Where to dine this week: Yàn, Caffe Fernet, Man Fu Yuan

Where to dine this week: Yàn, Caffe Fernet, Man Fu Yuan

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Text: Rachel Ng Janice Sim

A shortlist of top eats and treats in town


Translating to 'feast' in mandarin, Yàn at the pristine National Gallery certainly lives up to its given name by serving up a mean Cantonese spread. Comfort food can easily be found here (whenever Mum gets an off-day), and set within the sophisticated surroundings of cosy booth seats and luxe private dining rooms. Now with the appointment of new executive Chinese chef, Lai Chi Sum, the elegant Chinese restaurant is ready to ring in new additions, all of which stay true to traditional Cantonese techniques and distilled with rich, deep flavours. For starters, call for the house special pork ribs — which are steamed then deep-fried, and sautéed with black olive sauce, honey, water and plum sauce. Another all-time Cantonese classic? A baked crab shell (originating from Hong Kong), which sees an amalgamation of fresh flower crabmeat, onion, béchamel sauce and superior stock baked in an empty crustacean shell. If you're with the fam-bam, share their steamed kampong chicken with ginger and spring onions over a Lazy Susan. Tender meat gleaned with an aromatic mix of onions? Grandma would most definitely approve. Regulars at Yàn, not to worry — whether it's their signature crispy roast suckling pig or steamed beancurd, your favourites have fortunately been retained. Next time you pop in, you will be greeted with a enticing mix of the old and the new. — JS 


#05-02, National Gallery Singapore, Tel: 6384 5585
Opening hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm

Caffe Fernet 

Sixth time's a charm, as Caffe Fernet readily proves it. The new mod-Italian space marks the sixth venue from the Jigger & Pony group, with a scenic location in the historic Customs House alongside Singapore's picturesque waterfront. The open-air restaurant boasts a chic mix of old and new — Roman Holiday meets modern trattoria — as gloriously displayed through Leiter barstools and European tabletops. The drink menu at Caffe Fernet will deliver; it is after all Jigger & Pony we're talking about. Choose from a selection of gin infusions, spritzs or even a playful glass of Watermelon Frosé — a vermouth slushie of rose wine and watermelon. Grub wise, it's all about reinventing Italian classics. Your bread options here eschew greasy makings, and take on a palatable housemade ricotta on toasted sourdough bread, along with a piquant chestnut honey and thyme dip. If you have company, split the Chicken Piccata, which features a hearty portion of oven-roasted chicken breast cutlet seasoned with saffron, capers and lemon. Make sure to order their Mafaldine 'Cacio e Pepe', an Italian favourite (and one that's hard to locate in Singapore), which sees ribbon shaped mafaldine pasta tossed with pecorino and four types of peppercorns. We polished the deftly spiced bowl in no time, but naturally still had room for dessert. Their olive oil cake was the perfect end to the meal — light, airy and elevated with a dollop of creamy mascarpone. — JS

Caffe Fernet Singapore

Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay, #01-05, Tel: 9178 1105
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 5pm-12am, (Sat) 11am-2am, (Sun), 11am-5pm

Man Fu Yuan

Man Fu Yuan's prominence for authentic Cantonese delicacies goes uncontested. A long-standing stalwart in Singapore's fine dining scene, Man Fu Yuan has unveiled a new collection of 10 chef's signatures that have been carefully curated by executive chef Eric Neo, who hopes to take traditional Chinese cuisine in a new direction. You don't have to wait long to witness the depth of his dedication. Start off your meal with the Mango Passionfruit Prawns topped with caviar, a refreshing spin on the traditional appetiser. Fusion continues to run deep in the heart of this kitchen with its must-try main, the tiger prawn vermicelli in superior broth and Chinese wine. The broth incorporates the use of both prawn shells and hua diao wine, marrying East and West to create what Chef Eric coins, "a Chinese way of doing prawn bisque". For a more oriental twist, move on to the Miso shoyu baked cod with scrambled egg white. The cod is beautifully torched and marinated with Japanese shoyu, before it's topped with miso mayonnaise to give off a sweet, savoury umami flavor. Evolution here is not without grounding in its roots — you can appease that traditionalist in you with perennial Cantonese classics like the Kagoshima pork belly char siew and signature Longjing tea-smoked duck. Have a sweet tooth? Finish off with some deep-fried purple sweet potato custard balls, or the chilled coconut jelly with aloe vera. — RN.

Man Fu Yan

80 Middle Road, InterContinental Singapore, Tel: 6825 1008
Opening hours: 11.45am-3pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm

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