The Chinese know so well how to celebrate with food, and with Chinese New Year on the horizon there’s no shortage of restaurants offering wonderful set menus to usher in the Year of the Snake. The Phoenix Restaurant at the Holiday Inn, Glen Marie is no exception, and Executive Chef Francis Lau has created exceptional dishes to ensure that you honour the New Year in style.
thick, rich and tasty. There was plenty of crabmeat and the bamboo pith added an interesting texture.
The Crispy Roasted Chicken in Mongolian Sauce was full of flavour. The chicken was exceptionally tasty, complemented beautifully by the peppery sauce made of chilli sauce, black pepper and condensed milk. The fruit kebabs were an inspired and attractive accompaniment. I may even try this one at home! It’s simple yet highly effective.
The fish course was a healthy Steamed Sea Bass, in Teow Chew Sauce, served with tofu, pickled vegetables and chilli. The sour, tangy vegetables contrasted well with the delicate fish.
Prawns came next in a spicy, sweet and sour Vietnamese Sauce, accompanied by Mantou, slightly sweet, deep-fried puffs of bread. They were so delicious dipped in the tangy sauce that I had to move into denial mode. A second helping would have been wonderful but calorifically suicidal.
This dish looked like sliced abalone but was actually Braised Mushrooms, Beancurd Skin and Vegetables with a topping of sweet, crunchy macadamia nuts. It was another wholesome addition to the menu, allowing diners to keep right on eating without feeling too replete.
The final savoury course was Seafood Rice served with Century Egg. The fried rice was made with a minimum of oil, and I particularly enjoyed the topping of shredded, pickled ginger on the black eggs. I ate half of half an egg, and I think my Chinese friends will be proud of me. I thought it might be auspicious or something! It’s never a good idea to pass up opportunities to increase one’s luck.
The Chilled Rambutan with Nata de Coco, enhanced with mint, watermelon and orange juice, was very refreshing and less sugary than usual.
Although the pork-free Phoenix Restaurant is somewhat lacking in ambience, it more than redeems itself by the quality of its food. I was impressed with the presentation of Chef Lau’s dishes too. He used pandan leaves with black olive “flowers”, and even dead leaves, most effectively. The regular dining room seats fifty but can expand to accommodate 500. There is also a private room seating up to 12 people.