It's such a misconception that eating out at Chinese fine-dining establishments is a costly affair. Sure, the dinner and ala carte menus are pricey, but if you only eat off the dim sum menu, you can be sure that the bill per person will be no more than 50 buckaroos, including tax.
So a bunch of us brought our Spanish colleague out to lunch, which had to be "somewhere nice and quiet", wallet-friendly (because, no expense account for us regular worker bees), and "not Thai or Indian or Spanish".
So with these perimeters, we ended up at Cassia, the crown jewel of the 6-star Capella Singapore. The rest of the lunch bunch balked at first, when I suggested Cassia for lunch. They thought they'd have to "eat grass" for the rest of the month. But, they came around when the bill arrived, and realised that, despite the gut-busting meal, each person's share was only $35.
I like Cassia for business lunches. It's classy in a grown-up way and sophisticated, and everyone speaks using their inside voices. But the ambience is far from stuffy; the lush tranquil setting of Capella lends well to the relaxed vibe of Cassia.
A must-try, the Five-Spice Roasted Pork Belly ($18) uses Australian Yorkshire pigs, which has a more delicate rounded taste, and marries the Chinese spice blend well. Beautiful crackling on the skin, an excellent meat-to-fat ratio, and wonderfully luscious.
The Baked Barbecued US Kurobuta Pork Pastry ($10) topped with pork floss and sesame seeds, was remarkable. Buttery pastry, and velvety sweet char siew filling made this the a standout.
Same-same but different, the Steamed Barbecued US Kurobuta Pork Bun ($10) was luxed up with black truffle bits for added fragrance.
I didn't care for the abalone topping, but the Steamed Abalone Siew Mai ($20) was quite the lovely pairing.
Another must-try, the Steamed Crystal Dumpling ($10) stuffed with black truffle, mushrooms,and carrots, was earthy and juicy and nuanced.
Deceptively plain in appearance, the silky Steamed Rice Roll ($10), laced with diced pork, prawns cubes, and sweet onions, was scrumptious. .
A must-try, the Deep-Fried Fish & Cheese Roll ($10) swaddled in crisp Vietnamese rice paper, was addictively delicious.
The Wok-Fried Carrot Cake ($12), dotted with chinese sausage, prawns, and scallops, was sauteed in XO sauce for a robust flavour loaded with umami-ness.
The appetizer of a pickled radish and cherry tomato was pretty as a picture but wow was it grimacingly sour. But that serving of XO sauce lent a fantastic oomph to the other dim sum,
1 The Knolls
Capella Hotel Singapore 3rd Floor
Tel: 6591 5045
Open daily from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner