Premium hotel Andaz Singapore isn’t satisfied with just being a modern, luxurious space with some of the best views in the city — they want to bring us great gastronomic fare too, which is where their latest Cantonese restaurant, 5 ON 25 comes in. Serving refined Cantonese cuisine alongside stunning views from the 25th floor, the dining concept is so-named as each dish aims to please our five taste senses.
The menu is helmed by head chef Lim Hong Lih, a man with an extensive culinary career at fine-dining establishments, as he reworks classic Cantonese dishes, with special attention paid to fresh, seasonal and sustainable seafood.
The five flavours of Chinese cuisine — a harmony of salty, spicy, sour, sweet and bitter — are made heroes of his dishes, and while he respects the familiar comfort of them, still presents them in elevated styles worthy of the upscale setting.
On the menu, you’ll find Roasted Peking Duck and a Boston Lobster “Pao Fan” for instance, dim sum platters, both small bites and big plates for sharing, desserts, and a respectable fried bird’s nest with Sri Lankan crab that’s a chef signature — more on that later.
For drinks, we appreciate the restaurant having a dedicated tea sommelier, Li Guan Yi, who’s in-charge of curating a selection of rare and unique tea leaves for the restaurant.
5 ON 25 also serves a signature tea, which blends oolong, goji berries, osthmanthus, longan, and a precious snow chrysanthemum, together with Anxi Royal Guan Yin, and a vintage 21-year-old Pu-er, a combination which was fragrant and never too heavy for any of the courses served. Along with that, you may also opt for a tea and wine pairing menu. With that, let’s get started on our review.
Now, we usually start with the food, but the ambience and decor of the place is worth noting. 5 ON 25’s interior has been dreamt up by Hong Kong-based architect André Fu, who introduces the old world charm of 1950s Singapore to the restaurant.
Its sophisticated furnishings pay homage to the classic Chinese supper club, and everything from the intimate foyer space, to the warm ambience of the dining room and cosy private rooms, seeks an almost-cinematic aesthetic, with rich palettes of emerald green and ruby blending together with warm woods and lush velvet.
Together with the exquisite dinnerware and tea sets, these aesthetic choices make for quite a special dining experience, especially with the glistening lights of the cityscape as the backdrop.
Boston lobster claw, homemade chilli sauce (2 pcs), $28
The first item on our menu was the Boston Lobster Claw, which immediately left a good impression on my palate. The dish consisted of two meaty, plump chunks of lobster, still juicy inside, and with a crispy exterior that was done just right. Accompanying that was a homemade chilli sauce served in a tart, which lifted the dish with its sweet-spicy blend that resembled Singapore’s world-famous chilli crab. That combination of seafood and the sweet, sticky chilli was a highlight.
Chef’s barbecue combination platter: Roasted Peking duck, Crispy roast pork, Char siew pork, $38
Next, we were served a tasting portion of the restaurant’s signature roasts, a must-have for Cantonese fare. The Crispy Roast Pork was good, with its welcome fattiness lifted by the zingy horseradish sauce. I did enjoy the Char Siew Pork a tad more though, as it was well-balanced with a good ratio of fat and meat such that it melts on the tongue, and a caramelised sweetness that had that smokey char we all love.
Fried bird’s nest, Sri Lankan crabmeat, beansprouts, superior stock, $98
This was my favourite dish of the night. It’s one of the chef’s signature dishes, and certainly an innovative one since I’ve never had bird’s nest in this fried form before. Here, Superior-grade Indonesian birds’ nest is stir-fried with Sri Lankan crab and bean sprouts, which all contributed to a crunchy texture and springy bite, thanks to the fried bird’s nest; the latter tasted very much like al dente noodles.
As for the Superior Stock, this double-boiled soup lived up to its name with fragrant, umami notes wafting in with every spoonful. Comprising of chicken stock, pressed Chinese ham and pork, it was felt like comfort soul food that I was gladly slurping up on its own, though you may opt to have it together with the fried component.
Deep-fried king prawn, minced chicken, yakiniku soya sauce, $20
Since the menu features a diverse range of seafood, here are some good options. The Deep-Fried King Prawn, served with minced chicken within, was nicely fried with a light, crisp batter on the outside. Personally, while well-fried, I wasn’t a fan of leaving the shell on as it was a little hard to enjoy the dish. However, adding the sweet yakiniku soya sauce was a nice touch as it complemented the prawn’s texture.
Boston lobster poached rice “Pao fan”, lobster broth, spring onion, $25
I’m already a fan of pao fan, mainly because of how it nails that contrast in textures; both crispy rice and plump ones that have been soaking in broth are given their time to shine. This dish pairs rice with Boston lobster and a rich lobster broth, which, no doubt, was umami and deeply comforting. Elevating the dish with lobster made for more flavour depth, that I genuinely wished there was more crispy rice to go around.
Chocolate Mandarin Egg Tart, Lychee Lime Sherbet, $18
I wouldn’t necessarily think ‘chocolate’ when it comes to Cantonese or Chinese cuisine, but I can appreciate this out-of-the-box choice. Think of this as a liu sha bao, where the molten tart centre is instead filled with citrus-infused chocolate that flows out when cut — you’ll be fighting for the leftover tart. The lychee lime sherbet, then, with its zesty notes is a nice way to cut through that richness and sweetness.
Hot sweetened almond tea, $12
If you’re one to order Chinese-style desserts, know that there’s also an Almond Tea, served warm, made of three different kinds of Chinese almonds that are freshly blended together with rock sugar, then served with a glutinous sesame ball. The choice of rock sugar means the dessert’s not too cloying, and still aromatic, a nice and on-theme finish to a satisfying meal.
5 ON 25 is open daily for lunch from 12pm to 2.30 pm, and for dinner from 6pm to 10.30pm. For restaurant reservations, please call +65 6408 1288 or visit 5on25.com.
5 ON 25
Location: Andaz Singapore, 5 Fraser St Level 25, Singapore 189354
Opening Hours: Open daily. 12pm – 2.30pm, lunch ; 6pm – 10.30pm, dinner.