Mix it up this Chinese New Year with a French twist
By Cheryl Chia
Chinese New Year cuisine can get a little repetitive every year, with the same old tossed yu sheng and pen cai combo.
Shake things up this year with French restaurant Bar-Roque’s version of the Chinese New Year feast.
Chef Stephane Istel brings you “Love Chinese New Year With Bar-Roque”.
“I want to infuse this great festival with my own love for feasting… so you can celebrate Chinese New Year at Bar-Roque, and at home with the people who matter in your life,” he says.
Updating New Year Cuisine
Even the ubiquitous yu sheng ($88 for eight people) gets a refreshing spin with fried lotus root chips, sesame seeds, French carrots, radish, raw salmon and scallops drizzled with a ginger-sesame dressing.
The resulting difference is remarkable, with crunchier vegetables, a less cloying sauce and generous portions of fresh salmon and scallops.
I was never a fan of pen cai. It seems too much at once, and all the flavours get lost.
Bar-Roque separates the ingredients with a Crispy Pork Belly ($158 for 2kg) and a honey-glazed, five-spiced Whole Rotisserie Duck ($98). Both came with a crisp skin and tender and well-seasoned meat.
We were pleasantly surprised by the duck, which had little to no gamey scent.
The piece de resistance is their version of a roasted suckling pig ($398 for a whole piglet) stuffed with French chestnuts, mushrooms and pistachios, and served with side dishes.
I loved their sides of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut as well.
For a less intimidating pork dish, try their Pork Knuckle ($68) with sauerkraut. It is crispy on the outside, and fatty and tender on the inside.
From the Sea
Whether or not you like all that meat, hold your horses for the Whole Fresh Fish of the Day (market price).
Depending on the fish that Chef Stephane receives, the preparation method can vary from salt-crusted, steamed, pan-roasted or en papillote. When we were there, the chef had prepared a bouillabaisse [a rich, spicy French soup] with sides of shrimp and squid.
This dish is not recommended for takeaway as it is best consumed after preparation.
If you have space in your belly after all that, end your meal with the signature Mom’s Recipe Apple Pie ($12).
The Chinese New Year menu is available from Jan 28 to Feb 14, 2014. Visit www.bar-roque.com.sg for takeaways.