Saturday, December 5, 2015

Szechuan Court & Kitchen 四川阁 @ Fairmont Singapore

With regards to Chinese cuisine, I grew up predominantly on Hokkien and Cantonese dishes as a kiddo, and progressively having some exposure to Hakka, Teochew, Shanghai and Beijing dishes when in adulthood. The latter was mainly due to easy availability of such cuisine in Singapore and also attributed to the opportunity to travel. If you ask me whether I've tasted szechuan cuisine before, I'd be hard pressed for an answer. The only szechuan I've eaten would be the szechuan preserved vegetable (mustard root). Doesn't count, right?

Thanks to the invitation from Hungrygowhere and hosted by Fairmont, had the opportunity to dine at Szechuan Court at Fairmont. This restaurant serves up fine Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine under the helm of Master Chef Mok Wan Lok.

interior of Szechuan Court
cosy dining

The restaurant is spacious and comfortable, with a modern Chinese interior. While waiting for the mains, one could sample the snacks already available on the table; the boiled peanuts and szechuan pickled vegetable. The pickle was delectably crunchy and tangy with a touch of chili. Quite addictive.

szechuan pickled vegetable with chili
boiled peanuts
let's have some tea, 饮茶
For tea alone, diners are spoilt for choice. Take your pick from premium leaves of Lion's Peak Dragon Well (狮峰龙井), High Mountain Dongding Oolong (冻顶乌龙), Aged Old Pu-er (陈年旧普洱) 12 years or handcrafted tea, amongst others.

Feeling ravenous, we started with the cold dishes of "Chong Qing" Poached Chicken in spicy peanut sesame sauce and the Braised Beef Tripe with Shimeji mushrooms in peanut chili sauce.

Combination of "Chong Qing" Poached Chicken, Spicy Peanut Sesame Sauce (重庆口水鸡) @$18++

Was pleasantly surprised that the spice level of the poached chicken was actually very likeable and not of the mind-numbing variant. The sauce was more of a fragrance inducer with a tingling of spice to excite the taste buds. The chicken itself was smooth and tender.

The overall texture of the beef tripe dish was enjoyably tasty, 爽口.

Braised Beef Tripe, Shimeji Mushrooms, Peanut Chili Sauce (老干妈五香牛肚伴松茸菇) @$18++

The first two dishes are strong in flavours, and if you prefer something more soothing, do try the Braised Bird's Nest with Cabbage in Chicken Broth.

A luxurious bowl of nutritious bird's nest on velvety smooth flavourful chicken broth. Very well prepared. Indeed a Chef's recommended dish.

Braised Bird's Nest, Cabbage, Chicken Broth (红烧菜胆鸡汁燕窝) @$42++

Next, we had the Steamed Cod fish with Soya Bean Crumbs.

Call me a novice but wasn't able tell what the topping was without looking at the menu. It looked pretty much like minced fried garlic. But its taste was of something more umami-ish. Really liked the soft-oily flesh of cod fish prepared simply by steaming it and doused with soy based sauce, with the fish topped with crunchy fried soya bean crumbs, minced garlic and a secret ingredient. Very good.

Steamed Cod Fish with Soya Bean Crumbs (豆酥) @$18++

Was happy to know that there are plenty of meat dishes in the menu.

The Wok-Fried Sliced Chicken dish was pleasant to taste with impeccably smooth and tender (嫩) chicken slices. The ginger tasted like pickled ginger and added to the tangy element of the dish. The Stir-Fried Duck Breast, surprisingly tasted more like tender beef/venison texture. Lovely dish, and loved the black fungus as well. Yums.

Wok-Fried Sliced Chicken, Young Ginger, Sweet and Sour Sauce @ (Small $28++, Medium $42++) 
Stir-Fried Duck Breast, Black Fungus, Pickled Wild Chilli @ (Small $32++, Medium $48++)

Next, we had the Braised Pork Belly Ribs with Crispy Rice and Sweet Vinegar Sauce. Come to think of it, Chinese cooking can be simple as well as complex. Boiled, braised, deep fried and then stir-fried. So many steps just for one dish alone! The presentation of this dish was as pretty as a painting.

Braised Pork Belly Ribs, Crispy Rice, Sweet Vinegar Sauce @ (Small $30++, Medium $45++)

Really enjoyed the crunch of the light batter, moist juicy meat and the perfect balance of sweet and sour in the sauce. Careful of the bones from the ribs though. The spice in this dish was of the peppercorn variant that provided a slight tinge of numbness (麻辣) on the lips.

In Chinese course meal, usually it will end with a carb of either rice or noodles. At Szechuan Court, we had Wok-Fried Fish Noodles, Shredded Pork and Black Pepper.

Wok-Fried Fish Noodles, Shredded Pork, Black Pepper @(Small $28++ , Medium $42++, Large $56++)

In the menu, there is an indicator of the spice level for each of the spicy dishes. But I think Chef Mok was kidding us when the menu for the Wok-Fried Fish Noodles stated an icon for 'pinch spicy'. This bowl of noodles was of the most spicy (from the black pepper) of all the dishes that we had tasted that night. It deserves an upgrade to 'Hot spicy' level! No worries, Chef  Mok has shared that if you prefer more spicy or less spicy, just let the staff know when you order the dish.

After sampling four of the spicy dishes that night, I'd dare say that the most of the spice level are acceptable to our foreign friends from the non-Asian countries.

Ended the night with a sweet cooling dessert of Pandan Ice Jelly with Honey Sea Coconut. Nice fragrance from the pandan jelly, with nice wobbly smooth texture.

Pandan Ice Jelly with Honey Sea Coconut @$8++

A big thank you goes to Medwin and Wendy for having us at Szechuan Court, Fairmont Singapore. Chef Mok for the delightful dishes and for spending time answering our queries. Many thanks to Hungrygowhere Singapore for the invite, and the foodie kakis, great company as always.

Szechuan Court & Kitchen 四川阁 

Location: 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189560
Reservation: +65 6431 6156 or email
Business Hours:
Monday to Friday - 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday - 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Dim Sum Buffet:
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday - 12:00pm to 2:15pm

Daily - 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Note: The information is correct at time of print. For more updated information, please visit the restaurant's website. Thank you


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