Oh and did we mention, the restaurant is pretty Instagram-worthy too
Photos: Weekender/Xin Divine
Chilli oil is turned into foam and the French poulet is made ‘drunken’ with rice wine.
These culinary peculiarities are the efforts of Xin Divine, a Chinese-sounding restaurant that sends forth dishes veering slightly away from its oriental-suggested origins. As the establishment eloquently puts its direction as a “seamless amalgamations of traditional Chinese flavours and cooking methods with modern European culinary techniques’, we silently hoped that this isn’t another case of butchering Asian classics in an ambitious attempt of being interesting.
Food aside, Xin Divine’s interior is like Pied Piper’s song for social media influencers. Pretty in pastel, the venue reminisces a whimsical wedding reception, filled with bells and whistles of textured posh chairs, hanging chandeliers, ribbon drapery and glints of gorgeous metallic hardware such as gold-foiled cutlery and rose gold centrepieces. And what does one need to finish off this fairytale setting? Copious amounts of sunlight, of course, made possible with the restaurant’s almost floor-to-ceiling windows.
Once the perfect #ootd was taken, we headed to the private dining room to check out the proof of the pudding, crafted by three chefs that specialised in three separate cuisines namely: Szechuan, Cantonese and French. It seems like an army, or perhaps three culinary generals, is required to embark on a conquest of progressive Chinese food.
Szechuan Style Tortellini ($18)
Here, you’ll get ang moh-plated dishes that only tell of its Asian components once you tuck in. This is exemplified by the Szechuan Style Tortellini ($18) that secures kurobuta pork and chives in wanton skins, before moulded to resemble the Italian pasta. Normally presented luxuriating in vinegar and sinful chilli oil, the dumplings are paired with the foam-version of the latter. However, we rather the oldie liquid oil as the spicy kick seems to vanish in its effervescent form. Aside that, we wouldn’t mind several dumplings more.
Poulet De Bresse ($35)
Another tantalising mishmash of East and West is the Poulet De Bresse ($35). The fusion dish reminds us of a scene where the French and Chinese are at a joyful soiree, as illustrated by the deliciously tender roulade of decadent foie gras and sous vide chicken thigh, where the latter is spiked in Chinese wine that comes through at the right amount. It would’ve been a lovely party until an uninvited Japanese, in the form of roulade’s chewier-than-crispy tempura hide, saunters in and puts a damper on the gastronomic festivities. Thank goodness the exterior is easily peeled away and left aside. The dish is also paired with sweet corn and Nu Er Hong puree, popped rice, chanterelle mushrooms and black fungus.
Other interesting delights worth trying include the gao gao Chinese Wine (Nu Er Hong) Shark Bone Soup ($28), and the tender Chilean Seabass ($32) before rounding off with the theatric Osmanthus Sphere ($12) that is consumed after you prick is delicate shell to release a flow of chilled winter melon essence, made healthful with cooling Chinese herbs.
Szechuan Chicken Karaage ($16)
But if you asked us, the real culinary stars are from the bar menu, namely: Szechuan Chicken Karaage ($16) and XO Carrot Cake XO ($12). A word of caution when you sink your teeth in the former: The irresistible fried chicken bites, speckled with cashew nuts and sesame seeds, are coated with Szechuan’s famed mala spiciness that is surely not the faint-hearted. On the other hand, the latter serves more of a crowd-pleaser with each XO sauce-tossed carrot cake blocks touting the perfect crisp, which we heard is attributed to the use of three types of flour.
Overall, Xin Divine definitely left us intrigued with its slew of familiar, yet unconventional dishes that may warrant a second visit for further inspection. And if we ever go back, we’ll be zeroing on the XO Carrot Cake XO.
Address: 10 Duxton Hil, Singapore, Singapore 089594
Contact No.: +65 3100-0030
Operating Hours: 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm (Monday sto Saturdays); Closed on Sundays