First and foremost, Happy Birthday to Daphne! :)
Following the impressive dinner at Shangri-La's Barnacles last year, expectations were certainly high on where I would bring Daphne for her birthday this time round. Summer Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia narrowly edged out The Lighthouse at The Fullerton as the choice because the latter's view was largely facing the construction site of the Marina Bay Integrated Resorts. Moreover, I thought a change from the usual Western or Italian cuisines would be a most welcomed change.
Indeed, Summer Pavilion at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia proved to be a winner, and I dare say the best choice that I've ever made as a food blogger thus far. Comfortable setting, impeccable service and most importantly of all, terrific food. For that, The Simplest Aphrodisiac would like to award Summer Pavilion as the Top Restaurant of 2009. Well done!
You would notice that we did not order any elaborate dishes, though the choice of dishes were essentially made based on the direct recommendations of the friendly staff as well as those that have earned effusive praise from online reviews. This (tiny) appetiser that was served to us right at the start was crunchy and tasty, but I have to admit that we had little idea of what this was! We conveniently assumed it was some type of fried mushrooms (it sure tasted like it) - whatever it was, we liked it :)
Appetiser - Peking Duck (Skin): 5/5
I actually flirted with the idea of asking the waitress if this could be served as a main course, I'm very sure I could have huge and multiple servings of it! The thin, crispy duck skin went amazingly well with the "Peking duck sauce" and I relished each and every single bite and chew of this simple delight.
Double Boiled Shark Cartilege Soup with Fish Maw: 4.75/5
I had my initial reservations about this soup, in part because it looked so plain with just some dates and a slice of cartilege. Yet the first spoonful was immensely satisfying - it was rich, it was flavourful and it warmed your insides even more than what vodka can do. Delicious. So it's the brew that matters most, not how it looks!
Wok-Fried Fillet of Beef: 5/5
I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed with the way the pictures turned out but it couldn't be helped really given the dim lighting. This piece of beef (yes, it came as a whole piece and the waitress sliced it up) was so good we immediately wanted a second serving of it. It was really tender and I loved the way it was marinated with spices. The beef, in short, was simply sublime.
Baked Cod in Champagne Sauce: 4.25/5
This fish literally melts in your mouth given how incredibly fresh and soft it is. There's a slight buttery taste to this dish which I thought was really nice actually. That melting sensation, goodness.
Peking Duck: 4.75/5
The Peking Duck made its return to the table, now effectively de-skinned (for the appetiser) and de-boned. Daphne mentioned that this is one of the best duck meat she has ever eaten because of how tender it is and also how it isn't as oily or dry as some others. We both agreed that it's closest rival would be the duck from Hai Tien Lo at Pan Pacific Hotel.
King Prawn in Special Japanese Sauce: 5/5
The biggest winner of the night, and yes, literally too. We ordered one each and it arrived like a main course, looking more like a lobster rather than a prawn. These must certainly be some prawns of true royalty status. The batter was light and tasty, the sauce sweet and addictive, and the prawn fresh and juicy. Brilliant.
I initially wanted to order the Fried Rice (with prawns and conpoy) but Daphne thought that would simply be too much for the both of us. Judging from everything that we had for the night, I'm very sure it would have tasted awesome as well! Trust us though, we were very full (and definitely satisfied) by the end of the meal, so sticking to steamed rice was actually a good decision indeed.
Birthday buns for the birthday girl, courtesy of Summer Pavilion.
Impeccable. Polite, friendly and helpful, the staff made the dinner a most pleasant experience for the both of us.
$34 for half of a peking duck
$16 for each serving of the double-boiled shark cartilege soup
$15 for each slice of wok-fried fillet of beef
$18 for each slice of baked cod in champagne sauce
$13 for each king prawn in special japanese sauce
* Prices subject to the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.
Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia.