good poon choi and service at this old establishment in the even older orchard hotel. this was our traditional dinner out on the first night of chinese new year, and it’s pretty much become standard practice for the meal to revolve around poon choi – essentially a basin of dried seafood and meat in a savoury sauce.
we’re pretty particular about the dish, and dislike any duck in there (it seems to overwhelm the other flavours in the dish) so hua ting rose quickly in estimation when they immediately acceded to our request to exclude it. the poon choi came in a large basin, and was abundantly filled with the usual suspects: belly pork, sea cucumber, fresh baby abalone, dried scallops and mussels, large prawns, fish maw, dried shitakes, fatt choy – the hairy moss, cabbage and radish pieces. highly savoury, it was both tastier and more abundantly filled than some other hotel renditions we’ve had – and went brilliant with rice.
we also got a dish of egg white and scallops, as well as hamachi (swordfish) yusheng, both of which were passable but not remarkable.
so, great poon choi and only-passable other-dishes (though admittedly chosen from a very small chinese new year menu) – not a bad choice at new year’s, though this place therefore doesn’t stand out remarkably from other similarly-established restaurants in singapore. just remember to ask them to sear you within the restaurant itself, as they have so many customers during new year that they lay tables out along the corridor. be prepared for very old-school decor though, and the hotel itself is a little ill-maintained, which is a waste for its great location.