The Place If you are a traditionalist at heart when it comes to Cantonese cuisine, you should have heard of Hua Ting Restaurant at Orchard Hotel Singapore. Opened since 1992, the Cantonese restaurant reopened recently after a three months hiatus as the restaurant went through a major revamp. I visited Hua Ting few years back and was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s transformation. The corridors are more spacious, and I love the wooden wall panels which add modern touches to complement other oriental aspects of the interior. There are 3 semi-private areas, 7 Private Rooms, a main dining room and an ultra luxe private Chairman’s room which can fit 20 pax.
The Food Hua Ting is still helmed by Masterchef Lap Fai, who has been with the restaurant for over a decade. With the reopening of the restaurant, it has also introduced a unique tea pairing experience with its Hua Ting Tea Degustation Menu (S$98++ per person). We started with a trio of appetiser of Chilled Crab with Long Jing, Prawn with Oolong and Smoked Duck with Pu Erh. My favourite here is the Smoked Duck, infused with the right dose of Pu Erh tea to set the tone for the tea menu.
Cantonese soups is one of my favourite part of a meal. If anything, the exquisite presentation of the Double-Boiled Spoke Sea Cucumber with Organic Black Garlic wins me over at first sight. Served in a tea pot where you can slowly sip and enjoy the soup, the flavour is rich yet soothing. Don’t waste the premium ingredients like the sea cucumber and black garlic at the bottom of the pot!
Next up on the degustation menu is the Braised Fresh Abalone, Treasure Dome with Egg Skin and paired with Lychee Red Tea. I love the plating of this dish, subtle yet suggestive of the tea elements in the dish. While the fresh abalone takes centrestage here, the red hue of the skin from the lychee tea is equally captivating.
Quite possibly the most sinful dish on the degustation menu, the Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Spring Vegetable and paired with 10 Years Pu Erh tea. Tender with distinct layers of lean and fat meat, this Kurobuta Pork belly melts in the mouth.
Another dish with an interesting presentation is the Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallop with Thin Udon, paired along with the Spring of the Dawn (Jasmine Pearl with Rosemary). The texture of the scallop and udon are just right, while the broth is comforting to say the least. Love the presentation here.
For desserts, I had the Eight Treasure Tea with Bird’s Nest and Glutinous Rice Ball, Chilled Osmanthus Wolfberry Pudding and Custard Pastry. Rather safe options, although the custard pastry was to-die-for satisfying.
If you come in a big group, some of the dishes which I also enjoyed are the Charcoal-Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork Char Siew and Crispy Squid Tentacle with Chilli Padi and Almond Flake. The Iberico char siew is expectedly tender, while the crispy squid is extremely addictive. You will find yourself scraping the crispy squid dish clean, with the addictive almond flakes and chilli padi a match-made in heaven.
For Peking Duck fans, don’t leave without trying the version here as well, one of the all-time favourite dishes at Hua Ting.
Rants When an old classic gets a revamp, it loses some of its old charm too.
Will I Return Again? If there is one positive trait of Hua Ting, it will be the consistency of the dishes. Prices are relatively reasonable as compared to other Cantonese restaurants in 5-star hotels, and you are almost assured of a good meal. We were impressed by the degustation menu conceptualised by tea pairing, definitely a first for us in a Chinese restaurant here.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Hua Ting Restaurant
442 Orchard Road
Level 2 Orchard Hotel
Tel: +65 6739 6666
Daily 1130am to 230pm; 6pm to 1030pm
Ranted by The Ranter