Michelin Star Restaurateur Alan Yau Brings a New Dining Experience to Singapore

Fine-din­ing is prob­a­bly the epit­o­me of eti­quette and deco­rum in the culi­nary world. There was a peri­od of time in his­to­ry where the slight­est devi­a­tion from prop­er eti­quette would mean social ostracism. Fine din­ing was a way for the upper ech­e­lons of soci­ety to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the low­er class, a way of ostracism and alien­ation, and also to reaf­firm their posi­tion in soci­ety.

As time passed, the under­pin­ning behind fine-din­ing has changed. Now, it is seen as ‘attas din­ing’- real­ly expen­sive food for when your whims strike. Be it for the atmos­phere or the culi­nary expe­ri­ence, or brag­ging rights, those are some of the moti­va­tions why we go for fine-din­ing nowa­days.

Alan Yau, the man behind glob­al Japan­ese chain Waga­ma­ma, Hakkasan and Yauatcha(each award­ed a Miche­lin star), is giv­ing you an extra rea­son to do just that. He has just made his first ven­ture into Sin­ga­pore with the open­ing of Madame Fan.

Sit­u­at­ed in the NCO Club at South Beach Avenue, the rich his­to­ry of the place makes a befit­ting back­drop to his mys­te­ri­ous and allur­ing new restau­rant. The old-world charm and dream-like beau­ty of the place will be the first thing that will wel­come you as you ascend the flight of stairs to Madame Fan. But do not let the grandeur of the place put you off, how­ev­er, because Alan Yau has decid­ed that din­ing at Madame Fan will be ‘eti­quette-free’.

That means the col­lec­tion of cut­lery has been swapped out for a sim­ple pair of chop­sticks and a spoon, the Chinese’s go-to weapon of choice. Tables have been reduced to a 4 to 5 seater instead of large ‘yum-cha’ round­ta­bles, which allows you to have con­ver­sa­tions much more eas­i­ly instead of shout­ing across the Lazy Susan. You get to enjoy the perks of fine din­ing and tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese cui­sine with­out the both­er of putting up appear­ances and mind­ing where you put your hands. It is the best of both worlds.

The bot­tom tier is what we call yum cha, where fam­i­lies come togeth­er, and the food and car­bo­hy­drates arrive in the mid­dle. At the top, we have what the Japan­ese call Kaise­ki, or what the French call a dégus­ta­tion menu, which is a fixed-course menu. To me, eti­quette-free sits in the mid­dle. You can cus­tomise your course-by-course din­ing expe­ri­ence and it is up to you to cre­ate what course comes first,” Alan Yau explains.

Madam Fan’s sig­na­tures include a vis­cous Dou­ble Boiled Four Trea­sure Soup, jam-packed with the flavours of the sea with the sea cucum­ber, fish maw, dried scal­lop and crab­meat swim­ming in har­mo­ny. The Drunk­en Crab Rice Noo­dle with 20-Year-Old Gu Yue Long Shan Rice Wine is also a must-try, togeth­er with the Steamed Soon Hock with Ipoh Soy and Spring Onion. Because, as we know, a steamed whole fish is a main­stay of every typ­i­cal Chi­nese gath­er­ing.

To be hon­est, peo­ple are already din­ing eti­quette-free style, espe­cial­ly the mod­ern mid­dle-class Chi­nese whom the econ­o­mists call the Four Drag­ons. They may be more health con­scious and hence, leave the car­bo­hy­drates at the end when they curate their own course menu in hopes of low­er­ing risks of dia­betes.”

Food is, arguably, one of the soft pow­ers of the world, and if it has the abil­i­ty to reflect the state of soci­ety and its cul­ture. Madame Fan will be the open­ing act of this rev­o­lu­tion as she ush­ers in the new age of Chi­nese din­ing with finesse.

She will open her doors and wel­come guests with open arms on the 23rd of April, so be sure to vis­it Madame Fan.

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