Dim sum @ Empress

June 7, 2016 in Chinese by thywhaleliciousfay

A friend recently went to Empress for drinks and posted pictures of the desserts he had on Facebook. And let’s just say… The desserts were so pretty! One could tell much thought and effort was put into the plating. And of course, a quick search on the internet and instagram followed suit. Ha. =p

However, I decided to check out their weekend dim sum buffet in the end. I was supposed to go for dim sum with another group of friends, but we had our plan for dim sum changed to something else. So I was in need for dim sum. Haha.

Unfortunately, reservation at Empress was a tricky affair. What we thought would be a simple phone call became an email correspondence where we had to fill up a form with our credit card detail. To which, we had to wait for their email that our reservation was confirmed. We were also told that we would be charged $62.10 (per head) for cancellation that’s made with less than 72 hours advanced notice or in the event of no show.

And of the 2 seatings, we decided to go with 11.30am over 2pm. However, for the first seating, we would need to vacate by 1.30pm.

Empress, located within Asian Civilisation Museum, is a 12 to 15 minutes walk from Raffles Place MRT Station. They are located at the back of the building which oversees the Singapore River.

And from the dim sum menu (pages 1, 2), we started our dim sum buffet with:-

1) Appetizer Complimentary (above) – Yam chips and lotus root chips.

2) Signature Dish #1 (above) – The dishes under the signature menu are limited to 1 serving per person. And soup of the day was spinach and seafood soup.

3) Signature Dish #2 with options of:

(A) Singapore chilli king prawns (above) – With golden mantou

(B) Crispy-battered sea grouper (above) – Yuzu, spicy ginger flower glaze. My girlfriend loved this. Which I thought was pretty good too. It’s almost like a Thai dish with the sour-sweet sauce.

4) Signature Dish #3 with options of:

(A) Triple roast platter (above) – Char siew, crackling roast pork, sticky pork ribs. This was good! A must try.

(B) Crispy sesame chicken (above) – With lime sauce.

5) Signature Dish #4 with options of:

(A) Not-so-Portuguese egg tart (above) – Egg custard, flaky pastry, milk gelato, local milk tea caramel. I forgot I was drawn to Empress for their creative desserts. So when this was served, we were pleasantly surprised. And this was not too bad. Although I have to admit that an egg tart taste better when it’s in its non-deconstructed state. I prefer biting into a (physical) tart such that I get a good mouthful of both the crispy, crackly pastry and the rich, sweet egg custard with its slightly caramelised top.

(B) Peanut-coated black sesame ‘mochi’ balls (above) – With black sesame sponge.

6) Assorted dumplings (above) – Starting from the top in a clockwise manner, we tried the steamed prawn dumpling (har gau), steamed mushroom dumpling, steamed pumpkin & pork skin dumpling, pork & prawn steamed dumpling (siew mai) and steamed seafood & spinach dumpling of scallop, prawn, crab and spinach. For these, we were allowed to order numerous servings. However, the dumplings were not very impressive; The skin was thick. So when we ordered seconds for the steamed prawn dumpling, I didn’t finish the entire thing. You know where the skin is folded in order to enclose the filling within? I ate everything but the folded ends. Save my stomach space lah. Give the steamed mushroom dumpling a miss. There’s barely any mushroom within! Head straight for the pork & prawn steamed dumpling. And it’s odd but the steamed pumpkin & pork skin dumpling tasted better (to me) when it has cooled down to room temperature.


7) Assorted fried items (above) – From left to right, we had the crispy butter-baked shredded duck bun, baked char siew puff, garlic & prawn spring roll and bacon & prawn vermicelli roll. And I must say, everything on this plate was awesome! I seriously loved the duck bun and char siew puff. They were so good to the extent that I risked it all and secretly packed the mentioned two to share with a friend whom I was meeting after my dim sum. Ssshhhhhhhhhh. But to clarify… We loved the duck bun and char siew puff so much that we over-ordered cause we overestimated our eating capacity. So instead of letting the staff clear our leftover, I might as well pack them. Yes? =p

8) Pan-fried turnip cake (above)

9) Sliced fish, spinach & shredded ginger porridge (above)

10) Dried scallop & shredded duck porridge (above) – My girlfriend didn’t like this as she felt the duck taste was too strong. She’s one who don’t take pork for the same reason. But this was fine with me.

11) Steamed molten egg custard bun (above)

Will I recommend Empress? Well, I am on the fence for this. Although it’s a buffet and one can eat one’s heart out to get one’s money worth, the variety is pretty limited. Some of my must-order-when-eat-dim-sum dishes like chicken feet, steamed rice roll (chee cheong fun), etc weren’t on the menu.

However, Empress emits a high class vibe with its contemporary interior and chic décor. Instead of heading off to hotels for hi-tea, one can opt for something different by chilling the afternoon away with dim sum while enjoying the view of the Singapore River. My girlfriend and I were so comfortable that we (unconsciously) spent 3.5 hours there! We probably would have continued to stay on if I wasn’t to meet another friend after dim sum.

And yes, we were not kicked out although Empress came across as being really strict with the reservation and seating. My friend and I had intended to reach at 11.30am. However, I was running really late. When my girlfriend called to inform the restaurant that we will reach at 12pm instead, they mentioned we would still need to leave by 1.30pm to allow for the second seating. However, we got to stay on till 3pm! And it was nice that although we belonged to the first seating, the staff still took our orders at 2.30pm (second seating is from 2pm).

So I guess Empress makes an ideal venue to chill and catch up with friends if one isn’t too particular with the food (especially the quality of the dumplings) and doesn’t need much variety.

1 Empress Place, Asian Civilisations Museum, #01-03, Singapore
6776 0777, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7