You probably would have heard of the term “sustainable dining” in recent years as there are more ongoing efforts for F&Bs to promote eco-friendly initiatives.
These include introduction of plant-based menu, and investment in biodegradable disposables.
Zing at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), PLQ Parkside is one such casual contemporary concept.
The latest brainchild of Xi Yan Chinese Restaurant aims to promote sustainable dining though their proficiency in creative Chinese Asian cuisines.
This is a collaboration with The Social Kitchen, a social enterprise which helps to promote social consciousness.
They support disadvantaged communities by equipping them with new work skills, as well as creating new job opportunities and viable source of income for many beneficiaries.
The space is decorated with vibrant wallpapers characterized by colourful birds, greenery, flora and fauna to exhibit their playful and quirky stance towards embracing nature.
A quick glance at their menu and I must comment, it is very extensive with rather huge collection of food offerings for a new place. In terms of savoury dishes, there were more than 50 items (I counted).
The staff enthusiastically recommended some of their “Power Salad” such as Legit Wagyu Kimchi Bowl ($26), Super Bowl ($16) and Eat the Rainbow ($13).
Truth to be told, I was kind of sceptical about having a whole page of menu dedicated to salad, but still decided to have-a-go at their Avocado Truffle Eggs and Kale ($15).
While it looked unassuming, it was a simple honest salad that was carb-free, assembled using truffle organic eggs, avocado, charred kale and broccoli.
Ok lah, I need to give it credit for being quite tasty and scented with truffle aroma – the kind of food which I can eat often without feeling the sense of guilt.
Other than salad, they also offer a choice of plant-based meat to replace some of the dishes such as Bossam Style Crispy Pork Strips ($15), Szechuan Pop Corn Chicken ($20), and The Squid Game ($14) – which is octopus done karaage-style with chilli and celery.
Some of the interesting Asian-fusion dishes that caught my attention are like Black Truffle Chicken Capellini ($23), Green Peppercorn Basil Prawn Pasta ($23) and Tteobokki Prawn Gratin ($23)
For those who love alcohol, go for the Chicken Soju Cocktail Sorbet ($15) which has marinated chicken infused with soju ume rice wine for the mildly sweet-bitter flavour.
If you like your beef noodles in pasta, pick the Sichuan Beef Linguini Fini ($20) that has tender soft braised beef which melts in your mouth.
I was rather intrigued by them adding you tiao (dough fritters) into the dish, but it did provide an additional crisp to the bite texture.
Fans of Xi Yan can also find some of their signature Chinese dishes here such as Hakka Niang Do Fu ($12), Hou Shao Rou ($22) and Hand Peeled Cabbage ($15).
My favourite dish goes to the Salivating Chicken ($23) served chilled with chopped century eggs, konnyaku noodles doused in chilli oil, sprinkled with tons of peanuts, sesame seeds and coriander leaves.
I liked that their version was rather balanced in spices, compared to such similar dishes elsewhere which can get too overpowering-spicy – leaving you with little flavours of the rest of the components but a numbing sensation.
Showing the Hakka Abacus ($18) some love as well.
I have a soft spot for this traditional Chinese Hakka yam abacus seeds which are usually hand kneaded and stir-fried with minced pork, black fungus and dried shrimp.
It did evoke a sense of nostalgia and reminded me of how my late grandmother used to prepare this dish laboriously.
Point to note, there isn’t an obvious signage of the place at the moment, and you could risk walking pass the restaurant unknowingly without even realizing it.
Zing by Xi Yan
2 Paya Lebar Road #01-06/07/08, PLQ Parkside (Below Park Place Residences), Singapore 409053
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun) 2:30pm – 5pm with limited menu for afternoon tea & desserts
* Written by Lewis Tan @juicyfingers, a self-proclaimed coffee addict. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.