24 Feb 2020, Mum turned another year wiser.
Months ago, I booked to have her birthday lunch at Summer Pavilion, Ritz-Carlton Millenia since Florian and I had such an enjoyable meal there a couple of years ago for his birthday.
It was initially to be a mother-daughter affair, but a celebration isn’t a celebration unless Dad came along. Usually, Dad isn’t into fancy-schmancy lunches. So it was lovely having him agree to join us.
At Dad’s insistence, we didn’t order the set lunch. At my insistence, I would do the ordering because I didn’t want Dad looking at the prices of certain dishes and refusing to allow me to order them.
Our meal began with some dim sum. Because dim sum is life!
We had Steamed Vegetarian Crystal Dumpling with black truffle, vegetarian ham, mushroom, pumpkin and water chestnut.
The thin skin ensured that we could glimpse the generous myriad of ingredients within. The waft of truffle was pleasing, not overpowering. It perfumed the two-bite dumpling, lingering gently on our tongues even after the dumpling disappeared into our stomachs. Sweetness came from the little cubes of pumpkin while the chestnuts added a light textural crunch.
The Steamed Chicken, Prawn, Conpoy, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot Dumplings were not really lookers by any means.
Within the yellow skin was a delicious amalgamation of minced chicken, made texturally akin to a meatball, with beautiful shreds of conpoy (dried scallop) littered throughout. It was sweet, yet savoury, delicate and moreish. Each bite led to a wanting for more. I ate this first thinking the vegetarian dumpling would be my favourite. I was wrong. This should have been saved for last.
The last of our dim sum came in the form of these Baked Abalone Puffs with Assorted Mushrooms. I held high hopes for these little puffs, reminiscing the ones Mum and I had last year at Lung King Heen on our trip to Hong Kong.
Sadly, Lung King Heen’s stellar rendition rendered Summer Pavilion’s mediocre in comparison. The tart base lacked the indulgent butteriness that I love. The baby abalones were not braised long enough to be tender and yielding to the bite. We had to use a knife to cut through them, or if you prefer and want to through public etiquette to the wind, pop the entire thing into your mouth. And chew.
For our ‘Mains’, we had Braised King Scallop, Stuffed Eggplant, Prawn Paste, Spicy Sauce, with a side of Broccoli.
Succulent, sweet, perfectly cooked scallop was definitely the star of this dish. The eggplant stuffed with prawn paste was like a very elevated version of the humble yong tau foo. We all enjoyed this very much!
For some carbohydrates to end the meal, we had the Poached Special Fish Noodle with Canadian Lobster Meat.
A perfectly justified ‘special’. The broth was light, yet rich with crustacean flavour. The noodles were slightly ‘spongey’ and bouncy – different from the usual wheat flour noodles. Can’t say no to perfectly poached lobster meat. Won’t complain if they gave more chunks either!
We were nicely filled after our noodle dish so no desserts were ordered. Our family usually doesn’t have the habit of ordering dessert after meals.
That being said, when staff at Summer Pavilion brought our a beautifully decorated platter of sweets to commemorate Mum’s special day, we didn’t say no. Mum was happily surprised, as was Dad.
Dad had to confirm with me a couple of times that this was complimentary. Satisfied that it wasn’t an official order, he was able to enjoy the full experience of our lunch.
The trio of sweets included a longevity bun, pineapple tart, and osmanthus goji berry konyaku jelly. All were not too sweet, and fit nicely into the small gaps we had leftover in our stomachs.
My prayer this year for Mum, and Dad, is to live each day with joy in the hearts. We don’t know what our tomorrows will bring, but we have each other. No matter what, we will always be okay. I pray that Mum and Dad will continue to be blessed with good health. They are both deeply loved and I thank God for them every day. I am blessed. And I pray that one day, I will be able to give back to them as much, or even more if that’s possible, as they’ve given to me.