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Szechuan Court & Kitchen (“SC”), the designated Chinese Restaurant for Swissotel and Fairmont Singapore. One of the main stay in the dining scene in Singapore, the restaurant is about the same age as the hotel itself. Serving a combination of Fine Dining Cantonese and Szechuan style cuisine, and are well-known for the use of highest quality of ingredients.
The décor of this place is modern with oriental flair. The restaurant is bright, combining the colour of gold and red. Red and Golden lanterns are also used to enhance the oriental theme in this restaurant. In typical characteristic of Chinese restaurant, most of the tables here are round. To accommodate clients that require some privacy, they have a few mini private cubicle that can seat up to 4 pax.
We started the tasting with Combination of “Chong Qing” Poached Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sesame Sauce ($18) and Braised Tripe, Shimeji mushrooms, with Peanut Chilli Sauce ($18). Both this starter are typical Szechuan cuisine, delicately spicy to open up your appetite. The chicken was tender and succulent, slightly remind you of the version of drunken chicken, except it got lots of chilli. The beef tripe was thinly sliced, tender yet crunchy and absorbs the seasoning well.
Braised Bird's Nest, cabbage and chicken broth ($42). One of Chef Mok Wan Lok's signature dishes. The base of the soup is robust chicken broth. The delicate bird nest which normally quite bland, did well to absorbs the flavour of the broth. A delicious nutritious soup to further open up our appetite.
Cod Fish Steamed with Soya Bean Crumbs ($18). One of my favourite fish. Steamed in Cantonese style, topped with fragrant fried soya bean crumbs and garlic. The cut of the cod fish is very generous, almost like a piece of steak. It is flaky, full of omega and melts in your mouth. Just give me a steam rice with the dish, I will be a happy man.
Wok-Fried Fish Noodles, shredded pork and black pepper ($28-S/$42-M/$56-L). At first I wondered, why this udon like noodle is very bouncy. Later I found out it was actually made from fish paste. No wonder it was bouncy, springy and taste of fish. Though I like the noodle, I struggle to finish it. I find the black pepper just numbed my lips and I can't hardly taste anything after that. It will be nice if there is a non-peppery version of this dish.
Pandan Ice Jelly with Honey Sea Coconut ($8). My saviour after the numbing fish noodle. Cold, light, clean in taste. The pandan jelly was fragrant, made a good companion for the crunchy honey sea coconut.
Overall, most of the dish here are well executed. The Cantonese dishes are very tasty and elegance, which allow the ingredients to speak for itself. Meanwhile the Sichuan dishes are bold and fiery. My pick for the dishes here are the Braised Bird Nest, Steam Cod fish and combination of “Chong Qing” Poached Chicken & Braised Tripe. Cheers!!
Szechuan Court & Kitchen has been around for 29 years, serving quality and authentic Cantonese and Szechuan dishes. The interior oozes an oasis of Imperial charm and elegance, lavishly designed in rich Oriental style, easily making one think they were in Shanghai. Individual booths with dark fuchsia drapes are available for those who want to dine in semi-privacy; the tables are all well-spaced and tastefully furnished in red and brown hues. Service was impeccable and courteous.
The Braised Beef Tripe with Shimeiji Mushrooms and Peanut Chilli Sauce (SGD$18.00) was easily one of my personal favorites of the night, with succulent, chewy pieces of beef tripe. The mushrooms added a touch of "umami" tastiness to the natural flavour of the tripe, enhanced dramatically with the spicy sauce. It was addictive popping piece after piece into the mouth.
Next, the Braised Bird's Nest with Cabbage and Chicken Broth (SGD$42.00), also one of Chef Mok's favorites. It is not difficult to see why this bowl of piping rich goodness filled with smooth slivers of bird's nest brushing past the tongue deliciously, in a sumptuous clear broth dotted with wolfberries to add hints of sweetness.
Following that, we had the Cod Fish Steamed with Soya Bean Crumbs (SGD$18.00), a slab of pearl white fish prodding the tongue like flakes of satin, luscious in taste. The flavour was packed with light saltiness of the soy sauce, giving the sweetness of the fish a nice balance; the soya bean crumbs added some crunch to the lovely dish.
Then we had the Wok-Fried Fish Noodles with Shredded Pork and Black Pepper (SGD$28.00 for small / SGD$42.00 for medium / SGD$56.00 for large), admittedly very palatable, especially with the al-dente texture. The strands of noodles were thick, bold and long, with a light saccharine hint sensationalised by strong black pepper flavour. The slivers of pork were tender and added chewy bites to the dish; as did the beansprours and red peppers. Non-carbo eaters would love to indulge in this, as did I.
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The experience had de-mystified the impression of szechuan cuisine being intensely spicy. It was actually a pleasant spice level with fragrance and excitement to the taste buds. Master Chef Mok Wan Lok had crafted a menu that included both spicy Szechuan cuisine and the careful preparations of Cantonese dishes.
For starters, the "Chong Qing" Poached Chicken with spicy peanut sesame sauce was a good way to start the meal. Strongly flavoured and just enough spice to wake the taste buds. The braised beef tripe was milder in flavour but offered more texture. Or, if you like to start with soup, the braised bird's nest in chicken broth was an excellent one.
The steamed cod with soya bean crumbs was one of my favourite dishes, alongside with the braised pork belly with sweet vinegar sauce. Fresh ingredients, expertly executed.
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A long serving stalwart of the Fairmont Hotel Singapore, having opened together over 30 years ago, Szechuan Court is a reowned Chinese fine dining restaurant known for its excellent Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine, impeccable and attentive service, and stunning Imperial Chinese decor.
Ambience at Szechuan Court exudes a luxurious and sophisticated elegance, having been recently renovated in 2011. The Chinese Imperial style royal decor within the spacious setting is enhanced with gleaming black onyx lacquered surfaces, contrasted by rich fabric colours in red, scarlet, white, and gold. Walk past the Imperial styled entrance, and choose to dine in 1 of 2 areas, the spacious and bustling open restaurant, or the quiet private booths which offer a view of the city skyline.
Service at Szechuan Court is courteous, professional, efficient, and hard-working. Staff politely greet guests, and quickly usher you to your selected seats. If questioned about the menu, they are able to describe dishes in basic detail. I realise however, they are more fluent in Mandarin than English. Staff proactively top up tea / water without being asked. Observant and attentive, they arrive quickly when beckoned, offering near personalised service. I also appreciate that staff change your cutlery and plates after every dish, good effort!
Food at Szechuan Court comprises traditional, familiar Chinese Szechuan and Cantonese flavours, presented in modern fine dining style, arranged neatly on clean, white dishes. Staff will present you the dishes, then assist to portion it out. Generally, the ingredients used are fresh, prepared with respect, and well executed, full flavoured with excellent taste. Completely delicious!
We tried mainly the Szechuan dishes, and I must say that looks are deceptive, because while they look non-spicy, there was always the hidden presence of chili, spice, peppercorn, or chili oil. Yet the skill of the kitchen is such that the heat is palatable, not overwhelming. Portions are designed for communal dining. Perhaps the only drawback of Szechuan Court is the high prices, as expected of a fine dining establishment. Be prepared to splurge between SGD $80 - $150 per person for a meal here. I personally feel this is good value for money, as you can expect a consistently high standard.
The Braised Bird's Nest, Cabbage, Chicken Broth (SGD $42) is a large, filling, luxurious, individual bowl of yummy soup / broth! The chicken soup / broth is light with a slight savoury taste, filled with fresh chinese cabbage / bok choy, wolfberries, and a generous portion of bird's nest! Quality is evident, the strips of bird's nest are off-white / pearl white and translucent in colour, doesn't stain the soup / broth, is sweet with no fishy taste, and is smooth and slippery in texture, like thick egg-white. Chef says this is his favourite dish!
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To be honest, I was captivated by the lovely deco to dine here! Indeed the restaurant is really beautiful and very big with a few private rooms!
One thing about Szechuan Court is they were very generous with the food portion. Though we have only 2 pax, but the food portion was always given for about 3-4 pax portion. If you're not a big eater, do ask them to give smaller portion in order not to waste the food.
The service here was quite good, plates were mostly cleared promptly. The desserts here are very ordinary, hope the chef can be more creative. Food quality was decent with nice ambience and good service, Szechaun Court is still worth a visit!