Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro 四川饭店

Monday, 29 December 2014

To celebrate one of my bestie's birthday, I brought her to a fancy Szechuan restaurant sitting 35 levels above ground at Mandarin Orchard Hotel. I took the lift from the Orchard Wing through the Mandarin Gallery to level 35. 


I was greeted with a warm decor and posh surroundings.
 
  
 
 
I exceptionally loved the restaurant for the high ceilings and pretty lights. High ceilings added a taste of grandness to the place and I found myself getting comfortable quickly.

An introduction of the restaurant:
Akasaka Szechwan Restaurant, or Shisen Hanten as it is popularly known in Japan, was started in 1958 by the late Chen Kenmin who is regarded as Japan’s “Father of  Szechwan Cuisine.”Born in the Szechwan province of China, Chen Kenmin perfected his craft in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China before settling in Yokohama, Japan. Capitalising on his expertise in Szechwan cuisine, he established Shisen Hanten with the vision of “making customers truly appreciate Szechwan food through all the five senses.” He passed down his legacy to his eldest son, Chen Kenichi, who himself earned wide acclaim as one of Japan’s most celebrated iron chefs.
Chen Kenichi then passed down his love for the Szechuan cuisine to his son, Chen Kentaro. Shisen Hanten at Mandarin Orchard Hotel Singapore is the chain's debut outside of Japan. 
Osmanthus pipa duck 琵琶鸭 (Half, $34)
To have this dish, pre-ordering at least a day before your visit is required as they need time to prepare the duck. My friend was allergic to nuts and seafood, so she couldn't take the sauce as it contained traces of peanut powder in it.

Even without dipping the duck in the sauce, the duck was good enough to eat on its own. It had a special flavour through marination and was roasted to perfection. Even better, it was 98% boneless, so there's no need to worry about spitting out bones.
Those who can eat the sauce should totally have it together with the duck. It was a wonderful combination when dipped into the sauce and gave it an overall deliciously unique flavour. This dish is highly recomended!

Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣湯 (Small, $10)
The Hot & Sour soup is also different from the original Szechuan type Hot & Sour soup as the spiciness and sourness was well balanced but not overpowering, unlike the original version of the dish. The soup was well done, with simple ingredients (mushrooms, meat, finely sliced beancurd) infused perfectly into the gooey broth.

Stewed fish fillet in super-hot Szechwan pepper sauce 水煮魚 (Small, $26)
If you've seen the original version of this Szechuan dish, you would probably be worried to order this dish. Would it be dripping with chilli oil? Spicy to no end?

Thank God, no.

I also asked them to not have it too spicy, and while retaining the flavour of the dish, they have managed to do this dish well without veering off the taste of the dish totally. I was bracing myself for an upset tummy after this (cos of the sheer spiciness of the original dish that I tried before), but fortunately, it wasn't that spicy and the peppery broth was still a pleasure to slurp. I was quite shocked that the dish came with all the red chilli peppers on top, but thank goodness it turned out quite fine.
The fish was nicely done and it was really tender and smooth.

Sautéed chilli pepper and chicken 辣子雞 (Small, $22)
This chilli pepper chicken is one of their most recommended dishes - at least by their wait staff. They weren't wrong. The dish was really nice and a surprising amount of crisp has made the texture of this dish very interesting!

Trio of egg poached with seasonal vegetable 金銀蛋滚时蔬 (Small, $20)
One of my favourite Chinese dishes. While it is nothing to rave about here, but I do like the broth of this dish and the vegetables were lovely too!

Chen’s original spicy soup noodle 担担麺 (Small, $12)
I have nothing to say about this dish other than to stick up both my thumbs. The texture of the noodles were really well done and bouncy.
The soup was not very spicy, just mildly, and it went very well together with the noodles. I recommend this dish to anyone who visits this restaurant.

Mango Pudding 芒果布丁 ($8)
I do not usually order Mango puddings in Chinese restaurants. But I'm glad I did, at this one. The pudding was really creamy and fresh. It was also worth it as you will find huge slices of mango in it. Topped with a little whipped cream and a wolfberry, it was a lovely and light dessert to end the meal with.

Hokkaido Green Tea Ice Cream 绿茶味北海道雪糕  ($8)
There are 3 flavours in total for this dessert, but I went with the Green Tea one. 2 others include Sea salt and Vanilla, but I didn't order that as the wait staff had recommended the green tea one. It was a good recommendation because the ice-cream was really creamy and tasty. It also came with some dried fruits, like raisins.

Overall, the meal was really good and satisfying. I would say that it was really worth the spend and here, I wish highlight the wait staffs' service, which really created a wonderful dining experience for us. Thanks to Doris, Danny and Yu Ting who had helped make the entire dining experience perfect. 

When I just casually mentioned that it was my friend's birthday, they surprised us with a complimentary slice of chocolate birthday cake during dessert time as well! My friend was really happy and we enjoyed our time here!


Menus can be viewed on their website and fans can follow them on their facebook for latest updates of their new creations

Average spending per pax: $70 - $90

Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro 四川饭店
Location: Orchard Wing Level 35, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, 333 Orchard Road, Singapore 238867