Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Super Tree Dining: Eating in style at the Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay just opened last week. This billion dollar gardens, set in the reclaimed land of Marina South is an amazing combination of the natural beauty of bonatical speciments interspersed with man-made monstrosities like Supertrees. And greenhouses. But today's post is about dining options while at the gardens.

At time of writing, I think the only dining option is the newly minted concept of a mixing fine dining with Singapore hawker favourites.

Click on image above to see a large panorama (1920 pixels wide) of the dining environment. Each of the participants -- Peach Garden Noodle House, Hill Street Coffee Shop, Casa Verde, Canele, and Texas Fried Chicken occupy a lot along one wall. Dining is free seating, and diners are free to pick and choose from any of the outlets and share on the same table. Like a very high end food court.

I was there for the media launch event, and a huge menu was prepared for our lunch, after the customary speeches. Each participating outlet elected to show off several of their favourites. I start with Hill Street Coffee Shop:

Conceptually, like a traditional kopi tiam of old, the store takes its name from the iconic Hill Street area. Offering interesting local delicacies.

First the kopi.

And a very delicious and enticing variant of the more common butter kaya toast...instead of toast bread, the white bread is steamed

I found this to be excellent. Steaming bread makes it a bit more springy, and the texture very nice. The kaya was fragrant, sweet. And the semi-melted butter completed the palate experience.

A Hokkien Prawn Mee was also served:

Excellent. Fragrant, crustacean flavours abound. The chilli had a nice punch.

Their signature Kampung Rendang Chicken Nasi Lemak

The chicken rendang was rich, tender and beautifully rendered (no pun on rendang...haha). The rice had a beautiful coconut flavour and was nicely complemented by the tart acid of the achar. The texture contrast was offered by the crisp and crunchy nuts and deep fried ikan bilis. Chilli was also nice with a good kick.

Laksa...Singapore's favourite

Very rich broth. Chilli picked up a punch to cut through the richness. With sliced boiled egg, prawns, fish cake to complete the dish.

On to Peach Garden's offerings...First the Steamed Xiao Loong Pao with goose liver and double boiled shark's bone cartilage soup.

This is XLP with a difference. Not only the traditionally made XLP was done well and tasted good, but the XLP also sits in its own broth of shark's cartilage soup...a thick, collagen soup which felt so supremely nourishing. This is by far my favourite dish of the day.

A special kampung chicken rice was also served

The rice is made with basmati...as we make it at home...the chicken is imported Malaysian kampung chicken...note the yellow hue of the skin, characteristic of the kampung chicken. The meat was tender, but also provided a bit of bite, and had a chicken-ny (sorry, seems to be the best way to describe the flavour...beef - beefy...so chicken - chickeny). Of course, a typical chicken rice is proped up with great condiments...chilli, ginger and black sauce.

More common is the prawn dumpling noodle

Quite de rigeur, nice but not special. Everything is right...the dumplings had each a large, succulent, crunchy prawn. The noodles were done perfect. The broth nice.

And a special pau...steamed chicken bun with baby abalone

I found this to be very good. The pau skin was tender, airy, fluffy. The meat nicely seasoned. The small baby abalone provided an additional treat - sweet, succulent with the springy, slightly tough texture of the abalone contrasting to the lightness of the pastry.

The Peach Garden desserts feature a selection of shaved ice served in their own skin...so to speak...

Casa Verde, already a successful outlet in Botanic Gardens, extend their botanical aspirations to Gardens by the Bay with their second outlet. The salad was fresh, colourful and fun

Being Italian inspired, the outlet specializes in pizza and pasta...here are two of their more unusual offerings. First the Sfilatino...a wet Italian bread served with cheese and a tomato, bean dip.

And every kid's favourite - baked macaroni with cheese

And there was more! From Texas Fried Chicken...which boasts of using only fresh chilled chicken from Malaysia...their huge fried chicken...in crispy spicy and also traditional batter

I must applaud them for using fresh chicken...no frozen chicken taste...just smooth, succulent with a wonderful crunchy batter covering.

Their firewrap...a tortila wrap with fried chicken breast and vegetables. A nice all in one meal.

And Canele Patisserie wrapped up the heavy eating afternoon with pastries...everyone's favourites: Macarons

This edition is their special summer macarons...with fresh fruity flavours. I am not too much of a sweet tooth, so found the macarons a bit too sweet, but the flavours were robust.

Not much of a sweet tooth, but with a soft spot for ice cream...their chocholate caramel ice cream was heaven!

Wow, what a meal. Nice place to dine, beautiful environs, good food.

This is an invited review. Thanks to Hsu Lin at Ninemer for the invitation.

Supertree Dining
Gardens by the Bay
7:30am to 10pm daily

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