Chinese food might not be deemed the trendiest of cuisine, but is one which we always turn to when searching for a taste of familiarity and comfort. Once in a while, we'd get excited about it again.
Our visit to New Taste Restaurant 新嘉飨 was one of those occasions. It was a wondrous dinner of modern fine Chinese fare whipped up by an award-winning chef who is only 26 years of age!
It was quite unexpected that the co-owner and master behind the wok is this young chap. So young, can cook well? He certainly can.
Chef Cao Yong 曹勇 came to Singapore with his parents when he was 15 years old, stayed on to serve national service, honed his culinary skills in kitchens of 5-star hotels, and eventually lead a 4-man team to represent Singapore in the World Chef Championship in Shanghai earlier this year. They cliched the first place! Whoa, you can imagine it was certainly not an easy feat!
With the opening of New Taste along Macpherson Road earlier this June, this new citizen hopes to inject some fresh air into the mature estate by offering nearby residents a contemporary take on classic Chinese dishes.
His dishes are mostly executed with an aesthetic flair, seemingly uncomplicated yet arresting in flavors. Oh yes, there was this element of surprise at times too.
Take for instance the Handmade Crispy Long Cheese Stick ($12.90) filled with an enjoyable mix of soft, smooth cheese and potato. My dining companion said it felt like eating samosa (without the spices) in stick form. A starter which we believe will appeal to both young and old diners.
The slices of Smoked Duck ($8.90) pleased exceedingly with its layer of fatty skin and tender meat. When eaten with pink ginger, it added a welcoming dimension in taste. Chilled Pork Belly ($6.90) was another invigorating appetizer wrapped with crunchy cucumber. The pairing with garlic sauce was a gentle and compatible one.
Moving on to the mains, we do see quite an array of meat, seafood and vegetable selection on the menu.
If you're not feeling too adventurous, it would be a safe idea to go with perennial favorites such as Roasted Crispy Chicken ($13.90 half, $26.90 whole), Steamed Prawns in Herbal Broth ($21.90), Stir-fried XO Scallop with Celery ($28.90), Hong Kong Style Steamed Cod Fish ($12.90 per pc), and Chinese Spinach in Superior Stock ($12.90).
We tried the Honey Glazed Chicken Wings ($9.90), a lovely dish of chicken wings that was partially deboned and deep-fried to crispiness before slathered in a sweet sticky sauce reminiscent of marmite.
Crispy Fried Prawn with Wasabi Cream ($21.90) suited my palate as the fruit salad wasabi sauce was rather subtle, but could lose fans who find their kick in the sharp sensation of wasabi. That aside, those prawns that were delishly plump, fresh and crunchy made the dish satisfying overall.
The use of truffles is getting commonplace even in Chinese cuisine nowadays, and New Taste does address the increasing lust for this prized fungus without having us to heavily damage our wallets for it.
I like "truffled-anything" so to see the Deep Fried Spinach Beancurd ($12.90) blanketed with fresh mushrooms and slices of black truffle was already a visual delight. The use of truffle oil intensified the aroma further, and heightened the enjoyment of the beancurd's silky texture.
A typical Chinese meal wouldn't seemed complete without a carbs dish, so the Stir Fried Udon with Homemade XO Sauce & Black Truffle ($12.90) with hints of wok hei was very much an ideal order.
If you only have tummy space to eat just one dish at New Taste, make that the Signature Crab Porridge ($39.90) or leave with regrets.
We loved the vibrant, flavorful broth that was boiled with chicken and enlivened with pumpkin. We loved the rice grains that was cooked to softness yet retaining an agreeable bite. We loved the crab that burst with succulent, sweet meatiness and creamy roe. All the components of this porridge dish came together as one amazing deliciousness!
The current promotion for this dish at only $19.90 is undoubtedly a steal for its price. Portion feeds 2 pax comfortably.
New Taste also serves Hot Pot Buffet at their adjoining unit to cater to steamboat-loving diners. With such diversity in food that is matched with quality at affordable prices, this restaurant is surely a promising establishment to look out for. Last we heard, they're already almost fully booked for next year's Chinese New Year's reunion dinner!
New Taste Restaurant 新嘉飨
Address: 476 Macpherson Road, Singapore 368191
Contact: +65 848 5233 / +65 9785 0616
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-3pm & 6pm-10pm
Prices stated are subject to 7% GST (no service charge).