If the above shot reminds me of Black Eyed Pea’s celestial, intergalactic Meet Me Halfway video, then the black caviar topping the siew mai (steamed pork dumpling) must be that sense of grandeur that is the elephant in the video. Does that make the scarlet prawns Fergie?
Not necessarily something that would elevate the taste in a bite to a whole new romance but yes, it was a treat for diners, especially when the price was reasonable. It all added up well to the prestige of the Chinese restaurant with a majestic name but of a peculiarly blue setting in a megastar hotel they called Raffles.
The wonderful years here in this little red dot had taught me that dressing down in restaurants, be it expensive or not, is an enjoyment and not an offence but yet, intimidated by the reminder of a dress code on its website, I told myself that I should perhaps succumb to the rules. Afterall, it would be embarrassing to walk into the restaurant with my favourite pair of faded shorts (that even my friends are embarrassed of) and squeaking sandals, only to be barred with a haiyo, you never understand Engrish one ar? Just as well a reason to don my new expensive shirt that, believe me, was the result of an erroneous purchase.
Like how a bowl of bak chor mee had never failed to cause instant salivation, the thought of Raffles Hotel always makes me sweaty. No doubt, this grand dame still dazzles with her bright white paint and colonial architecture but since most spaces in this historical building are unenclosed without air-conditioning, high humidity is to be expected. Having said that, this is a great tourist feature - like a warm way of saying, Welcome to Singapore! That’s lovely.
Predictably, I reached the entrance with my expensive shirt sweat-patched. I observed groups of patrons entering and leaving the restaurant. Shorts and slippers were spotted. Ah…I should have known better.
I'm not sure about the main dining hall but every room was assigned with at least one staff. Therefore, service was efficient, no doubt. What's interesting was the choice of music. With such setting, I would have expected a style similar to Tan Dun's For The World or some simple ensemble of gu zheng and er hu. Instead, we got 70s Hong Kong pop songs from the likes of Cheng Kam Cheung (鄭錦昌) that seem to be a strange choice. How does the music sound like? Here's are some good samples. I kid you not. Nevertheless, it makes up a light, interesting conversation piece on an easy Sunday morning while we await the made-to-order, steaming hot dim sums.