For its 27th anniversary, The Sukosol’s popular upscale Chinese destination Lin-Fa brings a fresh take to the table with a strikingly contemporary degustation menu. Boasting nine courses, the 27th anniversary tasting menu is the result of a close collaboration between Lin-Fa’s skilled team and their new executive chef Jeremy Harris. Having spent the past seven years working with luxury hotels in Shanghai, chef Jeremy is highly experienced in hotels, resorts and fine dining catering. Through the special menu, chef Jeremy delves into unchartered ground by combining modern culinary techniques and plate presentation with authentically traditional Cantonese flavours.
The delicately arranged individual dishes are very different from what is typically found in Chinese cuisine. “This menu is not who we are,” chef Jeremy insists, “We are a traditional Cantonese restaurant—that’s what we are famous for. This menu is us at Lin-Fa wanting to try something different and show what we can do.”
While dishes appear contemporary, flavours are strictly Cantonese with high quality ingredients. Begin with a charcoal-infused xiao long bao, served with a light lobster salad. Xiaolongbao is not an item on Lin-Fa’s regular menu. Each one is made individually, just for the course, prepared in exactly 3 minutes.
The lobster salad is an alternative to the regular Lin-Fa fruit salad. It features a chewy lobster complemented by creamy mayo, fish egg and cucumber. The signature fish maw & tiger prawn with imperial sauce that follows is an interesting take on the classic fish maw broth, where chef Jeremy transforms the character of the dish from a soup to a sauce. A favourite amongst Thai clientele, the broth sauce is brewed with chicken and mushroom for over eight hours. Even more surprising is how well the dish goes with the paired white wine.
The grilled French oyster with Cantonese black bean sauce is quite an interesting take on oysters, serving the shellfish in a Catonsese black bean sauce instead of black pepper for a smooth and nuanced flavour. The light bites in the course are followed by a more filling dish of slow-cooked duck leg with mango sauce and pickled vegetables.
The dish that surprised us most though was the abalone tart with clear Yunnan ham broth, served with crispy shellfish wonton. A combination of abalone and a traditional egg tart, the dish seems to lie precariously between a dessert and a snack. The clear Yunnan ham broth, brewed using chicken and ham, is chef Jeremy’s personal favourite dish to prepare. “The dish works very well with the wonton and was actually originally created by a junior chef in the kitchen. He told me he had something cool for me to try, and we all ended up liking it, so we adapted it to be a part of the menu.”
The wok-fried wagyu beef, served with black pepper, capsicum and spring onions (or a grouper alternative for non-beef eating guests) begins the meal's extended climax. The next dish, Thai eggplant & prawn napoleon with crispy garlic, ginger and basil reverts back to light and refreshing before a surprise of egg noodles with Alaskan king crab. This course might catch guests who are leaning towards the full side off guard, however, the small and flavourful portion hits an ideal mark. Delectably simple, topped with morning glory and crab, the dish provides a profoundly understated finale before desserts—refreshing lychee with crispy ginger and coconut sago sherbet, followed by gingko nuts and sweet taro mousse.
A very instagrammable and innovative take on Chinese cuisine, perhaps what makes Lin-Fa’s menu so profound is the way signature Cantonese dishes are interpreted through modern plates. While Lin-Fa has built a significant reputation especially amongst government officials, ministers and VIP regulars, the tasting menu rebrands Chinese cuisine as something that can be enjoyed independently by the young generation.