CNY ’18: A Joyous Reunion Celebration @ Cassia, Capella Singapore

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and what better way to usher in the Year of the Dog than to indulge in a medley of sophisticated Cantonese dishes concocted by Cassia’s executive chef, Chef Lee Hiu Ngai. For all 15 days of the Lunar New Year – beginning from 16 February to 2 March – Chef Lee will be delighting diners with signature items from his Lunar New Year set menus.

These once-a- year specialities include: wok-fried prawns stuffed with minced shrimp and garlic, braised three-head Australian abalone with sea cucumber, and double-boiled chicken broth with fish maw, not forgetting Cassia’s signature Lou Hei platter – a prosperity salad tossed with fresh seafood and vibrant greens. As the set menus would only be available for a limited period, it is advisable for diners to book early to avoid disappointment. Additionally, the Prosperity Lou Hei ($68++ per platter) and Cassia Signature Lou Hei ($38++ per person, min 2 pax) will be available for both dine-in and take-away from 1 Feb to 2 March.

Ring in another year of prosperity and boundless success with Cassia Signature Lou Hei platter, a multi-layered assemblage of thinly sliced vibrant greens moulded in the shape of Chinese pyramids. Other symbolic condiments and ingredients, such as crushed peanuts, golden crackers, salmon sashimi, arctic surf clams, and plump lobster meat, are generously scattered around the pyramid for additional boosts of luck and wealth. Before the mandatory tossing occurs, a server from Cassia will sweeten the whole experience with honeyed lashings of invigorating hawthorn sauce, a secret sweet-and- sour blend that magically unites and complements the other flavours of the dish. On the whole, this was one of the best yushengs that we had by far for the simplistic, no-frills nature of the salad was, in essence, delightfully palatable and almost addictive!

The Double-Boiled Thick Chicken Broth with Sea Cucumber was the definition of dining in complete luxury. Although Chef did not reveal the length of the braising time, one can only imagine the duration to be agonizingly long such that fresh scallops were reduced to ivory discs of gelatinous protein, and sea cucumbers that almost melted in our mouths. To add extra satisfaction to the sumptuous dish, bountiful additions of dried scallops infused the broth with savoury, oceanic flavours and tender fish maw. Truly perfection in a bowl!

While the double-boiled soup with sea cucumber had pleasant, pillow-esque textures, the Wok-Fried Prawns with Minced Shrimp and Crispy Garlic in Bi Fong Tong Style was an exciting display of contrasting crisp and gentle textures, and bold flavours that left us wanting more. For this particular dish, Chef imports a certain breed of prawns that bear thinner shells with sweeter flesh. Once deveined and stuffed with decadent shrimp paste filling, these paunchy crustaceans undergo minutes of hot-oil therapy before transforming into scarlet beauties where their shells are reminiscence of flaky Hong Kong egg tarts; and flesh ever-so plump, luscious, and slightly springy. Additional orders for this dish are possible at $16++ per person; what a steal indeed!

No less impressive is the Steamed Cod Fish with Black Garlic in Light Soya Sauce; an obligatory fish dish to signify a year of wealth and abundance. Despite the slightly plain-looking façade, we were pleasantly surprised, if not bedazzled, by the tartness of the diced black garlic (think balsamic-soaked raisins) which aided in imparting a fruity, yet acerbic sweetness to the cod. For those who are still trying to get accustomed to the tanginess of the garlic, we would advise you to drench a bite-sized portion of the cod in the soy sauce before ingesting it with the black morsel.

The Fried Rice with Mini Abalone and Preserved Chinese Sausages was excellent, but did not exactly strike us as being unique or memorable, apart from the exquisite ingredients of diced scallops and mini abalone. Aside to that, the rice was cooked to perfection where each individual grain was glossy, translucent, and imbued with fiery essence of the wok (wok hei). But, having said that, we really wished the abalone could be bigger in size as the ones served were too minuscule to complement the dish.

To end the meal on a sweet and refreshing note, Chef introduced a familiar creation of Chilled Coconut Cream with Pearls and Sago Topped with Ice Cream. Though it was simple and very much akin to coconut bubble teas, this tropical elixir was an undeniably impeccable conclusion to the brilliant dinner.

Capella Singapore
1 The Knolls
Sentosa Island
Singapore 098297
Tel: +65 6591 5045


Words and Photography by Kenneth Lim (@sempiternal.indulgence)
The writer is an avid tea drinker who enjoys slicing cakes with his golden fork. 


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