Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yan Ting

Had dim sum at Yan Ting, the flagship Chinese restaurant of the latest and swankiest hotel in town, the 6 stars St Regis Singapore. Helmed by Chef Chan Siu Kong, a Hong Konger who spent more than 10 years with the Tung Lok Group, Yan Ting promises a gastronomical treat of authentic Cantonese dishes served in a modern presentation.

Interior & Menu

The grandeur of the hotel is apparent and it extends to Yan Ting. The decor is predominantly eastern with western influences and decked out in hues of black and gold. A low ceiling coupled with a tasteful chandelier, classy stained glass panels and artworks depicting various greenery adorn the cosy dining area. Heavy wooden chairs with floral designs and waitresses in complementary black and gold uniforms complete the setup. Even the cutlery screams expensive. The chopsticks, chopstick rests and spoons are gold plated and inlaid with jade pieces. Talk about fine dining. One thing that sets Yan Ting apart from other Chinese restaurant is its dim sum pricing. Other restaurants charge dim sum by per steamer/plate whereas Yan Ting does it per piece.

Amuse Bouche

Most Chinese restaurants don't dish out appetisers but hey its free so I'm not complaining. This particular amuse bouche was cucumber stuffed with chicken. Quite a treat actually. The cucumber was crunchy and a tad juicy, complementing the light smoky taste of the chicken.

Ha Kao ($2 each)

Thin yet firm skin coupled with fresh and crunchy prawns. How much better can Ha Kao get? Not much really. Yan Ting's rendition is really one of the best that I've tried so far. But at $2, its ridiculously more expensive than the competition. Think Royal China or Wah Lok.

Chives Dumpling ($2 each)

This is the first time I'm eating this and honestly I'm not impressed. Sure the skin was nicely pan fried but the chives seemed rather bland and the whole dumpling was a little soggy on the whole.

Glutinous Chicken Wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($1.80 each)

Usually I steer away from this dish because its really oily but Yan Ting's rendition didn't leave me feeling like my arteries had been clogged up. However, having said that, it didn't quite meet expectations. For starters, it wasn't fragrant enough or tasty enough. It definitely didn't help that portion size was minute. Personally I felt that the only saving grace was the light hint of lotus leaf taste which the rice carried.

Siew Mai ($2 each)

I would say the siew mai was quite good, with predominantly lean meat sans the overwhelming pork taste and a nice smooth skin to boot. Texture wise was also quite pleasing, smooth with the occasional roughage.

Char Siew Pastry ($1.60 each)

Undoubtedly the star of the meal, as agreed on by everyone around the table. The char siew pastry aka char siew sou, in my humble opinion, is really second to none in Singapore. Fragrant with lightly sweet and lean char siew enveloped in a fluffy light pastry with a buttery overtone. One is really not enough. We were so close to ordering another round of this wonderful dish.

Xiao Long Bao ($4 each)

Honestly, $4 for a single Xiao Long Bao is pure madness. However, I'll be the first to admit that the XLB was nothing short of excellent. Bigger than your usual XLB, Yan Ting's offering had copious amounts of soup contained within the soft yet firm skin. Its really amazing how well the skin holds up even though its evident that the juices within are straining to gush out at the slightest break. The filling of meat is tender and smooth as well, capping what I consider to be one of the best XLBs I've eaten in a very long while.

XO Cheong Fun ($4 each)

Another first for me. I've never seen cheong fun done this way before. Stir fried with XO sauce, and tasting very much like our very own Char Kway Teow. Probably I'm just not used to this form of cheong fun as I found it average and very oily. What a bummer for $4.

Radish Cake ($1.60 each)

Pan fried till lightly charred on the surface, the radish cake didn't offer too many surprises. Soft, smooth and tasty but I've definitely tried better ones.

Egg Tart ($1.60 each)

One of only 2 pastry items on the menu (the other being the char siew pastry), the egg tart was excellent as well, due largely in part to the wonderfully light and buttery pastry. Credit must also go to the egg custard filling which was good in its own right, smooth and not too sweet with a slight "eggish" taste. There's the problem of tiny portions though.

BBQ Pork Bun ($1.60 each)

I didn't find the char siew bao very outstanding although it was definitely in the above average region. Soft fluffy bao skin encompassing delectable, not too sweet char siew pieces. Terribly expensive though.

Custard Steamed Bun ($1.60 each)

I have the tendency to always order custard buns whenever and wherever they are available. Yan Ting's rendition didn't leave me impressed. Sure it was piping hot when served but the custard wasn't fragrant or tasty enough. Overall still decent though.

Beancurd Roulette ($1.80 each)

This was unexpectedly different from what I'm used to. The skin in this case was slightly thicker and deep fried till it became crispy and a little hard, just like deep fried spring roll skin. Thicker skins usually absorb more oil, hence it wasn't exactly a very pleasant experience eating the beancurd roulette. But I must say that the filling was actually quite good.

Mango Pomelo & Sweet Pumpkin/Almond

Didn't get to try either of the desserts so no comments about them. Both didn't come cheap though.

Bird's Nest Jelly

Finally! A bird's nest dessert that doesn't cost an arm or leg. Well almost. The orb shaped jelly had a few strands of birds nest lodged within and I'm pretty sure those would have gone unnoticed it if it wasn't for the fact that I was scrutinizing the jelly for them. Overall a nice and sweet but expensive ending to lunch.


Yan Ting's dim sum was a case of hits and misses but even then, the misses were still above average and very palatable. But there's a price to pay and that amounted to almost $205 for the 5 of us. As mentioned earlier, Yan Ting charges dim sum by the piece so bear that in mind and order wisely or you might just walk away alot poorer. To end off on a high note, the service was very professional and attentive, capping off, in my own humble opinion, an excellent dim sum session.

Likes: Good food, good service, good ambience
Dislikes: Very pricey

Final Verdict:
Food:8/10 (9/10 for the char siew pastry)
Value for money:6/10


Address: St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road

Contact: 6506-6888

Opening Hours: 11.45am to 3.30pm, 6 to 11pm



red fir said...

FP: I think for exquisite and very fine dimsum, if you must, Jiang Nan Chun at Four Seasons hotel is a good choice. They charge by piece too, but quality and taste wise is excellent. Yan Ting's prices are really unconscionable IMHO.

fatpig said...

Hi ice,I've tried Jiang Nan Chun and it was quite a bad experience actually. Service was rather unfriendly and the food wasn't really good. But that was slightly more than a year ago so maybe things have improved since =)

His Food Blog said...

1 piece of Har Gao and Siew Mai for $2. I reckon I will go broke if I ever ventured such a atas dim sum place.

fatpig said...

HFB: don't make it sound so bad. haha.

HairyBerry said...

i've been looking for a good dim sum rest. in town and most seems to be quite a disappointment...will check out this for the steep price, i'll just order less lar since it's by piece..haha!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your excellent review !

I recently went to Wan Hao at Marriot Restaurant, really like their dim sum, which has slight variations from the normal Hong Kong dim sum. About $75 for 2, including a plate of noodles, which I think are very reasonable. This is my current most favourite dim sum place. I have also been to Jiang Nan Chun a few times, but like Wan Hao better now.

Wonder how Yan Ting compares to Wan Hao.

fatpig said...

Hi tamarind, I've been to Wan Hao only for their dinner but have never tried their dim sum. I should probably go down one day to try it out. =)

Anonymous said...

We have revamped our dim sum portioning and prices for almost 4 months. You would find it much more value for money with the same great taste and service standard. We have also started a weekend Dim Sum Brunch. At $68 per person, it includes a bowl of shark's fin, half a lobster as well as unlimited ordering from our special brunch menu which includes almost 70 items including dim sum, a la carte items and desserts. Give us a try again! Ask for Danny

fatpig said...

Hi Danny, if you are the Danny that I think you are, I still have your namecard in my holder. Will definitely go back and try. Thanks!