It doesn't matter whether you are looking for dim sum or cooked dishes, as you can find it all at Summer Palace. Their dim sum is nice and unique, and do note that they do not serve with sharkfins - which is very environmentally friendly. It is definitely worth your visit and you will not be disappointed.
I recommend to go with the set meals and may be top up with a few dim sum dishes.
A couple of weeks ago, the kind folks at Hungrygowhere invited me to join them for a food tasting session, and when I heard that they were going to Summer Palace at The Regent Singapore — I agreed immediately.
After a quick glance at the menu, we were very excited as there’s a long list of food waiting for us. The Media Degustation menu started us with the Dim Sum platter which included a Baked Chicken Tart with Baby Abalone ($9 per piece), Shrimp dumpling with Bird’s Nest ($8 for 3 pieces), Deep-Fried Yam with Garoupa ($5 for 3 pieces).
Baby abalone and bird’s nest with dim sum? Oh boy, it’s so extravagant!
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I felt that the baby abalone was rather out of place alongside the baked chicken tart. The savory-savory combination didn’t really work for me, but I like the shrimp dumpling with Bird’s nest. A morsel of the delicate bird’s nest was placed nicely on top the open-shrimp-dumpling, while I couldn’t really taste the fineness of the Chinese delicacy – it’s kind of nice to know that we just had something supposedly good. On the other hand, the Deep-fried yam with garoupa really opened up my mind. While I had Steamed grouper dumpling before, it was my first time having deep-fried yam with garoupa, and to be honest, I’ve never imagined that garoupa could actually be used as the ingredient for deep-fried yam balls.
The Braised Superior Bird’s Nest with Lobster and Gold Leaf at $88 per serving was expensive, but it was really worth every cent. I don’t know about you, but gold foil never fails to portray the luxurious feel to me. We could taste every strand of the bird’s nest with the chunky lobster meat, and together with the (literally) superior stock – this was the highlight of our dinner.
I was confused when the waitress read out the name of the dishes at machine-gun-like speed. Hold on a second, which is the scallop and spare ribs? Both of them looked rather similar to me! You know, deep fried food always appear to be the same.
Okay, so there’s the Crispy Scallop with fresh pear ($36 for the normal portion), and the Deep-Fried Spare Ribs with Shrimp Paste ($22 for normal portion). In case you are wondering, we only had a tasting portion of both dishes. By then, we realized that the Chef likes to play with many different contrasting flavor combined into one dish, and the Crispy scallop with fresh pear was the prime example of that. Broken down into three different components, there was ham on top of the meaty scallop with the pear and there was a surprise layer of powdered dried shrimp enveloped between the two.
On paper, the Deep fried spare ribs was like what the name suggested – something shrimp paste. But it was slightly more than that. The Deep fried spare ribs were coated with a layer of shrimp paste, giving it the luscious and fragrance texture. Inside, it was rewarding with the meat being juicy and so succulent.
I used to have crocodile meat when I was a kid, as it can cure asthma. Even thought Summer Palace’s rendition was wok-fried, the finely sliced crocodile meat tasted somewhat more like shabu-shabu. Have you tried crocodile meat before? Go to Summer Palace restaurant for their Wok-fried crocodile meat with spicy sauce ($40).
All of us thoroughly enjoyed the Eight Treasures Fried Rice ($26) that had ingredients like scallop, roasted duck, char siew, olives, brown rice, and dried shrimp.
I know It’s kind of early to have moon-cakes in July when the actual Mid Autumn festival is in September, but the folks at The Regent Hotel gave us a sneak preview of their new moon-cakes for this year. If you are keen to sample some of the mooncakes, they will be available at The Regent Singapore from the 25th August to 22th September.
Long story short, if you like my review please do come by ladyironchef
I've attended a couple of HGW tastings before, but the dinner at HGW was the first one where, when the chefs walked in at the end of the meal, I felt like applauding.
Disclaimers first, I'm really not a connoiseur of Chinese restaurants, which I tend to go to with family, in which case the primary considerations are air conditioning, ample availability of free parking and wheelchair accessibility. Quality of food is, of course, important, but we're just not the upscale Chinese restaurant type. So, while I will go on to say that I found the food at Summer Palace excellent, I'm unable to measure it against many other high-end Chinese restaurants.
So yes, the food at Summer Palace really is very good. Of the dishes that were served at the HGW tasting, the ones that stood out are as follows:
- Wok fried crocodile meat with spicy sauce - OK, OK, exotic meats are a little bit of a parlour trick, but the crocodile meat was genuinely good. Very flavourful and tender. I'm not 100% sure if it's relevant to this dish or something else, but Summer Palace makes its own XO sauce, and you've got to admire that kind of dedication.
- Deep fried spare rib with shrimp paste - A lot of times when ordering spare ribs, you can taste the clear divide between the fatty part of the meat and the lean. But with these, everything mouthful was uniformly rich and super soft.
- Eight treasure fried rice - I suppose it's a challenge for restaurants to offer something other than the usual yang chow fried rice or ee fu noodles, and this dish does the trick admirably. With olives and brown rice mixed in, it's slightly crunchier and piquant than a regular fried rice, and makes a suitable (almost) end to a meal because it doesn't feel like you're adding more oil to your stomach.
- Chilled lemongrass jelly and aloe vera in lime juice - I'm not a huge fan of lemongrass in desserts/drinks, but the balance of flavours with the aloe vera and lime was just right. This was extremely refreshing and would have provided a nice, light finish to a sumptuous meal...
- ...if not for the mooncake samples that our hosts kindly provided us with. Of the lot, my favourite was the black sesame mooncake, which is apparently Summer Palace's signature mooncake. Again, I'm not a fan of black sesame in desserts, but in these mooncakes, there was just the right amount of savour-iness that the taste did not come across as being incongruous.
The atmosphere at Summer Palace is suitably plush and the service attentive. Summer Palace has a (well-deserved) reputation as an institution in the Chinese restaurant scene, and thus (in my opinion) comes to mind more as a destination for the traditional occasions you would go to a Chinese restaurant, i.e., family dinners or corporate meals. However, the restaurant does offer tasting menus for individual diners/small groups, and after last week's dinner, I'd highly recommend it. It's a different vibe from places like New Majestic or Taste Paradise, but the food is oh so good.
The Summer Palace was to be the summer resort and a pleasure garden for the Empress Dowager Cixi. And so the name befits the restaurant that has consistently bestowed no less than royal hospitality and a majestic display of wonderful chinese cuisine over the years that I've dined there. This is and remains one of the my favourite dimsum restaurant.
It has been a while though since i've been back to Summer Palace and was definitely pleased when HGW invited me for a food tasting. The restaurant looked the same as it did the last time i was there, warm and inviting...except there seem to be a touch of glimmer which I couldn't put my finger on. This I discovered was from a refurbishment done to the restaurant, with subtle touches that accentuated the warmth and inviting atmosphere.
A private dining room awaited us as we were greeted by our very hospitable hosts who ensured we were very well taken care of throughout the evening. Other than the soft refurbishment done to the restaurant, the kitchen is also helmed by a new HK chef (liu) whose specialities I couldn't wait to sample! I eagerly awaited every single dish of the 10 course dinner menu that they have so carefully prepared for us. I studied the menu and found the names of each dish sounding a lot more poetic in mandarin than its plain descriptives in English. There was almost a sense of ancient chinese romance reading each dish out loud in mandarin.
- the trio of Dimsum was a feast for the eyes as the dim sum chef takes much pride in the presentation of the dish as he does its flavours. Baked Chicken Tart with Baby Abalone, Shrimp Dumpling with Birds Nest and Deep Fried Yam Garoupa. My favourite was the Deep Fried Yam Garoupa which had a surprisingly light crispy texture with a lovely creamy filling. The Baked chicken tart held its own very well even without the accompaniment of the Abalone.
- Braised superior bird's nest with lobster and gold leaf: The decadent combination of the 3 ingredients all in one dish was sinfully overwhelming. The 3 distinct flavours came together nicely in what tasted like lobster bisque without the cream.
- The Wok Fried Crocodile Meat in spicy sauce was the highlight for me. The tail of the crocodile was used for this dish as its where the meat is most tender. It tasted nothing like chicken as people would think. The thinly sliced meat resembled that of shabu shabu pork slices but the flavour of the meat was light and the meat melts quickly in your mouth upon the first bite. I think I like crocodiles a lot better now...
- Crispy Scallops with Fresh pear and the Deep fried spare ribs with shrimp paste is representative of what I observe as the chef's favoured style of combining ingredients with complimentary flavours but of distinct texture.
- The Braised homemade beancurd with spinach and crabmeat was deceivingly plain but this is probably one of the best beancurd dish I've ever had!
- Eight Treasure fried rice has all of us boggled as we try to memorise what exactly are the 8 treasures. A fragrant concoction of brown rice, white rice, duck, olive vegetable, dried shrimps...and for the life of me, I can't recall the other 3.
And finally, I had a sample of all 4 dessert options for the evening and thankfully I did not have to make a difficult choice to stick to one as all four desserts were well worth making room for! From the refreshing chilled lemongrass jelly with aloe vera in lime juice to the very nourishing double boiled papaya with snow fungus and almonds, and the nutritious double boiled egg white milk custard with birds nice...and finally the Chilled yam pudding that came in the prettiest shade of violet pink.
The evening ended with a surprise tasting of mooncake offerings from the restaurant this year. With a wide variety of unique snow skin flavours, we were just overwhelmed by the unique colors and combinations from Ginger and Ginseng mooncake to Red bean and yam mooncake...to the traditional green tea, sesame and durian mooncakes. There was even a traditional baked skin mooncake with parma ham and floss. I reckon the latter is probably an acquired taste. The snow skin mooncake are definitely worth a try though and there seem to be a flavour that appeals to everyone! I personally like the sesamee flavour and the red bean + yam mooncake. And to top that off, they have designed a really cute mooncake box with a detachable acrylic brooch that you can keep after. Good taste comes in food and fashion...what more can you ask for :)
Dining at Summer Palace is more than a gastronomic pleasure...its an imperial experience ...
It was restaurant week again and we decided to do Chinese for once. Since neither of us had ever been to Summer Palace, we decided to give their lunch a shot.
Located on the third floor of Regent Singapore, just a level above Basilico, Summer Palace houses a rather traditional Chinese interior complete with wooden chairs, golden pillars and a floor of red trim carpeting. We were lucky to be seated by the window (3 such tables available) but there was honestly no view to speak of except for the pool below and the hotel guests sunbathing by it. Still, I appreciated the serenity of the whole place.
Chef's Dim Sum Selection - Deep Fried Prawn Roll with Mango - I liked the crisp, deep fried rice noodles that encapsulated bits of crunchy prawn but unfortunately, the taste of mango was almost non existent. What was interesting was that the mayonnaise that came served alongside actually had hints of mango in it. Or was I imagining things?
Barbecued Pork Bun with Pine Nuts - Boasting a crusty, not too sweet top and a generous filling of sweet, mildly gooey BBQ pork, the bun was actually pretty respectable. However, unlike my personal favourite from Lung King Heen, the sweetness from the BBQ pork actually overwhelmed the nutty taste of the pine nuts and the bun itself wasn't as soft or chewy.
Steamed Prawn Dumpling with Bird's Nest -This was your typical 虾角 with a mere aesthetic upgrade aka tasteless shreds of birds nest. Throw in a relatively limp dumpling skin and you have an average prawn dumpling.
Double Boiled Ginseng with Fish Maw, Conpoy and Bamboo Piths - Although I'm personally not a fan of ginseng, this soup was quite good in my humble opinion. Tasty yet light with the mild taste of ginseng helping to keep the nausea at bay and the spongy fish maw coming across as crunchy.
Stir Fried Fish Cubes with Asparagus in Teriyaki Sauce - Flaky and smooth flesh coupled with a light sweetness from the teriyaki sauce and a mild savouriness from the stir fried garlic and ginger. Pretty good. Only issue I had was that the sweetness of the teriyaki dominated the natural sweetness of the cod fish, which I personally am quite a fan of.
Fried Glass Vermicelli with Crabmeat and Black Pepper - A tad chewy with an abundance of wok hei, crab meat shreds and black pepper for that mildly peppery kick, the glass vermicelli was pretty decent. And the beansprouts added a nice crunchiness to it.
Due to the character limit, see my entire review and all my pictures here.
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Visited on 20 March 2015 (Fri) during Restaurant Week Lunch. Summer Palace is an authentic Cantonese restaurant with two Hong Kong chefs.
Their service was very good, our tea was always refilled promptly. Food quality was between average to slightly above average for the restaurant week that day. Heard that Summer Palace is a favourite among Singaporeans, they offer extensive dim sum selection during lunch! If you're looking for authentic Cantonese restaurant with good service, this is the place for you!