Wan Hao Chinese restaurant: Weekend Dim Sum Brunch

The first of the many to come, Wan Hao Chinese restaurant at Marriott hotel.

Now what can I say? I totally love roast pork belly! The dish is often an indicator of the standard of a Chinese restaurant; Wan Hao’s rendition was nicely done – crispy top with a thin-and-nice layer of fats. “One cube definitely wasn’t enough”, I protested! But hey, there’s still thirty more dish to go!

Although I couldn’t exactly tasted which seven spices were use, but the combination was seductive to the palate, the Seven spices sea perch fillet.

And just before you are thinking Chinese restaurants are boring and served the usual-you-know-what food, the Hokkigai and salmon sashimi would certainly prove you wrong! Just look at the thickly-and-generous slices of the fresh sashimi. It-is-to-die-for.

For the tasting at Wan Hao, only Catherine of Camemberu fame and myself was present among the five of us. And she absolutely loved the Jelly fish with cucumber. Tangy and Q, it was a refreshing appetiser.

Like the no-smoking campaign slogon which asked you to say ‘No‘ to cigarettes, I could never say no to roast duck. My interpretation of a good roast duck: crispy skin with a layer of fats and tasty duck meat. This one had it all, and say it with me, Oomph-la-la!

Vermicelli with pork fillet. There wasn’t anything spectacular but this is just one, good, comfort food, which stood out among the delicacies we tried.

Beef tendon with white radish

In my humble opinion, Wan Hao has the best Ha Gau among the four places that we tried. All of them used top-quality fresh prawns, but what made the one here stood out was the the skin; some places would do it too thick, and some too thin – it was done perfectly here. Bravo!

I actually preferred the spring roll filled with smoked duck meat to the roasted duck. The smoked duck meat lived up to its name – the very smoky taste within the crispy spring roll.

While some people found that the addition of fish roe to the top only served as an adornment; I thought that it’s fine so long the tiny orange eggs wasn’t in excessive to overwhelm the taste of the siew mai.

I ain’t a big fan of asparagus – the word alone put me off; but I had to try this translucent pretty-looking asparagus dumpling, which tasted decent.

The sea perch fillet with garlic appeared squeaky-fresh; it seemed to be flipping on my plate! The golden mushrooms and tofu were integrated with the sea perch, and I love it!

I knew it was close. I could smell it. The strong alcohol scent. You can smell it from far away. The drunken prawns were as suspected, very strong in liqueur taste; the prawns were big and fresh. I must emphasized, the quality and freshness of the ingredients at Wan Hao was really what set them aside.

Bean curd sheet filled with shrimps

The presentation of the Scallop and asparagus with spicy XO sauce was faultless. Succulent and juicy scallop.

The mere presence of duck shreds greatly enhanced the flavour of the congee. And not to mention there’s sliced fish maw, squid too! All the natural goodness in the bowl of Congee.

It was sensational. Tender, let me tell you, the whole experience: the chewing and swallowing, we couldn’t speak. There was a lump stuck in my throat; I just allowed myself to quietly finished the meat, and inside I was secretly hoping there was more of this.

I was struck in awe of the flavour and texture of the meat, this was certainly my most memorable and favourite dish of the meal. And I couldn’t bear to speak of its name, Kurabuta pork, all the way from Americaaa!

The meal was a late boomer. Just when I thought that the few dishes in front were all good, it got better and better. Or maybe they were saving the best for the last, either way, the Chilli prawns with crispy buns had the “made in Singapore” brand stamped all over it. Spicy, fresh, with the mini mantao bun to dip in to the sauce, it was a superb interpretation of prawns done in our local favourite Chilli crab. A Singapore classic.

I could not, believe how tender the meat actually was. It literally melted in my mouth – I know this phase sounded exaggerating and often over-used, but trust me, it’s true for the Beef tenderloin with black peppercorns. Oh my! I would gladly go back another time just for the kurobuta pork, chilli prawns, and the beef tenderloin alone.

All right, back to the basics. Not many places can do a mean version of the Ee-fu noodles. All of us agreed that this one was just right in terms of the oilyness and bite. Not too oily, not too dry, just exactly how we liked it.

For the first time, I was actually sorry to see the desserts coming – for it signalled the end of the wonderful meal. But Wan Hao dessert did not disappoint as well, the first to arrive, the Lemongrass jelly with lime sherbet was equally pleasing in aesthetic senses. Very refreshing, and a fine finish for us.

There was a big fan of the mango pudding among us, and he was right! I took a nibble without adding in any milk for the original taste; even eaten alone the smooth and creamy texture of the aroma mango was evident.

If you know me, you must know that I’m an anti-durian person. For the sake of sharing with everybody, I popped one durian mochi inside – the mochi was very sticky, the smell of the fabled durian king of the fruits wasn’t very apparent until I took a bite of it, and that’s when I say, Shit!

I love egg tarts, and I always questioned the fact why Chinese restaurants always do their egg tarts in mini sizes. And like the manager of Wan Hao put it, the small bite was just right, anything bigger it would be too much. Crisp golden brown pastry with equally good egg fillings.

* * *

I must admit, I’m impressed with Wan Hao Chinese restaurant. The freshness in the quality ingredients, with the management’s emphasis on this, plus the service of the staff, were all top-notch. I’m not talking about their good service because it was a tasting session, after we finished our meal, we went down to their bakery; the staff was very knowledgeable about their bakes and was very professional.

The 31 items which we tried for this tasting session was half of their weekend brunch buffet which had 70 items, priced at $55 per head. For the sheer quality and variety, the sum is fair, will I be back? Definitely, See you there!

I entered the Marriott hotel on an empty stomach, and I left with a full one; I’m a happy man. My appreciation to the folks from Wan Hao for hosting us, and Cuisine & Wine Asia for the invitation.

Read Catherine’s review on Wanhao here

Wan Hao Chinese restaurant
320 Orchard road
3F Marriott hotel
Tel: 6831 4615

Wan Hao is listed as one of ladyironchef’s favorite restaurants in Singapore

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36 COMMENTS

Josephine: wow rare guest! its been so long since u last commented. haha. yes J, it is buffet, $55++ per head, what u are seeing here is only half of what they offered for the whole buffet, just by eating the 30 items, i’m already stuffed, can you imagine the full 70 items? :)

Wendy: Oh no! the photos here not very nice, cos of the very poor lighting! haha. the other posts shld have nicer photos :)

Sugar bean: HA yes totally. The ingredients used are so fresh, and with the quality, its worth it. heh

lady galaxie: haha Singaporeans do love their buffets, and so do you. LOL! let me know after u tried it okay :)

Hazel: Yes, the definition of food tasting at ladyironchef means that I’m invited to try out the food (for free), and I’ll write a review honestly based on my experience there :)

Eh, eh I haven’t even finish choosing my photos. LOL! I remember we were shooting like mad cos the dishes kept coming so quickly.

But I have to agree…this is a fantastic buffet deal!

Are you going to post all the dim sum reviews consecutively? Haha, I wonder if people will feel jelak just reading! :P

Camemberus last blog post..Eight Treasures Tea ???

sheryl: hahaha yes it is good, for a special occasion and a lazy brunch. heh

hazel: LOL! because most people are working during weekdays la! not everybody so good life like u :p

Josephine: whee! its good, ingredients very fresh, and even tho 55 bucks might look quite ex, but for the quality in the 70 items, i think its worth the money :)

Camemberu: HAHA! yeah man, mad frenzy of shooting for wan hao, and its crazy we finished everything under two hours. lol! ya i think i posting all my four post consecutively. haha yea but if post separately a bit not organised, so they just have to bear with it and feel hungry after looking at all the nice food. lol!

so the buffet is available to the public ya? =) great. i still have my fullerton dim sum in june!

ffichiban: hahaha another place on the list when u come over. heh

zay: LOL! of course it is, everyone can go one la. haha. wow you really made reservation for jade eh?

yea and that time when i made reservations the earliest date was 21 june. i’m wondering if the food is that good.

The Scallop and asparagus with spicy XO sauce looks scrumptious. I’ve been having a craving for scallops of late since some really good ones in Edinburgh. I want more! :P

Life for Beginnerss last blog post..The Return

LFB: haha unfortunately i’m neither a fan of scallops or asparagus. there’s two more post in this dim sum series, but i was thinking posting one shot, it was too much for everybody to absorb :D

Camemberu: haha i din show the soup items because all of my shots are too ugly! and i think i din captured that shark fin dumpling soup, but nvm, its in my stomach. yeah when are we going back? Wan hao got this new weekday dim sum at $36++, and its one-for-one, which makes it just 20 bucks per person! even cheaper than jade. heh

Is it true that there are two seatings, and only two hours to eat per seating?

So there’s a time limit of 2 hours. Plus cooking and waiting time, you realize that there’s isn’t much time to eat and order for that price.

And also no mention if some items are one-time order only or unlimited. Would appreciate food blogs be more detailed on information like this because people will be disappointed if they go there and expect more.

Phoenix: Thank you for your comment. Yes it is true that wan hao has two seatings for their weekend brunch, 1130-130, and 130-330 for the second, personally i think it will be better to go for the second timing since you probably can slowly enjoy yr food even after the last order stops at 330. And yes, a few items are one time order, but u have to understand that there are 70 items available, just by trying all of them once, it will be overwhelming for most people.

And food blogs are not obligated to provide information like this since all the posts are done because this is our hobby, if this is an advertorial, then that’s another story all together. It is always good to call the restaurant up before going, to prevent any misunderstanding, and to find out more on what they offer. That’s what i do before i go anywhere for my meals too :)

We went to the buffet with high expectations and left extremely disappointed. Everything, including the chef’s recommendations, tasted mediocre, at best. At $55++ we would have expected more in terms of quality, variety and presentation, which were all lacking. For a few dollars more, you can get a much better quality and value buffet at the weekend oriental brunch at Jiang Nan Chun over at the Four Seasons Hotel.

hanna: hello thank you for the comment. I’m sorry you din have a good time there, but camemberu and I both agree that the food that we had that day was pretty good, maybe it was a case of over-high expectations? we din go in with much expectations and the food turned out to be very good.

Ah, i haven try jiang nan chun brunch, is it very good? how much is it per head?

Hi Brad, I guess the nice photos you took sorta fuelled our expectations, the food in your pixs sure looked way better than what were served to us :( Anyway, the brunch at Jiang Nan Chun was priced at $58++ when I was there early this year. Not sure if they have revised the prices since, but the quality of the food was top notch. BTW, really enjoyed your reviews – the style of writing and photos are a cut above the rest.

wow hanna, that’s a very big compliment. i’m really flattered, thank you! I’m so sorry for the mismatch in quality, but seriously when we went the food was food, not sure what happen, maybe they had a big hair day or something, but that shldn’t be a case since its a five star hotel.

I guess its more of the human expectations that came into play. Ah i must check out the jiang nan chun then, thanks for the tip! Come for my food outing next time yeah? :D

I went to the 1-for-1 weekday sim sum buffet yesterday…
Shit!… with disppointment…. Took half day leave just for that buffet… The food serving is slow and quite dry. Menu limited. no egg tart. HaKar, siew mai is like those taken out from frezeer and Microwave .. dry and not hot… Only like the cha siew bun…. roughly about $25 per pax… not worth the money…

Little twin star: Hi, i went for the weekday dim sum buffet on tue too. The har gau that i’ve for some reason wasn’t good as well, but i beg to differ on the menu limited, there’s 32 dim sum available.

Yeah the char siew bun and char siew sou was good. You had tea too right? If without tea, it’s 21 bucks per person. Even though there wasn’t any particular outstanding dim sum, but i feel overall they are quite good.

Personally I’ll prefer to go ala carte to appreciate each piece of dim sum rather than gorge myself silly. This is a 32 dim sum all-you-can-eat buffet which is priced at 20 bucks we are talking about. For this kind of money, I don’t think there’s any place that does better dim sum buffet (note: buffet not ala carte).

There’s Jade but it’s 28 bucks, and there’s Pine court at 19.8++. Zhou’s kitchen charges 17++ and their dim sum is really average. For the amt you are paying, i don’t think we can complain. Otherwise just go for ala carte!

Personally I never think dim sum buffet can be good, those better ones are Cherry garden dim sum weekend brunch (45++), Yan ting dim sum weekend brunch (58++ i think) : )

Just went for the buffet dim sum lunch today from 11am to 1pm. I think maybe the chef has changed, as my party did appreciate the food as much as we expected to. We were prompted to go to Wen Hao by your blog.

There were much too many duck dishes (it was as if they were trying to make use of all their leftover Peking Duck meat). We ordered the prawn dumpling in superior stock, but it was anything but superior, it was very bland and unimpressive. The Char Siew Pau was passable but nothing spectacular, as the meat within was tough and overly reddish. The Coffee laced Spare Ribs was overpowering in taste and can only be appreciated by coffee lovers (maybe). The Prawn Paste Chicken batter was not well-done as white specks of flour was obvious and a peek at the bone of showed that they used frozen chicken! (It didn’t help that part of my party was a chicken factory owner)The Roast Pork skin was far from crispy and it tasted as if it was kept overnight. The jellyfish at first taste, tasted fermented. Luckily they served us with pots of Pu’er to wash out our shock!

The Mantou with Spicy Crab Sauce was flavourful, but Mantous spent too much time in the deep fryer that they appeared overly tanned and the sauce was served in a chilli-sauce dish.

Some pluses – The prawns used in their dishes were very fresh and crunchy. The braised beef and tendon with daikon which was a chef recommendation and was a winner, as it was very tender and the sauce hit a right note.
The Eefu noodles tasted like Eefu noodles should.

Was really upset with Wen Hao, as I had expectations of fireworks in my mouth but unfortunately I could come up with only ashes!

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