Cantonese cuisine may appear seemingly simple to recreate, but I assure you once you’ve had true blue authentic Cantonese food from Hong Kong, you would have realized the loosely used term – “authentic Cantonese”, is a bigger con than the Ponzi scheme. With restaurant chains such as Xin Wang Café further diluting the image of Cantonese cuisines, it is godsend to have chefs like Chef Chung Ho Shi who renew my faith in finding decent Cantonese cuisines outside of Hong Kong.
Having spent much of his culinary years in Hong Kong mastering the traits of Cantonese cuisines, Chef Chung then headed the kitchen Golden Peony @ Conrad Centennial Singapore, bringing it to greater heights with its numerous awards. Now at Royal Pavilion @ Park Regis Hotel, he showcases his creativity but putting a modern twist to some of our beloved traditional favourites.
A few of the Dim Sum selection left the palate on a good note. The Crispy Shredded Radish Pastry Roll ($4.50), not only comes in an artfully decorated plate, but was also a pleasantly light start to the meal. The radish filling has been cooked to a nice soft consistency, and kept warm by the encompassing thin crispy pastry. One bite, and the blend of crisp and warm is sure to delight.
But the highlight of the meal was the Royal Smoked Duck ($35++ for half portion; $68 ++ for full portion). Chef Chung puts his own twist by using rich lychee wood and leaves to smoke the duck, leaving the skin with a unique yet subtle smoked undertone that breathes a new definition to smoking. The duck remains moist and flavoursome, and pairs well with the unique aroma of the duck’s crispy skin.
While Chef Chung has employed his signature “Lan Gan Tie” sauce in the Wok Fried Mashed Fish Noodles with Lobster ($28++), the lobster’s flavours were mellowed down by the sauce and served more of an aesthetic appeal to upsell the dish.
Going back to my teochew roots, I thoroughly enjoyed the Steamed Mashed Taro with Pumpkin Puree ($8.50). The addition of pumpkin gave the taro a rounded sweetness, and when taken together with the coconut, had a more interesting texture to this traditional teochew dessert. The added bite of the coconut drew the dessert away from the notion of baby’s food.
Royal Pavilion did have a few dishes that shined, but if you need a reason to visit the restaurant, it is definitely for the smoked duck. Most of the dishes faired average; and while Chef Chung’s dishes are a notch higher than our laisser-faire Cantonese restaurants, it is still a long shot to what one can expect from the heart of Hong Kong.
Royal Pavilion Level 1, Park Regis Singapore 23 Merchant Road Singapore 058268
Tel: +65 6818 8851
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm