Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hua Ting (华厅餐厅) - Dim Sum at the Michelin Plate Restaurant @ Orchard Hotel [Singapore] #dimsum

Hua Ting Restaurant is said to be a top Cantonese restaurant in Singapore, winning many accolades over the years, including recognition as a Michelin Plate restaurant. Expectedly, the prices were likely too hard for me to stomach but a super good friend recently brought Alex and I to Hua Ting for a dim sum lunch, as a treat for our birthdays! 

Opening hour is at 11.00 am and seeing the queue, we were glad to have made a reservation beforehand. Given the popularity, I think the restaurant would benefit from an earlier opening hour to capture the breakfast crowd. 

Befitting its fine dining status, the restaurant put in much effort to turn the place into an arena exuding that classical Chinese interior design. No wonder the dress code is smart casual. 

Not our assigned table but similar, as ours were for three persons. Purpose was to show you the type of chairs, the kind of table and the layout of the table. Looks nice except for one thing.

The plates were flat and for rough, clumsy guys like me not trained for the decorum in fine dining; it's an irritation as I absolutely can't lift up the beautiful plate, and pushing food to the edges ran the risk of them dropping off. 

Scanning the QR for the menus (classified into ala carte, set lunch, dim sum, set and desserts). It's a pain to view the menus on our teeny weeny phone screens! As our visit was to focus on dim sum, the Great Kon literally told the service staff to serve all 18 items on the dim sum menu! Yes, all 18 of them! 

A pot of Pu'er Tea in preparation to wash down all the upcoming dim sum! Mom would have loved the tea light base as it would keep her tea hot for a long time. 

When the saucer of chips were served, one for each of us, we wonder if it would be the pickles / peanuts equivalence usually charged to me. It's the first time we saw chips though and assumed they were complimentary.

Wrong! Categorized under VIP Tidbits, it's chargeable at S$2.50 per person. Why should I be billed for something that's from packs of normal yam, sweet potato and prawns chips you could easily find in a supermarket?! To be honest, I would be more than willing if it's something made in-house, like pickled vegetables. Anyway, food's coming up! 

Signature Baked Chicken Tartlets - our first item didn't look that welcoming and to be eating pastry made me a tad guilty of my carbohydrate-restricted diet.

Thank god it tasted better than its appearance! Savoury with a fruity sweetness, it didn't overwhelm the palate and was a delightful start for my brunch. 
 
Wok-Fried Turnip Cake with X.O Sauce in Hot Stone Bowl - turnip cakes are common in Singapore although our local version is the sweeter kind called carrot cake and it came in black or white.

I never quite like the turnip cake in dim sum even though this was different; texture might not be as crispy as I would have preferred but the insides were incredibly smooth and didn't stick to my teeth. Taste wise, there was that unmistaken wok-hei, with a pinch of spiciness. 

Steamed Glutinuous Rice (Conpoy, Chicken, Mushrooms) - yet again another item on the dim sum menu that I don't order as it's usually just full of rice and with not much flavour. 

This would be ranked second as I caught a whiff of that appetizing aroma when the Great Kon unwrapped the lotus leaf. Rice was soft and moist, unlike the dry and hard one often served by other restaurants. Taste was good; thanks to the pieces of dried scallop, chicken and mushrooms! 

Steamed Barbecued Pork Buns - when I need a carbohydrate to hype the dim sum meal, I would typically go for the char siew bao as taste wise; it's quite safe. This was pretty good although didn't make that much of an impression to be considered as a die-die must order. 

Steamed Rice Rolls (Scallops, Century Egg, Shrimps) - served deconstructed, the all important sauce would only be poured in when the rolls were placed right in front of you. 

I had a hard time differentiating between this and the char siew one since they both were red. I initially thought they were raw fish and was picking my brains as you don't see raw fish on any dim sum menu! Whatever the case, this was century egg, given the bits of century egg sprinkled on top.

Honestly, sometimes I just prefer dim sum served in the traditional, old school way and this steamed rice roll didn't take my breath away.

Steamed Rice Rolls (Kurobuta Pork Char Siew) - topped with dry sakura shrimps, I am still wondering why the roll was red, instead of their typical white. Was red yeast added? 

This Kurobuta pork char siew version tasted better than the century egg, with large piece of meat in every dissected roll although once again, it didn't blow me away. 

Steamed Eastern Star Garoupa Dumpling
- this was one large dumpling that cost S$12.80 apiece! Plumped with fish meat, it's interesting to note that there wasn't a tinge of fishiness, whether with the smell or the taste. 

Steamed Seafood Dumplings with Vegetables - looking like mini, greener version of the steamed Eastern star garoupa dumpling, the differences were quite drastic. 

It was delicious; filled with what appeared to be a scallop-based paste, there was that refreshing vegetable sweetness I found irresistible! 

Steamed Prawn Dumplings - another common dim sum item, the har gao was not bad, just that I was expecting more surprises from this Michelin Plate restaurant.

Steamed Crystal Dumplings (Mushrooms, Sweet Corn) - I didn't know what to make out of this since the appearance was a bit strange. 

Turned out to be soft, transparent dough skin that burst with mixed flavours of sweet corn and earthy mushrooms. Being a lover of mushrooms, I gave this a big thumbs-up! 

Steamed Xiaolongbao (Crab Roe, Minced Pork) - as some of you might be aware, I generally don't quite care about the appearance of a dish as what matters eventually would still be the taste. Hence, I get a bit triggered when food is served with the unwanted purpose to make it more difficult for us to eat.

It would be less cumbersome for customers to eat if that bamboo strip was removed. Regardless of the display, the xiaolongbao seemed bigger than those I usually. Taste wise; didn't disappoint! 
 
Crispy Scallop Pastry (Wild Mushrooms)
- okay, I admit this was pretty but hey, it didn't inconvenience the diners right?! For the xiaolongbao, there was that nagging fear I would break the dumpling and lose all the flavourful broth contained within. 

Sadly, the pastry skin was overly thick and I did what I would do when I was a kid; attacked only the yummy filling that had pieces of tasty scallop! 

Well, useless goose head.  

Deep Fried Beancurd Sheets (Minced Prawn, Seaweed) - looking like three badly wrapped dumplings, I didn't have much expectations honestly.

Turned out to be good; the beancurd skin was thin and fried to a crisp and the filling was chockablock full of sweet, delectable prawn meat. 

Steamed Pork Dumpling (Prawn, Scallop) - known commonly as siew mai, this was the best amongst all 18 dim sum item! Topped with scallop and sprinkled with fish roes, the meat was tender with an exquisite flavour missing from other siew mail I had before. For extra shiokness, throw the whole thing into your time and slowly savour!

Bird's Nest Dumpling (Fish Soup, Sea Whelk, Mushroom)
- I would order whenever I see this soup dumpling on the dim sum menu. p.s. I have never had one that looked this milky though. 

The broth had that rich, delish flavour similar to fish maw soup and the content inside was nice! I initially though it was pieces of scallop lips but guess they were more likely sea snails. 

Whole South African Abalone Puff (Crispy Yam Pastry) - some of the dim sum items came in per piece, like this one. The yam pastry was a letdown, with an earthy filling that could have benefited with some sweetness. I love abalone although this was just alright. 

Stuffed Crispy Sesame Balls (Prime Beef, Truffle)
- with fillings like peanut or bean paste, this was one dim sum I have enjoyed since my childhood days! 

However, these were unconventional as beef was the highlight and this little ball gave a burst of truffle aroma when I bit through. Skin was crispy yet it had a QQ texture right underneath that thin crispiness.

Steamed Charcoal Lava Custard Buns - an item I can't resist not ordering when I saw it on the menu; however, I am only keen in lava custard. If it is just custard buns, my resistance strengthens. 

Nectarous lava custard that was so alluring to the taste buds! 

Only issue; the charcoal dough was too thick! To the extent I decided to just suck up all the yummy lava custard and leave more than half of the dough untouched. 

Chilled Marinated 16-head South African Abalone - this wasn't from the dim sum menu even though this was one of the highlights in this meal. The abalone was plump and solid but what's most unforgettable was the chilled sauce surrounding it; lip smacking good! 

Chicken Feet - the Kon ordered, thinking this would be a small plate. Turned out to be way beyond his expectation and I was persuaded to try, despite the fact that I have never wanted to attempt as I can't imagine pitting out the knuckles! 

Well, verdict was that it's okay and not my cup of tea. My friend's review was the skin was well done and tore easily without being overly flaky. Having said that, he did mention that these were not as good as Tim Ho Wan

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Address 
442 Orchard Rd, 
Orchard Hotel, Level 2, 
Singapore 238879

Map
As above.

Website

Dim Sum Menu
As above.

Pricing
Pu'er Tea - S$3.50 per person
VIP Tidbits - S$2.50 per person
Signature Baked Chicken Tartlets - S$6.90
Wok-Fried Turnip Cake, X.O Sauce in Hot Stone Bowl - S$12.00
Steamed Glutinuous Rice, Conpoy, Chicken, Mushrooms - S$8.40
Steamed Barbecued Pork Buns - S$6.00
Steamed Rice Rolls with Scallops, Century Egg, Shrimps - S$7.80
Steamed Rice Rolls with Kurobuta Pork Char Siew - S$7.80
Steamed Eastern Star Garoupa Dumpling - S$12.80
Steamed Seafood Dumplings with Vegetables - S$6.90
Steamed Prawn Dumplings - S$6.90
Steamed Crystal Dumplings (Mushrooms, Sweet Corn) - S$6.00
Steamed Xiaolongbao (Crab Roe, Minced Pork) - S$8.40
Crispy Scallop Pastry (Wild Mushrooms) - S$11.40
Deep Fried Beancurd Sheets (Minced Prawn, Seaweed) - S$6.90
Steamed Pork Dumpling (Prawn, Scallop) - S$6.90
Bird's Nest Dumpling (Fish Soup, Sea Whelk, Mushroom) - S$16.80
Whole South African Abalone Puff (Crispy Yam Pastry) - S$13.80
Stuffed Crispy Sesame Balls (Prime Beef, Truffle) 
Steamed Charcoal Lava Custard Buns - S$6.00
Chilled Marinated 16-head South African Abalone - S$16.00 
Chicken Feet - S$12.00
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

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