|The facade of VLV at Clarke Quay|
Dinner Menu: A la carte
After several tumultuous years in the lifestyle food and entertainment business, the folks behind the now-defunct Catalunya (Singapore) and Ku De Ta (Singapore) have reappeared at Clarke Quay with a modern Chinese restaurant and lounge anchored by heavy weight Singapore-born Chinese chef, Martin Foo.
Foo spent eight years with the Tung Lok Group where he was last senior executive chef at Tong Le Private Dining and a total of 17 years with Lei Garden Group in Singapore. The 25 years of Cantonese culinary training come to fore in his dish design, which is contemporary and sometimes whimsical, yet always underscored with solid Cantonese cooking techniques. His VLV Peking Duck (S$55 for half), prepared with 45 day-old duck from Malaysia, arrives with the usual condiments of cucumber, scallion, hoisin sauce and thin, fluffy crepes, plus an additional assortment that includes baby lettuce, deep-fried bean curd skin, sliced avocado and foie gras truffle paste; while the extras are interesting, we suspect most diners will go back to the time-tested traditional combo that will never go out of fashion. Most Chinese restaurants carve the remaining duck meat and fry the meat with noodles but Foo steps off the beaten track by stir-frying the duck meat in a wok with red capsicum and water chestnut and serving it in deep-fried poh piah skin cone; the Peking duck is worth ordering for the duck cones alone. The Chairman’s Crab (S$90 per kg for Sri Lankan crabs) is also stellar and completely worth the schlep to Clarke Quay even if it’s the only thing you eat here (with rice, of course). The ikura pearls-studded steamed crabs arrive on a silky bed of egg white custard perfumed with dashi, a perfect match to the moist, succulent and mildly-sweet flesh of the crab. Although we can’t attest to it personally, we hear the VLV Beggar Chicken (S$58) is also a standout – a whole chicken is ensconced in lotus leaf with chestnut and bamboo shoots and cooked with Hua Diao wine. Be sure to reserve this dish well in advance as limited portions are prepared on a daily basis.
Housed in a 20,000 square feet, double storey conservation building built in the 1880s, VLV is a lifestyle destination proffering a Chinese restaurant on the upper level, a club lounge on the ground floor, an alfresco courtyard and, in time to come, riverfront dining. The dim lit restaurant has a non-traditional, clubby setting that feels more like a glamorous lounge than a Chinese restaurant.
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.