Text by Holydrummer, Photos by ieat
Nestled within the Tanjong Pagar enclave is a chi-chi Chinese restaurant resplendent with contemporary chinoiserie decor. Helmed by Executive Head Chef Kelvin Sim, who seeks to transform traditional Chinese cuisine by channelling his culinary creativity into crafting exquisite & elegant modern masterpieces, Pavillion Restaurant offers to redefine the art of Modern Chinese fine dining for discerning diners.
But before any innovation is incorporated into the dishes, the foundation must be firm.
For starters, the benchmark is set with their Dim Sum selection. Pavillion's signature Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao delivers on all accounts with the translucent skin revealing its fine, delicate texture; just about the right thickness to hold in the tasty & generous amount of hot soup when picked up by the chopsticks, testimony to the sublime skill in the kitchen. 4.25/5
Soups are the mainstay of classic Cantonese cuisine and Pavillion takes pride in boiling up a bowl of goodness. Their Double-boiled Shark's Cartilage Soup with Fish Maw and Bamboo Pith ($18) is the perfect remedy to boost a weak constitution and a favourite with the ladies for its purported presence of a certain "Vitamin C" ('C' for collagen). 4/5
The Pan-Seared Foie Gras with Grape Salsa, Sliced Peking Duck ($18) might sound like a mish-mash of mistaken culinary identity, but visually it paints every bright bit of the colourful rainbow. On the palat(t)e, this dish showcases a marvelous marriage of independent ingredients, each of them able to hold their own, yet brilliantly combined to conjure and tantalise the tastebuds with a thousand textures; the crackling skin paired with the richness of the liver, with the grape salsa providing a refreshing contrast and counterbalance to cut through the creaminess of the dish. 4.5/5
The Pan-Seared Scallops and Baked SuFang with Avocado Topping was served with the same exacting standards. The shattering crisp of the beancurd sheet lay atop a bed of firm yet tender scallops while still retaining its crunch and bite, with the side of avocado salad adding spice to the dish. 4.25/5
As for the Grilled Baby Lamb Rack in Red Wine Sauce ($18), it was well done (no pun intended - actually it was done medium-well). However, in the face of excited and heightened expectations with the previous dishes setting the precedent, the lamb - though well-executed and tender to the bite - just, well, managed to pass muster. 4/5.
At first glance, the Crispy Durian Ice Cream with Satsumaimo ($12) resembled a chef's toque. Beyond the batter was a core of premium D24 Durian ice cream. Served on Japanese purple sweet potato mash which was not cloyingly sweet, I was pleasantly surprised that the dessert was deceptively light, and not as heavy as it looked. 4.25/5
The difference is the attention to detail. I personally appreciate the fact that all the dishes are served individually plated. In maintaining the spirit of Chinese community dining, they also do have the option of sharing portions, which is preferable for a family gathering. Service is also attentive and stellar, making it the perfect place to host a Chinese business luncheon. If you are looking to discern Modern Chinese cuisine and fine dining, Pavillion certainly defines this refining art.
20, Craig Road
Lunch 11am to 2:30pm
Dinner 6pm to 10:30pm
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