Zi Char - Shisen Hanten

December 21, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Zi Char - Shisen Hanten
333 Orchard Road
#35-01 Mandarin Orchard Singapore


Steamed Marble Goby Fish Soon Hock With Superior Soya Sauce (SGD $10 / 100g, $80 / 800g)

Generational Chefs & Michelin Stars

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 10
Food & Beverage: 7
Service: 9
Value for Money: 6
Spent about SGD $58 per person.


Founded in 1958 in Yokohama, in the Kanto region of Japan, by Chef Chen Kenmin, Shisen Hanten, also known as Akasaka Szechwan Restaurant, is a Chinese Zi Char fine dining restaurant that specialises in Chinese Sichuan / Szechuan cuisine. Chef Chen Kenmin, the 'Father of Sichuan Cuisine', passed his legacy on to his son, Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, who expanded the business overseas. In turn, Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, 'The Sichuan Sage', passed the business to his son, Chef Chen Kentaro, who opened the 1st Shisen Hanten outlet in Singapore in March 2014.

Ambience at Shisen Hanten impresses with its sleek, modernist, sophisticated feel. Glossy black walls against clear windows look sleek and chic, while offering fantastic views of the city from the space on the 35th floor of Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel. The high ceiling lends a sense of space, while multiple chandeliers light the area with a white glow. Sturdy and comfortable furniture are neatly arranged in the open, communal dining space, while decor of flowers and ornate Imperial vases lend an Oriental touch. Fantastic.

Service at Shisen Hanten is befitting its 2 Michelin star, fine dining status. As the most highly Michelin guide rated Chinese restaurant in Singapore, expectations are high. I'm glad to say that staff are professional, courteous, and efficient. Able to converse in both English and Chinese Mandarin, guests are quickly greeted and ushered to their seats. Staff display excellent product knowledge on each dish on the menu, and are able to offer astute recommendations. As expected they serve in traditional fine dining style, and clear plates after each round of courses. Good!

Food at Shisen Hanten is Chinese Sichuan / Szechuan cuisine, though this is also complemented by other Zi Char style dishes. Generally, dishes are kept simple, but use fresh ingredients, such that the taste of the star ingredient naturally shines through on its own. Most dishes are tasty, and above average in quality, though as comparision, you could get equally good quality like this elsewhere. Portions are either sized for individuals or for communal dining, check with the staff when ordering. Prices are moderately expensive, though not exorbitant. Still rather reasonable, budget about SGD $58 per person for a meal here.

Despite this being Iron Chef cooking, they don't serve authentic flavours here, as the level of spicy heat and oily textures has been vastly toned down in most dishes to appeal to the masses. Instead, you get more natural, clean-tasting dishes. While the ambience and service is impressive, the food is just alright, and personally, I won't be visiting again unless necessary.


Shisen Hanten Signage
Shisen Hanten Signage

Shisen Hanten Facade

Shisen Hanten Dining Area



A straightforward Tea Pu-Erh, great for pairing with dishes here.

Tea Pu-Erh

The Roast Duck (SGD $38 / $72) uses plump Irish ducks, with a lovely meaty flavour. Nice balance of savoury salty in the taste, with the duck meat having a tender, slightly chewy, moist texture. The skin has a lovely smoky aroma, with a small amount of fat. Pretty good.

Roast Duck (SGD $38 / $72)

Roast Duck

Roast Duck

The Roasted Duo Combination Platter (SGD $24) is recommended for the undecided. The Barbecued Pork With Honey has a tender, moist texture, with good sweet savoury flavour. The Crispy Roast Pork is more gamey in taste than I like, but at least the skin is very crisp, crunching loudly when bit. Felt this dish was underwhelming, not worth ordering. Skip this.

Roasted Duo Combination Platter (SGD $24)

Barbecued Pork With Honey

Crispy Roast Pork

The highlight of our meal here was the Deep-Fried Fish Skin With Salted Egg Yolk (SGD $16). The piping hot strips of crisp fish skin have a satisfiyingly crunchy texture, with a good savoury salty flavour from the curry leaf spiced salted egg yolk gravy. Rich and thick in texure, I wish we had more of the gravy for dipping! Easily the best dish I had here. Highly recommended!

Deep-Fried Fish Skin With Salted Egg Yolk (SGD $16)

Deep-Fried Fish Skin With Salted Egg Yolk

The Stir-Fried Scallops With Asparagus (SGD $36) features a generous portion of plump, juicy sweet, fresh scallops, along with firm, crunchy stalks of vegetal asparagus. Lovely fragrance and clean-tasting flavours in this dish, simple, but so good.

Stir-Fried Scallops With Asparagus (SGD $36)

Stir-Fried Scallops With Asparagus

The Stir-Fried Wagyu Beef With Green Peppers (SGD $36) was recommended to us by staff, and it didn't disappoint. The combination of flavours from the tender, savoury salty wagyu beef strips, crunchy sweet bean sprouts, crunchy earthy vegetal green bell peppers / capsicums, is delicious. Each layer of flavour is distinct on its own, but still exists in harmony. Only wish for thicker cuts of beef though. Good!

Stir-Fried Wagyu Beef With Green Peppers (SGD $36)

Stir-Fried Wagyu Beef With Green Peppers

Loved the vegetable medley of the Sauteed Seasonal Vegetables With Duo Mushrooms And Truffle Oil (SGD $26), featuring fresh, tender shiitake mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, nai bai / milk cabbage, and leeks, in a savoury oyster sauce gravy. Hearty comfort food, best paired with white rice. Good!

Sauteed Seasonal Vegetables With Duo Mushrooms And Truffle Oil (SGD $26)

Sauteed Seasonal Vegetables With Duo Mushrooms And Truffle Oil

The Steamed Marble Goby Fish Soon Hock With Superior Soya Sauce (SGD $10 / 100g, $80 / 800g) was shown to us, before staff assisted to portion it out. Simple and straightforward dish, the steamed fish meat is clean-tasting, sweet, and fresh, coming off the small bones easily. The superior soya sauce lends a salty savoury depth of flavour. Delicious, but not memorable or outstanding, something most other good Chinese Zi Char restaurants can do.

Steamed Marble Goby Fish Soon Hock With Superior Soya Sauce (SGD $10 / 100g, $80 / 800g)

Steamed Marble Goby Fish Soon Hock With Superior Soya Sauce

The Stir-Fried Mee Sua With Assorted Seafood (SGD $38) was served in individual portions, and I felt it was rather underwhelming. Despite the smooth, slippery texture of the thin rice vermicelli noodles, the flavour was rather flat, and there wasn't much seafood. Disappointing.

Stir-Fried Mee Sua With Assorted Seafood (SGD $38)

Stir-Fried Mee Sua With Assorted Seafood

Loved the Steamed Custard Buns (SGD $6), with its fluffy soft bun, and within, a rich, molten custard with a bold sweet savoury flavour. The family took to playing with these, trying to recreate faces in the buns. Absolutely loved how tasty these were. Highly recommended!

Steamed Custard Buns (SGD $6)

Steamed Custard Buns


Reserve a table now @ Shisen Hanten


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