If you’re passing by the Asian Civilisations Museum just next to the Singapore River, you’ll be sure to notice this elegantly decorated contemporary Chinese restaurant that is the Empress. Serving executive set lunches on weekdays and all-you-can-eat dim sum brunches on weekends, the restaurant is also popular with the work crowd on weekday nights for unwinding with cocktails and snacks at the bar or it’s the perfect place for leisurely dinners on any day of the week.
Their a la carte menu features a selection of dim sum, appetisers, soups, seafood, meat, tofu, vegetable, rice and noodle dishes, desserts and also a good amount of vegetarian options too. On my visit there last week, the restaurant was fairly busy, mostly with executives having business lunches, but the restaurant is spacious with plenty of room for each table so you can have a relaxed and quiet meal. We decided to order a la carte rather than get the set lunch which I think was a better option for us as it allowed us to have more variety since choice for the set lunch is limited and it turned out to be better value too.
For the three of us, we ordered two Empress Dim Sum Platters ($9.80++ each), Seaweed & Pork Floss Prawn Croutons ($6.80++), Triple Roast Platter ($28++), King Prawns ($28++) and a bowl of steamed white rice ($3++). The food came out very quickly and all at once, carefully laid out on the table by the waitress.
The Empress Dim Sum Platter had one Har Gau (prawn dumpling), a Siu Mai (pork and shrimp dumpling), a Seafood & Spinach Dumpling, a Steamed Shanghai Soup Dumpling and a Mushroom and Corn Dumpling. All the dumplings were fresh and delicious, perfectly seasoned with delicate skins and plenty of filling. I especially liked the Mushroom and Corn Dumpling.
The Seaweed & Pork Floss Prawn Croutons were not really what I expected them to be, I thought they would be a bit like Chinese prawn toasts but nonetheless they were very tasty. They were a bit like deep fried prawn cakes coated in pork floss to give extra flavour and sweetness to the dish and they were served with a mango and sesame mayonnaise which had a very mild flavour, despite which there was not very much of it.
The Triple Roast Platter had a selection of roast meats including Empress Char Siew, Crackling Roast Pork and Empress Sticky & Sweet Pork Ribs. The Crackling Roast Pork was tender and juicy with crunchy crackling on top. The Empress Sticky & Sweet Pork Ribs were also a winner, the meat was incredibly tender and melt-in-the-mouth although there was a lot of fat. The Char Siew on the other hand was disappointing. The meat itself was tasty but you can probably see from the photo that it was completely burnt on top and this part was unfortunately inedible. The dish came with some pickled radish which was sweet and spicy and perfectly complemented the meat.
The King Prawns were done two ways. One deep fried and coated in salted egg yolk which was my favourite and the other was like the other prawn croutons that we had but was served with avocado mayonnaise and not pork floss.
Prawn crackers and yam crisps were given on the table with our meal too.
To finish the meal we had a Red Date & Nut Baklava ($12++) to share. It was unfortunately one of the worst baklava I’ve had. The baklava was hard and chewy and the filo pastry layers were not crisp, delicate and buttery like they should have been. The honey and fig ice cream was quite nice, smooth and creamy but it tasted more like vanilla ice cream with mashed figs.
As it was my birthday last month I was given a surprise Sticky Date & Longan Pudding which was definitely better than the baklava, a nice twist to the traditional British sticky toffee pudding with longan, goji berries and gula melaka butterscotch.
Service at Empress was extremely efficient and attentive as well as friendly. Although the food was a bit hit-and-miss I would like to go back for their dim sum brunch buffet since what we had of their dim sum was good and also maybe to chill out by the river with a couple of cocktails and bar bites as they also have seating outside.
Address: #01-03 Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555
Tel: 6776 0777
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm
Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Empress, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!