Over the years, fusion cooking has grow to be so abused that many restaurateurs sound a bit apologetic after they use the time period to explain their meals.
But now, so many eating places – Asian and Western – combine up cooking kinds and components from completely different elements of the world of their cooking, it’s typically now not one thing to be remarked on.
Still, not many push the idea as boldly as Xin Divine, a contemporary restaurant that opened in Duxton Hill about two months in the past.
Owner Jolin Lee ran a private-chef outfit for 2 years earlier than deciding to sink roots in a restaurant.
And as she already works with a chef who cooks French meals, one other who cooks Sichuan dishes and a 3rd who does Cantonese delicacies, she determined to place all of them within the kitchen.
They put their heads collectively and got here up with a menu that’s advanced from basic Chinese dishes, up to date with new cooking strategies and plated like Western fare.
So, you get one thing referred to as Sichuan Style Tortellini ($18), which is impressed by the spicy dumplings from the Chinese province.
10 Duxton Hill, tel: 3100-0030; open: midday to 2.30pm, 6 to 10pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
Food: four.5 stars
Service: four stars
Ambience: three.5 stars
Price: Budget about $100 an individual, with out drinks
However, the chilli oil is changed into a foam with decreased oil and warmth, leaving the sauce to style extra of black vinegar. The dumpling is stuffed with minced kurobuta pork and wrapped like an Italian tortellini. It appears to be like Western, however tastes unmistakably Sichuan.
Then, there’s Grilled Octopus Tentacles ($18), by which the tentacles are sprinkled with cumin powder for a Sichuan contact. What appears to be like like pasta strands underneath the octopus are thinly sliced yellow beancurd, one other frequent Sichuan ingredient.
What might simply have ended up as a gimmick doesn’t as a result of the cooks get the flavours proper more often than not. They are recognisable, but not copies of the dishes that present the inspiration. That makes the meals right here thrilling and spectacular.
This would come with the Chinese Wine (Nu Er Hong) Shark Bone Soup ($28). The soup is a typical collagen-filled broth brewed with child abalone, dried scallop and child Chinese cabbage.
Inspired by how some individuals would add brandy to their shark’s fin soup, the restaurant serves the dish with a small cup of nu er hong.
One is inspired to first style the soup by itself (good), then with half the wine added to it (higher) and, lastly, with all of the wine poured in (not so good once more, except you’re an alcohol fan). The midway level is the most effective as a result of the Chinese wine perks up the broth with out drowning out its flavours.
Only one dish doesn’t work for me. The Secret Recipe Chilli Lamb Rack ($36) relies on the fragrant spicy grilled lamb from China’s western areas, however it falls flat as compared. The sous-vide meat is bland and although it’s topped with a pleasant paste of floor dried chillies, the flavours don’t meld.
The serving sizes are for one individual, which implies small. Besides a la carte, there are two dinner set menus at $98 an individual for six programs and $128 for seven programs. Because the parts are the identical, the units provide higher worth.
The menu additionally features a collection of snacks meant for the first-floor bar, which isn’t absolutely operational. These mockingly come in a lot greater parts as a result of they’re meant to be shared.
The two I strive are glorious, although the Signature Sichuan Chilli Chicken Chunks ($16) will not be everybody’s cup of tea.
It is a standard rendition of laziji, typically referred to as firecracker hen in Western menus for its fiery spiciness. It will get my mouth numb and my forehead beading with sweat. I like it, however I have a sense not everybody can take the warmth.
The different is the restaurant’s distinctive model of XO Carrot Cake ($12), by which the items of rice cake are lined in a batter of combined flours and deep-fried until crispy.
They are then tossed with shrimp in a housemade XO sauce of dried scallop and Parma ham. The dish is in contrast to any served elsewhere, however is nice in its personal manner.
The class within the cooking and plating is mirrored within the restaurant setting. The second-floor eating room is roofed in pastel hues and flowing swathes of material hold from the excessive vaulted ceiling.
The gentle atmosphere works whether or not one is there for a romantic dinner, a business gathering or a meal with mates. I don’t see it as a spot for household dinners, however that might work, too, if one doesn’t have youngsters or previous folks who might discover it tough to barter the flight of stairs.
Xin Divine is completely different, however additionally it is acquainted. Unlike some experimental eating places the place I’m going, “oh, how interesting”, after tasting the meals, however have no need to eat it once more, I have been enthusiastic about quite a lot of the dishes since consuming there twice.
Because it delivers what, for me, is most vital no matter delicacies style – good meals.
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• The Sunday Times paid for its meals on the eateries reviewed right here.