The Place I am surprised that Shang Palace at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore has been around for more than forty years, yet I have not been to this fine Cantonese restaurant until recently. I heard that the restaurant was revamped last year, and coincidentally Shang Palace also welcomes a new dim sum Chef Li Shou Tao who has 23 years of culinary experience. Located at the lobby level, the revamped Shang Palace spots a strong oriental outlook with its predominant red and white theme. The ambience is cosy and comfortable, with a few private dining rooms perfect for business lunches or intimate gatherings.
The Food I managed to try some of the highlights of the new dim sum items introduced by Chef Li, such as the Steamed Lobster Dumpling with bitter gourd, Deep-fried shredded turnip pastry with foie gras and Pan-fried bun with chilli crab meat.
The Steamed Lobster Dumpling with Bitter Gourd was a good start. I am not a bitter gourd lover but the taste of the bitter gourd was very subtle in this dumpling, which also scored on its fine dumpling skin.
The Pan-fried Bun with Chilli Crab Meat was not something I will expect in a fine Cantonese restaurant like Shang Palace, as I do not really see much local elements in the dim sum items in other restaurants of the same league. Chilli crab lovers will love the strong chilli crab flavour in this bun, without the hassle of peeling the crab.
I thought that the Deep-fried Shredded Turnip Pastry with Foie Gras was intricately made with its beautiful and almost perfect layered crust. However, the foie gras element was not that obvious for me otherwise it will be one of my favourite dim sum items here.
Other dim sum items that I will recommend include the Steamed Boletus Aereus Dumpling, Baked Crispy Barbecued Pork Bun, Steamed Turnip Cake with Egg White and Conpoy and Steamed Siew Mai with Fish Roe, Prawn and Mushroom. If you were to only order one of these, go for the Baked crispy barbecued pork bun, which had such a nice crispy skin that contrasted well with the pork fillings.
It is also the Hairy Crab season now! For October and November 2015, Master Chef Steven Ng has put together a six-course menu or nine different a la carte items to showcase its hairy crab with steaming or braising techniques. I tried the Braised Tofu with Hairy Crab meat and Roe ($36/portion) and the Braised Hairy Crab with “Shiso” leaves and glass noodles ($96/portion).
The Braised Tofu with Hairy Crab meat and Roe is perfect if you are not a fan of peeling meat off hairy crab, which I find much more challenging than normal crabs due to its relatively smaller size. The silky tofu texture made the dish exteremely easy to stomach even after having a few dim sum dishes, which was completely infused with the flavourful hairy crab meat and roe.
For a more hearty and filling option, the Braised Hairy Crab with “Shiso” leaves and glass noodles should suffice your hairy crab craving. I almost wanted to think that I did enjoy the glass noodles more than the hairy crab, which was packed with subtle hints of the hairy crab flavour. There is not much to rant about the beautiful presentations of the hairy crab as well, with its luscious roe in full glory.
The six-course set menu is priced at S$138++ per person and features steamed hairy crab and hairy crab served with crispy noodles. Guests enjoy a complimentary bottle of 8-year-old Chinese yellow wine with every four set menus ordered.
The a la carte selection starts at S$22++ and features traditional Steamed Hairy Crab with Ginger Tea to alleviate the crab’s ‘cooling’ effects, as well as nourishing Steamed Bird’s Nest with Hairy Crab Meat and Roe.
For desserts, the Steamed Custard and Coconut Layered Cake is also one of Chef Li’s new creations, which scored well among the table. If you are a fan of custard or “liu sha”, the strong custard flavour and contrasting coconut flavour will make you crave for that extra bite! It was also nice to end off the meal with some Ginger tea and glutinous rice ball to neutralise some of the cooling effects of the hairy crab dishes.
Rants Getting to Shangri-la Singapore is not the most accessible without a car. It is a good ten minutes walk from the bus stop along Orchard Road, or about fifteen to twenty minutes walk from the nearest Orchard MRT station.
Will I Return Again? Dim sum is one of my favourite breakfast cuisine but there are not many restaurants in Singapore which does it well. Shang Palace offerings stand out for its innovative dim sum creations such as the Pan-fried bun with chilli crab meat, and of course, the standards of the classic dim sum fares such as Siew mai and Baked crispy barbecued pork bun are also a notch above most restaurants. This is easily one of my top five favourite restaurants to have dim sum in future.
Make your reservation instantly at Shang Palace here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: +65 6213 4473
Monday to Friday: Lunch (12noon – 2.30pm), Dinner 6pm – 10.30pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: Lunch (10.30am – 3pm), Dinner 6pm – 10.30pm
Ranted by the Ranter