Orchard Hotel Singapore’s signature restaurant Hua Ting Restaurant opens its doors once again after a four-month refurbishing. The restaurant now takes on a contemporary and modern decor.
With Asian Cuisine Chef of the Year 2012, Masterchef Lap Fai spearheading his team of veteran chefs, the menus are also revised so as to introduce novel and exciting dishes.
It’s been a long time since I’ve last set foot in this restaurant and it still gives off the same traditional and elegant ambience. No doubt, the restaurant looked more stylish, I must say the wallpaper design was a rather nice touch.
The restaurant is now branched into various sections: a dining hall, a 20-seater Chairman’s Room, three 12-seater Grand Rooms and three private 4-seater rooms — a place for every occasion!
One thing constant in this restaurant is its superb customer service; we were greeted with the warmest smiles as we were ushered into one of the four-seater rooms, the Pearl Room.
With a service that is top-notch, my expectations for the food were inevitably heightened.
We started with Hua Ting’s Signature Baked Mango Chicken Tartlet ($6.60 for 3 pieces) alongside a basket of Steamed Seafood Dumpling Abalone ($12.80) and Steamed Crystal Dumpling, Wild Mushrooms ($6.60 for 3 pieces).
To my amazement, the crust of the Baked Mango Chicken Tartlet crumbled away easily, revealing soft, pleasantly sweet and buttery chicken and mango chunks.
In stark contrast, the Steam Crystal Dumpling had a thin doughy skin and a pleasant earthy taste of mushrooms.
However, my favourite part of this dish had to be the Steamed Seafood Dumpling Abalone. The abalone was succulent and a tad briny, with the prawn filling adding a sweet and crunchy touch.
We were then served the Double-Boiled Chicken, Sea Whelk, Spike Sea Cucumber, Organic Black Garlic ($35) in a glass cup.
I liked how the gelatinous sea cucumber seemed to have been infused with the flavour of the soup. Feeling all nourished after drinking the soup, I was more than eager to get to the next dish.
Just looking at this glistening bowl of Wok-Fried Turnip Cake, Homemade X.O Sauce, Hot Stone Bowl ($12) was more than enough to get me salivating. As I popped a chunk into my mouth, I could taste a subtle smoky taste from the XO sauce. I quite liked how it elevated the slight savouriness from the char siew bits inside.
I also noted a tinge of spice that surprisingly fades away fast. Needless to say, I devoured the turnip cake in no time.
Now, a good many Chinese restaurants serve roast meat, especially roasted duck. But I dare say, the roasted duck in this Charcoal-Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork ‘Char Siew’, Signature Roasted Duck, Crispy Roasted Pork ($16) was by far one of the best I’ve tasted.
The Signature Roasted Duck’s skin was paper thin and packed with oily, savoury goodness, and the meat was fatty yet didn’t have too strong a gamey taste.
The Char Siew and Crispy Roasted Pork were equally good in their own right. I liked that the skin on the pork was crisp, though a little too salty. Seth also noted that it had a rather pronounced gamey pork taste, which I very much agreed with.
With my inner carnivore awakened by the time I wiped the last morsel of meat off the plate, I was overjoyed upon realising that the next dish was a hearty plate of Baked Pork Rib, Lemongrass ($12).
Embedded in the middle with a single stalk of lemongrass, the citrusy flavour helped to cut through the distinct taste of pork. Unfortunately, the meat was a tad too tough for my liking.
In need of something lighter on the palate, the Steamed Whole Crab Claw, Egg White, Ginger And Onion Puree ($28) came as a delight.
I was amazed by how harmoniously the ingredients came together — the crab meat was sweet, with a refreshing gingery taste from the puree. The occasional burst from the salmon roe gave a fullness to each bite. It really was a wonderful dish from start to finish.
Next up, we were served a peculiarly presented bowl of Japanese Thin Udon, Scallops, Chicken Reduction Broth ($12). The broth was concentrated and full of umami flavour, but still pleasantly light.
The scallop was sweet and its batter remained crisp. Although, I’d be contented with having no other ingredients save for the noodles along with the broth.
To complete the meal, we were each presented with a cup of Mango Purée, Pomelo, Sago, Herbal Jelly ($12). The puree was rather thick with a mellow sweetness, and I also enjoyed how the mango chunks practically dissolved in my mouth. I also detected a slight bitterness, which tied the dessert together.
Hua Ting Restaurant has always been at the forefront of the Chinese dining scene in Singapore. I really enjoyed the entire dining experience here, from the restaurant’s ambience and attentive staff, to the gastronomical journey of a meal.
You simply must try their Signature Baked Mango Chicken Tartlet.
Expected damage: $12 – $35 per pax