VLV Riverside @ Clarke Quay: “The Rolls-Royce Of Zi Char”

VLV Riverside

All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography.

When the sun sets, the area along the Singapore River comes to life amid a myriad of color (it’s really very pretty). As bumboats ferrying tourists go past, you can tuck into a good meal of premium ‘zi char’ dishes at one of the restaurants along the river. VLV Singapore now offers riverside dining options and my friend, M, was so impressed she said this is the “Rolls-Royce of zi char”! Save for the fighter planes going past every 5 minutes or so (in the rehearsal leading up to the National Day Parade), it was the perfect spot for the couples and the friends like us to enjoy a delicious dinner under the gorgeous canopies.

What’s the difference between VLV’s version of ‘zi char’ and regular ‘zi char’, you might ask? Well, let’s start with the appetizer: Crispy Bull Frog with Ginger. Besides gorgeous plating, this dish is a truly creative one. The thin and long ‘crisps’ are actually ginger slices. It’s ginger like you’ve never tasted it before. It’s uber-crispy so people wearing dentures or braces might have trouble with it. The rest of us simply love it as it’s crispier than potato chips! And while not as meaty as chicken wings, the pieces of bull frog are well-seasoned. This dish is a feast for the eyes even as it satisfies your tastebuds.

Crispy Bull Frog with Ginger

Then there’s the Crackling Pork Belly paired with salted fish. (One of my pals is a BIG fan of salted fish) The pork belly is very thinly sliced and slightly on the salty side, so I think it’s great eaten with white rice. Where’s my rice? 😀

Crackling Pork Belly

The Ginger Scallion XO Noodles also come with a very generous serving of pork lard. Needless to say, it’s a good noodle dish but seniors might want to leave the lard for others instead.

Ginger Scallion XO Noodles

The Stir-fried Sambal Prawn with Petai dish is pretty spicy, so once again, I’m missing the rice. (We didn’t have rice that day as we already had noodles) I don’t eat petai, despite its many health benefits, so I felt like it was a bit of a waste for us to leave all that petai behind. But prawns are definitely one of my favs.

Stir Fried Sambal Prawn with Petai

The star of the meal had to be the Chairman’s Crab, which featured a steamed Sri Lankan crab with bonito egg white. If you look closely, you’ll see the ikura (salmon roe), which adds that salty flavor to the dish and also is a joy to eat as it gives a little ‘pop’ in your mouth before releasing all its goodness. Yum! 😀

Chairman's Crab

We flipped the shell right side up solely for photo-taking purposes 😀

Chairman's Crab VLV Riverside

Besides the goodness of the crab, the sauce has egg white, dashi stock, bonito, etc, and this is done in their signature cooking style. As for the freshness of the crab, my pal commented that “It doesn’t get firmer than this”. Thank you, Chef, for selecting such a fresh (and sweet) crab for us.
I’ve tried VLV’s 45-day-old duck before, when we went for lunch at VLV previously. The thin, crispy skin will be a hit with many. And my verdict remains the same: the duck could do with more fat, like those at London Fat Duck but it’s good for those who are health-conscious, really! 😀 I simply picked out the fattier bits to eat. 😀 This time round, though, it’s Roasted Truffle London Duck for dinner. If you’re a fan of truffle and duck dishes, try this one…

Roasted Truffle London Duck

And one other dish I think everyone will enjoy is the Congee with Flower Clam and Prawn. This seafood porridge has the sweetness from the various ingredients within and it’s cooked to perfection, without the lumps in porridge which I really don’t like. Just give me this porridge dish and some pepper, and I’ll be very happy. 😀

Congee with flower clam and prawn

My pal made this bold comment: “After eating this zi char, how to eat any other zi char?” Indeed, we will remember the crab and porridge fondly, hopefully not in the middle of the night. But judging from the meals we’ve had at VLV, I believe the chef will continue pushing the boundaries so the next time we pop by again, we’ll be in for yet another culinary surprise from him. 🙂

I think any tourist who stumbles upon this restaurant while touring the Clarke Quay area will certainly find it to be a gem, just like we did. There’s music to enjoy while you dine as video clips are projected onto the wall (the side of a neighboring shophouse). To complement the meal, order some beer or wine so you can enjoy this atas zi char to the max. I’ll be sure to order the osmanthus jelly next time too – totally forgot about it – as it would be the perfect finish to any meal at VLV. We had ice cream across the river instead, as there’s this little Japanese dessert shop called Tsujiri that I’ve never visited before. 🙂 I might do a review in a bit.

VLV riverside review

~ Go Try The Zi Char At VLV ~

Reservations: +65 6661 0197

3A River Valley Road #01-02 Singapore 179020 (*within walking distance from Clarke Quay MRT station)

*All pictures courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography.