Happy Chinese New Year! Through the years this celebration has been embraced by Filipinos in the Philippines. In fact it has been recognized as a holiday just a few years back. Going around, Chinese lanterns or any resemblance of the rooster (for 2017) is now even more evident.
Just last week, together with other Chinese Zomato foodies we had our own early celebration of Chinese New Year at Red Lantern at Solaire. A step inside this iconic restaurant, you’ll feel like you are overseas with its sophisticated and well themed ambiance.
On a private room we were welcomed by their top chefs from Singapore, lead by executive chef, Jimmy Chaw. He was one passionate individual. All throughout our time together he took time explaining each dish with much delight and detail. He alone made this night memorable.
To kick off our 10 course dinner, we had the customary Yu Sheng or Prosperity Toss. We got our individual chopsticks and tossed these colorful ensemble as high as we could while shouting for bountiful blessings. It got messy! How’s that for a kick off? This dish was dominantly salty and sweet as it had a long line up of ingredients and sauces. It included tasty smoked salmon, shredded vegetables, fried wanton wrapper, nuts, coriander to name a few.
A Instagram worthy dish followed, Braised Baby Abalone with Dried Oysters, Black Mushroom & Garden Greens with Japanese Beancurd Skin. The fusion of this appetizer clearly defined the direction of Red Lantern. Contemporary and not traditional, going forward with culinary trends. The texture abounds with a number of pieces combined together. The oysters though were grainy maybe a bit too ‘fresh’.
Garden Bay was an artist rendition. Baos were crafted into mushrooms while its carrots were fried glutinous rice filled with minced pork. Oh and I thought the black parts were Oreos, they were bread. It looked better though than how it tasted. Tweaking is needed here to make it stand out on the palate.
We all grew up loving Siomai or Siew Mai. Their version was a huge piece with whole shrimps and topping it were dancing Bonito Flakes. These swayed as they were reacting to the heat of the dimsum. I would have raved about this more if it wasn’t too fatty.
Another classic dimsum served was their Hakao or Har Gau. Presented in Yin and Yang with gold shavings, the wrapper was also thin. Inside truffle is vividly present together with ample shrimps. A bite could lead to another. It’s my favorite savory dish they served that night.
Two way Peking Duck was next and they proudly mention that they are American. Simply meant, fatter! And it was. To me that was a downside as am not a fan of it. The skin though was seasoned well and crispy.
Pork Pyramid was effort intensive. It’s basically braised pork belly wrapped around to form a pyramid structure. This one came with freshly prepared fluffy cuapaos. Together they make so much sense.
Their number one dish, Deep Fried Butter Prawns with Salted Egg (the flavor of 2016) was next. These plump prawns were deep fried to golden brown with generous amounts of salted egg felt with its rough texture. The addition of basil leaves creates a nice twist.
To end were a series of desserts. I loved the Snow Lady most for its unbelievable soft mochi and inside was sweet cream filling with fresh mangoes. Osmanthus Tea Jelly was somewhat refreshing but had too much syrup in them. Pan Fried Tikoy were seemingly half cooked as it were still almost on its original state.
Red Lantern, check. Solaire has so much more dining spots and I look forward to visit them soon. If only they weren’t too far from where I live.