CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental has always been on my “must try” lists, and several weeks ago I finally went! Their menu is seasonal and ever-changing, so my friend and I definitely wanted to check them out when the selection looked especially appealing.

We tried their three course option ($80), and though their actual menu differed a little bit from the one they had online, we found plenty to keep us happy.

Pictured above is from the entree course: Atlantic halibut with tarragon panade, served with applewood smoked bacon risotto, fava beans, beer battered spring onion and spring onion coulis. The fish was perfectly cooked and buttery. Loved the risotto with it, and the coulis added a wonderful light layer of flavor to the dish. Definitely one of my favorites of the night.

The rest:

To begin at the beginning: they sent out two canapes to start: the first was a vichyssoise panna cotta with lobster – rich and utterly fabulous.

The second was an extra virgin olive oil custard with spicy sauce. I thought they were both excellent, though maybe a little on the heavy side for starters.

CityZen Billi-bi
Purée of Path Valley Farms Wild Watercress Soup
with Bouchot Mussels and Curry Mousse

A billi-bi is a mussel soup. This sounded quite intriguing, so I had to give it a try. Unfortunately, it tasted pretty strange. I didn’t think the flavors went well together. Maybe the watercress flavor was too mild or the curry too bizarre with the mussels. When the wait staff asked if we were enjoying the first course, we answered honestly that this soup wasn’t working for us. And what do you know? They let us choose a replacement from the appetizer course! We were very pleasantly surprised by this gesture. (And I’ll mention here that the service throughout the evening was really wonderful).

Marinated Red Beet Salad
Pickled Heirloom Beets, Fingerling Potatoes
and Olive Oil Braised Celery

This is the dish we selected as our replacement. I love beets, but had originally decided against ordering this as my appetizer, because I wanted to try something different. Goes to show that sometimes you should just stick to what you know and love. This beet salad was delicious! Seasoned perfectly, and the beets and celery had many different textures. Lovely.

Guinea Hen Leg Confit Ravioli
Fricassee of English Peas and Maitake Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the most savory, umami-filled ingredient ever, and I can never understand how anyone could hate them. (And yet, I know a few people who do!) I’ve had some so-so maitake mushrooms before, but these were really fresh and flavorful. They paired very well with the saltiness of the guinea hen ravioli. This was definitely rich, but was a good balance against the lightness of the beet salad.

These mini-rolls were warm, salty and delicious. They came out mid-meal, though I don’t recall exactly when. (Other bread was served to us at the beginning). These rolls were something special, and I loved how they came out in this pretty wooden box.

Pan Seared Crescent Farms Peking Duck Breast
Penn Farms Baby Squash, Stuffed Squash Blossoms and Basil Pistou

This was the other entree dish we got, aside from the aforementioned halibut. As you can see, we had a lot of green sauces and soups in this meal! The duck was tender and cooked to a nice medium rare. I enjoyed the basil pistou very much, though I’m afraid I was bit too stuffed to fully appreciate the squash blossoms.

On a side-note, I actually had to photograph this half a dozen times, but I just couldn’t get the image to focus! Some dishes just don’t light up at the right angle when I photograph in dark places.

Complimentary mini cardamom coffee cakes came next, along with orange granita and vanilla ice cream (which I didn’t get a picture of). I’m a huge believer in mixing savory herbs and spices with desserts. We got coffee in a French press, which went very well with these cakes!

Grand Marnier Crépe Soufflé
Poached Path Valley Farms Rhubarb and Fennel Sherbet

So much imagination in this! I loved the combination of fennel with rhubarb, along with the tart orange of the Grand Marnier. The soufflé was airy and gorgeous.

Soup and Sandwich
Strawberry Consommé with Griddled Almond Pound Cake
and Sarawak Pepper Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pictured above is the pound cake with the strawberry ‘soup.’ Loved the sweet and fresh consommé and diced strawberries. But the star of this dish was definitely…

The pepper ice cream sandwiches! I have wanted to try pepper ice cream forever, so I was thrilled to see this on the menu. And it was spicy and sweet and everything I would’ve wanted it to be! I have to get a recipe for this.

The evening ended with a lovely spread of petit fours: cinnamon macaroons, root beer marshmallows, and chocolates with raspberry and caramel. Yum!

In short: phenomenal dining experience. It was definitely one of my top dinners in the city, and I can’t wait to find an excuse to treat myself again. o(^___^)o ♥

24 Aug 2010, 10:00am
by yellowliner


Looks amazing. I have had the pleasure of eating at CityZen twice, and they still rank as the best meals I have ever had. This makes me want to go back ASAP!

I need that halibut right now. I’m serious.

This place has been on my list! Girl you have eaten at a lot of great places, haha.

I think that beet salad looks so pretty, and another great beet salad is at Hook in Georgetown.



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