Whether you’re a foodie, an aficionado of the “live to eat” philosophy or just someone who enjoys food with a twist – buckle up because I’m about to change your life! Introducing Yuè, a freshly debuted culinary gem by Aloft Singapore Novena serving Chinese delights. Prepare yourself for this all-in-one gastronomic and musical journey that will have you coming back for more!
Yuè (乐) isn’t just your average Chinese restaurant; it’s a delicious symphony of dishes that will leave your bellies full and your taste buds dancing! Led by renowned chef Awyeong Kin, Yuè’s menu houses 130 delectable dishes, from appetisers to desserts. The fun part is that all 130 dishes are cleverly named after popular Mandarin songs! Yuè has put together a playlist of all the songs that inspired the witty names so that both your tummy and your ears will be full!
Yuè is nestled in the heart of Novena. The vibrant restaurant stands in the middle of tall, muted buildings with colourful interiors and neon lights. Whether you’re looking to celebrate, take a special someone out for a magical date or just want a simple lunch, Yuè is fit for any and all occasions!
Let me guide you as we delve into this balladic experience together. I’m ready when you are!
The meal started with three delicious appetisers. First up is the Kurobuta Pork Belly with Garlic Sauce, which is definitely not to be missed! This is perfect for you if you prefer light appetisers to start your meal. The thin slices of meat were just the right texture; the perfect medley of tenderness and chewiness. The meat’s texture and the sauce’s boldness made for a fantastic dish!
The Chilled Bitter Gourd drenched in preserved plum sauce took me by surprise – I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of bitter gourd. But after trying this dish, you could count me a convert. The plum sauce toned down the bitterness of the vegetable, resulting in a wildly delicious plate.
Our final appetiser was the Lotus Root in Szechuan Mala sauce. As a raging fan of Mala, I circled this dish like a hawk, and it didn’t stand a chance. Even though it wasn’t the Mala taste I was used to, this did not disappoint. The sorcery of it all was how every piece was still crunchy, even though they were thinly sliced and completely soaked in sauce. Every. Single. Piece. Imagine that. (You don’t have to; you can experience it for yourself at Yuè)
In honour of the whole musical affair that this is, if the appetiser course were a duet, it would be I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher. Each dish was a pair matched in culinary heaven! The different elements of the dish all shined in their own ways but brought out the best of each other, just like Sonny and Cher did.
Before we get into the main dishes, let me introduce the dish that changed my life. Say hello to this delectable Pumpkin Broth with generous amounts of crab meat and scallops in every bite. I cannot recommend this dish enough!
Even though it has a pumpkin base, the soup was thin, and the taste of pumpkin was subtle. I enjoy a hearty bowl of soup with ingredients in every scoop – so this dish checked all the boxes for me! Every taste of this soup came accompanied by bits of shredded scallops and tender crabmeat, giving the dish an incredible texture.
As a Cantonese descendant and a self-proclaimed soup enthusiast, this dish unlocked a chest of memories for me. I was immediately transported back to the times when my grandfather would toil over the stove for hours, boiling a homemade broth that could cure me of virtually anything. So if you’re looking for a broth that will warm your insides and your heart, this is all you need!
If this dish were a song, it would be: Our Song by Taylor Swift – both nostalgia-inducing and will provide unparalleled comfort. Much like this classic Taylor Swift tune, this soup is a culinary symphony that will leave your heart humming.
Next up is the Deep-fried Tiger Prawn with Creamy Milk and Salted Egg Lime Sauce. The tiger prawns were delectably juicy, tender and crispy – pairing it with the thick creamy salted egg sauce, just made the dish out of this world. Yuè displays its contemporary take on this dish with their addition of nacho chips – which you’re supposed to pile the prawn and sauce on top of and pop it all into your mouth. While this is not usually how one would go about enjoying a dish like this, it’s absolutely worth a shot!
Also on Yuè’s menu is the Assam Fish Head. I am not one to jump at an opportunity to have sour sauces like Assam, but this dish had me going back for seconds (and thirds and fourths…)! The fish head was extraordinarily fresh and acted as the perfect stage for the Assam sauce to shine. I’m also a big fan of coriander, which concocted a wonderfully fresh overtone for this whole dish!
The musical counterpart of these dishes would be: Take a Chance on Me by ABBA, for obvious reasons. Given their non-traditional spins, you may be a bit sceptical about giving these dishes a go, but you really have to take a chance on them – I promise it’ll be worth it!
Now we are on the ‘main meat’ of the menu! What’s a Chinese restaurant without Sweet and Sour Pork? Yuè included their own fun twist on this fan favourite by serving it with an unconventional side of Popping Candy! It’s so paradoxical how the simple addition of the candy ultimately elevates this dish by tenfolding the sweetness! The candy adds texture and makes the dish almost interactive with the effect it will take in your mouth.
Next is the Spring Chicken with Luzhou Laojiao Zisha Tequila! The dish included big pieces of spices like bird’s eye chilli and bulbs of shallots, making the dish fragrant and giving it a bold taste. And yes, you read that right, this dish was topped off with the famous Luzhou Laojiao Zisha Tequila, which contains 52% alcohol. Not to worry, the tequila was light and didn’t leave any unpleasant aftertastes– so that’s a win!
If I had to liken these dishes to a song, it would be Happier Than Ever, but covered by Kelly Clarkson. Like Billie Eilish’s original song, the original ways of serving sweet and sour pork and spring chicken are good. You can’t go wrong with either of them. But adding popping candy and Luzhou Laojiao Zisha Tequila completely elevates these dishes’ taste and overall experience – just like Kelly Clarkson did with her cover of Happier Than Ever.
I hope that niche analogy has convinced you to try both these dishes!
Rice and Noodles
Moving on to the staples of any Chinese dinner, we start with Egg Fried Rice with Tobiko and Scallop. Tobiko is not something one would usually find in fried rice, but it added texture to the dish and gave it a pop of colour. Not to mention that every grain of rice glistened with a layer of oil, making the dish feel very silky.
The Mee Tai Bak with Chai Poh, Chicken and XO Sauce was another interesting dish. The noodles were springy and chewy, the chicken was tender, and the XO Sauce and Chai Poh gave the dish more flavour!
If these dishes were a melody, it would be Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles for a simple reason: they’re a classic addition to every meal. Just like the song, there’s a special place for them at every meal, and they fit in any occasion!
After all those delectable dishes, the Chilled Mango Sago with Lime Sorbet was the perfect palate cleanser. The lime sorbet blended amazingly with the mango sago, resulting in what I can only describe as a heavenly concoction. The sorbet was light and refreshing, making it the perfect way to end the entire experience!
This amazing dessert would be akin to Technicolour Dreams by the Bee Gees. Not only do the song and the dessert share the same vibrant visual aspect, but they both also have the ability to rejuvenate you instantly!
If you want to experience the entire Aloft Hotel, you cannot forget the W XYZ bar! Staffed with dedicated and experienced mixologists, getting a drink from the bar feels like a scene straight out of a movie! One look at me and they managed to guess my favourite fruit and promised to make me a special drink; one off the menu. They guaranteed I would love it – and I certainly did. I had a dragon fruit and mint concoction that was wildly refreshing and full of flavour!
If you’re not one to take chances, that’s fine too! The menu offers an extensive selection of drinks for all ages – ranging from chocolate drinks for the kids to unique cocktails for the adults, there’s something for everyone.
The final song in our playlist is Skyfall by Adele. The experience of someone making a drink they know you’ll love feels like a cut from a James Bond movie, which is why this song perfectly represents the feeling of ordering a drink from the W XYZ bar.
Speaking of music, if you need another incentive to give Yuè a visit, on top of their exquisite menu, they also have a live band that plays at the W XYZ bar to accompany you on your musical and culinary journey. Delicious food and unmatched vibes? That’s Yuè for you!
And that’s a wrap on the culinary odyssey that is Yuè! With a menu boasting 130 dishes that fit any occasion, Yuè deserves a special place on your must-try list! If you ever find yourself in the Novena area craving an experience like no other, make sure to give Yuè a visit.
Yuè at Aloft
Location: 16 Ah Hood Rd, Singapore 329982
- Lunch: 12pm to 3pm
- Dinner: 6pm to 10pm
As an exclusive, from now till 31 December 2023, danamic. readers can enjoy a 30% discount for all ala carte items across Yuè’s extensive menu with no minimum spend required!
All you have to do is include “DANAMIC30” under the Reservation Notes when you head over to their official website to make your booking.
Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.