Tóng Lè Private Dining 同樂 is reputed to be one of Singapore's finest Chinese restaurants, and I've heard only good things about its food, service and ambience from my friends who have dined there before. True that!
The purpose of my visit was to check out Tóng Lè's special two-week menu (available from 27th October to 11th November 2017) which features Autumn seasonal produce from Japan's Niigata City.
This is actually the second year in which the collaboration is taking place. Chef Ken Ling was so impressed with the products last year, that he flew to Niigata City again this year to personally handpick the freshest Autumn ingredients to be used for the delectable 6-course menu.
Facing the sea of Japan, Niigata is a port city that is blessed with fertile land and water. It is home to one of the richest varieties of seafood, and is the largest global rice producer in Japan that gives its sakes and sushi and outstanding reputation.
Through the special Niigata City Menu, we get to experience some of its best produce including Sazae (horned turban sea snail), Medai (sea bream), Kurobuta Pork (also known as the Kobe beef of pork), and of course the Koshihikari (Niigata’s famous rice), Niitaka (pear) and Okesagaki (persimmon).
1st Course: Sazae
Those pieces of Sazae or turban shell were an absolute delight and I love it! Served chilled, the prized delicacy is cooked with ginger and coriander paste, and has a lovely crunchy texture. It paired brilliantly with the kelp noodle that has been marinated with mirin, bonito and yuzu. An excellent starter!
2nd Course: Maitake Mushroom, Nameko Mushroom, Tomato
The main highlight of this course is the tomato from Niigata. Blended with Japanese ginger flower and lemongrass, the tangy tomato consommé also features maitake and nameko mushrooms for a savory rich flavor. Generous chunks of lobster added to the overall enjoyment of the dish.
3rd Course: Medai
Medai or Japanese Butterfish (also known as Blue Nose) is a type of seabream or snapper. Its high fat content gives Medai a naturally butter taste. Topped with a slightly spicy paste made with a blend of turmeric, yellow ginger, dried shrimp, garlic, shallot and lemongrass, the fish was appetizing in each bite. Best with a squeeze of calamansi to bring out the flavors further. It reminded us of a milder version of sambal stingray!
4th Course: Kurobuta
Known as the highest quality pork in the world due to its rich marbling, tenderness and rich flavor, Kurobuta is often called the "Kobe beef of pork". Our conversations came to an halt and we were all lost in the pork's deliciousness. Its meat is simply marinated in garlic and leek, and is presented with three different sauces (grated radish with yuzu, yuzu soy sauce and sea salt) for us to enjoy the pork in different ways.
5th Course: Uonuma Rice
Though unassuming in appearance, the rice dish is one which I was looking forward to and it met all my expectations.
Koshihikari is widely acknowledged to be the crown jewel of Japanese short-grain rice, and well-received for its sweet and nutty taste with slight stickiness. Uonuma city in south-central Niigata prefecture is famous for producing the best Koshihikari rice.
This premium rice is cooked and reduced in chicken stock, and served covered in a mashed mountain yam paste alongside with crispy uonoma rice, shallots, and trumpet mushroom. A full-bodied seafood soup is then poured into the bowl for an ultimate mix of ambrosial flavors and textures. The crusted Hokkaido scallop is but the icing on the cake.
6th Course: Niitaka-nashi Pear, Okesa-gaki Persimmon
This dessert has three components showcasing the fresh fruits from Niigata. Starting from the right, the persimmon tart has caramelized persimmon and marzipan (almond paste) topped with fresh persimmon. In the center, there are two types of pear which are the fresh, juicy and sweet pear, and the pear soaked with red wine. The teacup dessert has molten persimmon purée on the bottom layer and is topped with pear jelly, fresh pear balls and basil seeds.
The special Niigata City Menu will be served at Tóng Lè Private Dining from 27th October to 11th November 2017 for both Lunch (11.30am-3pm) and Dinner (6pm-11pm), and is priced at $120++ per pax.
Tóng Lè Private Dining 同樂
Address: 60 Collyer Quay, OUE Tower, Level 8 & 10, Singapore 049322
Contact: +65 6634 3233
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat Lunch 11.30am-3pm & Dinner 6pm-11pm / Closed on Sun / Dining is by reservations only.
Prices are stated in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST. Information is correct at point of published date.
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