that this would by far be, the most amazing reunion meal that we’d have this year. So if you’re looking for a reunion feast that your entire family will remember for a long time, or a lavish meal on a corporate account to impress your guests, Peony Jade is definitely the place to be, to herald in the Year of the Goat.
Peony Jade Keppel Club
Bukit Chermin Road
Tel: 6272 9138, 63755562
Operating hours: Open throughout the Lunar New Year Period
Peony Jade @ Clarke Quay
Blk 3A Clarke Quay, #02-02
Operating hours: Open throughout the Lunar New Year Period