The Renai Cochin brings back their annual food festival with a healthier approach
Black Pearl in The Renai Cochin is a popular haven for families and youngsters alike. The option to dine on Chinese dishes with a beverage of your choice is one that you hardly get in the city. When I get to the 45-cover dimly-lit outlet to try a few dishes from their Choung Yang festival menu, I pick a cosy two-seater table which affords a great view of the metro rail. Executive chef Denny Davis soon joins me with their new dinner cards sporting nearly 28 dishes.
“There is a general assumption among people that Chinese fare is unhealthy. Our intention with this festival is to introduce people to dishes from various culinary regions in our neighbouring country cooked with methods like grilling, steaming, poaching and blanching,” says Denny. I’m surprised that the fete offers a plethora of vegetarian options such as san xian you cai hua (stir-fried cauliflower, carrot and scallion) and broccoli in oyster sauce alongside carnivorous choices like loung-kai (chicken with mushroom and red chillies) and pork with chilli-kung-po.
Despite a long list of interesting soups (like one that is a blend of crab meat, water chestnut, bean curd, egg white and white wine) and starters (think chungtho yonug ru which is shredded lamb grilled with spring onions), I let the chef pick out a few crowd favourites for me. The first to arrive on the spread is a beef yaoguo. The cut of meat makes all the difference and their choice of tenderloin slices is the highlight of the grilled dish with vegetables imparting deep, umami flavours.
“We’re sourcing certain ingredients like yellow bean and hoisin sauce exclusively for the festival,” informs the kitchen head, serving a platter of braised leaves. The Chinese cabbage soaked in a watery gravy looks soggy but is super tangy with sweet undertones. To balance it out, they pair it well with Polynesian fried rice loaded with sautéed mushroom, prawns and broccoli with layers of flat noodles and shredded egg on top.
Greens and beyond
The chef did say healthy, but some of us can’t do without our vices. So, next up I pick a nutty chicken—deep-fried meat and diced vegetables. The added touch of cashew does make the platter lean towards sweetness.
“We’re offering a chance for customers to vote for their favourite dishes. The most popular one will be added to the menu as a signature alongside five others, all of which will be served at discounted rates till next Diwali,” informs Denny. Being full is one thing, but sometimes you just can’t resist the goodness of new flavours; like their Shanghai sundae—a cut peach topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, crystalised ginger and white wine.
From 7 to 11 pm, till July 13.