It is just another 3 sleeps away from Christmas and if you are still looking for the right place to spend Christmas eve or Christmas day itself, it can be a refreshing option to try modern Chinese cuisine instead of the usual choice of steak and salad. Empress is a modern Cantonese restaurant located at the Asian Civilisation Museum. Part of the Prive Group, Empress has won many dining accolades like The Straits Times & Lianhe Zaobao Best Asian Restaurant Bronze Awards 2018, Wine & Dine Magazine Singapore’s Top Restaurants Best Ambience 2017/2018 and One Star Michelin Guide 2017.
Nestled along the Singapore River, Empress has an outdoor terrace boasting spectacular views of the Singapore River and CBD skyline.
The indoor seating nicely furnished with contemporary style of lush cushioned seating and low dim modern lightings and an attractive cocktail bar. Each table good space separation for a good private experience.
The menu has an equally posh look with a bounded leather cover. There are a couple of dinner sets for sharing which includes some of the signature dishes of Empress. For our group, we took the Empress signatures set menu for 3.
As a pre-dinner snack, we were served prawn and tapioca crackers. The serving was precise to 1 piece per person. The snacks were freshly fried and very crispy as you can still see the glistening oil on the cracker.
There was a choice of 2 appetisers from a list of 5 items. We chose the crispy cod in bi feng tang style which is basically with fried garlic and chilli. The cod was very creamy and crispy with nice fragrant of the garlic. The servings is quite small but the quality is very good
Our next choice was the crispy duck with salad which had very refreshing pomelo chunks and sweet wolf berries. The spinach leaves were crunchy and fresh and the strips of sweet crunchy pear brings a nice tanginess to the entire dish.
After the appetiser course was the soup and we could select 1 soup each. There were only 3 choices so we had 1 each. The first was the coconut chicken soup with prawns which had an extremely sweet and clear broth.
The next soup was the clay pot supreme chicken soup with dumplings which had huge meaty dumplings in a partially creamy collagen soup full of umami flavours. The soup was good to every single drop.
The last soup is the common sour and spicy soup which you can find in many other Chinese restaurants. While the soup looks really general and plain, one spoon of it brought surprise to my taste buds. The balance of the sour and spiciness was so on point that I can officially say this is the Best sour and spicy soup I ever had. This small bowl of soup had great flavours and fantastic texture.
The next item is a fixed item on the set menu which is a sampling plate of their famous Cantonese roast meats. The plate includes the honey barbeque pork, crispy crackling roast pork and dark sauce braised pork. Each piece came in a delicate 1 piece per guest only. Out of the 3 kinds of meats, the crackling roast pork is the best and most memorable with the right level of crispiness in the skin. The other 2 items are quite nice but not memorable.
From the mains menu, we could select 2 types of mains, our first choice is the steam halibut wrapped in lotus leaf. The fish was soft and creamy enhanced with a light whiff of lotus leaf taste and seasoned with soy sauce, onions and spring onions. The dish was very light and refreshing.
Our 2nd dish was the sesame chicken which had a very crispy and nutty skin flavoured by the roasted sesame seeds. The chicken meat is very tender and juicy and goes well with the sour plum sauce provided with the dish.
The carbo dish we chose was the lobster yee mee noodle and we had to top up an additional $6 per person. Each portion was a half lobster with a savoury thick egg sauce which the noodle absorbed perfectly well.
Next was the desserts where we could select our own just like the soup. We had the sticky date and longan pudding which was very sweet and dense with a strong taste of longan. The raspberry ice cream and walnuts paired with the cake very well and at this stage, the servings size was just perfect to fill up the dessert space.
The mango pudding with ice cream was very nice but not extraordinary.
Overall, the experience at Empress was very good with some extremely well executed dishes and a very romantic atmosphere. The service was also impeccable.
Address: 1 Empress Pl, #01-03 Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 179555
Operating hours: 11 am to 3 pm , 6 pm to 11 pm