Flavours At Zhongshan Park @ 16 Ah Hood Rd, Level 1, Ramada Hotel, Singapore 329982
Kudos to the kind folks from Hungrygowhere, for inviting me to this food review session.
This is generally one of the youngest & newest establishments that I’ve visited, and/or been invited for a review session so far. Situated in a hidden historical corner off the main buzz of Balestier Road, the road name is no stranger for savvy motorists & elders who witnessed the nation’s independence.
It’s situated on the lobby level of Ramada Hotel, so it serves not only their intercontinental hotel guests, but also walk-in guests too.
A glance at the menu suggests that it prides itself to offer some of the better known Malayan Straits Chinese (aka Nonya) cuisines, and offers a small selection of continental foods for the less adventurous foreigners.
Designed for us, was a list of hallmarks they have to offer, and by my standards, the following scored well for my palates;
Curry Leaf Mojito *courtesy of Heritage Lounge
This unique mix is sure to wake up the senses on any given day. The zesty flavor of the lime juice & sprite is naturally lemony sweet, the ginger ale packs a little prick to the taste, while the crushed curry leaves gives a lingering spicy aroma.
Kueh Pie tie (pronounced; kway-pai-tee)
This is a signature treat for any/ every straits born Chinese. A snack that is labor intense to prepare, before delicately assembled, only to disappear in the mouth within seconds. The consistency to the juicy crunch for the pork belly braised turnip was quite impressive, and the cracker crunch in the crust is evident that it is prepared ala-minute.
Pork & cucumber salad
I’m not too sure if this is something traditionally nonya, but the innovation behind this assembly reminds me of cold spiced salads of neighboring influences within the peninsular or beyond, yet with a familiar taste. The pork confit is nicely done, tossed in shredded cucumber, shallots & sambal belachan. The spice & seasoning do not overbear the natural flavors of the composition, neatly balanced I’d say.
Cucumint freeze *courtesy of Heritage Lounge
This ice slush concoction is an instant hit for me. I have good reason to believe this will be an all time favorite for continental guests as well, for it works well to beat the heat & humidity of our tropical climate. Cucumber is one of my favorite juice sources and this refreshing beverage is intentionally served to help minimize heat burn for the spread to follow.
Nonya Ayam Buah Keluak
This would be a signature dish for the peranakan people, but please manage your expectations as the slight modification to the composition, as is catered for foreigners to better adapt towards the dish.
Personally, I felt the doneness of the chicken was well managed. The meat is easily parted without the need of the knife, and the flavors still hold its integrity to what it is supposed to be.
Nonya Beef Rendang
Do not mistake this for the Indian muslim version. The Nonya style has a tangy flavor to it, in lieu of lemongrass & tamarind. The choice cut of meat is also rather unique, because beef cheeks is a lot more juicy & tender compared to other commonly used shin or loins.
This is possibly the best Beef Rendang experience I’ve had in a long while.
Chilli King Prawns “Singaporean Style”
Who would not have heard about the Singpaorean Signature Dish- Chilli Crab? Well, the secret is in the gravy, so good that you can eat it on its own, dip some dough/ bun/ bread, or even drown your rice in. This dish is in principle very similar, except it uses good sized King Prawns. I’d say they are fresh sea catches, because the meat is naturally sweet & doesn’t flake away. Thumbs up for this!
Durian Pengat with Pandan Jelly
Sweet endings are what foodies look forward to at the end of every meal. But be warned if you lack the threshold for durian, and/or palm sugar concentrate. The pandan jelly on top is light & fragrant, so it works well with the puréed durian, because durian is strong scented & naturally sweet. And as you work towards the bottom, the rich sweetness of the Gula Melaka packs a sucker punch to signal the end of the meal.
You may also request for post meal coffee or tea to be served alongside this dessert, because you wouldn’t need sugar for your hot beverage, given the full flavored sweetness.
The ambience & services rendered was hospitable and not overdone. The waiting crew paced their attention well so we could have our peace to enjoy the food, plates were replaced & iced water was topped up very timely.