August 30, 2015

Sum Yi Tai @ Boon Tat Street ~ Chinese Tapas, Dining Club & Rooftop Bar

We want to eat, but don't want to eat too much, so Chinese-style tapas sounded like a really great idea!

Situated in the Telok Ayer vicinity along Boon Tat Street, Sum Yi Tai means "third mistress" in Cantonese. My brain conjured images of the rich living in free-spirited indulgence with lots of rivalry in the house clothed under a perceived glamour of money and power. Maybe I watched too many Hong Kong dramas back then lol.

Conceptualized to pay tribute to the decadent glamour of 1980s Hong Kong, the "rivalry" one can expect from Sum Yi Tai would be its 3 concepts vying for our attention.

Spanning over 3 storeys within the conservation shophouse, the ground level plays host to a Tapas Bar for drinks and lighter bites, while the Dining Hall on the second floor offers more traditionally portioned dishes.

The Rooftop Bar is the perfect spot to chill. We adjourned to this little sanctuary under the evening sky after we had our ehem *cough cough* rounds of tapas, as we happened to bump into friends who had a bottle there. If you're in search of good wine, sake and Japanese whiskey, I was told that Sum Yi Tai do carry quite a varied range.

Of course there are cocktails as well, with names like Golden Dragon (adrenaline rush?), My Mistress' Cherry (love at first taste?), Morning After (more romantic nights to come?), and the Mysterious Yum Seng Shot (for a bespoke experience!).

Bar grub or in Sum Yi Tai's case, Chinese-style tapas is the quintessential accompaniment to the drinks. In my case, food takes centerstage no matter the kind of establishment.

I would say Sum Yi Tai got their Lunch Meat Chips ($9) and Signature Golden Ginger Chips ($10) totally nailed down! Thinly sliced and perfectly fried to crispy, non-greasy goodness, these housemade snacks were high addictive. Especially those ginger chips! We couldn't get our hands off and would even return just for this.

While Chicken Wings with Preserved Shrimp Paste ($10) aka har cheong gai was decently executed, we thought the Salmon Skin with Salted Egg Yoke & Lime Zest ($12) could do with more of that liquid gold coating for a more pronounced flavor.

The recommended Whole Roast Quail with Five Spices ($18) came across as a tad dry for our liking. On hindsight, we should have ordered their popular Crispy Roast Pork ($12) or Maple Honey Glazed Char Siew ($12) instead.

King Prawn Wanton Tossed in Chilli ($15) offered a mildly spicy bite, the XO Carrot Cake ($12) comparatively stirred up quite a fiery kick. Can skip the Shrimp Roe Tossed Noodles with Chives ($6), unless you like your noodle with a strong taste of alkaline.

For a more substantial bite, Sum Yi Tai also serves up a couple of claypot rice dishes such as Minced Pork and Salted Fish ($26). Their weekday lunch comprising of mostly rice and noodle items are rather well-received too.

Overall, the food at Sum Yi Tai's Tapas Bar might not be the most winsome, but its draw ultimately lays in the alternate charm it has from the usual watering holes. This is where you will find yourself in an Oriental kitsch, crimson-lit gangland bar keenly protected by dragons (check out the wall mural), with Cantopop from yester-years playing in the background.

If you're lucky, you might even be "entertained" by the same waiter who was so straightforwardly honest.

Me: "Oh, that's fast hor!". (The lunch meat chips was served almost immediately after we placed our order)
Him: "Ya, all these are pre-made already".

Me: "How big is the noodle portion huh?" (We want to know if a portion is sufficient for us to share or 2 portions would be better)

Him: "Oh, the bowl is very big, but the noodle portion is very small".

We rolled our eyes and had a good laugh.

Sum Yi Tai
Address: 25 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069622
Contact: +65 6221 3665
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm & 5pm-1am / Sat 5pm-1am / Closed on Sun & PH

Prices stated are subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST.

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