Jia Wei at Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy refreshes its ala carte menu and introduces a new dim sum menu to include some modern flourishes.
Most conventional Chinese restaurants are sticklers to tradition and are generally resistant to innovation, but at least one is updating their menus to reflect the times. Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant, located in Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy, has introduced new dishes in its ala carte and dim sum menus that borrows inspiration and ingredients from other cuisines into its own. We like that some of these new dishes also employ local produce.
For example, some of the new dim sum menu items – including the Har Gow, Blue Volcano Custard Bun, and Australian Scallop Rice Roll – incorporate the use of local blue butterfly pea flower. This is a nice hat tip to Peranakan cuisine in which it’s commonly used; Katong – where Jia Wei is located – is after all a bastion of Peranakan culture.
While pea flower doesn’t really have a distinctive flavour, the unusual colouring will definitely be a talking point at the table. We’re told Jia Wei’s Chinese Executive Chef Victor Lee went through many iterations of these dishes just to get just the right shade of purple-blue so that they would be unique enough yet still look appetising.
Jia Wei’s penchant for eye-popping colours shows up again in the Curly Kale Soup with Braised Crabmeat and Beancurd from its ala carte menu. Curly kale is not usually found in Chinese cuisine, and here it comes as a bright green soup that would make the Hulk proud. Despite the intense green – antioxidants galore! – the soup doesn’t have any vegetal bitterness and is actually rather mild in taste.
Also unusual is the Crispy Softshell Crab with Ice Plant, Ume-Infused Tomato and Yuzu Dressing, impresses. Ice plant is normally used as a garnish in contemporary Western cuisines, but here Jia Wei treats it like a salad leaf. A generous quantity of ice plant adds refreshing crunch to complement crispy softshell crab, while its slightly tart yuzu dressing helps cuts through any greasiness. We easily polished this off despite the large portion.
But if you’re concerned there’s too much levity with tradition, some of the new Jia Wei menu items are more comforting and familiar. We particularly relished the classic Wok-Fried Daikon Cake with XO Sauce. Each cube is deep-fried separately to a perfect crisp with a tender centre, before being tossed with the bean sprouts, preserved radish, and the flavour-laden XO sauce.
As these Jia Wei new menu items show, Chinese cuisine can indeed achieve a delicate yin-yang balance of tradition and innovation.
Address 50 East Coast Rd, Level 2 Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy, Singapore 428769 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 3.00pm and 6pm to 11pm on Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays