Compared to my pet fave Lei Garden, Summer Pavilion attracts a noticeably older clientele (read: lots of grandparents with their multi-generational extended families). You walk into the dining hall to a sea of towering, gravity-defying coifs that would make any tai tai proud, as well as waves of greying combovers. Okay, i kid.
The sunlit restaurant is draped in soothing creams and nestled amongst well manicured gardens, visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows encasing the restaurant. Hmm, I just figured out that the picturesque restaurant is really set like an actual summer pavilion!
Service was impeccable. Professional, attentive and discreet, the waiter seemed to immediately apparate whenever our hands were in the midst of being raised to place more orders. And our tea cups were never left more than half empty. (sidenote: the poor guy, who's evidently staying in SG instead of going home for the CNY holidays, must have been eyeballing our table the entire time...hats off to him really!) (further sidenote: I always feel guilty seeing other peeps working over CNY...do you?) And, in line with the top-notch service standards here at the Ritz, if there's anything off the menu that you'd like, the kitchen will be more than happy to accommodate your special request.
By the way, Summer Pavilion is one of those chi-chi places that requires a dress code so leave those flip flops and singlets for lounging at home.
The Steamed Beef Ribs ($6) with dried beancurd skin and onions, and spiced up with a black pepper seasoning, is a twist on the classic black bean pork ribs. Tender and lip-smackingly juicy, the beef was delicious. I think I actually prefer this over the classic version.
The Steamed Prawn Dumpling ($5.20) is enlivened with the addition of crunchy bamboo shoots. A little texture to the bouncy succulent prawns.
The fluffy Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun ($4.50), with bits of preserved vegetables and onions, provide a piquant saltiness to the sweet pork.
We loved loved LOVED the Steamed Crystal Dumpling ($4.50) with pumpkin, vegetarian ham, sweet pea and water chestnut. From the translucent chewy glutinous skin to the sweet pumpkin bits, pungently salty ham, refreshingly crunchy water chestnut and earthy mushrooms, this was fabulously balanced and exquisite. This is an absolute MUST-TRY.
The Steamed Prawn and Chicken Dumpling ($4.80) was juicy and moist, with conpoy for an umami accent, bamboo shoots for crunch and mushrooms for extra juiciness.
Though I'm not a huge fan of fried glutinous rice, Summer Pavilion's version of the Pan-fried Glutinous Rice ($4.50) with diced mushroom, vegetables, vegetarian ham, onions and pickles was pretty commendable. Soft and moist, this was fragrant and really quite yummy.
The Baked Chicken Bun ($4.50), with sweetly flavoured diced chicken and onions, was smoky and sticky and sweet with a slightly roasted element.
We also liked the Deep Fried Lobster Roll ($3) with succulent lobster chunks mixed with tasty prawn paste then coated with crispy bread vermicelli.
The Marinated Sliced Duck ($13) with beancurd and done Teochew style, was braised in a delicate soy. This was one of the best renditions ever of braised duck. It was nuanced and balanced, assisted by impossibly fresh duck meat that's tender and moist.
The dessert of Mango Sago with Pomelo was refreshing, fruity and cool. A wonderfully light way to cut through the heavy and satisfying meal.
Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Here's wishing you all a prosperous year of the snake!
7 Raffles Avenue
The Ritz Carlton Millenia Hotel 3rd Floor
Tel: 6337 8888
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; and 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner