Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant is a 20-year old super atas (‘atas’ means high class in Singlish) Chinese restaurant located at The Marriott Hotel at Tang Plaza. We were a bit sceptical of this place due to the mixed reviews that it has been garnering as of late, however we decided to give it a try at the suggestion of a family member.
The economics of hotel dining has always been fascinating. The restaurant will not have the usual cost pressures from rental as the hotel needs the restaurant, but on the other hand the pressure will be on the hotel management to make sure that the restaurant justifies its prime real estate in the middle of Orchard Road. This has translated to rave reviews about Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant from tourists on TripAdvisor, as compared to more lukewarm reviews by locals on HungryGoWhere. If the restaurant is able to keep the hotel guests happy, I suppose it does not matter too much that we found the place somewhat empty on a weekend night.
Don’t misunderstand though, we were thoroughly satisfied with our experience at Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, and we found the dishes from their new Executive Chinese Chef Brian Wong Shiuh Yean to be exceptional.
Pan-fried Australian Beef Tenderloin with Honey Black Pepper Sauce
When it comes to serving beef tenderloin, we have noticed a worrying trend in Chinese restaurants serving miniscule portions at exorbitant prices. It was no different at Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, with their beef tenderloin with honey black pepper sauce priced at S$36 for a somewhat small portion.
That said, this was the most amazing beef tenderloin that we have tasted in Singapore. The beef was perfectly tender with an addictive fragrance – you could barely feel the black pepperiness which seemed to be there only to enhance the natural taste of the beef. We would order this everyday if we could find this at a more reasonably priced establishment. This was really mind-blowing and we rate it an insane 4.5/5.
Wan Hao Signature Roast Duck with Ginseng Sauce
Roast duck is one of my all time favourite foods and while I was not too impressed with the ginseng sauce, the roast duck was prepared perfectly. We ordered a half portion at S$48, and there was an ample amount of meat, more than we expected from the usual half duck serving sizes.
This duck had the most tender and delicious meat, with the lightly crispy skin perfectly complementing the succulent meat. If they could use a more addictive savoury sauce instead of their ginseng sauce, we think that their roast duck would easily rival the one at London’s famous Four Seasons. That said, the sauce of a roast duck dish is one of the hardest things in the world to perfect, so we won’t be holding our breath. Nonetheless, we give this super delicious roast duck a 4.2/5.
Steamed Home-made Bean Curd Tofu with Shredded Abalone
How do the super atas Chinese restaurants differentiate themselves from the regular atas ones? They have insane bean curd dishes infused with seaweed with a generous amount of mushrooms, some shredded abalone and conpoy. So while this bean curd dish was priced at S$28, as opposed to maybe the usual S$10 to S$15 beancurd dishes here in Singapore, you could really feel the additional money being put to work.
The taste of this dish was exquisite with a nice bean curd crispiness coupled with an additional kick from the seaweed mix. The bean curd went very well with the mushrooms too. Unfortunately we barely noticed the shredded abalone. Nonetheless we give this dish a super delicious 4.2/5.
Fried Glutinous Rice, Chinese Sausage & Preserved Meat with Shredded Egg
This was a solid dish with a generous amount of egg, nuts, spring onions and Chinese sausage. Priced at S$28, we could find no fault with this and we rate it 4/5. This is one of the better glutinous rice dishes that we have tried.
Almond Cream with Glutinous Rice Dumpling
Okay so we made a mistake getting this item. You have to pay S$12 for a single tangyuan in a bowl of almond cream. There was nothing too special about the black sesame tangyuan that was probably obtained from a generic supplier, and we found their special almond cream sauce concocted by their chef a bit too strong for our liking. Almond cream is really an acquired taste, so only get this if you’re familiar with that taste and you know that you want it.
While the wait staff tried her best to sell the dish and address our pointed questions about this item, we have to give this a measly 3/5.
Final Thoughts – Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant
For those that have large wallets, Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant is a good option for the special occasion, especially if you are looking for very high end Cantonese cuisine. We were very impressed with their Australian beef tenderloin, as well as their ability to differentiate their dishes from the other high-but-not-so-high-end Chinese restaurants. We could really feel the price premium being put to work for most of the dishes.
We would definitely come back here again.