|Janice & I talking about the wide variety of seafood on offer.|
|The nice airy ambience was a pretty welcoming and inviting experience to us diners.|
The latest venture of Chef Yong Bing Ngen is surely pretty promising. With his reputation cemented in the world of pan-Asian fusion cuisine, (Jing@One Fullerton & Majestic Restaurant come to mind) stakes are pretty high for this venture. The wide variety of live seafood (some rarer than others) include leopard garoupa and Empurau (costing an eye-popping $780/kg), so seafood fans, you've been warned.
So I guess the place was nice enough for the evening as I remember it, with the balmy breezes by the Marina Bay Gardens making it a pretty pleasant evening. The contemporary decor, with the bright turquoise chairs and airy floor to ceiling windows, made its nearest competitors (Jumbo?) feel quite a little bit dated. Of course, loving design, I quite like it's logo… :P
Okay. On to the food. Since we only had the 4 of us, it was a cosy dinner and we first started off with the har gao ($4.80 for 4 pcs). Ideally, good har gao to me always has this bouncy, firm, non-soggy-wet texture, and this certainly was quite like that. It had this fundamental attribute, and then some - the prawn was sufficiently sweet and fresh, a dim sum staple done well. I was impressed, and took it as a harbinger of more good things to come.
Who can forget dim sum without its brother, siew mai ($4.50 for 4 pcs) right! I guess the siew mai here to me was pretty okay - but it had a nice light touch, and a "fresher" taste to it. I suspect the mushroom inside was doing the job of neutralizing the somewhat sometimes gelak meat-oily flavour you sometimes get in low quality siew mai (not that I was expecting that from such an establishment). It was good.
|Xiao long bao|
The xiao long bao ($4.20 for 3pcs) is another popular dim sum staple nowadays, despite its distant associations with traditional cantonese cuisine. The xiao long bao here doesn't disappoint - the stock is light, slightly sweet on top of the savoury flavours that characterise the meat inside. The skin is sufficiently thin, not too dry to feel like flour-y, and was an exquisite interpretation of this popular delicacy. For me, it stood out by a mile because unlike normal xiao long bao, this one had no game-y 肉腥味 smell to it. Instead, the essence of the xiao long bao was condensed into this light, potent and memorable flavour that lingered in my mind weeks after tasting it.
|The surprisingly good chilli crab buns.|
|The chilli crab meat bun. Munched open.|
But I guess the star of the show was the chilli crab meat bun ($4.50 for 3 pcs). Done like a mantou style, if you like dipping fried mantou buns in your chilli crab sauce, this is for you - the sweet-savoury sensations of that familiar crab-eating ritual is now packaged into a more convenient package for you to savour. It tastes exactly… like that I guess. Except with a stronger sesame accents.
|The pretty homely tasting soup of the day.|
|Some of the ingredients in the soup of the day|
We had this soup of the day ($18 for 2-4 pax; $27 for 5-8 pax) that consisted of corn, red and green carrot, bak kut and more. It tasted homely, and well and good I guess, but for its price… I do have some reservations. It was sweet because of the corn and green carrot, and again, was light with totally no absence of the oil and heavy richness normally associated with double boiled cantonese soups.
|the life-changing carrot cake with XO chilli sauce|
I have to say, the soup and dim sum did clearly pale in comparison to the life-changing carrot cake I was about to have then. I've had many a so-called "XO fried carrot cake" from tze char stalls and famed hawker stalls, but to much disappointment. But this did change my view on XO carrot cakes somewhat. For ($20 for 2-4pax; $30 for 5-8pax), I have to say that yes, it's on the expensive side, but the fried mini shrimps and sweet, succulent prawns inside the radish cake was nothing short of heavenly. The potent taste of the shrimp hit all the right touches of salty, a little oily (but the sinful kind, not the gelak kind) and the radish was sweet. And of course, the XO chilli sauce gave the potent kick of spicy tanginess in all the right spots in my mouth as this delicacy soon melted. Too many superlatives here that I come across as exceedingly superfluous now. So I leave you to try it and rest my case.
|The very much hyped about kopi crabs|
The much acclaimed Kopi crabs (market price) was up next. So much has been talked about them. I was eager to have a taste of these much hyped-about crabs after hearing all the chatter about how good they were in the food blogosphere. I wasn't too sure about the claims of its originality though, but that didn't matter - it does taste like… popcorn crab. (Yes, I should rightly attribute this description to ieatishootipost) Sweet caramel fighting with the occasional bitterness from the coffee, this crab was flambeed with a mixture of coffee liquor and rice wine spirit upon serving. The glaze is actually made up of a mixture of 3 types of coffee beans and apple marmalade for a fuller texture and thus makes it less sharp, bitter and slightly burnt flavour that is sometimes associated with flambeed coffee. The crab is of course, a 1.2-1.4kg Sri Lankan crab - too big and the meat will not be as succulent, too small and there's too little meat. While most crab lovers like the harmonious savoury richness that typically goes on in crab dishes like chilli crab/black pepper crab/salted egg crab, this contrast of sweet and savoury adds a fresh new take on eating crab, one that I must say is pretty addictive.
|Baked rice, assorted seafood, chef’s recipe sauce|
I thought the dish that was most memorable and sinful to top it all off was the baked rice with assorted seafood and chef's recipe sauce ($68 for 4-6pax, $88 for 7-12 pax). With a bounty (literally) of seafood ingredients including baby abalone (YUMMY SWEET THIS ONE), mussels, prawns and too many others to fathom in the sea of the creamy curry sauce, this melting pot of flavours was a potent harmony of power packed taste sensations. Somehow, the chef was able to meld in all the freshness of the seafood with the rich, savoury, tangy sauce. (I say tangy because he added spices and curry to the mix, which made it less gelak, if not it would really seem like a seafood risotto) This is no mean feat, I have to say. Think of it as an Indian seafood risotto.
|The Mochi-like fresh cream dumplings and the yam paste glutinous rice dumpling with shredded coconut|
|The Orange Liu Sha Bao & Red Bean Pancake|
The meal ended with a "Sweet Temptation" ($20 for 4 pax) which included a selection of desserts - a glutinous rice dumpling with Yam Paste (Or Nee) stuffing and shredded coconut, another mochi like dumpling with a fresh cream filling, a liu sha bao (Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun) and a Red Bean Paste Chinese Pancake. All was, i have to say, sufficiently yummy. My favourite was the "or nee" dumpling, because the interesting sweet crunchiness of the shredded coconut was a nice smooth contrast to the smooth, intense, creamy sweetness of the yam paste. Another interesting highlight was the orange liu sha bao - we were told that they decided to make it more appetising by making it more visually appealing, but I guess it tastes pretty much the same. It was slightly sweeter than what I liked though.
If you feel like the idea of having a more lighter, updated twist to a traditional Chinese seafood restaurant, then Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant is definitely a good choice. I did enjoy the very attentive service (and not intrusive, at that), airy ambience and a good, lighter edge to the sometimes heavy and rich realm of Cantonese cuisine. If you do have friends eager to have a hip look into the seafood scene, drop by Majestic Bay. You'll definitely not regret it.
Special thanks to Janice Yong and Sherman from Foodnews at hosting this invited session.
Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant
Lunch: Mon to Fri 11.45AM-2.30PM
Sat, Sunday & Public Holidays: 11.30AM - 2.30PM
Dinner: 5.45PM - 9.30PM
18 Marina Gardens Drive
#01-10 Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Tel: 6604 6604