Opened in 1992, Hua Ting Restaurant is one of the earliest Cantonese fine dining restaurants in Singapore, winning multiple awards for its consistent quality and delicacies. After four months of revamp with brand-new interior design and revitalised menus, the restaurant reopened to the public in December 2017.
What's it like?
Hua Ting Restaurant is located on the mezzanine floor of the lobby at Orchard Hotel Singapore, whose review can be read here. When you arrive at its entrance, you’ll see two sculptures of white cranes, which represents luck and longevity in Chinese culture, on both sides. Then a long hallway leads you to the dining area inside.
The restaurant has both public and private dining rooms. The Main Dining Hall can seat up to 50 people. Inside, there are three semi-private areas partitioned with traditional Chinese screens, offering 10 seats in total.
In addition, there are six private dining rooms, including three Grand Rooms with each providing seating for 12 people and partitioned with curtains, and three small private rooms with each accommodating four people, offering a more intimate dining environment. The largest Chairman’s Room, equipped with an automated Lazy Susan at the centre, provides seating for up to 20 people.
The specially designed tableware also echoes the overall design style of the restaurant, with gold hand-painted chinaware featuring elements like birds and flowers.
We started the dinner with an appetiser, the Hua Ting Signature Platter in a trio combination setting, including two slices of smoked duck with aged Pu’er, iberico char siew (barbecue pork) and crispy roasted pork. The smoked duck went with yuzu sauce, while the crispy roasted pork was served with yellow mustard sauce. Both sauces offset the greasiness of the fatty meat.
After the appetisers, we were served the soup – double-boiled soup with tofu, yellow fungus and morel mushroom. The soup was served in a Chinese style holder, which echoes the design and atmosphere of the restaurant. I was so impressed that the piece of tofu had been delicately sliced to make it look like an adorable coral swimming in the sea. Along with other ingredients, the soup was presented like a miniature aquarium.
Then came the two mains, with the first one a fish dish. The deep-fried sea perch, despite its crispy appearance, tasted rather tender inside. It was served with a specially made spinach puree. It’s indeed a healthy choice of main dishes.
The other was the steamed crab claw with Chinese wine and egg white. Personally speaking, I love seafood, but I’m not really a crab person because it’s difficult to pick the meat from the crab, and of course, it usually ends up being a messy experience. So I was glad that the shell of the crab was removed and there was a lot of claw meat. Hua Diao Wine is added to the egg drop soup, and when I ate the soup, its fragrance filled my mouth and remained for some time.
After the mains, I wanted to try some noodles, and was recommended this braised Japanese thin Udon with pan-seared scallop and chicken stock. At first, when I saw this, I was surprised because the Udon noodles looked so different from those we normally eat, which are much thicker. The Udon noodles were served in chicken stock with a large scallop and some mushrooms at the bottom. The noodles had a soft and smooth texture and tasted quite different from the normal Udon as well.
For desserts, I chose this chilled black glutinous rice with vanilla ice cream. The dessert was served in a young coconut, so I could eat some coconut meat at the same time.
While we were having dinner, I noticed the guests sitting at the table in front of us were celebrating a birthday. A service attendant brought a special “tree” with a few “longevity peaches” hanging on it, along with some tiny cakes placed beneath.
These “longevity peaches” are actually a type of bun with lotus paste inside, which are designed to make them look like a peach. The reason is that the peach is a symbol of immortality in Chinese mythology, and has long been used in Chinese culture to express the wish for a long and healthy life. I would say it’s a really creative dish, and of course, “Instagrammable”. I would be very happy if I were given this as a birthday surprise.
For beverages, Hua Ting Restaurant has its own set of exclusive seasonal teas that are also named after the four seasons. This time, I tried its Gold Rays of Summer, which is made of raw Pu’er with glutinous rice and pandan leaves. It is said that it can help quench the heat and refresh the body from the summer heat, so I guess it may be good in Singapore where it is literally summer all year round.
It is no wonder that Hua Ting Restaurant has won multiple awards and become a household name in Singapore. The newly refurbished interior exudes a kind of traditional Chinese elegance. The food is delicately curated and of high quality. The creativity reflected in the presentation of the dishes, such as the coral-like tofu in the soup and the “longevity peach tree”, is also impressive.
The service attendants are polite and friendly, and they are always smiling, making me feel welcomed. The young man that served us not only made good recommendations, but also answered my questions about the dishes patiently and in detail. When the guests sitting at the next table were celebrating a birthday, he also offered to help them take photos, and I could tell from their smiling faces that they were happy and satisfied.