The Clan's signature chocolate fudge.
Singapore - The Clan Restaurant may sit in the historical Gan Clan Association building along Bukit Pasoh Road, but don't expect it to serve the ancestral Fujian fare of the association's members. Rather, the restaurant - whose only link to the clan house is as its tenant - serves surprisingly affordable modern European fare dished out by SHATEC-trained executive chef Ken Teo.
Over the last five years, Teo has built his own fan base cooking at modern Japanese restaurant Dozo over at Valley Point. Here, he offers a five-course set menu for S$42.80 and a six-course dinner menu at S$62.80, comprising generously portioned dishes cooked using now ubiquitous, contemporary methods such as sous vide and dehydration.
Our meal started with a trio (S$18) of mini cones filled with a slightly powdery salmon mousse, a rather garlic-heavy seared scallop, and a smooth nugget of foie gras terrine matched with lovely candied pistachio crumbs. The latter, unfortunately, was let down by a stale-tasting slice of bread beneath.
This was, indeed, a rocky start, but there was redemption as it progressed. A satiny, full-bodied crab bisque (S$9) was served with a cigar-shaped prawn spring roll to give it welcome texture, while a slab of salmon (S$22) was beautifully poached sous vide so that it literally melted in the mouth.
At first bite, the fish tasted way over-salted but, as I quickly learned, this made up for the other delicately seasoned elements of the dish. When eaten together in a spoonful, the leek confit, creamy potatoes and salmon melded together harmoniously.
Salmon in leek confit.
Dessert, too, yielded no complaints. My "Clan signature" chocolate fudge (S$9) was a silky, rich slab of chocolate ganache that enveloped a blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece of moist chocolate cake. It was gone in three bites, which gave me time to look around the dim space and notice the sense of youthful earnestness that permeated it.
Everything here is a little oversized and very glossy. "It's very new-money Chinese," remarked one of my dining companions, as she took in the bulky, high-backed chairs, swathes of gold and silver, and spirited Chinese elements such as an oversized wire and wood lamp bearing a large magenta tassel.
This exuberance is evident in the food and even in the slogans that adorn its employees' name cards. "Classy Luscious and Noteworthy" says one embossed line; "Dining ... the right way," says another in stronger print.
One thing you can't fault is the palpable enthusiasm here. And surely, that attitude alone counts for a strong start.
The Clan Restaurant
Where: 18/20 Bukit Pasoh Road
Telephone: 6222 2084
Opening hours: Daily 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 11pm