Sunday, November 29, 2009

Man Fu Yuan

For a restaurant that was within walking distance from my previous office, it was rather surprising that my ex colleagues and I had dined at Man Fu Yuan, the flagship Cantonese restaurant of Hotel Intercontinental, helmed by Executive Chef Sunny Kong.

The Place & Menu

Tucked in a bright and cheery corner on the 2nd level of this charming 5 star hotel, Man Fu Yuan's dining space is divided into 2 sections, separated by a short bridge. There is the main dining area which can probably house about 10 tables or so and the more exclusive portion where you have private rooms and semi private spaces for 2 pax or more. Decor is simple with a touch of class but other then that, not much differentiation from other upscale Chinese restaurants.

Baked Honey Glazed BBQ Pork Pie

We were off to a good start with the char siew sou, which had a crisp and sweet top crust, very much like bo luo bao. The BBQ pork filling was savoury while the flaky base made for delightful nibbling.

Roasted Platter

Things started going downhill pretty much with the roasted platter. The roast pork and BBQ pork had weight loss problems and were served cold while the roast duck's skin harboured no crispiness. But at least it didn't come across as too gamey.

Crystal Dumpling with Chicken and Pumpkin

Now this was interesting. Thin glutinous skin wrapped around crunchy pumpkin and chicken bits. First time I'm having it but too unexciting to probably have it again.

Prawn Dumpling with Asparagus

A quintessential dim sum order, the har gao had a sprinkling of chopped asparagus amidst fresh crunchy prawns. The skin did seem a little too elastic though.

Custard Bun

I have always used Peach Garden's custard buns as the yardstick to measure the characteristics of good custard buns. And that looks set to be displaced by Man Fu Yuan's. Small portions aside, the buns had a oozing egg yolk laden center with bits of sediment to show for it. And to top it off, it won't give you a toothache.

Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Bun

Normal to say the least. And definitely a waste of stomach space and money. I remember quitting on it halfway through the chomping process.

Dumpling with Dried Scallop and Pea Shoot

I honestly don't remember much about this dish except that it tasted similar to the prawn dumpling, save for bits of vegetables (I don't remember the variant) that replaced the pea shoot.
And I don't recall tasting or seeing any scallops.

Deep Fried Scallops and Prawns with Sugar Cane

To my limited knowledge, only the Vietnamese use sticks of sugarcane more commonly in their cooking so it was quite surprising/interesting to see it deep fried with scallops and prawns in a dim sum dish. That's not to say that this dish was any good. Overly salty and oily would be a good start in describing this nausea inducing deep fried lump of flour. Well at least the sugar cane was crunchy.

Beef Ball with Watercress

This has got to be one of, if not the worst beef ball I've eaten in a long long time. Cringingly soft without a trace of beefiness, almost to the extent of being gross. Way too much flour went into the beef and I could make out the taste of orange peel, which was probably the only reason why I didn't puke when I ate it.

Deep Fried Mango Prawn Roll with Wasabi

The mango prawn roll came across as flat. The mango slices weren't sweet and the wasabi sauce was weak. So that left the flour, which was well, fried.

Deep Fried Bean Curd Skin Roll with Shrimps

As with alot of previous dishes, the bean curd skin roll was drenched in oil and no the least bit crisp. I appreciated the generous serving of prawns though but thats just about it.

Minced Pork Dumpling with Shark's Fin

The siew mai didn't threaten to overwhelm with its porky taste which probably meant less fat meat. There was a hint of fishiness from the tiny fragment of shark's fin adorning the top. Very palatable.

Jin Chuan Dumpling

This honestly looked like jiaozi (饺子) to me and I personally thought that the skin was a wee bit too thick for my liking. The sauce was spicy, salty and slightly vinegary - rather appetising.

Baked Mini Fluffy Egg Tart

The egg tarts had sheer disappointment written all over them. For starters, the pastry wasn't flaky and seemed to be sorely lacking in butter. As for the custard, it had an oily aftertaste which was just plain distasteful.

Baked Lobster Cheese Balls

Strangely enough, the lobster cheese balls reminded me of very salty and crispy croutons. Did I mention oily as well? Definitely not something for the health conscious. And honestly I couldn't quite make out much lobster or cheese for that matter. Everything was just salty.


An unforgettably horrid lunch for 6 cost us to the tune of $250. The only scant consolation we could derive was the 20% discount on food given to us by virtue of a credit card promotion and of course the promise of a complimentary peking duck if we should ever return. Service was good but with such sub standard quality of food, I'll be hard pressed to find a reason to ever return.

Final Verdict:
Value for money:6/10 (after 20% discount)


Address: 2F Intercontinental Hotel

Contact: 6825 1062

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 11 am - 2.15 pm

Dinner: 6 pm - 10.30 pm


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gusttimo Di Roma - A Standard Chartered Invite

Another meal courtesy of Standard Chartered to emphasize the dining discounts at various F&B outlets as well as the 15% cashback on all dining payments made by any SCB card at any dining outlet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Standing Sushi Bar - A Standard Chartered Invite

This meal was courtesy of Standard Chartered to promote their current dining offer of 15% cashback on all dining payments made using any Standard Chartered card, be it Master, Visa or debit cards at ALL/ANY dining outlets. How it works is simple. For example I dine at random restaurant A and the bill comes up to $100. With a cashback of 15%, that means a savings of $15 on top of any prevailing instore discount for SCB cards. You might have seen the advertisement (the one with the 2 fishes) on TV or print media. And I've walked the talk. Both my SCB cards have been activated for the promotion. ;)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pete's Place

It was in our interest that we decided to give Pete's Place a shot, having acquired recently, a 1 for 1 set dinner voucher. Holed up at the basement of Grand Hyatt, the name of the restaurant gave it a more personal and casual connotation as opposed to that of a swanky fine dining Italian restaurant usually found in hotels.

Interior & Menu

And living up to its casual billing, Pete's Place boasts brick walls coupled with checkered table cloths and an open kitchen where the chefs prepare your food. Being underground, there are no windows to speak off but the place oozes a nice comfortable feeling, one that evokes memories of sitting by a fireplace while having your meal.

Free Flow Bread

You can help yourself to the limited variety of bread at the tiny bread station. None of the bread struck me as fantastic but gives you something to chew on while you wait for your food. There is of course the salad bar as well, which I thought to be pretty decent.

Minestrone & Complimentary glass of wine

Seafood Pasta

The pasta wasn't al dente, coming across as a tad too soft while the tomato base sauce was a little too runny for my liking. I appreciated the generous serving of sweet, crunchy prawns as well as delectable and sizable scallops. A little less salt would have been ideal though.

Saltimbocca Alla Romana

This veal dish is apparently a classic Roman dish that counts fresh sage as one of its main ingredients. Honestly, this is the first time I've eating this and I can't say that I'm a big fan of it. Firstly, I thought that it was overly salty and though tender, the meat had a weird "coated with flour and steamed" like texture. I did like the mashed potato though - finely whipped with a seductively strong hint of butter. Nice.


Well it was between this and a scoop of ice cream. It was a no brainer for me really. But the tiramisu turned out to be a flop, unfortunately. Too much sponge, too little mascarpone cheese. And a teetotaler version to boot. At least there was the vanilla bean sauce with the occasional sighting of a bean or two in it.


Thank god for the 50%, paring what would have been an unreasonable amount of money to pay ($153 after tax) for such average food to something more manageable ($77). Even then, I don't find it exactly value for money. On the upside, service was reliable, benefiting from the experience of the wait staff, most of whom seemed to be in the older age bracket.

Final Verdict:
Value for money:6.5/10 (after 50% discount)


Address: Basement, Grand Wing, Grand Hyatt Singapore

Contact: 6732 1234

Opening Hours: 12:00 noon - 2:30 pm and 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm