VLV? What does the inititals stand for?
Actually we still have no idea even after visiting the latest dining and entertainment destination that has opened in the heart of Singapore's Clarke Quay.
We were told that VLV can mean anything we want it to be. "VouLez-Vous.....?" "Do you want...?"
Stop! Before we get too imaginative, let's just stick to eating, drinking and dancing hehee.
Occupying the double storey heritage building along the riverfront (where Indochine and its terracotta warriors used to be), VLV combines a modern Chinese Restaurant, a stylish Club Lounge, an al-fresco Courtyard Bar and a Riverfront Dining under one big roof.
These four zones are designed to cater to various types of customers from diners to clubbers.
While the club lounge is fitted with state-of-art visual and audio technology, dance floors and luxe leather VIP booths for that phenomenal party, the courtyard bar and riverfront dining appeals to me better with their laidback charm. My drinking and partying days are over lol.
Even though I can't hold my liquor well, VLV's Signature Cocktails ($18-$20) are too pretty that I couldn't resist a sip or two.
My favorite was the Water Court ($18) with rum, cassis liquer and lychee juice. Seemingly light and very easy to drink but somewhat "dangerous" for a teetotaler if you know what I mean haha.
Okay, managed to stay "safe" and made it to dinner following that, as our group adjourned to the restaurant on the second level which houses a dimly-lit, elegant dining hall, as well as three private rooms. Throughout dinner, music wafted up from the club lounge as we dine. Was that Cantonese pop we're hearing?
VLV's kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Martin Foo with more than 25 years of experience including Tung Lok Group's Tong Le Private Dining, as well as Lei Garden.
His culinary style is best described as classic Chinese flavors reinvented using modern cooking techniques and premium seasonal ingredients.
One dish which exemplifies this is the VLV Peking Duck (half $55, whole $110, add 30g caviar $168).
The premium 45-days old slow-roasted duckling is served with the not-so-usual Avocado, Crispy Beancurd Skin and even Caviar. We can choose to wrap the glistening brown Peking duck skin with Chef Martin's housemade Goma Hoisin Sauce, or Truffle Foie Gras Sauce which added such a contemporary and luscious touch to the age-old recipe.
For the duck meat, instead of typically frying it with noodles or having it chopped and served wrapped with lettuce, VLV offers two other choice of preparation: Korean-style Yangnyeom Duck with Housemade Kimchi or Spicy Duck Cone.
We tried the latter which had the meat stir-fried with capsicums and stuffed into crisp cones. While the idea is innovative and the presentation is pretty, I thought the execution was somewhat lacking. The capsicum's flavors were too overwhelming and threw the balance a tad off. I want my noodles :(
We also had Canadian Lobster Wanton ($16 for 4 pieces), where the usual snack of deep-fried dumpling is made luxurious with the use of lobster chunks as fillings. Love it with the spicy sambal dip.
The Crackling Pork Belly ($18) was just its name suggested, with that coveted crackling over layers of intertwined fats and lean meat.
Premium Soya Prawn ($36) with its succulent flesh and moreish coat of dried chilli, curry leaf, Lea & Perrins was delectable too. I would recommend eating it together with the thin, crispy prawn shell which was left intact for a delish reason.
Another highlight of the evening was when the VLV Beggar Chicken ($58, serves 3-4pax) was rolled into our room and set aflame.
Keeping much to the origins of the dish, the chicken is wrapped with chestnut, bamboo shoot and aged hua diao wine in lotus leaf and encased in clay before being baked for at least 3.5 hours. We had some boisterous moments in hammering that ugly rock-like sphere apart before savoring the utterly tender, juicy and flavorsome meat that is sealed within.
The dish is accompanied with rice that has an unique chewy and bouncy bite. Tip: Do pour that rich brown gravy generously over the rice to make it "zhup zhup" delicious!
The Sizzling Romaine Lettuce (($24) was another worthy order. Prepared with dried shrimp and prawn paste, the vegetable remained crunchy and was umami in every bite.
I need to avoid carbs but Kimchi Seafood Fried Rice ($28) with prawn, scallop, anchovy, shiitake mushrooms and 63°C egg was irresistible! Unfortunately (or fortunately), my dress was tightening my ribs to the point of painfulness else I would have wolfed down more of the fried rice's comforting goodness.
But I guess there's always room for desserts :p
Gimmicky dry ice theatrics aside, we love the delightful medley of Luo Han Jelly ($12) with longan sorbet, Chinese pear and young coconut which served as a welcoming palate cleanser after the heavy savory courses.
VLV's chilled yam paste dessert, Or Nee ($12) with ginkgo nuts, pumpkin balls and coconut ice cream is a refreshing change from the convention warm version. Even if you are not a fan of yam paste, there is a high possibility you might be converted after trying this!
A meal at VLV is of scrumptious quality, but it doesn't come cheap. It is not a place I would aimlessly walk into and anyhow order a Singapore Fried Bee Hoon ($22) or Beef Hor Fun ($32) for a quick dinner even though one can definitely expect a fancified rendition with premium ingredients.
But for celebratory occasions or corporate events, it might not be a bad idea to explore this venue with an Asian touch.
Lunch Sets and Dim Sum are available during lunch service.
Address: Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road, #01-02, Singapore 179020
Contact: +65 6661 0197
Opening Hours: Restaurant Lunch 12pm-3pm & Dinner 6pm-11pm / Club Lounge 6pm-3am / Courtyard 12pm-3am / Riverside Dinner 5.30pm-11pm & Supper 11pm-3am
Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.