Friday, August 10, 2012

Capella Lunch & Boon Tong Kee Dinner



Capella Singapore.

It was lunch at Capella Singapore, a luxury resort hotel on the tiny island of Sentosa just 15 minutes away from Orchard Rd. Because Su had an extended meeting and I had to be back to the city before 3 pm, we couldn't explore the resort at all, so maybe I'm not fair if I found the place desolate, the landscaping amatuerish and Norman Foster's renovation totally unimpressive. Which is such a pity, because the hotel sits on the top of a hilllock and walking around the grounds can give a 360 degree view of Singapore. If you go to their website, the hotel looks spectacular in the evening. It is funny that they call it a resort hotel and not grow more plants, especially since there are are many beautiful giant rain trees in Singapore. Even if the reason is to allow a better view of the city, there are many areas where lush plants and shrubs can  give the hotel the resort look.

Lunch was Chinese food served western style, course by course served individually instead of the traditional all-dishes-on-the-table style. At S$48/RM120/USD39 nett per person, it was agreed that the price was very reasonable for a meal in such settings. Everything we ate was impeccable and elegantly served, and I really couldn't fault anything. But. Chinese food served individually subdues the whole Chinese dining experience (can't think of a better word) . I guess serving the portions individually and elegantly to each person is the way to present meagre portions.  Big hunky portions would be so crass, so un-haute cuisine for high class hotels, I suppose.


The soup of the day was black chicken soup with Chinese herbs. Light, tasty and refreshing. 

For starters, we could choose 6 out of 10 dim sum on the menu. Everything was good (the open dim sum at 10 O'clock was so so) but for me, dim sum tastes better steaming hot from a bamboo steamer.


Crispy skin roated duck, crispy skin pork and  cold pork slices.

The meat main was a choice of crispy pork, crispy chicken, crispy duck or cold pork slices. I had the duck, crispy pork and cold pork. The crispy pork (middle of the photo) was excellent, with an elegant crispy skin akin to crispy suckling pig and the crispy duck was gorgeous, the skin crisp and the meat "almost like liver," said one of my dining companions. I've not had duck so tender that the meat didn't have a fibre texture. Was it cooked sous vide? If so, how did they get the skin so crisp? I wished I could have a second piece to sooth my surprised tastebuds but it was fine dining so no seconds. The cold pork slices were mediocre and could do with a splash of Shao Xin wine.

For carbs we had a choice of fried rice or yee meen and I'm a noodles person so yee meen it was. This was good, not as good as the yee meen I used to eat in Shatin, Hong Kong when my grandfather lived there but yes, it was good.

Dessert was a few choices again and I enjoyed my chilled steamed Chinese pear in a soup of kumquat, goji berries and osmanthus flowers. It reminded me to serve more refreshing desserts such as this instead of heavy creamy cakes and puddings.

Singapore is so small that our hosts could drive me from Sentosa Island to my bakery class in Holland Drive in 20 minutes on a Saturday.

The class was jam packed with more than 40 people, something I didn't expect. I thought I could have a hands on baking class. The lesson wasn't anything I didn't know but still, it gave me an idea of what baking classes are like now.


Holland Drive is very pleasant with many beautiful restaurants and a relaxed ambience. I'll definitely check the place out on my next trip.

We hadn't yet had one of my fave Signaporean food, chicken rice, so for dinner, we made our way by taxi to Boon Tong Kee in Katong. The ride cost S$16 and I thought that was quite a rip off because I didn't know which road to take when the cab driver asked. Are Sg cab drivers getting cunning, I wondered, because I've always found them to be the best compared to cabdrivers anywhere I've travelled.

Pork belly with preserved veggie, very tasty. Wey ate most of this.

Plain boiled chicken.

This is a tricky dish to rate. Su berated me for loving Singapore chicken rice. "The chicken's flavorless and we can get better chicken rice in KK." Oh I beg to differ. Yes, the chicken was flavorless, made good by the msg and soy sauce sauce, but it was tender and smooth and the skin was slightly el dente. The chicken was chopped evenly and of a good size, unlike the chicken shreds we get in KK. The rice was high grade rice cooked with less water to give individual grains coated with chicken fat and stock, unlike the wet broken cheap rice we get in KK. Su, next time we bump into each other in Singapore, I'm going to take you to Wee Nam Kee in Thompson Rd. The chicken will be whiter and more bland than Boon Tong Kee's and the sauce is totally msg but I can eat three servings because the rice is delicious and the chicken is super slippery smooth.

Chinese cabbage with mushrooms and dried scallops was yummy.

Hub must've been in Singapore too long because he declared the 3 course meal for S$46/RM117/USD37 meal for 4 persons "cheap".  


Blur Ting said...

I agree that there is much room for improvement in Sentosa. My last visit was very disappointing.

I like going to Holland Village though. It's very popular with the expats. There is a shop called Phoon Huat near Da Paolo which sells all the bakery stuff. I get my pet mince from the Butchers to cook for my dog. And the cakes at Da Paolo are not bad.

The taxi drivers ask what route you wish to take because people blame them for picking the longest one. So these days they let you decide instead. I always tell them to take the fastest one because they know which roads are congested. Taxi fares in Singapore are no longer cheap because there are so many kinds of surcharges. We all lose track of these charges as well.

Anonymous said...

taxi fare - peak hour surcharge is 25% more then the usual fare....we always avoid take taxi during peak period (from 6pm onwards)

baking class - id the one that you went was SHxxxx... then it is like that... shld be called demonstration class....


Anonymous said...

Taxis are okay over here. Taxi drivers were scolded by some passengers for not asking them which route they want to take. It's normal for drivers to ask. Very expensive to take taxi nowadays, yo! I still take it cuz no choice..


terri@adailyobsession said...

Blurting, hb, yvonne: thnx for the info. I hv faith in sg taxi drivers really. But When the taxi driver asked if we want to take eunos or some other road, it's a redundant question bc we hv no idea which road is better. If the drivers r honest, they shd just take the fastest yet cheapest route.
I went to phoon huat for 2 min bc didnt hv time but next trip i will def go again. Yes hb it was shermay's n i enjoyed the course. Just tt it was a very big class n after asking a question, i held back bc i didnt want to disrupt the class. It's ok If the lesson is demo style but not too big so students can hv more chance to ask q.

hongyi said...

how heavy r u now?

terri@adailyobsession said...

Yi: Very heavy

Michelle Chin said...

why not you make your own chicken rice... lol. i think with your home grown ingredients and fine tuned cooking, skills you surely can, prepare the smoothest chicken ever!

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