VLV Riverside - New Riverside Zi-Char Dining Experience

Zi Char is a never-dying trend in Singapore, with crowds willing to bear with the uncomfortable coffeeshop stools, creaking fans and the shouting aunties for a sumptuous meal of home-style dishes. But what if I told you that these dishes can also be enjoyed in a more comfortable setting; one that overlooks the Clarke Quay riverfront, with cushioned chairs and even live music to boot?

Look no further than VLV Singapore, as they have recently introduced their newest dining concept, VLV riverside, which offers diners local zi char favourites with a twist.

Chairman's crab ($9/100g)

Crabs are one of the most popular zi char dishes. Except the all-time favourite chili crab and black pepper crab, VLV also offers the "Chairman's Crab" - Steamed Sri Lankan Crab with Bonito Egg White and Ikura. While I never enjoyed having crabs due to the trouble involved, it was delightful how the meat could be retrieved from the shells easily. The egg white sauce highlighted the sweetness of the crab meat while the bonito flakes added another level to the flavours.

Crispy Bullfrog with Ginger ($26)

The Crispy Bullfrog with Ginger is great for first-timers who have not tried a frog dish before. The batter on the outside was crispy and well-seasoned while the frog meat itself was soft and mild in flavour. The fried ginger was equally crisp and surprisingly not too spicy.

Stir-fried Sambal Prawns with Petai ($28)

Petai, commonly known as smelly beans, has a strong smell and flavour that does not appear to all. But lovers of petai would rejoice at VLV's offering of stir-fried sambal prawns with petai. De-shelled fresh prawns fried with a generous amount of petai beans and piquant sambal. Just be careful not to choke on the spice!

Roasted Truffle London Duck ($45 for half)

The hype on the truffle does not seem to be dying out anytime soon and while it seems impossible to infused truffle into a Chinese dish, VLV proves us wrong with the roasted truffle London duck. Think black truffle shavings atop crispy, juicy duck slices. While roasted duck usually have to be consumed hot for the skin to remain crisp, I was pleasantly surprised how VLV's rendition retains its crispness despite sitting there for a while. The gravy was infused with truffle and seeped into the duck's eat thoroughly. The truffle slices that sat atop the duck slices enhanced the flavors of the truffle as time went by. While it is usually the case whereby a dish gets less delectable over time, this one only gets better.

Stir-fried Pork Belly with Salted Fish ($20)

A braised pork belly dish is one I always associate with home and refrain from consuming outside but VLV has changed my mind on this stance with their offering of stir-fried pork belly with salted fish. While I did not enjoy how the outer layer of the pork was very tough, I thoroughly appreciated how the meat layers were tender and in all ways flavourful.

Congee with Flower Clam and Prawns ($28)

When I think of a thick congee infused with fresh seafood flavours now, VLV's congee with flower clam and prawns would immediately come to mind. While the usual seafood congee often only has a pathetic number of seafood in it, VLV's version was bursting at the seams with ingredients. Needless to say, both clams and prawns were extremely fresh. However, I would have liked it better if the prawns were deshelled. We made quite a mess peeling the prawns. Nevertheless, definitely a dish worth coming back for.

Crackling Pork Belly Ginger Scallion XO Noodles ($22)

Although I would certainly enjoy a good bowl of wanton noodles, it did not appeal to me how this dish would taste like a bowl of mediocre wanton noodles instead of what it boasts to be. The noodles were nothing close to being al dente and the crackling pork belly was presented in the form of tiny pork bits that could hardly be found, seen nor tasted amidst the noodle affair.

Mango Pudding

Mango puddings are one of my favourite ways to end a dish and I am heartened how VLV served one that was smooth, yet packed with mango goodness. The pudding was made with the fruit rather than flavouring, which was obvious from how the mango fibres are present in the pudding. The sweetness from the mango shined through the pudding and it was an absolute pleasure concluding the meal with this.

Overall, although some dishes paled in comparison to the rest, VLV riverside still poses as a great option for a zi-char fix when one is in the vicinity.

VLV Riverside
Clarke Quay
3A River Valley Road

Operating Hours:
Wed - Sat: 6pm - 2am
Sun - Tues: 6pm - 11pm

Words and photos by Belinda Yong who wishes that every time of the day is food o' clock. She loves trying new cuisines and creations,  and prays hard for a higher metabolism.

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