We were craving badly for a good dinner with my parents after staying at home for almost 6 months and we decided to head to Spring Court which is the oldest Chinese restaurant established since 1929.
Nestled along a row of old shophouses, Spring Court is called Wing Choon Yuan which symbolises Eternal Spring Garden in Cantonese is currently managed by the 3rd generation in the family business and is well-loved amongst many Cantonese families for their fare of traditional Cantonese dishes.
They have 4 stories of the dining area and private rooms with elevators for the elderly. To facilitate drivers, they also provide valet parking services at a fee during their operational hours.
The interior of the restaurant is spacious and whilst nostalgic, it has a certain modern flair that complements the old restored shophouse. The grey and dark brown furnishings kind of reminds me of the black and white era when the restaurant was born.
The restaurant as first set up by their grandfather in 1929 in Great World ( The old great world ) moving on to Chinatown, East Coast and finally back to Upper Cross Street which is its current location. You can see from the multiple pictures on the wall, the numerous occasions like birthdays, weddings celebrated at the restaurant in their original location.
It was really interesting to see all the historic pictures all around the walls and it was like a trip down memory lane for the older members of the family. They even framed up an old booking receipt for the restaurant in 1961 which is kept in pristine condition.
Spring Court is apparently famous for their costly spring rolls ( Popiah) which has a special counter at one side of the restaurant where orders are made freshly. As we were here for dinner, we gave this a miss.
The menu is quite standard like other Chinese restaurants with a variety of meat, seafood, vegetables and rice dishes while they have a special signature menu which highlights some of their popular dishes for first-timers.
One of the most famous dishes at Spring Court is their Peking duck
The server told us she has been slicing Peking ducks for over 20 years and we can definitely tell from the paper-thin slices of skin she slices off the duck in front of our eyes. They will ask for your preference for the skin; with meat or just purely skin. We opted for pure skin to enjoy the crispiness of it.
Their service is so good that they even wrap the duck skin in egg skin and sweet sauce so that diners will not have to dirty their hands.
I usually have a cucumber together with the wrap to balance the sweetness of the sauce. The Peking duck skin at Spring court was fabulous as the skin was extremely crispy and fragrant as light natural oil from beneath the skin oozes out when you bite into it.
We opted for the rest of the duck to be chopped and served. Usually, in other restaurants, the duck is roughly chopped up into big pieces since this option is free of charge. Spring Court actually took it one level up by deboning the duck and serving nicely sliced duck meat arranged in the neatest and pleasing manner. For those who prefer to stir fry the duck meat with black pepper or spring onions can do so by adding an additional preparation charge. Other than a great presentation, the duck meat was very succulent and flavourful. You could taste the natural sweetness of the duck with complementing light seasoning.
Another famous dish is this dragon chicken which is actually chicken stuffed with prawn paste and roasted till golden brown and crispy. I’m really not sure how this dish is made but it is amazing to bite into a mix of chicken meat and prawn stuffing with the crispy chicken skin on top.
With the addition of the prawn paste, the entire piece has a crunchy texture and combines with the chicken meat well to give a well balanced and light taste.
This other dish is the braised sea cucumber with mushrooms which is also a favourite amongst Cantonese family as it is full of collagen and is great for both the young and old. The key for this dish to taste great is using quality sea cucumber, mushroom and sauce. Spring Court version was very good as the sea cucumber is crunchy and meaty and huge and bursting with flavours from the hours of braising it in the sauce. The mushrooms were also juicy and flavourful with a sauce that is just nice and not too salty.
The next dish we had was the clay pot beancurd which is full of ingredients like prawn, mushrooms, carrots and more. The dish was tasty generally and complemented a bowl of rice perfectly.
This dish is spinach with 3 kinds of egg cooked in light gravy which is also commonly found in many restaurants. The dish is balanced with the salty flavours from the salted egg, creamy taste from the century egg and umami taste from the egg and gravy cooked with stock.
For our last dish, we had the fried rice vermicelli since it was a celebration for my Mom’s birthday which symbolises having a long life. Unlike some other restaurants where their vermicelli is oily and heavy, this version is very light and the noodles were very springy. There was hardly any oil on the plate and the noodles were easily finished.
Overall, the dinner at Spring Court was fantastic and it is always fully booked so you will have to make reservations before heading down. Due to the COVID situation now, you can pretty much walk in for a table or even order them for pick up. For me, I still think if you want to experience the Peking duck, having it there is important. I highly recommend this restaurant for those wanting to taste traditional Chinese cuisine flavours and the pictures will allow you to walk down the historic past of old Singapore.
Address: 52-56 Upper Cross St, Singapore 058348
Operating hours: 11 am to 2.30 pm and 6 to 10 pm