Grand Mandarina Restaurant Tasting Session 2016

March 16, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Grand Mandarina Restaurant Tasting Session 2016
325 New Bridge Road
#01-00 & #02-00 Thye Shan Mansion


Opening Hours:
Daily: 11:30am - 2:30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm - 10pm (Dinner)



http://www.grandmandarina.com.sg/

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from Miss Chocoholic, The Arctic Star, Jelly Loves Food, Purple Taste, and Chubby Botak Koala.



Roast Meat Platter (SGD $100)



A Spectacular Dining Experience... Again

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 9
Ambience & Setting: 9
Food & Beverage: 10
Service: 10
Value for Money: 9
Budget about SGD $80 ++ per person.


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Grand Mandarina Restaurant opened with much fanfare in 2014, and when I dined there as part of their opening, it was the most memorable meal of 2014 for me. Everything was fantastic, from the ambience, the service, the food, and the owner hosts. But their prices were really expensive, as they were targeting the hip, young, rich elites of Singapore by offering exquisite, new Modern Chinese fine dining.

This however, is a really small, niche market, and over the last 2 years, we heard that Grand Mandarina Restaurant really struggled. Since January 2016 however, they've completed changed their direction since their new management took over the reins of Grand Mandarina Restaurant.

Grand Mandarina Restaurant Signage



Ambience at Grand Mandarina Restaurant remains as impressive, posh, luxurious, and sophisticated as ever. Service at Grand Mandarina Restaurant also lives up to the impeccable, professional standards I experienced previously. The main change at Grand Mandarina Restaurant then, is in their food, specifically, the type of dishes, and their prices. While they previously targeted only the rich elites, they've now introduced more affordable, traditional Chinese Cantonese dishes, which will appeal to a larger audience. The focus will no longer be on promoting the premium Modern Chinese dishes, though they'll still retain these for regulars.

Grand Mandarina Restaurant Facade


Table Setting



New CEO Benson Tong, himself a celebrity hawker, turned celebrity chef, turned private chef for hire and consultant, now heads Grand Mandarina Restaurant. Together with Executive Chef Eric Yeo and his team, they're charting a new direction for the restaurant; to appeal to a wider market by offering more affordable, wallet-friendly food, and appeal to the customers who love familiar, comforting, traditional, classic flavours of Chinese Cantonese cuisine.

CEO Benson Tong


CEO Benson Tong & Executive Chef Eric Yeo



The Cherry Tomato In Sour Plum Sauce (SGD $ Complimentary) provides a refreshing, juicy burst of sweet sour flavour, perfect as a palate cleanser. The thought and skill put into execution of even a small dish like this, from skinning the cherry tomatoes to plating on a spoon with micro herbs, is evident of the high quality and attention to detail they're known for.

Cherry Tomato In Sour Plum Sauce (SGD $ Complimentary)


Cherry Tomato In Sour Plum Sauce



The Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling With Diced Assorted Mushrooms And Vegetables In Black Pepper (SGD $4.80) is completely made in-house, even the translucent, bouncy dumpling skin! This new dish will appeal to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, with a slight sharpness of the black pepper complementing the earthy, savoury sweet taste, and moist chewy texture of the dumpling. Tasty!

Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling With Diced Assorted Mushrooms And Vegetables In Black Pepper (SGD $4.80)


Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling With Diced Assorted Mushrooms And Vegetables In Black Pepper


Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling With Diced Assorted Mushrooms And Vegetables In Black Pepper



The new Crispy Rice Roll Filled With Smoked Shredded Duck And Bamboo Shoot (SGD $7.50) is commendable for its cheong-fun skin, which is made in-house. The contrast of soft chewy rice roll skin, savoury shredded duck, and tender bamboo shoots; it all crunches softly in the mouth, a delightful one-bite treat! The rice roll sauce is a tad on the salty side, so I recommend only having a touch of it, just a few drops is more than sufficient. Good!

Crispy Rice Roll Filled With Smoked Shredded Duck And Bamboo Shoot (SGD $7.50)


Crispy Rice Roll Filled With Smoked Shredded Duck And Bamboo Shoot


Crispy Rice Roll Filled With Smoked Shredded Duck And Bamboo Shoot



Felt the Pan-Fried Bun Filled With Minced Pork And Cabbage (SGD $5) was possibly the weakest of the new dishes we tried. While I loved the satisfiyingly crisp exterior of the bun, which crunches beautifully, the interior is rather sparse and somewhat bland, the mix of minced pork and diced cabbage is uninspired and not that tasty. Adding a little soy sauce helps the flavour greatly, but I wish the filling was also more generous.

Pan-Fried Bun Filled With Minced Pork And Cabbage (SGD $5)


Pan-Fried Bun Filled With Minced Pork And Cabbage


Pan-Fried Bun Filled With Minced Pork And Cabbage



The Roast Meat Platter (SGD $100) is a signature speciality here, and something I really looked forward to! It didn't disappoint, with a serving of a half roast duck, 2 portions of char siew / red roast pork loin, and 2 portions of roast pork belly. This large platter is sufficient enough to share between 5 - 8 people!

Roast Meat Platter (SGD $100)



The Crispy Roast Pork Belly (SGD $18 / Portion, Pictured 2 Portions) remains as good as ever, with a crisp crackling skin, light and perfectly done meat, with a thin silver of fat for moisture. Served with a dollop of yellow mustard, which lends a nice sharp tang, this is still good. Worth ordering!

Crispy Roast Pork Belly (SGD $18 / Portion, Pictured 2 Portions)


Crispy Roast Pork Belly



The Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin (SGD $18 / Portion, Pictured 2 Portions), or char siew / red roast pork loin, is a soft, tender, succulent, and savoury piece of pork, with just a thin silver of fat. While it used to be much sweeter in flavour, due to being dipped in honey, they've since done away with this step, making the overall taste a lot more savoury instead. I've actually dreamt about this before, and it still remains among the BEST pieces of meat I've had. Highly recommended!

Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin (SGD $18 / Portion, Pictured 2 Portions)


Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin



The Roasted Duck With Summer Truffle Sauce (SGD $32) is good, solid, straight forward roast duck. The duck meat is moist, savoury, and meaty with a nice chew, while the skin is soft and salty, releasing a burst of flavour. The sauce doesn't do much for the overall flavour though, as the roast duck is already good on its own. Worth ordering!

Roasted Duck With Summer Truffle Sauce (SGD $32)


Roasted Duck With Summer Truffle Sauce



Loved the Deep-Fried Chilean Seabass Fillet With Egg White In Golden Broth (SGD $26)! Possibly the best of the new dishes we tried, this features a fresh, medium sized, fillet of seabass, deep fried till the exterior is golden and crisp, while the interior is still soft, moist, and slightly creamy. Paired with a lovely golden, egg gravy, which is sweet savoury in taste, and an extremely crisp fish skin cracker which crunches loudly! This beautiful plate is completed with a garnish of edible flower, lending a splash of vibrant colour. Highly recommended!

Deep-Fried Chilean Seabass Fillet With Egg White In Golden Broth (SGD $26)


Deep-Fried Chilean Seabass Fillet With Egg White In Golden Broth



The Mountain Yam In Imperial Vinaigrette (SGD $12, Pictured Half Portion) is a surprising vegetarian main dish, that can also be served as an appetizer, which was what we sampled. The fresh, clean, sweet, crunchy slices of steamed wild mountain yam are contrasted by the sharp, sour, salty flavour of the vinegar and soy sauce gravy, making it both scrumptious and addictive at once. Delicious, loved the clean tasting lightness of this dish. Great!

Mountain Yam In Imperial Vinaigrette (SGD $12, Pictured Half Portion)


Mountain Yam In Imperial Vinaigrette



The King Prawn And Leeks, Coconut Crustacean Broth With Silken Longevity Noodle (SGD $26), is essentially, high class prawn noodles. But it's well executed, with a rich, robust, savoury sweet crustacean soup / broth, served in a hollowed coconut shell, filled with soft noodles that are a delight to slurp. A large, meaty, fresh prawn, along with smoky grilled leeks, complete the plate. Hearty, comforting and filling! However, the high price gives me pause.

King Prawn And Leeks, Coconut Crustacean Broth With Silken Longevity Noodle (SGD $26)


King Prawn And Leeks, Coconut Crustacean Broth With Silken Longevity Noodle



The D24 Durian Pengat In Sesame Ball With Red Bean Paste And Coconut Ice Cream (SGD $ Chef Special) is not available on the menu, but was specially created for us by chef! A lovely rich durian pengat, creamy and decadent, sits in a half sesame ball, which is crisp and fragrant. Beside is a scoop of soft red bean paste, sweet and earthy, while a floral earthy tasting coconut ice cream, milky in texture, rounds out the plate. Beautifully presented with flavoured fruit gels (raspberry, mango, kiwi fruit), lending a burst of vibrant colour and whimsy. So good!

D24 Durian Pengat In Sesame Ball With Red Bean Paste And Coconut Ice Cream (SGD $ Chef Special)


D24 Durian Pengat In Sesame Ball With Red Bean Paste And Coconut Ice Cream



Grand Mandarina Restaurant may have previously lost its way, but with the change of direction, they've slowly regained their footing in the Chinese fine dining scene. While still retaining their high quality and standards they were known for, their more down-to-earth prices and introduction of familiar Chinese Cantonese favourites will make their dishes appeal to a wider audience. Hopefully, they'll do better in the coming years!


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