Xi Yan, Modern Inventive Chinese Fusion

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Pre-movie dinner at Xi Yan Shaw, the causal sibling of Xi Yan Private Dining that serves contemporary, inventive Chinese cuisine. Originating from Hong Kong, this brand is founded by celebrity Chef-owner Jacky Yu, often credited with starting the private dining phenomenon in Hong Kong. The Singapore franchise is operated by Thomas Choong, IT veteran turned restaurateur. Disclaimer – Thomas is a friend of mine, which in no way prejudice this review; the dinner is paid by moi.

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The decor is warm and simple, filled with its signature quirky art paintings.

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The Shaw branch offers some items from its fine dining brethren, like the umami-filled Szechuan-style Salivating Chicken with konnyaku noodles & century eggs. The  spicy dressing is created from 5 different spices including chilli, Sichuan peppercorn, ginger, garlic and shallots creating a wonderful sensory juxtaposing of flavours and textures.

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Rice in superior fish soup is a upscale version of porridge, full of black and white sesame seeds topped with dough fritters. Might be a bit fishy for some.

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The classic Szechuan Dry Fried Four Season Beans 干煸四季豆 is simplicity at its best – the bean crunchy; perfect foil for the other savoury ingredients.

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I love nutty Dan Dan noodles. The version here is not bad; could be spicer though.

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The menu also features  several Singapore dishes like savoury Fried XO Chai Poh Radish Cake; and White Beehoon –  the clams are fresh, the prawns are passable, but what lifted the dish is the flavoursome eggy gravy generously topped with crispy pork lard.

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The crispy Ginger Chicken came piping hot and was juicy; but a tad over-marinaded.

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Ice cream with Jelly is creamy yet refreshing.

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The Tang Yuan dumplings with Sweet Potato in a gingery soup is the best digestive for a hearty meal.

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Service is brisk, giving us ample time to saunter to our movie. Given the affordable and good food in a charming ambience, it is not surprising that this outlet has been around since 2005 – do check it out. Bb the way, the movie Logan Lucky is very entertaining; an American heist comedy film directed by Steven Soderbergh, the man behind Ocean’s Eleven trilogy.


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