I spent the weekend at the ultra-luxurious Capella Singapore over the weekend with my family to celebrate a number of birthdays and occasions. As one of Singapore's only pet-friendly hotels, Capella allows pet owners to bring their fur kid along for a stay - your pets are still not allowed in the restaurants for obvious reasons being able to be with family (pet included) is an amazing experience indeed. During my stay, I decided to check out the Weekend Dim Sum Afternoon Tea experience at the property's fine dining Cantonese restaurant, Cassia.
Cassia offers a weekend 5-course dim sum epicurean lunch experience (12:00PM to 2:00PM) as well and the afternoon tea experience (3:00PM to 5:00PM) is not the same thing. Firstly, there are two afternoon tea experiences that you can opt for in Cassia - an English or Oriental menu. My family and I went for the latter option since we were in a Cantonese restaurant after all. Priced at just S$39.90++ per person, the weekend dim sum afternoon tea set is really quite a budget-friendly option for diners looking for delicious dim sum and yet seeking a little privacy at the same time. If you prefer to have a flute of Taittinger Brut Champagne to go along, it is priced at a supplement of S$20++. Alternatively, you may also go for a curated selection of teas to go with the delicate dim sum menu - we opted for the Harmonious Dragon (龙凤吉祥) which is essentially a blend of osmanthus flower and lily. I love how every one got their individual little teapot - it is also incredible therapeutic to watch the blooming tea.
It is definitely worth highlighting that this is not a buffet - at the time of writing, each Oriental Dim Sum Afternoon Tea Set (S$39.90++ per diner) came with 12 intricately made dim sums (like I said, it really is quite affordable!). There were three distinct layers of dim sum baskets and the final course of dessert is served separately. While I did find the order of dim sums to be slightly strange (the fried food were placed on the highest layer), every single piece was excellent and done to perfection.
On the top-most layer of the dim sum basket is a trilogy of fried and baked dim sum items. Topped with ikura and mayonnaise, the Deep-fried Prawn Dumpling with Mayonnaise Sauce (沙律明虾角) is stuffed with fresh prawns that is made better with the delicious burst of flavours from the salmon roe. The Deep-fried Homemade Spring Roll with Shredded Yam, Prawns, Chicken and Mushrooms (潮式芋丝春卷) which I did not think I would enjoy was surprisingly delicious - the stuffing was fresh and the deep-fried spring roll was not at all oily. Finally that Baked Barbecued US Kurobuta Pork Pastry (香麻蜜汁叉烧酥) is to die for - seriously, this has to be the best pork pastry that I have ever had in my life. The pastry is light and buttery on the outside and the pork inside it had the perfect balance of sweetness and savouriness which is made even better from the succulence of using a high grade kurobuta.
The second layer consists of dim sums that were lighter in flavours - in fact, two of them are vegetarian options. As I have mentioned earlier, I find it strange that the dim sums of lighter flavours were placed in a lower layer since these are generally consumed first. With that being said, each one of these were done really well - my personal favourite is the Steamed Crystal Dumpling with Black Truffle and Fresh Mushrooms (松露鲜菌水晶饺) which is the one photographed above on the bottom left - the skin is beautifully translucent and the truffle added a nice dimension of flavours on top of the natural sweetness from the fresh mushrooms. The Steamed Vegetables Dumpling with Mushrooms and Carrot (峨嵋素粉果) was nice as well but it pales in comparison to the former dumpling. The Steamed Mushroom Bun with Minced Chicken and Prawns in White Sauce (白汁鸡粒花菇包) which resembles a mushroom (also reminds me of a dish I have had at YEN Chinese Restaurant in W Taipei which I visited recently) is filled with a mix of chicken and prawns that is held together with delicious white sauce.
The final layer of the dim sum basket contained all the precious ingredients - the Steamed Siew Mai topped with Abalone (鲍鱼烧卖皇) looks impressive and tastes even more so. While it is not uncommon to find abalone-topped siew mais at fine-dining Cantonese restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong, most of them are done quite simply to augment the perception of value in these items but Cassia has gone over and beyond that to create a siew mai that actually makes sense - the flavours come together really well and the abalone had the right texture without being overly chewy. The Steamed Lobster Dumpling with Gold Flake (金箔龙虾饺) which is a much more luxurious take on the regular 'har gow' is a treat to the eyes - the fresh lobster flesh inside had the right bite and not much else is done to bring out the natural sweetness of this prized protein that diners have grown to love. Finally, an alternative take on the good old 'char siew bao' - the Steamed Barbecued US Kurobuta Pork Bun with Black Truffle (黑松露蚝皇克猪叉烧包) here at Cassia is an oldie with a touch of elegance.
After we were done with the first nine pieces, the dim sum baskets were cleared before a trilogy of desserts were brought out. The Trilogy Dessert (三式甜品) features three components (from the left):
- Chilled Strawberry Cream with Sago (草莓西米露) - while I have had the mango equivalent on many occasions, this was the first time I have ever had this in a strawberry cream and I have to say that it is ingenious. This is definitely my personal favourite dessert amongst all three.
- Deep-fried Honeycomb Dumpling with Custard and Strawberry (草莓奶皇蜂皇盒) - even though the honeycomb dumpling was deep-fried, it was not at all oily. The interesting mix of custard and strawberry is a nice touch but I would have preferred it to include some strawberry bits for added texture.
- Chilled Fluffy Egg White with Shredded Coconut (小白兔) - this is probably the most adorable component of the dessert trilogy. Created to resemble a little bunny, this dessert reminds me of a meringue-like macaroon with a marshmallow-like texture.
While the Capella Singapore staff knew about the celebrations that were going on, I was incredibly impressed by the team at Cassia (whom I mentioned nothing about my mom's birthday to) as they actually took initiative to surprise my family (myself included!) with these mini Longevity Buns (寿桃). It is my first time here at the Capella Singapore's Cassia but after a splendid dining experience like this, I dare say that I would be back very soon to check out the a la carte menu.