Food Review: Yue Bai At Duxton Road | Beautiful Modern Chinese Restaurant In Tanjong Pagar With A Zen Space Like A Teahouse

The Place A gorgeous new Chinese restaurant opened at 33 Duxton Road few days ago. Meet Yue Bai (月白) restaurant which occupies the shophouse space in Tanjong Pagar, a beautiful space which reminds me of a tea house setting in Taiwan. The name Yue Bai (月白) literally comes from a classical Chinese phrase describing the colour of moonlight. 

The modern Chinese restaurant Yue Bai is helmed by Singaporean co-owner and chef Lee Hongwei where the cuisine is led by principles of traditional Chinese dietary therapy (食疗 ’Shi Liao’) which uses food to enhance wellbeing. 

The dining ambience feels very zen in Yue Bai from the moment I stepped into the restaurant. There are three dining areas – the cosy booth seats, an inner dining hall, and a private dining room. The interior furnishing is predominantly wooden, decorated with art pieces like calligraphy works and Chinese poems. 

The Food Opened for lunch and dinner, the menu at Yue Bai is curated from various Southern Chinese cuisines, with balanced dishes and familiar flavours. The a la carte menu presents appetisers, double-boiled soups, meats and seafood prepared in a variety of styles, along with vegetables and tofu, rice and noodles, and desserts. 

From the Appetisers section, I started with a series of dishes like the Crispy Burdock, Sesame, Spice Powder (S$14), an addictive and delicious snack of deep-fried slices of burdock tossed with sesame seeds and 7-spice powder. 

The Roselle Flower-infused Winter Melon (S$12) is an interpretation of a traditional winter melon and mandarin peel dish which is quite refreshing. The Australian Lamb Jelly, Black Bean, Passionfruit-infused Pumpkin (S$22) is a classic Teochew dish which uses braised lamb shoulder chilled with a gelatinous stock made with chicken feet. It is not as gamy as it sounds, and an interesting aspect to the dish are the shreds of pumpkin pickled with passionfruit and vinegar along with the lamb. 

A must try appetiser in my opinion is the Deep-fried Organic Purple Rice Cake, XO Sauce, Rice Puff, Spring Onion (S$16). This is similar in flavour and texture to glutinous rice and is delicious especially with the aromatic XO sauce. The organic purple rice from Taiwan is served with rice puffs, spring onion, and house-made XO sauce comprising conpoy, dried shrimps, and dried chilli. 

On to soup, the Double-boiled Silkie Chicken Soup, Jasmine Flower, Dried Longan, Wolfberries (S$22) is a nourishing bowl of superior chicken stock brewed with mature hen and chicken feet. I find it interesting that flowers are added here – fresh jasmine flowers – which lends the soup a light pleasant aroma along with the tender slices of chicken meat. 

One of my favourite dishes of the meal is the Crisp-fried Pork Cartilage, Xin Hui Orange Sauce, Crispy Tofu Ring (S$38). My initial thought is that this is a yam ring dish, but boy was I wrong. That deep-fried pork cartilage is amazingly soft and flavourful with a nice crisp and glazed texture, and it rests on a unique crispy tofu dish. You get a tinge of citrus notes in the pork as it is braised with mandarin peel in superior chicken stock, complete with a mandarin peel sauce which helps to balance the richness of the pork meat. 

Another deceiving looking dish I had was the Braised Duck, Sea Cucumber, Hawthorn, Korean Snow Pear (S$58). On first sight, this looks like braised pork belly (东坡肉 ‘Dong Bo Rou’) but it is in fact braised sea cucumber with duck. Tender duck meat along with dark sauce, and that layer of ‘fat’ is an ingenious mock fat made of glutinous rice flour, which means it is not at all sinful! There is also Korean snow pear along with dried hawthorn berries which improve digestion and blood circulation. 

Go for the Deep-fried Granola Prawn, Beetroot (S$36) if you love cereal prawns, a dish inspired by the popular local ‘zichar’ dish. Not cereals, but house-made granola comprising rolled oats, pecans, and wolfberries is used to coat the prawns here instead. The prawns are fried to a nice crispy texture and the granola here just makes me rethink its purpose as a breakfast snack. The prawns are served with ribbons of beetroot. 

To balance out the meats, I had the Braised Napa Cabbage, Fried Garlic (S$24), a simple looking, yet light and tasty vegetable dish in superior chicken stock. You will not want to miss out on having those deep-fried garlic cloves. 

An alternative green dish to the Napa Cabbage is the Stir-fried Lotus Root, Fuji Apple, Corn Kernel, Pumpkin Seeds, Dried Shrimp (S$24), Chef Hongwei’s vegetable-forward take on the Guangdong classic of sautéed minced duck served with lettuce leaf. 

For rice, I tried the Herbal Poached Rice, Atlantic Cod, Black Fungus (S$38), a modern take on Teochew style porridge which features fish like the traditional Teochew fish porridge. There is a strong herbal flavour from the use of dang shen, angelica root, and wolfberry that are infused in Shaoxing wine for at least a fortnight. The egg yolk fried rice, black fungus, and cod fillet are then served in a hot stone pot and finished tableside with the fish broth and herbal Shaoxing wine. Overall, a delicious yet light and nourishing modern take on fish soup which I do not mind having again. 

For noodles, there is the Braised Hokkien Hutou Vermicelli (S$35) where the noodles are braised in superior chicken stock with abalone, sea cucumber, Chinese mushrooms, Chinese chives, and beansprouts, topped with dried sole fish crumble and crisp Henghwa first harvest black seaweed. The texture of the vermicelli is moist, and it does not taste greasy at all even though it looks like a regular fried bee hoon. 

Desserts are nothing very complicated here at Yue Bai. How do beancurd or mochi sound? The House-made Beancurd with Hashima (S$38) might sound normal but what makes it different is that it is served with ‘pi pa gao’ syrup on the side. The beancurd is not too sweet as it uses unsweetened soy milk and add a little ‘pi pa gao’ syrup after trying the original flavour for an added bitterness. 

Last but not least, I ended the meal with the Crispy Black Sesame Mochi (S$12) which spots a soft, chewy texture where the deep-fried mochi is served with osmanthus sugar on the side.

Rants Prices are on the higher spectrum in general. 

Will I Return Again? If you are looking for a new Chinese restaurant to check out, Yue Bai is worth a shot. The flavour of the dishes leans towards the lighter spectrum but are nonetheless flavourful. I like the unique pairing of ingredients in general, which gives that surprise element as the dish is presented. And of course, the gorgeous space is an extra point on its own. 

This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.

TheRantingPanda says:
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 
4/5
Ambience: 
4/5
Overall Experience: 
4/5

Yue Bai 
33 Duxton Road 
Singapore 089497 
Tel: +65 9721 8055 

Opening Hours 
Tuesdays to Sundays 
Lunch: 11.45am to 3.00pm (last order 2.15pm) 
Dinner: 5.45pm to 10.00pm (last order 9.15pm) 
Closed on Mondays, except on Public Holidays 

Ranted by The Ranter 

About theRantingPanda (1990 Articles)
of blacks and whites and everything else | singapore | food reviews, lifestyle & travel

2 Comments on Food Review: Yue Bai At Duxton Road | Beautiful Modern Chinese Restaurant In Tanjong Pagar With A Zen Space Like A Teahouse

  1. Am trying out your unique recommendations soon!

    Like

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Food Scoops: New and Buzzing Singapore Restaurants In January 2023 – The Ranting Panda

Rant here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: