Monday, January 28, 2013
Do You Like The Kopi Crab at Majestic Bay Restaurant (Gardens By the Bay)?
By now everyone would have heard of or maybe tried the "Kopi Crab" at Majestic Bay Restaurant at Gardens by the Bay. What do you think of it?
I got to interview Chef Yong Bing Ngen for a story in Makanation last year. The Kopi Crab is his invention to add some buzz to his new seafood restaurant. The classic dishes and crowd favourites are all there (chili crab, pepper crab, etc) but you need to have something innovative to stand out from the many seafood restaurants that compete on this little island.
Coffee and seafood aren't natural bedfellows, so it is quite interesting to see how the combination can work. Chef Yong said the inspiration came to him as he was sipping his morning coffee at a kopitiam, looking at the zi char signboards all offering the same old things. He wanted something unusual, and it was right under his nose.
Of course there were objections. But Chef Yong experimented with coffee for a few months and finally perfected the recipe using three kinds of coffee beans (Arabica, Brazil and white coffee), fruit juices, spices, apple jam and coffee liqueur.
Well, I do think it's a dramatic dish that engages all your senses. The Kopi Crab (market price) is flambéed at your table, so you get the aroma and sizzle before you tuck into the warm and sweetly savoury blend. In general, I've heard that people really enjoy the concept. Many have likened the caramelised flavour to that of popcorn.
Chef Yong has always wanted to open a seafood restaurant. His favourite food is fish, and freshwater fish in particular. This restaurant is different from his fine-dining outlets Majestic and Jing; here it's more casual and communal, very suited for family dining.
The outlet itself is cheerfully chic with nautical elements, sea-green turquoise and warm woods. You'll find it down the escalators, below the Flower Dome (no entrance fee required). It seats 110 comfortably and has a private dining room as well.
No Chinese seafood restaurant would be complete without a showcase of live fish. But what really impressed me here is the clear labelling of what each tank contained, complete with photos and fish names in both English and Chinese. Well, it turns out that lots of tourists ask, "What's this? What's that?" and the labels save the wait staff a lot of explanation time.
Steamed live prawns with minced garlic (market price)
Live seafood is indeed done well here. Garlic and good soy sauce enhance the natural sweetness of fresh seafood, although sometimes they can get a bit overpowering.
Majestic Bay also has dim sum, and I'm happy to say it's good dim sum. Har gau, siew mai, xiao long bao...oh, I must come back for lunch!
Seared chili crab meat bun (S$4.50 for three pieces)
Chili crab in a bun?
The soft bun seems to have soaked up the liquid part of the filling. Yes, this won raves around the table. While I agree this may be an easier way to eat chili crab, I still miss dunking the fried mantou and picking up loads of wet gravy with it.
Baked BBQ pork bun (S$4.20 for three pieces)
Oh have you ever seen such perfectly round and shiny buns? These were marvellous.
Soup of the day (S$18 small for 2-4 pax; S$27 medium for 5-8 pax)
Here it's pork ribs boiled til tender, plus a lot of goodies. The rich, warm broth just feels so good going down the gullet. Extremely fortifying, as a good soup should be.
Sauteed wild mushrooms, asparagus, minced garlic (S$18 small for 2-4 pax; S$27 medium for 5-8 pax)
Oh I really liked this one, even though it's just vegetables. So lusciously umami. This is going on my must-order list.
The other specialty that Chef Yong created for the new restaurant is the Portuguese-inspired Baked Rice with assorted seafood and a special sauce (S$68 for 4-6 pax; S$88 for 7-12 pax). This comfort dish tastes a little bit like Japanese curry rice! The local spices in the cream and baby abalones give it the Asian touch. Assorted seafood you certainly get - plump scallops, prawns, mussels - and it's all topped with mozzarella for a luxurious finish. Very filling, yes.
So there's lots more at Majestic Bay beyond Kopi Crab. I'm glad Chef Yong has finally realized his dream of having a seafood restaurant. One more place to bring your family and visiting friends for a nice seafood dinner or dim sum lunch!
MAJESTIC BAY RESTAURANT
Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-10
Tel: +65 6604 6604
Lunch (Mon-Fri) 11:45 am – 2:30pm
Lunch (Sat, Sun & PH) 11:30 am – 2:30pm
Dinner 5:45pm – 9:30pm
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