Chef Justin Quek’s Xiao Long Bao is somewhat of a legend. Luxuriant is not a doubt, since his comes finely minced with added foie gras and truffle within its delicate folds.
This rather fortunate dining opportunity came thanks to Marina Bay Sands, where at the end of May I spent a lovely weekend in its Tower 3 hotel and had the amazing opportunity to interview and set foot in the kitchens of the Celebrity chefs restaurants such as Waku Ghin, Guy Savoy and db Moderne Bistro.
I was even more fortunate to find out that Chef Justin himself was in the restaurant during our lunch. Being a busy man with restaurants in Taipei and Shanghai, he is known to be on the fly most of the time and the group of us were very lucky to catch him that day.
Adding to that, Chef Justin is superbly friendly with none of the airs a celebrity chef might choose to exude. He dropped by every table and greeted all his diners personally, querying if they were satisfied with the food, etc.
Our lunch that day was a set prepared for us. I was most horrified to see that the signature Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao wasn’t on the menu.
However, Chef Justin upon hearing our dismay arranged for a special basket of 2 Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao for each of us, to be served right after our salads. The flavour of the Xiao Long Bao will affect the delicate flavours of the salad if we were to have it prior to the greens, he explained.
Salmon Fillet “Yu Sheng”.
I concur as the delicate salad was refreshingly light; its flavours subtle but lovely. If I’m not mistaken, there were flower petals and some uncommon salad leaves, small and delicate but all came together in beautiful amalgamation of flavour & texture. The name Yu Sheng gave a hint of its taste, and if I may, I’ll say this is a deluxe version of our Chinese New Year “Yee Sang”.
Then the much awaited Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao made its way to our table.
Chef Justin stood aside & watched us as we savoured the dumplings. Every dumpling that came out from his kitchen are served at the perfect temperature; never scalding hot but at a pleasant warmth so that you can easily pop the whole dumpling into your mouth, he said. This enables you to savour its full flavour; truffle comsomme, foie gras, meat and its delicate casing at one go.
BELOW: There can only be one star in a dish, Chef Justin intoned. Each dumpling holds in its silken bag very finely minced meat with foie gras in french truffle comsomme. Chef had refrained from adding truffle into the meat as that would overpower its overall taste. Instead the truffle comsomme imparts a scented and delicate truffle flavour, and that’s it.
Head in heaven, my main course came next. For SGD28++, this was probably the most expensive single serving of chicken rice I ever had.
But you are paying for quality. The sakura chicken is a premium chicken, tender and juicier than its local brothers and is imported from Australia. I find the breast meat smooth and delicate, with a distinct flavour.
Rather than the normal cooking oil, the pounded ginger is infused with salad oil, thus making it less oily and imparted a subtle light taste. Superior soy sauce were served together with Chef’s special chilli sauce as well as a bowl of hot soup. Every element of every dish from Chef Justin’s kitchen is made from scratch, and is MSG-free.
BELOW: Loved the fluffy and fragrant rice!
Dessert was a simplistic potato soup but so refreshing. The zing from the ginger and the subtle sweetness from cane sugar made all the difference.
Sky on 57 offers a gastronomic menu with wine pairing for dinner daily. Reservations are hard to come by so do book beforehand. The minimum cheque is SGD75 (yes there is a minimum amount required!).
Here’s the menu for you to prepare your palate as well as your wallet but do note that might have been slight changes since my last visit. 😉
Sky on 57. Located at Tower One on level 57 of Marina Bay Sands, the 12,000 square foot restaurant offers guests an unparalleled vista while they dine in a relaxed, sophisticated environment.
If anything, come by for the view.
Even the bread and butter is of superior taste.
And don’t forget the best Xiao Long Bao in Singapore and Malaysia.
For sweet endings, I heard Chef Justin desserts are more than satisfactory.
This is another restaurant that I vowed to be back to sample its dinner menu. The first on the list of must-order is the Penne with pork neck confit, with black truffle, rocket in burnt butter sauce – SGD48++.
Yes, I’ll be back. Soon, I hope. :DD