The Place Located at Forum The Shopping Mall, Social Place is a few weeks old Chinese restaurant which hails from Hong Kong. The Singapore outlet in Orchard Road is the brand’s first outlet in South-East Asia, with a reputation for its modern take on classic Cantonese dishes.
My first impression is that the space is huge with a capacity for 128 people, and the seating configuration is ideal for different dining sizes. The interior of the restaurant is modern chic, a reflection of the type of dishes on the menu, with the standout piece being the wall decorated with mahjong tiles.
The Food The menu here is quite extensive, from dim sum selections, appetisers to signature dishes. For a start, the Cold Foie Gras in Special Fermented Rice Wine (S$16.80) is quite unique. It is thinly sliced, so the foie gras taste is not too cloying if that is a concern.
For dim sum dishes, a noteworthy mention is that the Charcoal Custard Bun (S$8.80) purportedly originated from Social Place, a dish which I have come across before at other Chinese restaurants. The custard here is not too sweet, and it doesn’t flow excessively which makes it easy to have it.
The Truffle Shiitake Buns (S$6.80) is a mushroom in disguise on the outside, where the filling is a mix of truffle and mushroom. This dish is quite good as the truffle and mushroom combination is well-balanced and works very well.
Another dish in disguise, the Deep Fried Lobster Glutinous Puffs (S$7.80) is shaped like mangosteen. The filling within is crab meat cooked in lobster broth, quite an interesting mix of seafood.
For meats, the Roasted Quail (S$9.90/portion, in frame below is 2 portions) surprised me with its tender and flavourful meat. I am typically not a big fan of quail but this is quite tastefully done as it is infused with ten different types of herbs and spices.
The Wagyu Char Siu (S$28) is another unique dish as it looks like char siu but is in fact beef. The colour of the beef is dark due to the soy-sauce marinade, and there is also a tinge of black pepper element to the flavour. Think of it as tender black pepper beef.
The Sweet and Sour Pork on Ice (S$24.80) is another signature dish at Social Place, where the popular Zi Char dish is served on ice along with an assortment of fruits. The ice makes the outer layer of the pork cold, while beneath the skin is a relatively warmer texture as a stark contrast. Expect a tender and well-marinated pork meat here.
For something more comforting, go for the Seafood Crackling Rice Soup (S$24.80), where the broth is prepared by simmering crab and prawn shells for hours. Crispy bits of puff rice is added to the soup here, which adds a different layer of texture to the dish.
For dessert, the Small Pig Pudding (S$6.80/piece) is totally insta-worthy and I wasn’t expecting much from the taste. The custard and cute piglets are not too sweet, though it is almost unbearable to have it.
Rants Even though some of the dim sum creations originated from Social Place, it has somewhat been replicated in a number of Chinese restaurants over the years and it is inevitable that the novelty effect has worn off.
Will I Return Again? Social Place is a nice modern take on Cantonese dishes. The contemporary space is welcoming, and the restaurant injects a new lease of life to the mall to say the least.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 8870 2288
Daily: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter