The Place Szechuan cuisine by a Japanese chef? Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro, located in Mandarin Orchard Hotel, is the famed Shisen Hanten chain of restaurants which has presence in Japan since 1958. Chef Chen Kentaro is the third generation to spread Sichuan cuisine through Shisen Hanten’s signature dishes. The space occupied by Shisen Hanten at level 35 of the hotel is gorgeous, with beautiful chandeliers, spacious setting and a few intimate private dining rooms with fine oriental touches.
The Food We tried some of the highlights of the new menu at Shisen Honten, with most of the dishes having a mix of Szechuan and Japanese elements.
For a start, you can barely go wrong with the Salmon sashimi with leek and oyster sauce ($16/portion), especially if it is fresh. The oyster sauce added that oriental flavour to the otherwise quintessential Japanese dish.
The Foie gras chawanmushi with Hokkaido hairy crab soup ($24/per person) was definitely one of my favourite of the night. The slight hint of foie gras was well-balanced by the shreds of hairy crab, which lend different layers of flavours to this silky bowl of chawanmushi.
For real fans of Szechuan cuisine, I am pretty sure the Chen’s Mapo Doufu ($22/portion) will not disappoint, one of the chef’s specialty dishes. Drenched in spicy “ma la” sauce, this was one heavily flavoured dish which will probably go well with some beer. The Sauteed wagyu beef with red peppers ($34/portion) was prepared in the Chinese stir-fried style, with a slight hint of spiciness. Personally, this is not my preferred style of beef as I very much having good beef in medium or medium-rare doneness.
Other highlights on the menu include the Braised 5-headed whole abalone with Szechwan soy bean sauce ($38/portion), Braised pork belly and autumn mushroom with Szechwan pickles ($28/portion), Stir-fried oyster with spring onion, ginger and Szechwan chilli ($32/portion) and Fish fillet with pickled vegetables served in claypot ($30/portion).
Dessert though was unmistakably Japanese, Hokkaido ice cream with warabi-mochi ($8/per person).
Each portion serves 2-3 persons unless stated otherwise.
Rants It can be confusing at the end of the meal as to the type of cuisine served at Shisen Hanten. I conclude that it is Japanese infused Szechuan cuisine.
Will I Return Again? Shisen Hanten does offer a different take on Chinese cuisine. Other than the food, I do like the overall ambience of the restaurant and layout of the restaurant, which I think is ideal for a cosy private celebration. Worth a try especially if you are a fan of Szechuan cuisine.
Make your reservation instantly at Shisen Hanten here.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Level 35, Orchard Wing
Mandarin Orchard Singapore
333 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6831 6262
Monday to Sunday
Lunch: 12noon to 3pm (last order: 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm (last order: 9.45pm)
Ranted by the Ranter