Saturday, January 30, 2010

One On The Bund

Sometimes, I feel like a stranger in my own country. Last week must have been the first time in eons since I've set foot in Collyer Quay. To say the landscape has changed is an understatement. I was attending my second food tasting session organised by The Fullerton Heritage, and almost missed the place because I couldn't recognise the area!

The venue was One on the Bund, which occupies the now defunct Clifford Pier (红灯码头). This historical landmark, according to Wikipedia, was "built in 1933 ... and was a landing point for immigrants and other sea passengers."

What used to look like this:

Clifford Pier as I remember it.
(Photo courtesy of

... now looks like this:

The grand entrance of One on the Bund.

I couldn't believe my eyes. The entire place - and I mean, entire - has been converted into an upscale, fine dining Chinese restaurant. A cheongsum-clad waitress would stand poised at the towering glass doors, ready to welcome you. Step inside, and you are instantly transported back into a world of old Shanghai glamour. It was all terribly opulent and ostentatious, and the huge expanse of space, incredible. I must have uttered the word, "WOW!" a gazillion times.

The reception area, complete with giant warriors. Not your usual crowd-around-the-lectern set up. How's that for a first impression?

One of two waiting areas.

Big, bold, beautiful pieces of art adorn every nook ... every piece a creation of someone renowned. It's akin to dining in an art gallery, really. You'd see quirky touches like bird cages, firewood, lanterns and chinois-themed sculptures dotting the dining halls - a very eclectic collection. The interior concept and culinary direction are the brainchild of Calvin Yeung - owner, creative executive chef and designer extraordinaire.

Dining hall in front of the drinks bar.

At the far end of the main entrance is a drinks bar and another dining hall. The door opens out to an al fresco dining deck.

Here, you'll be able to dine with a view of the Marina Bay.

We were seated in a private dining room with a noodle bar. I found it a nightmare taking photos though, what with a reflective glass table and very dim lighting.

The three paintings which elicited three "WOWs!" from me.

I was struck by this series of paintings - so much fluidity and movement in them. At first glance, I thought the girl looked very familiar. Later, I had the privilege of meeting One on the Bund owner, Calvin, and when I commented how much I loved these paintings, he asked, "Don't you recognise her?"

"Well," I hesitated, "She does look a lot like Zhou Xun."

He broke into a wide smile and nodded.

Double-boiled mushroom soup.

Our first dish was a vegetarian soup - a medley of mushrooms. No seasoning ... just pure, unadulterated soup. You either like it or you don't, especially if you prefer rich, hearty ones. I quite enjoyed it. The mushrooms were meaty and succulent.

Next to our room, a fire was started to roast our Peking Duck. The wood chips - apple wood, if I remember correctly - are imported from Beijing.

The signature Peking Duck (order in advance).
Top left: The chef carving the duck.
Top right: The Peking Duck platter.
Bottom left: First time I tried dipping the skin in sugar. It was lovely!
Bottom right: The conventional way of eating Peking Duck.

In the meantime, the chefs were busy preparing our Red Thread Noodles (the colour comes from carrots). I thought they should be called Golden Thread Noodles, since they looked more golden than red. I must have been very hungry because I wolfed them down in a jiffy.

Top left: Preparing the hot water.
Top right: Making and cooking the noodles.
Bottom left: Ready to serve!
Bottom right: Freshly made noodles which were deliciously light and springy.

Eastern Sea Dragon (Braised Fish Fillets in a Chilli Broth).

Cooked on the spot, the fish was really fresh and firm to the bite. Just don't bite into the peppercorns like I accidentally did. :( Well, nothing a cup of Jin Sang Zi (Golden Throat) chinese tea (bottom right photo) cannot soothe. My only gripe is, since we weren't served any rice, two slices of fish is hardly filling, especially as a main dish.

The signature Crispy Lamb Ribs (order in advance).

I am not a fan of lamb, but I managed one rib. The skin was really crispy, and was the only part I could stomach. I've never fancied lamb because of the musky, gamey smell. I know lamb connoisseurs would say that the best lamb dishes have absolutely no smell. But I could smell this one the moment it was plonked in front of me.

Dessert was a blend of east and west.

There is a wide array of pastries available. Macarons, truffles, tiramisu, traditional Chinese pastries - you name it. I particularly enjoyed the Chinese pastries (top photo, in yellow) which had red bean and lotus paste centres, and were served warm. Equally enjoyable was the tiramisu, which came in a huge slab and generously drenched in liquer.

Overall, this is the place to come to if you want to impress. The posh interior will take care of that. You do need deep pockets though, for the prices are as extravagant as the decor. I can see myself coming here again, as long as I am not picking up the tab. ;) And this time, I would order rice.

One on the Bund
80 Collyer Quay
Clifford Pier
Tel: 6221 0004
For more information on their special menu offerings, visit One on the Bund's website here.

Much thanks to One on the Bund for this food-tasting session, and The Fullerton Heritage for facilitating it.

Related post:


  1. Oh, there is an M on the Bund in Shanghai!

  2. Oh my gosh Ju.. I would feel like a princess! I love the painted carved tables..not to mention the wow factor walking in! The ceiling is a work of art~

    I too love the 3 paintings..I don't know why but they remind me of Savannah in The Prince Of Tides movie..

    The dishes.. the eclectic decor items.. the view..!

    I have never eaten in such posh surroundings..I love those squarish bamboo boxes..and the lovely pastries:)

    Really quite well as your photos..!

  3. Ju, how fun it must be to do another food tasting. This place looks really interesting and your post comes at the perfect time, I am looking to entertain some customers next week - this could be a good option. The owner- he must be a Zhouxun fan. Wonder if the paintings are meant to capture her in the film ' 画皮'...

  4. What could I say.....the place is like a palace and I would feel like a QUEEN to dine there!

  5. Ju, thanks for taking us along with you! This looks like a wonderful dinner. I confess I'd have been all over the lamb. All of it, actually!

    What a beautiful place, too. Do you have problems taking photos in restaurants? I confess I'm a little shy about it--especially since my camera is so big.

  6. Wow, it sure looks expensive from the deco. to the food.

  7. Yum... looks really good!!! Especially the braised fish fillets and the peking duck!!

  8. Thank you for this sharing, it's so new for me
    The three paintings are wonderfull and blue !!!
    And the table, ... and every thing, a very nice trip for me

  9. Bellissimo ed interessante questo post.
    chissa' se un giorno mi capiterà questa fortuna.
    Un abbraccio Daniela.

  10. wow..very classy! and everything looks so delicate!

  11. add our wow to you count...what a amazing looking restaurant! the peking duck looks great!

  12. Ju this was a wonderful post...thank you for taking us with you...
    I spent a few hours yesterday wandering around an Asian supermarket and came home with all kinds of treasures...I thought of you...
    Tonight veggies ala Ju...:*

  13. You're making me want to pack up and go to Singapore, Ju!! What beautiful, enticing photos!! Thank you for letting travel with you vicariously. :) I'm glad you had a great time and rediscovered your homeland.

  14. oh that's zhou xun? i din realize. hahaha yeah i remember going to the pier many years ago, that time the ferry to kusu island was from there i think, or to some other islands that i can't remember, but i know i been to that old pier before. lol!

    See you tml! *wink*

  15. I remember so vividly going to the revolving restaurant at 紅燈碼頭 for dinner with my parents. So much has changed since. Again beautiful photos and what a treat!

  16. Wow another food tasting for you...bumper month for you all the way to the 15th day of CNY!

    Hurray to waistline : O

  17. Im breathless!!!!! everything is sooo opulent. I would be scared to breathe in there...just in case I break something. the more fancy the place is the more of a clutz I can

    WOW ~ add that to yours JU!

  18. Hey lucky you ! Got the chance to do food tasting in such an exclusive place. Is the food good ?

  19. Hi everyone! *waves* I know, I'm very lucky to get to eat at all these fantastic places. This place is really exquisite. To answer Nyonyachef, the food is above average but prices are steep. Portions are tiny, so either you order more and PAY more, or you go for char kway teow supper afterwards. ;)

    I would eat here only with OPM (Other People's Money). Hehehe.

  20. That's it. My next holiday is Singapore! How beautiful! That double boiled mushroom soup looks amazing! Lol! I love eating with O.P.M too! (I think you've coined a new abbreviation there for sure!)

  21. That is just an insane reception area! I like that it looks like they kept much of the integrity of the original design. I'm with you - yes, I'd definitely love to go if someone else was picking up the tab!

  22. Waw,....what a GRAND restaurant this is!!

    It is just stunning!!! Fabulous interior!!!

    I am a big fan of the luscious desserts!!! MMMMMMM,...!!!

  23. wah I didn't know Clifford Pier become so modern now. I do like the old CP because there's a certain charm to old buildings. The food you had looks posh and yummy!

  24. Hi Ju,

    Your blog is really interesting, I love reading it, as it contains not only recipes but other narrations which I find entertaining. Keep it up, though I don't know how you find the time to write, cook and be a mum of three! Thanks from Jessie

  25. Sanjana: Come! I'd love to meet you! :)

    Trix: You must come too! I'll take you and Sanjana to some nice vegetarian restaurants that I can afford w/o OPM. ;)

    Sophie: Yes, desserts rock!

    noobcook: Yeah! Old version was more charming. ;)

    Anonymous: Hi Jessie, thanks so much for your compliments. I'm glad you enjoy reading my blog. :)

  26. Hi I'm a first time visitor to your blog! And I have to say,wow the settings and ambiance of One on the Bund is amazing. Gives that really old imperial China feel.