Asian Civilisation Museum near Raffles Place MRT
Plush, modern interior, further made vibrant by the scattered sun rays that beamed through that tall glass facade; no, it didn’t have a greenhouse effect but felt comfortably chilly with that blasting air conditioning. Loved Empress restaurant the moment we stepped in as the contrasting glittery bar counter fortunately did not clash with the round oriental tables, but somehow made it even more polished; the feeling is just right.
Looked through that extensive Asian menu again, but luckily with a few signature dishes in mind already and this fried lotus and yam starter was served the moment we sent the orders up. Thinly sliced, lightly fried, this was less common but definitely a starter that got our hopes high.
Triple Roast Platter – EMPRESS Char Siew, Crackling Roast Pork, EMPRESS Sticky and sweet pork ribs. Instead of doing a ‘mix and match’ system for their triple roast over here like what most Cantonese restaurants practise, Empress Restaurant only has a porky roast prepared in three different ways. But, we say, they have all the reasons to be proud of their pork! Beautifully glazed by the melted fats and charred with a tantalizing smokey aroma, the char siew was pretty faultless (though my favourite still lies with Mitzo) and you get to choose the fattier or leaner cut. So, exercise your rights if the waiter forgets to enquire. The Crackling roast pork or siu yok had expectedly one of the crispiest skin while the sticky sweet pork ribs were beautifully caramelised to an unforgettable umami. Very delicious they are! $28.
Meant to be a dim sum brunch but we decided to get the EMPRESS Dim Sum Platter (Har gao, siu mai, Pork and pumpkin skin dumpling, Seafood and spinach dumpling, mushroom dumpling) to sum it all and we hit the jackpot as these were beautifully steamed to render a luscious, translucent skin. My favourites – the Pork and pumpkin skin dumpling that has the juicy pork wrapped in the very lightly sweet orange skin and the fresh, succulent seafood spinach dumpling. Vibrant is the word. $9.80.
King Prawn Dumpling in Supreme Broth. Needless to say, we tasted succulence in that dumpling, but even more impressive is that fragrant bowl of creamy chicken broth, thick and viscous, it seems to be highly collagenated too. $14.
Fried Brown Rice Medley – Shimeji Mushrooms, Asparagus, goji Berries, Pine nuts. Mixed with so many vegetables and nuts, this may look too healthy with a lacklustre taste but boy, it was perfumed throughout with an umami flavour. Pork lard oil is suspected here but this was delectable. $20.
Crispy Butter Baked Shredded Duck Buns – Pretty O.K. skin and buttery sugar crust but the duck was a tad dry. We need the sauce! $5.80.
Stir fried Turnip cake with XO chilli sauce. Served with a little moist, this plate though was lacking in wok hei. $12.
And we concurred – this new Cantonese restaurant scored well with us!
Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.9/5