Friday, September 22, 2006

Szechuan Court

Met up with a few friends in town for a leisurely dinner at Szechuan Court @ Raffles The Plaza last night. As we strolled into the restaurant at about 1945hrs, we were shown to our table – a nicely done semi private area that had a glowing view of the Esplanade and translucent curtains by the side that you could pull for more privacy. With its red fa├žade, it truly made for an oriental style theme. There were only a handful of such tables around and credit goes to my friend who got us such excellent seats. The waitress who attended to us was also friendly and patient enough to give her undivided attention to us for a whole 15mins whilst we were contemplating on our orders. After some hassle, we decided on the Szechuan duck smoked with camphor and tea (can’t remember the exact name), which was a specialty there; Coffee Pork Ribs, as recommended by the waitress; Spinach with 3 types of eggs (century egg, salted egg and normal egg), again recommended by the waitress and not on the menu; pan fried cod fish with garlic; deep fried bacon rolls with golden mushrooms, a special order not on the menu and Szechuan red bean paste pancake.

The coffee pork ribs were average and I couldn’t taste any coffee at all, although I could see a sprinkling of coffee at the side of the dish. (Think it was more for decoration purposes) Tasted like your normal pork ribs at cooked food stalls. The smoked duck was another let down. It wasn’t smoked with tea homogenously. The upper portions had no taste of tea whatsoever, whereas the lower portions near the ribs had a strong tea taste; too strong in fact. However, the duck skin was nicely done and crispy throughout and it came with these cute looking “man tous” which was soft and chewy on the inside, but a little dry and floury on the outside.

I personally dislike century egg, thus the spinach with the 3 types of eggs didn’t sit well with me. But I’ve got to admit that it’s something not commonly seen. And I found the spinach a little too soggy for my liking. The bacon rolls with golden mushrooms were nice with the mayonnaise, but I found it difficult to bite through the golden mushrooms, which were clumped together. This dish seems more like what you would have for dim sum and not dinner. It was commendable nevertheless. The codfish was good, with the slightly fishy taste countered by the minced garlic. The flesh was soft yet firm.

Red bean paste pancake has always been one of my favourite desserts and the Szechuan red bean paste pancake didn’t disappoint. The top was coated with sesame seeds, which exuded a nice fragrance. The flour was chewy without being too thick and the red bean paste filling was smooth and not too sweet. This is comparable to the one I had at Thomson Village Delight, if not better! To wash it all down, we had their “liang cha”(herbal tea) concoction of sugar cane and “luo han guo”. It was warm and sweet and provided a good end to the meal.

At about $37 a head ($18.50 after 50% discount), I found the price pretty reasonable for a restaurant of its standing. I had expected to pay something to the tune of $50/head before discount, which is pretty minimal for other fine dining establishments. Do try it out if you like a nice place to enjoy a leisurely dinner at a wallet friendly price. Remember to reserve those pretty little semi private dining areas for that special dinner. And oh yes, I understand that the management of Szechuan Court is contemplating an increase in their prices soon, so give it a try before that becomes a reality. ;)

Entrance of Szechuan Court

Our table

Our table again

The menu

The appetisers

Coffee pork ribs

Deep fried bacon roll with golden mushrooms

Cod fish with garlic

Szechuan duck smoked with camphor and tea

Spinach with 3 types of egg

An overview of our dishes(1 dish is not in the picture though)

The smoked duck up close. Notice the smoked portions

The delightful Szechuan red bean paste pancake

The bill

Final Verdict:
Food:6.5/10 (8.5/10 for the pancake)
Value for money:6.5/10 (Without discount)


Address: Raffles the Plaza 3rd floor. Reservations recommended.

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