Summer Pavilion is one of our favourite restaurants for Chinese cuisine. Consistently impeccable, the food marries the sophistication of fine dining with the unpretentious comfort of homespun flavours.
And, for such an elegant, upscale setting, the vibe is totally unfussy, and utterly unassuming. I mean, the strikingly stunning chinaware is from Richard Ginori, which is like fancy schmansy to the hilt.
And while most people have big family dinners here, there are a good number of somewhat-private-ish booth seats perfect for cozing up with a loved one on a date-night.
We also like the service here, attentive but unobtrusive, efficient but warm, and unfailingly gracious. With the trifecta of flawless food, beautiful ambience and faultless service, it's little wonder the venerable restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star for both years since the awards was launched in Singapore.
A specialty that's a must-try, the Marinated Tea Leaf-Smoked London Duck ($45 for half-portion) was just fantastic. Redolent with the smoky aroma of tea leaves, the meat was deliciously juicy and skin, paper-crisp.
The Summer Pavilion Barbecued Iberico Pork ($42 for small) steeped in a spiced honey and soy marinade, was luscious, albeit a smidge gamey.
The soups at Summer Pavilion are exquisite and although all of them are amazing, a couple of our favourites are the Double-Boiled Chicken Soup ($16 per portion) with spongy bamboo pith, a plump black mushroom, and Chinese cabbage.
And the Braised Diced Seafood Soup ($20 per portion), brimming with the umami richness of scallops, prawns, fish, and conpoy. For crunch and texture, there was bamboo pith, pine mushrooms, egg-white drop, and kailan slivers.
A chef's recommendation and another must-try, the Sauteed Dong Xing Grouper Fillet ($126 for 600gm) looked deceptively, at first blush, like a whole, still-intact fish. But it'd been deconstructed, and then "reconstructed". This was scrumptious, the fish was perfectly flaky, a purposeful light touch was employed in the seasoning, and the shredded sweet peas, beansprouts, carrots and cucumbers lent a refreshing counter.
The Braised Beancurd ($28 for small), smooth like a custard, topped with bamboo pith, carrots, Chinese black mushrooms, and poached choy sum, was slathered in a velvety oyster sauce gravy. Wonderfully comforting fare.
Another Chef's specialty and also a dish I always order, is the Lobster Poached Rice ($20 per portion). I love the textural contrast of the crispy rice puffs, soft steamed rice, and springy lobster flesh. Add to that the sumptuous lobster-based broth, and you get unadulterated decadence in a bowl.
The Hubs loves the Black Pepper Seafood Fried Noodles ($32 for small), liberally dotted with akagai clam, squid, shrimp, and heady with the punchy kick of black pepper.
Another one of my favourite dishes here is the delicate Shredded Chicken & Mushroom Vermicelli Soup ($10 per person) enlivened with preserved vegetables and chilli shreds. If you're seeing a pattern here, yes, I love soups: soup with rice, soup with noodles, and just good ol' plain soups, thick and thin.
7 Raffles Ave
The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
Tel: 6434 5286
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner