Mmmhhhh, Sticky and Sweet Pork Ribs...just look at these caramelised babies and you swear you smell the aroma. Better yet, head down to Empress at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), so you can actually savour the fatty goodness on your tongue.
The excellent ribs are part of a platter:
Triple Roast Platter 燒味三品拼: 叉燒 、燒排骨 、燒肉(S$28)
Empress Char Siew, Crackling Roast Pork, Empress Sticky & Sweet Pork Ribs
The roast pork is fairly run-of-the-mill; the star is really the ribs. They totally overshadow the char siew, even though they seem to be a similar preparation.
Empress is the new jewel in The Prive Group's crown. It takes over where Indochine used to be. The Singapore riverfront is not only steeped in heritage but also makes a scenic vista for dining.
Empress is about modern Chinese cuisine grounded in tradition. The decor also balances Chinese elements with the museum's facade. Specially designed geometric patterned screens highlight the oriental elements throughout the interior, creating a sense of division between the museum courtyard, the main dining area and private dining room.
Central to the 86-seater indoor dining space is a large six-meter bar with tall open shelving designed to allow views through to the building’s historical walls.
The 14-seater private dining room, Canton, is dressed in warm browns and teal to set itself apart from the main dining area. It offers exclusivity for more intimate dining and features exquisite chinoiserie-inspired wallpaper.
But let's get back to the food...you can tell with me, it's food>ambiance!
Crispy Aromatic Duck Salad 手撕香酥鴨沙律 (S$18)
Baby Spinach, Micro Herbs, Asian Pomelo, Nashi Pears, Goji Berries, Cucumbers, Spring Onions, Chinese Figs, Plum-Citrus Dressing
It's East meets West with this salad. Crispy duck fritters on a bed of spinach, accented by sweet fruit and tangy dressing. Nice opener.
Crispy Eggplant & Pork Floss
This was exquisite. The eggplant was so soft, delicate and almost hollow. I don't know how they managed to plate it without crumbling everything. Generous sprinkling of pork floss and
King Prawn Dumpling in Supreme Broth 石鍋餛飩雞湯 (S$14)
Teapot Soup 茶壺黃燜海皇餃伴春卷
Supreme Broth with Pumpkin, Seafood Dumplings, Crispy Spring Rolls
I have to say I prefer the more traditional King Prawn soup; it made you feel all warm and nourished like Chinese soups should. The pumpkin one seemed a tad muted, although it had the crispy spring roll for textural contrast.
From the mains, here is a choice of a meat and a seafood dish each.
Singapore Chili King Prawns 辣椒蝦球伴炸饅頭
If you love chili crab but are deterred by having to deal with messy shells, try chili prawns instead. Served with Golden Mantou, this is a much easier way of enjoying Singapore's signature seafood dish. Sure, it's not quite the same, but the mantou is still a great way to mop things up.
Seared Angus Beef Tenderloin Cubes 黑椒蒜片安格斯牛仔粒
Garlic, Black Pepper Sauce
This was a simple but effective rendition, without excessive use of tenderiser.
Fried Brown Rice Medley 松子鮮菌露筍炒糙米飯 (S$20)
Hon Shimeji Mushrooms, Asparagus, Goji Berries, Pine Nuts
Most of us were too full by this juncture, but this carb dish was amazingly good. I'd say it's one of the best fried rice dishes I've had in a while. Plus it's a "healthy dish" with all the grains, plant proteins and antioxidants.
Dessert in Chinese restaurants tend to be quite simple and limited. But here you get all kinds of non-traditional almost fusion desserts to satisfy that sweet tooth. Look at the options (prices around S$12):
STEAMED MOLTEN EGG CUSTARD BUNS 蛋黃流沙包
CRISPY PROSPERITY NIAN GAO, YAM & SWEET POTATO STACK 脆皮香芋金薯年糕, 伴花生拖肥椰子雪糕
Salted Peanut Toffee, Coconut Ice Cream
CEMPEDAK CRÉME BRÛLÉE 小小菠蘿蜜、焦糖奶油布丁
Jackfruit in a creme brulee
PEANUT-COATED BLACK SESAME ‘MOCHI’ BALLS 擂沙湯圓伴日本黑芝麻雪糕
Black Sesame Sponge, Black Sesame Ice Cream
COCONUT CUSTARD WITH FILO PASTRY 香芒百香果脆爽餅,伴椰子雪糕
Thai Pineapple, Honey Mango, Passion Fruit Pearls, Coconut Ice Cream
STICKY DATE & LONGAN PUDDING 中东棗龍眼布丁蛋糕、椰子糖奶油 酱、 核桃、伴枸杞子蜜漿雪糕
Gula Melaka Butterscotch, Walnuts, Goji Berry & Vanilla Swirl Ice Cream
CRISPY RED BEAN PANCAKE 自家制豆沙窩餅伴紅豆雪糕
Sesame Seeds, Red Bean Popsicle
JASMINE TEA-POACHED PEAR 茉莉花茶低溫浸水晶梨伴清湯冰沙
‘Cheng Teng’ Ice, Longan, Red Dates, Black Sago Pearls
Everyone liked different things. The sticky date pudding, coconut custard and nian gao were my personal favourites.
For large gatherings, EMPRESS offers set lunches and set dinners starting from $18 and $88 respectively. Those looking for a lighter lunch can also opt for a selection of Dim Sum (starting from S$5.20) which is served daily.
Speaking of dimsum, they have a Weekend Dim Sum Champagne Brunch! Adults S$58, Kids (aged 5-12) S$28 with two seatings 11:30am to 1:30pm, and 2pm onwards (MUMM and Jouet champagne is S$44 and S$60 extra).
I must come back and check that out. Especially the crispy bacon and prawn vermicelli roll!
1 Empress Place, Asian Civilisations Museum, #01-03, Singapore 179555
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Hours | EMPRESS
Monday - Sunday Lunch: 11.30am – 3pm (Last Order 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6pm – 11pm (Last Order 10.45pm)
Opening Hours| EMPRESS Bar
Sunday to Thursday 4pm – 12mn Friday & Saturday 4pm – 1am
Many thanks to The Prive Group for the invitation