Visiting Gardens by the Bay is more than just a trip past all that is nature and floral. If you are one looking for an exquisite place to dine at, the Gardens promises the next best thing to an culinary escape amidst the scenic beauty. For Chef Yong Bing Ngen of Jing and Majestic restaurant fame , this location is one that presents a perfect setting to introduce contemporary local seafood dishes. From fresh live seafood available at the counter to the restaurant’s signature Live Crab in Kopi Sauce, this is one seafood restaurant that blends quirkiness and flavours in one intense combination.
All the fresh and live seafood ready for the picking!
Traditional Chinese style dining round the dinner table
The restaurant’s private room with a view
Now for the food! Seared Chilli Crab Meat Bun ($4.50 for 3 pcs) is a definite crowd pleaser. Bite into the pan seared bun for the sweet and spicy glory of chilli crab sauce and meat. Although not exceedingly hot, the savoury combination makes this a fitting appetizer.
Steamed Shanghai Pork Dumpling ($4.20 for 3pcs) was a fine creation. With more focus to flavours than presentation, the xiao long baos were a burstful savoury juicy delight. Enjoy it while hot.
My highest recommendation have to go to the Baked BBQ Pork Bun ($4.20 for 3pcs). This is my first time seeing such shiny looking buns. I was amazed by the reflection and it really sparked my curiosity to how the buns would taste. Sweet, savoury with that minimal amount of fat from the pork, this char siew buns were lovely from start to end. Highly recommended!
Presentation of 3 starters
Pan Seared Chilli Crab Meat Bun with Baked BBQ Pork Bun
Soup of the day ($18 for 2-4 pax, $27 for 5-8 pax). I had the double boiled pork rib soup with gourd. The broth carried lots of other ingredients like dried cuttlefish and dried oysters for that extra kick and flavour. Really warm and hearty, this reminded me much of a comforting serving back home.
Enjoy the bits when ready
To begin your foray into the fresh seafood scene, a must try is the Steamed Live Prawns with Minced Garlic (market price). The fragrance of the minced garlic steamed over the prawns are hard to miss, and its beautiful aromatics go very well with the soy sauce infused throughout. The prawns, sweet and succulent with a tender bite in each serve was a perfect presentation of both flavour and layout.
The restaurant’s signature dish is the Live Crab with Kopi Sauce (market price). Other styles such as Chilli Crab, Salted egg yolk crab etc etc are available, but this is one that stands out as Chef Yong’s unique creation. The light fluffy bitter sweet fragrance of coffee made its way across the table when the dish was laid down, and I was expecting an explosive experience. However, the dish is not complete with the torching of the crab (see the header picture). The fire caramelized the sweet coffee sauce, creating an aromatic mix that reminded me of a good serving of Garrett’s popcorn.
Now, apart from coffee, the fragrance reminded me of a blend between butterscotch and toffee. Hardly what I would call kopi. Nonetheless, despite the culinary misnomer (if any), this is an excellent serving with flavours that would appeal to the younger crowd. For those who appreciate their crabs in the traditional flair, you would probably be better off with a good ol’ serving of Chilli crabs. By the way, the crab meat was excellently sweet albeit a little tough at times.
The meal is not complete without a little serving of veggie to go around. There is the Sauteed, Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus, Minced Garlic ($18 for 2-4 pax, $27 for 5-8 pax). Very tasty with a good crunch here and there. Some of us loved this dish but personally I thought it was a little too oily. Look at that wonderful tasty shine.
If white rice can be forgone, do try the Baked Rice, Assorted Seafood in Chef’s Recipe Sauce ( $68 for 4-6pax, $88 for 7-12 pax). The baked rice with all its fresh seafood is a cross between a paella and sweet and spicy Japanese curry adorning the top. With speckles of melted cheese, flavours are taken up a notch. I enjoyed this dish for all its mushy and sea savoury goodness although it can be spicy occasionally.
As a choice for desserts, there is the Sweet’s Temptation ($20 for 4pax) for everyone to try a little something. The platter comes with a combination of Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Yam paste stuffing and Shredded Coconut, Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Fresh Cream Stuffing, Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun, and the Bay’s Chinese Red Bean Paste Pancake.
Lookout for the Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun for its sweet and salty molten interior. A definite favourite amongst all! Another must try for me is the Glutinous Rice Dumpling (Mochi) with Fresh Cream stuffing for that airy sweet lightness after such a heavy meal.
Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant is not your traditional Chinese seafood restaurant. It serves an array of dishes that goes from the familiar to the fancy contemporary flavours that cater to a wider crowd. Still, some key favourites for me have to be simple and clear specialties such as the Baked BBQ Pork Bun and the Steamed Live Prawns with Minced Garlic. It goes to show that with straightforward ingredients and fine culinary skill, truly remarkable dishes can be created. And while you are at it, do give the Kopi crabs a shot, you may just want more!
Thank you Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant for the invitation
Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive
Reservations: 6604 6604
1145 am – 2.30pm
5.45 pm – 9.30pm (last order)