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.ย VLV Singaporeย 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? ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

Chairman's Crab

We flipped the shell right side up solely for photo-taking purposes ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ I simply picked out the fattier bits to eat. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.


VLV Singapore: Luxurious Lunch Sets Without Hefty Price Tags

My pals brought me to Hide Yamamoto at MBS recently, where I realized (to my absolute amazement) that it’s possible to enjoy an eat-all-you-can sushi buffet for just $30++ in Marina Bay Sands! I returned the favor by taking them to VLV Restaurant at Clarke Quay where we savored an 8-course lunch at just $34.50++ per person! Good food at great prices, and with awesome company. What more can anyone ask for? ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, perhaps excellent service, which VLV Restaurant provides as well. If you’re entertaining guests at lunchtime in the Clarke Quay area, VLV is definitely where you should head to.

I love having my friend, Steven, around as he’s super friendly and can chat with anyone, whether you’re an intern or a CEO, and in so doing, he helps suss out all theย information I need without me having to talk to anyone. ๐Ÿ˜€ Some days, I’m ratherย kaypohย (a taxi driver once asked if I’m with the CID) and on other days, I just want to eat in peace, enjoying the banter among my pals. And in a restaurant like VLV, where I think taitais probably hang out, you’ll enjoy the tranquility, the fantastic decor, and the bubbly (definitely the bubbly). *wink*

VLV Restaurant can seat around 120 diners. And they can accommodate up to 50 guests in their private dining area…

VLV Restaurant Clarke Quay

vlv restaurant

As my forever-slim photographer pal from Hearted Moments was dining with us (and he’s also responsible for all the wonderful pictures in this blogpost), I had no objections to having more food apart from that 8-course ‘Signatures’ Lunch Set which I brought my pals for. Haven’t you heard that if you have trouble slimming down, you can simply make your friends fat? I live by that (highly questionable) mantra. ๐Ÿ˜€

Here’s what we ate:

For the amuse-bouche (the complimentary dish), we had hakka suan pan zi (็ฎ—็›˜ๅญ). It was very tasty – the dried shrimp made it so delicious. We were told that sometimes the chef serves up hainanese chicken rice balls as the amuse-bouche too.

VLV Singapore Amuse Bouche Suan Pan Zi

vlv singapore

The fried seafood fritter comes with the chef’s special blend of sambal and just the right level of saltiness:

VLV Singapore Dim Sum

With the Peking duck wrap comes the foie gras truffle sauce (apart from the usual hoisin sauce) and also avocado slices, among other ingredients…

vlv peking duck wrap

My favorites are right here:

VLV Singapore Working With Grace

I took these 2 pictures ๐Ÿ˜€ I hope they make you hungry ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

I love the Chili crab buns and the siew mai. Instead of having chili crab and mantou to go along with it, it’s all fused into one bun that you just can’t get enough of. The great thing about ordering dimsum at VLV is that you can decide on the number of items in each bamboo basket – it’s not a fixed number so more guests, more dim sum. I’d take 5 of those chili crab buns the next time I’m here, thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

*You can order the ‘Creations’ Lunch Set which is priced at $48++ per person. It comes with “a trilogy of Chef’s signature Dim Sum dishes – with succulent Prawn Dumpling ‘Ha Gao’, Fish and Mushroom dumpling and VLV’s specialty Singapore Chilli Crab Bun“. That’s followed by the Chrysanthemum Tofu Soup, Baked Chilean Seabass with Black Olive & White Wine Butter Sauce, ‘Char Siew’ Spring Onion Noodles, and Almond Cream with Egg White & Black Sesame Dumplings.

And here, finally, is the 8-course lunch we came for:

Aburi Kagoshima Kurobuta Roll

(Above) The Aburi Kagoshima Kurobuta Roll is refreshing. I tasted mainly the gingery notes and cucumber, which I love. ๐Ÿ™‚

I liked the calamari as well. Very few restaurants get calamari just right. Here at VLV, it’s not tough and rubbery. You can bite through a piece without getting jaw fatigue #IfYouKnowWhatIMean.

vlv singapore calamari rings

The green soup, however, throws me off, somewhat. It’s a crab meat spinach soup. Like, why would anyone make a green soup?ย Unless it’s pea soup, maybe? But that’s not terribly popular here in Singapore.ย So… I have to say that it’s a little hard to love this soup, especially since it got me feeling thirsty halfway through.

vlv singapore crab meat spinach soup

coral trout head and belly

(Above) That was the Steamed Coral Trout Head & Belly with Black Garlic & Black Bean. We were told that the black beans are from a farm in Taichung, Taiwan. I was avoiding all the black pieces till I heard that they are not salty (and in fact, are almost sweet) that I ate one and was suitably impressed!

VLV Singapore Claypot Prawns

(Above) The Claypot Prawn with Ginger, Scallion and Dried Chili. The prawns were lovely… it’s just that the shells kept getting in the way. If they had been removed, top marks. ๐Ÿ™‚

VLV Singapore Roasted Crispy Duck

I’m not a big fan of duck dishes. Though I love London Fat Duck. VLV Restaurant served up a 45-day-old duck (from a farm in Malaysia). Chef wanted to limit the amount of fat in the duck which, while probably good for the health-conscious diner, did not quite appeal to me as I’m used to the fatty, meaty duck at London Fat Duck. Oops! ๐Ÿ˜€

VLV Singapore Kimchi Seafood Fried Rice

And it’s now all the rage: prick the poached egg, then snap as many pictures as you possibly can. LOL! I found the Kimchi Seafood Fried Rice delicious, though I have to say that it was served at the wrong time – just when I’m about to collapse from the amount I’ve eaten. The rice was flavorful – spicy, salty, charred – and would have gone so well with the duck. ๐Ÿ™‚

And a fitting finale…

vlv singapore roselle flower osmanthus jelly

After the whole range of flavors we’d been treated to, this jelly came as a welcome conclusion to the meal. It was not sweet at all. Stamp, checked. Chinese blessing, checked. Diabetic-friendly dessert, checked. It was truly impressive. I think all parents and grandparents will love this dessert!

*I might try the ‘Tasting’ Lunch Set next time. It’s priced at $98++ for 4 people. It comes with the Prawn Dumpling ‘Ha Gao’ and Pan-fried Carrot Cake, Nutritious Herbal Soup, Sweet & Sour Chilean Seabass, Crispy Roasted Chicken, Poached Hong Kong Choy Sum, Braised Noodles with Enoki Mushroom and Beansprouts, and the same Roselle Flower Osmanthus Jelly dessert.

ย ~

More pictures of the gorgeous venue:

vlv clarke quay

And not to forget the bubbly… Charles Heidsieck:

VLV Singapore Charles Heidsieck champagne

vlv club lounge

Once again, I have to thank my pal Jiahe from Hearted Moments Photography for taking stunning photographs every single time. My pal, Steven, asked if the iPhone might be able to replace DSLRs in future. And while it may be an odd question to ask a photographer, I’d say, no, a professional photographer will be able to shoot (and edit) stunning photographs that no iPhone user can match in quality and composition of the shot. *wink*

*As an aside: Go ahead and check out all 4 zones of VLV yourself. There’s the Restaurant, Courtyard, Club Lounge, and Riverside Dining, covering some 20,000 square feet!


The 3 lunch sets mentioned in this post are available on weekdays (12 noon to 3pm)

Reservations: +65 6661 0197

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