The doubly auspicious chap goh mei (15th day of Chinese New Year) and yuan xiao jie (the unofficial Chinese version of Valentine's Day) last Friday translated to big bucks for the F&B industry. Many restaurants capitalised on the lucky date by having 2-3 different seatings, or in Majestic Restaurant's case, appropriated part of the Majestic Hotel lobby as its temporary premises.Yet another manifestation of the over-commercialization of our heritage celebrations, the restaurant's sardine-packed, makeshift tables and chairs, and temporary set up in the hotel lobby all felt a little cheap and very much like an after-thought. It reminded me of those over-subscribed weddings in the 70's where unexpected guests were chucked to the corridor of the hotel ballroom in hastily set up tables.
We dined on the Auspicious Menu ($98+ per person) and not surprisingly, the food that unfortunate day was choppy and inconsistent; mediocre compared to their usual standard. Service was also harried, clearly overwhelmed by the surge in diners. The saving grace was the positive attitude of the staff, who tried their best to stay upbeat and attentive to our needs.
My last Yusheng of the year of the horse, hee haw! Don't you just love the gorgeous gorgeous serving platter?
Appreciated the fat salmon slices.
The Chilled Sake Infused Lobster Salad, beautifully served up in martini glasses, was refreshing and light. Kumquat rings and a mint sprig kept this bright, and julienned black fungus and bamboo shoots lent crunch.
But for the annoying ginger strips, the Braised Sharks Fin Soup with crabmeat and fish maw would have been sensational. It was just one ingredient too many.
The Steamed Fillet of Giant Grouper with garlic oil and crystal vermicelli in light soy sauce was terribly let down by how overdone the fish was. It was evidently forgotten in the steamer so much so it'd gotten rubbery. Mega fail, this one.
The Boneless Spare Rib in a pool of stickily sweet sauce and fried mantou, on the other hand, needed more time in the cooker. It was seriously lacking in that meltingly tender texture.
The best part of the Stewed Mee Sua with baby abalone was the crab roe-infused broth. Rich but not cloying and umami without being too fishy, it was delicious to the last drop.
The Black Sesame Tang Yuan in an osmanthus and water chestnuts soup rounded off the meal on a sweet note. I'm not a fan of tang yuan but this was bouncy and nuanced and delicately sweet.
The tang yuan was paired with Crispy Chinese Pancake with red bean filling, was paper crisp, drained completely of oil, totally awesome.
The Wasabi Chips were a unique appetizer, and unexpectedly addictive snack to quell the hunger pangs during the inordinately long wait between courses.
New Majestic Hotel
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel: 6511 4718
Open daily from 11.45am to 3pm for lunch and from 6.30pm to 11pm for dinner