When I feel like pampering myself with Chinese cuisine that’s comforting yet not banal, I always end up at Forest森. Chef Sam Leong has a knack for zesting up traditional Chinese dishes with a contemporary edge that’s neither over-the-top nor frivolous, leaving a pleasing surprise on the palate.
Recently I had the opportunity to try out his 6-course Grand Celebrations Set Menu. If the empty plates after each course is anything to go by, this is one Lunar New Year menu worth splurging on. Here’s what we had.
Prosperous Boston Lobster & Salmon Yu Sheng
A Lo Hei at Forest is something I look forward to every Lunar New Year, and it all boils down to the deliciously addictive dressing. This year, Chef Sam concocted a light citrus yuzu honey-lime dressing, and added fresh Boston lobster on top of generous servings of sliced salmon. The succulent lobster pieces gave an extra dimension to the texture as the refreshing dressing lifts the flavours of the ingredients without weighing them down with saccharine sweetness. Other than the regular golden crackers, the Yu Sheng was also topped with crispy white bait for a savoury crunch. How good was it? Everyone at the table had at least a second helping. I had a third.
Japan “Kanto” Sea Cucumber Braised with Black Moss in Abalone Sauce
The strangely jiggly and somewhat quaint smelling sea cucumber has never appealed to me. This perfectly braised nugget of tenderness changed my perception. The premium Kanto sea cucumber had an almost melt-in-your mouth texture while retaining its gelatinous bite. Both the black moss and sea cucumber soaked up the robust flavours of the abalone sauce, creating a savoury tango of taste and textures on my palate.
King Prawn wok fried with Marmite Sauce
Large prawns tend to get tough, rubbery and dry in the cooking. Chef Sam proved again why he is one of the best in the industry. These jumbo-sized prawns were executed with such precision that the meat was incredibly tender, succulent and evenly coated with the sticky, savoury sweetness of Marmite sauce.
Primrose Pork Belly
This fourth course was supposed to be pan seared Australian Lamb Chop. As I do not take lamb, I opted for Primrose Pork Belly braised in white wine and peppercorn (alternative meat dishes such as beef or chicken are also available, just check with your waiter). Primrose pork is imported from a special farm in Canada where the pigs are raised in outdoor pastures and fed a GMO-free diet. The pork has a richer flavour and better fat marbling than regular pork. While the meat-fat ratio was about 70:30, it didn’t come across as greasy. The meat was incredibly tender but still had a good bite to it with a mild porky aroma.
Sri Lanka Crab Claw Rice Vermicelli served with Chinese Wine in Superior Chicken Broth
I love crabs but the broth stole the thunder from the sizeable succulent claw. Generous amounts of Chinese wine gave this full-flavoured chicken soup sweet, aromatic undertones while adding more depth and complex layers of flavour. Even without the crab claw and vermicelli, this broth would have shone on its own, and hands down my favourite course of the day.
Textures of Black Sesame
This surprise dessert was specially created by the restaurant’s new pastry chef Joe Leong, who is also Chef Sam’s son. He transformed the key ingredient of black sesame into various textural components that formed a dessert that was at once warm and cold (black sesame lava cake and black sesame ice cream), crisp and fluffy (black sesame crumble and black sesame chiffon). Plus it tasted as good as it looked.
Forest森 Grand Celebrations Set Menu
S$188++ per pax
Other Lunar New Year dining options at Forest森
- YuSheng from SS$78++
- Set Lunch from S$68++ per pax
- Set Dinner from S$118++ per pax
- Lobster dish at S$38++
View the full menu here
Members enjoy 10% off and 3% rebate on Festive Menus.
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