Mott 32: East Meets West With Apple Wood Smoked Duck & “Bamboo Forest” Dessert At MBS

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East meets West in an elegant display at the newly-opened Mott 32—taking over the space formerly housing Osteria, Pizzeria Mozza and Nostra Cucina—in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

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You can expect contemporary Cantonese cuisine and an intriguing cocktail programme. The space isn’t too shabby either, featuring famed designer Joyce Wang’s luxurious marriage of New York industrial-chic and classical Chinese décor, with a touch of the tropical greenery our Garden City is known for.

Sister to the swanky modern Chinese restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong, “Mott 32” actually draws inspiration from the first Chinese grocery store in New York located on—you guessed it—32 Mott Street.

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Step in, and you can expect illustrations of foliage and flora on the chinoiserie backdrop, hand-painted lanterns over the bar and a wall of greenery. I haven’t even begun talking about the private dining rooms and bar counter—terracotta, teal and volcanic grey dominate the colour palette for a cosy, inviting botanical theme.

But enough gushing over the interior, what about the food? To sample more of the menu, it’s best to come with a group of four to five (and empty stomachs).

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A Cantonese restaurant at heart, Mott 32 has a delightful selection of dim sum—many with clever twists on classics. The Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai 黑豚肉松露鵪鶉蛋燒賣 (S$9 for two pieces) cost a pretty penny, and is certainly a much-elevated version of the pedestrian siew mai.

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Delicate in form and preparation process, this extraordinary siew mai contains a soft-boiled quail egg with a perfectly runny yolk. I enjoyed that tremendously, though munching this meaty morsel was somewhat marred by the rather bland meat, lifted only by the truffle fragrance.

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Something much more satisfying would be the Signature Crispy Sugar Coated Peking Duck Bun 竹炭脆皮北京鸭肉包 (S$10 for three pieces). Instead of the usual crispy char siew bun, Mott 32 shakes things up by using tender, roasted Peking duck.

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This Singapore-exclusive dish was a delightful romp of textures and tastes—thin, crispy charcoal crust sprinkled sugary sweetness over my tongue, before tender, juicy duck and sticky barbecue sauce dominated. I would’ve happily polished off all three buns if there wasn’t more to come.

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Every good Cantonese restaurant must present roast meats, and Mott 32 delivers on this front too. The Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork, Yellow Mountain Honey 蜜汁顶级西班牙黑毛猪叉烧 (S$48++) is char siew like you’ve never seen before.

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The meat comes from top-grade Iberico pigs that feed naturally on acorns, grass and herbs. And this dish uses only the prized pluma cut for its tenderness. The caramelised double honey glaze lent the meat a slick sweetness too.

Evenly-distributed fat made each bite soft and nearly melt-in-mouth, though there was enough bite to warrant some jaw-work.

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One of my favourite dishes from Mott 32 has to be the Cold Free-Range Chicken, Szechuan Peppercorns, Chilli Sauce 口水鸡 (S$26++). Most Chinese restaurants offer cold chicken dishes as starters (usually poached drunken chicken), and Mott 32 has added a touch of heat to theirs.

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As someone who’s very fond of spice, this held just the right amount—tongue-tingling, but not painfully so. The heat builds up, so if your spice tolerance is low, take note of that. Golden, fried shallots crown the chicken, along with lots of spring onions, for a tasty treat I couldn’t get enough of.

Enough teasing—it’s time for the mains.

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A must-order dish at Mott 32, the Apple Wood Roasted 42 Days Peking Duck “Signature Mott 32 Cut” 42天饲养北京片皮鸭 (苹果木烧) (S$108++) is not just a dish, it’s a performance. From the carefully swirled sesame and peanut sauce in hoisin sauce, to the tableside carving, it truly captivated the senses.

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It takes 48 hours to prepare this duck. Aged for exactly 42 days, the duck is cured in a special marinade, then roasted with applewood within a brick oven to seal in the juices, and produce crispy skin over tender, flavourful meat. It’s no surprise that the duck is available only in limited quantities, and you have to place a 24-hour advance reservation.

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Enjoy this precious duck in two ways: just the duck skin, dipped in a bit of cane sugar, or slices of tender duck meat and crispy skin wrapped in freshly-steamed paper-thin pancakes.

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Add in your desired amount of sauce, cucumbers, and scallions for the perfect mouthful.

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For more showmanship, the Signature Smoked Black Cod 烟熏黑鳕鱼 (S$56++) will wow every guest at your table. Served in a smoked dome, and expertly lifted for a trail of swirling applewood smoke, it’s sure to impress.

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Black cod slices are coated in a light batter and fried till golden, then tossed over high heat in a tangy and addictive sauce, before being smoked with applewood. I suggest inhaling just the slightest bit as you place each morsel in your mouth—it really fills your senses with subtly fruity smoke.

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It seems that Mott 32 can do no wrong, because even the vegetable dish—Wok-Fried Baby Napa Cabbage, Japanese Sakura Shrimps, Honey Beans, XO Sauce 樱花虾XO酱嫩豆炒津菜 (S$26++)—was as tantalising as the rest.

Wok-fried over high heat with XO sauce, the Napa cabbage is served with Japanese sakura shrimps for crunchy sweetness, and honey beans to add some earthy notes. This is a vegetable dish I was happy to polish off!

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Claypot dishes are a must-order at Chinese restaurants too, and the Alaskan King Crab Casserole, Crab Roe, Vermicelli子母粉丝阿拉斯加蟹肉煲 (S$78++) fills that spot nicely. Served sizzling hot with briny crab roe over vermicelli and chunks of succulent, fresh king crab meat, this is great for sharing.

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Take a bite, and the wok hei hits all at once—it’s deep, and lingers even after swallowing. My one point of contention is that the vermicelli got a little dry halfway through. I would’ve appreciated some sauce to alleviate the dryness.

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The Scallops, Prawns, Crispy Rice In Fish Soup 鱼汤四宝泡饭 (S$42++) was a comforting dish that I wished I had more stomach space to appreciate. Consisting of milky broth, fresh scallops, prawns and crispy rice, this simple dish was nonetheless very comforting. The milky broth is prepared with pan-fried garoupa fish bones and chicken meat, and simmered for over two hours.

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Part of me took child-like delight in the crackling when they poured the crispy rice in. My favourite part of claypot rice is always the crispy bottom-of-pot rice, just like the crispy rice here.

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The chunks of fresh prawn and scallop further brought out the oceanic flavours, for a lovely rainy-day meal.

Dessert was a (thankfully) light affair, and we tried two unique creations.

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The Bamboo Green Forest 绿茶青柠奶酪蛋糕 (S$16++) was beautifully presented, paying homage to the classic bamboo forests of the Anji region in China. A bed of rich, tart yuzu cream and refreshing yoghurt and lime sorbet is topped with matcha sponge cake, and green-tinted crispy yoghurt bits. Two pieces of white chocolate “bamboo” stood tall and added some sweetness to this light dessert.

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Cantonese dinners always seem to end with mango sago pomelo, so Mott 32 decided to give this traditional dessert a creative makeover. Featuring guava instead of mango, the Sweetened Guava Soup, Sago, Pomelo 石榴金露 (S$9++) is pretty in pink and came with crunchy guava discs and pomelo pulp.

I’ve mentioned earlier on that Mott 32 has a great cocktail programme, but to go through their extensive drinks list would be a whole other article. I managed to try two of the Mott Signature Cocktails—and this teaser is enough to make me plan a return visit for the rest.

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Left to right: Forbidden Rose (not mentioned), Fujian Negroni, Velvet Crane

The Velvet Crane (S$24++) is exclusive to Singapore, and this gin-based tipple incorporates yellow chartreuse, rose and pistachio for a light, aromatic and floral drink. Egg white foam tops the cocktail for a slight creaminess.

Those who prefer stronger flavours, the Fujian Negroni (S$24++) might be right up your alley—I know it certainly made my tastebuds very happy. This smoky twist on a classic Negroni uses unusual cocktail ingredients like ginseng, Sichuan peppers and Lapsang Souchong tea for the ultimate East-meets-West drink.

Mott 32 is one of those places that you can bring your family to, but it’s also sexy enough for a dinner date.

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Most of the dishes thus far have hit the mark; really, my primary complaint would be the prices which bumps this modern Chinese restaurant into the dining category of ‘for special occasions only’.

The cocktails are definitely worth exploring, and I’ll be back for more. With friends in tow, of course.

Expected Damage: S$100 – S$150 per pax

Price: $ $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Mott 32

2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Galleria Level, #B1-42, Singapore 018956

Our Rating 4/5

Mott 32

2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Galleria Level, #B1-42, Singapore 018956

Telephone: +65 6688 9922
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 12am (Daily)
Telephone: +65 6688 9922

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 12am (Daily)