Summer Palace, the in-house Chinese restaurant at the Regent Hotel, has been around since forever. For a restaurant with such longevity, it's, quite surprisingly, stayed under most foodies' radar. Methinks it all boils down to the lack of value-for-money-ness of this opulent restaurant. The food's exquisite and luxurious, but pricey, and in this day and age where restaurants like the Imperial Treasure Group have perfected the art of balancing price points with impeccable quality fare, the higher-than-most pricetag here works against Summer Palace. Granted, their dim sum tends to class it up with precious ingredients, but I'm quite happy to do without the bird's nest or abalone in my dim sum.
That being said, service is as you'd expect from a Four Seasons hotel; attentive and discreet. And, on a huge plus side: they don't have that awful staggered tiered seat timings that so many other restaurants have eagerly jumped on board with, so you get to enjoy a languid unconstrained brunch.
The Double Boiled Bamboo Pith Soup ($16) with mushrooms and chinese cabbage was delicate and elegant, using the barest of ingredients and a most incredible chicken-based consomme.
I liked the Steamed Winter Melon Roll ($5) with fish maw, chicken and mushroom bound by a sprig of spring onion and beancurd skin. Light soy lent flavour.
The meaty and juicy Steamed Pork Dumplings ($6) were topped off by dried scallops.I didn't quite like the topping, it was a smidgen too heavy on the umami accents.
The Steamed Pork Dumpling ($2.50 per pc) was given a local spin with a sweetish eggy chilli sauce and shredded crabmeat. Despite my initial reservations about the fusion of xiao long bao and chilli crab, this combination actually worked!
The Steamed Prawn Dumpling ($8), lavished with bird's nest for added bounce, was light and clear and succulent.
The pillowy Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns ($5) were glutted with a scrumptious honeyed barbecued pork filling.
We got seconds of the Steamed Turnip Cake ($5), smooth, soft and moist, freckled with just the right amount of mushroom, sausage and dried shrimp dice.
Instead of the usual pork mince, the Fried Yam Puffs ($6) were stuffed with a medley of abalone, prawns and scallops. Well-balanced and sumptuous.
We got seconds of the Deep-Fried Prawn Balls with Mango ($6) a contrast of the crunchy and mushy, and savoury and sweet.
The Roasted Meats Combo ($38), clockwise from top right: Roast Duck, Barbecued Honey Pork and Roast Pork, was rather pedestrian. Nice but not outstanding or memorable.
1 Cuscaden Road
Regent Singapore Level 3
Tel: 6725 3288
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Sundays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner