Friday, September 2, 2016

Summer Palace @ Regent Hotel : NEW Gluten-free menu

Gluten-free, dairy-free, nuts-free...menus that cater to special diets or allergic groups these days aren't that rare these days. However, to have a gluten-free menu in a Chinese restaurant is still quite uncommon and Summer Palace is probably the first Chinese restaurant to have a full-page menu dedicated to gluten-free diners. 

Gluten-free baked pumpkin
So what's gluten-free? Basically, it means food that doesn't contain wheat, barley, rye, oats and their other species. But contrary to most perceptions, majority of those who ordered from this menu is actually people who DON'T subscribe to gluten-free diets. I can totally understand why as the dishes tasted as delicious and some even better than those on a normal menu. 
The Pan-fried Kurobuta Cutlet in Mongolian Sauce ($32/portion) is one excellent dish that surprised me with its tender texture, which is quite a testament to the chef's skills because most recipes would call for the use of cornflour or cornstarch to make it silky smooth. The pork cutlet was sliced so finely, retaining some bits of chewy fats and coated lightly in a delicious dark gravy. 
In comparison, the Wok-fried Diced Beef ($42/portion) with lily bulbs and asparagus  was a simpler dish seasoned with restraint. Yet that's the point when I can taste the natural flavors of the chunky beef which was juicy to boot. My favourite dish that night was the Baked Cod Fish in Teriyaki Sauce ($22/portion), which was better than the Pan-fried Garoupa Fillet in Superious Soy Sauce and Kailan in Chef Liu's tasting menu. 
What enchanted me was the lightness of the sauce that did not mask the sweetness of the soft flesh--a level higher than teriyaki fish in Japanese cuisine. 

I also had the opportunity to try the weekly rotating Chef's Tasting menu created by Chef Liu. This six-course exquisite dinner rolled off to a good start with the trio of chef's selections which featured morsels of all the classic Cantonese dishes that I loved--roast suckling pig, deep-fried soft shell crab buried in heaps of crispy pork floss and wasabi mayonnaise prawn. Everything on the plate was impeccably executed and I'll definitely order them from the regular menu on my next visit.

It was my first time to have bird nest as a savoury dish and it actually melded beautifully with the conpoy and crabmeat. The ingredients are not stingy and  the thickened broth wasn't overly seasoned. 
On the other hand, the Pan-fried Garoupa fillet was a slight letdown as the meat was possibly overcooked. Nonetheless, the Wok-fried Sliced Venison was one star dish that I dug in with gusto even though I was almost filled to the brim. The Angel Loofah added a nice slimy mouthfeel to the already tender venison and some of that gravy, a rich, inviting brown, that settled at the bottom of the crispy calls out to be spooned over rice. 
But there was something better than rice in this case. The Braised Noodles with Prawn, Ginger and Spring Onions was a superbly flavorful bowl that soaked up the essence of the stock. The noodles were thinner than what you would find in other Chinese restaurants--almost like angel hair pasta--boasting a nice springy bite that encouraged splurping. 
Desserts that followed was a platter of classic Chinese desserts such as Mango Sago Pomelo, Aloe Vera Jelly and snowskin mooncakes since Mid-Autumn Festival was around the corner. But the highlight was none other than the pristine clear Double-boiled Pear with Ginko Nuts ($12/portion). The soup was perfumed with the light scents of poached pears and only mildly sweetened with dried longans. 

But if you have space for more, the Salted Egg Yolk Lava buns ($6/3pcs) are must try. An eruption of intense salted egg yolk awaits beneath the soft, white cover and the generously of lava might leave you utterly dumbfounded for seconds before you panicked in a desperate attempt to catch the remnants of golden liquid on the plate. 

Chef's Tasting Menu $76++/ pax (Min 2 pax)

Summer Palace 
Level 3 Regent Hotel
Lunch: 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm (Mon-Sat); 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (Sun)
Dinner: 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm daily

Reservations: summerpalace.rsn@fourseasons.com
Tel: +65 6725 3288
http://regenthotels.com/regent-singapore/dining/summer-palace

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