Yàn is no stranger to those working in the CBD / City Hall area and they are known in the scene for their Cantonese fare. Recently, they have refreshed the ala carte menu to introduce new flavors and creations to their diners.
We started off with their signature – Yàn Peking Roast Duck ($45++ for half, $90++ for whole). A whole duck is scalded, stuffed with spices and left to marinate for a day before being basted, air dried overnight and roasted until brown the next day. Best enjoyed with a slice of chinese pancake, cucumber, spring onions and plum sauce, which was how we had ours!
The next dish is the double-boiled collagen soup with fish maw and convoy ($38++ per person). The soup is double-boiled for six hours with mature hen, pork bones and sustainably-sourced shark cartilage and convoy, which explains the slight starchiness. The collagen-rich soup is very comforting and truly is a hallmark of Cantonese cuisine.
An alternative to duck is the poached free-range salted chicken served “hakka style” ($30++ for half, $60++ for whole). The chicken is poached until it is 80% cooked before soaking it in an ice-bath and seasoning with sand ginger paste. Due to its preparation process, we understand that orders should be placed one day in advance.
The next dish, steamed eel with minced garlic and shredded mandarin peel (seasonal price) is a dish I would reorder on my next visit. The eel is deboned and steamed with minced garlic and mandarin peels. A light homemade sauce made of soy sauce, spring onions and ginger is poured over the dish. The result is a fresh fleshy fish enhanced by the aromatics.
After all the meats / seafood, we have the braised beans with preserved greens and luffa – a slightly different take from the usual greens with the addition of Shanghai snow vegetables and preserved greens.
I saved the best savory dish for the last – the wok-fried live lobster with pan-fried cheong fun in the chef’s special pork lard sauce (seasonal price). This is a must-order. The chee cheong fun is first pan-friend on both sides and plated into the claypot. The lobster is then plated on top and the sauce is poured over. The dish has sufficient wok-hei and those ribbons of chee cheong fun are so flavourful and addictive. This is a dish we couldn’t get enough of.
We can’t leave without having our desserts, can we? The hot yam paste with ginkgo nuts and coconut milk is a popular option. For something to share among friends and family, you can also consider the fried sesame rice ball with white lotus paste filling.
It has been a while since we last visited Yàn; but this visit reminded us of one of our visits a few years ago when we had their house special local lobster porridge with a robust broth – ah, such good memories.
Budget per person: $40 to $60 per person