Another round of Lo Hei to usher in Chinese New Year 2015! For the occasion this time, we gathered at Royal Pavilion (官邸), located at the lobby level of award-winning business hotel, Park Regis Singapore.
Known for its new-world Cantonese delicacies and classic dishes, Royal Pavilion presents a fine selection of festive must-haves. Yusheng! Abalone! Lamb specially for the Year of Goat! We had it all!
To start any CNY feast with a boisterous kick, Lo Hei or prosperity toss of Yu Sheng is almost de rigueur nowadays. Royal Pavilion's Prosperity Salmon Yusheng ($68 or $88, serves 4-6 or 6-8 guests) is presented auspiciously in form of a fish with finely sliced white radish, carrots, pickled ginger and red yam on a bold golden plate, accompanied by slices of fresh Canadian Salmon and sweet apple and plum sauce.
Quite a traditional rendition when compared to the extravagant, fancified versions some restaurants offer, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable combination with abundance of well-wishes in every mouthful. Definitely will Huat Ah!!!
This year, lamb is making an appearance in quite a number of CNY menus, but I must say the most innovative dish undoubtedly goes to Royal Pavilion's Royal Fried Lamb Shank ($48, serves up to 4 guests). It's meant to be eaten Peking Duck-style!
Though looking suspiciously like a German pork knuckle, the lamb shank is all of Asian heritage with usage of ingredients such as fermented beancurd (nanru), coriander, rock sugar, soya sauce, star anise and cinnamon. Deep-fried to a crisp outer, shredded and wrapped in handcrafted crepes with spring onions, cucumber and hoisin sauce, the meat itself came across as slight dry and gamey, but the lamb dish was delectable as a combined whole.
Our mouths were also greatly satisfied by the luxurious Braised 4-head South African Abalone in Superior Pumpkin Broth ($68), paired with soft silky freshly-made beancurd and perfectly blanched spinach. The broth was more intense in chicken flavor rather than sweetness of pumpkin, but otherwise, there was really nothing to nitpick about this dish.
Not to be missed is the signature Royal Smoked Duck ($35/$68), which was voted as one of the Top 10 dishes by Lianhe Zaobao (Chinese newspaper) last year. Only ducks of 3-months-young qualified for this gastronomic purpose, specifically chosen for their youthful tenderness which needed only 45 minutes in the smoker with lychee wood and leaves to yield meat that was most succulent and flavorful. The amount of fat was just about right, and the crisp paper-thin skin screamed perfection. Truly winsome in every sense.
Other interesting dishes include the sweet-tasting Pan-fried Eight Treasures Glutinous Rice served with brown sugar, and Sweet Potato Rice Cake which was layered and deep-fried with Japanese purple sweet potato and yam. The golden-hue sticky rice cake was also simply egg-coated and pan-fried to an aromatic yumminess which reminded me of home.
The festive creations at Royal Pavilion are available from 9 February to 5 March 2015. If you're looking for a place to indulge in a CNY celebratory meal, the grandeur setting and scrumptious food of Royal Pavilion makes it certainly worth your consideration.
Ooh but the duck, the delightful royal smoked duck, that is reason enough to draw me back for all seasons!
Royal Pavilion 官邸
Address: Level 1 Park Regis Singapore, 23 Merchant Road, Singapore 058268
Contact: +65 6818 8851
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
Prices are subjected to service charge and prevailing government taxes.