Food and Travel (Singapore) - - New Bites -

Rarely do you see a Chi­nese restau­rant with as re­fresh­ing a vibe as EM­PRESS. Lo­cated along the outer walls of the re­cently re-launched Asian Civil­i­sa­tion Mu­seum (ACM), as a glassy ex­ten­sion of the build­ing, EM­PRESS is a space that is a com­min­gling of Chi­nese and mod­ern cul­ture. Do­ing away with the heavy table­cloths, thick car­pets, and dim lights, the restau­rant im­presses us with its high ceil­ings, clean wooden ta­ble tops, the right amount of Chi­nese ac­cents, and an abun­dance of sun­light – el­e­gant yet un­os­ten­ta­tious. There’s even a pri­vate room, Canton that seats up to 14 per­sons, per­fect for large fam­ily gath­er­ings. Ad­di­tion­ally, if you don’t mind the hu­mid­ity, go ahead and have an al­fresco meal next to the river and watch the boats go by.

The cui­sine is un­doubt­edly Chi­nese but also con­tem­po­rary in its small re­fine­ments. Head chef Ricky Le­ung plays around with flavours, uti­liz­ing and com­bin­ing fa­mil­iar in­gre­di­ents to cre­ate new com­plex­i­ties and tex­tures. A favourite amongst many is the Crispy Aro­matic Duck Salad (S$18). Crisp tem­pura bat­tered duck is served with leafy baby spinach, mi­cro herbs, sweet Nashi pears, goji berries, cu­cum­bers, spring onions, and Chi­nese figs; toss it with the tangy plum-cit­rus dress­ing and you have a dish that has great tex­ture and just the right bal­ance of sweet and sour. The Triple Roast Plat­ter (S$28-S$56),

Xcon­sist­ing of their sig­na­ture EM­PRESS Char Siew (S$18-36) – sticky with its fat slightly charred and caramelised, EM­PRESS Sticky & Sweet Pork Ribs (S$18-S$36), and Crack­ling Roast Pork (S$18-S$36) – that’s best eaten with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing mus­tard sauce, is also def­i­nitely worth get­ting to share.

Soups are es­sen­tial in Can­tonese cui­sine, so we weren’t sur­prised when the King Prawn Dumpling in Supreme Broth (S$14) and the Pump­kin Teapot Soup (S$14) with seafood dumplings and crispy spring rolls were de­li­ciously packed with umami flavour. Both kinds of soup are made with the same stock that is pre­pared by the te­dious process of smash­ing a whole chicken and cook­ing it un­til it is rich and thick.

Need we say more with desserts like Crispy Pros­per­ity Nian Gao, Yam and Sweet Potato Stack (S$12) served with salted peanut tof­fee and co­conut ice cream, Cempedak Crème Brûlée (S$12), and Sticky Date & Lo­gan Pudding (S$12) with gula Me­laka but­ter­scotch. You can­not leave with­out try­ing, at least, one of these. #01-03, Asian Civil­i­sa­tions Mu­seum, 1 Em­press Place. Tel: 65/6238-8733 www.em­press.com.sg

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