Although touted as a purveyor of Japanese-Sichuan cuisine, the fare at Shisen Hanten is very simply, Sichuan fare, made just a little more refined and nuanced by the quintessential Japanese precision.
The extensive menu is a tad daunting, and while we loved almost everything we ordered, it wasn't a 100% hit-rate, but a tip is to stick to the traditional stuff for a slamdunk meal.
1) Cold Steamed Chicken ($22) - seasoned with sesame and leek oil: incredibly aromatic, and despite subtle kick of the chilli pepper spice, was clear and refreshing. This was like Hainanese chicken, but all shredded up and given a spicy twist. Absolute must try.
2) Grilled Wagyu Beef ($30): beautifully burnished and glossed with a delicate garlicky spice blend. Sumptuous, albeit forgettable. The earlier starter really stole the limelight.
3) Hot & Sour Soup ($12): exceptional, punchy and robust, but finished with an exquisite polish
4) Braised Corn Soup with Crabmeat ($12): skip this, it was insipid and clunky.
5) Roasted Crispy Chicken ($46 for whole and promotionally half-priced on Thursday lunches): outstanding. For once, I actually only ate the breast meat, which was wonderfully moist and flavoursome
6) Sweet & Sour Pork with Black Vinegar ($26): A galfriend thought it was "too porky", but I thought it was acceptably full-bodied. The one thing we all could agree on, was that the heady, sweetish, piquant glaze was absolutely delightful.
7) Chen's Mapo Doufu ($22): hearty but restrained. I liked the complex nuance finessed into this.
8) Rice Vermicelli with Crabmeat ($28): The noodles were lush with stock, but managed a light elegance; and it was generously piled with scallops, shitmeiji caps, freshly shredded crabmeat and egg white scramble
Keep it up!