A long-time veteran of Exchange Square, The Square once maintained its one-Michelin-star status for an impressive seven years. Now, with a revamped and more refined menu, the restaurant hopes to bask again in Michelin glory.
The new menu explores the lesser-known regions of Chaoshan and Hakka while also introducing a selection of unique tea blends from across China. Dim sum is popular during the daytime, while more elaborate banquet-style dishes reign supreme in the evenings.
Since our tasting was at lunchtime, we chose a selection of dim sum to start. The steamed shrimp dumpling ($88 for 4) is delicate and light, while the steamed Ibérico pork and crabmeat dumpling ($88 for 4) is packed with juicy pork flavour balanced by the sweet lightness of crab. The lava quail egg ($90 for 3) sits atop a disc of scallop that’s wrapped in mashed taro and baked to a golden crunch. We enjoyed the crunchy exterior and savoury mashed taro, but we wished the quail egg was oozy rather than hard-boiled – we’re always game for a runny egg yolk! We couldn’t resist sneaking in a slice of BBQ Mangalica char siu ($398), which is on the fattier side but deliciously tender, with a caramelised glaze.
To wash it all down, we tried the honey-flavoured oolong ($68/person), which hails from Lugu Township in Nantou County, Taiwan. This hand-picked Taiwanese tea has a sweet aroma reminiscent of honey and lychee. We couldn’t quite pick up all the nuances of the tea, but we enjoyed how light and refreshing it is on the palate.
A platter featuring the coveted red prawn ($128) showcases three distinct ways to enjoy this umami crustacean. The fried prawn wrapped in vermicelli took us back to the flavours of balmy Phuket, especially when paired with the sweet chilli sauce that accompanies the platter. The fried red prawn head stuffed with minced shrimp is full of savoury flavours.
Our favourite of the trio is the steamed red prawn har gow, which is packed with umami juiciness.
The baked minced seafood in conch ($78) makes for cosy, comforting dining and eats like a complete meal on its own. The varying textures of the seafood morsels and sweet onion keep each bite interesting.
Pan-fried scallop topped with caviar ($98) can be eaten in two ways. We were suggested to enjoy the first half of the scallop as it is with the briny caviar and then to wrap the second half in the wafer-thin pancake, along with the accompanying condiments of conpoy, pickled ginger, hoisin sauce and rocket.
Our favourite was eating the scallop as it is; we felt the pancake and condiments masked the texture and flavour of the shellfish.
Served with a disclaimer because of the extremely hot stone bowl in which it is served, the fish maw soup ($198) is soothing and packed full of nourishing collagen – we could almost feel our wrinkles disappearing as we sipped! All kidding aside, this soup was our favourite dish of the tasting, with the fresh crabmeat, collagenous fish maw and rich chicken broth all melting into one delicious soup.
A crispy mantou topped with gold flake (because gold adds more flavour – duh!) can be dipped into the soup to soak up all the flavours. The stone pot keeps the soup piping hot the entire time it’s sipped.
A few years back, zoodles were all the rage, but let’s face it – raw zucchini isn’t exactly culinary elation. So we’re glad the zucchini noodles with BBQ pork ($168) at The Square are served hot, fresh from the wok. Come on – man discovered fire for a reason, so let’s use it to maximise flavour! The extra bit of heat from the ginger shreds adds zing to this carb-free dish.
An oldie but goodie, the mango sago dessert ($42), topped with a scoop of mango sorbet, made for a refreshingly sweet ending to our meal.
What can be better than dessert? How about TWO desserts? The steamed tofu pudding ($88 for 3–4 servings) with ginger syrup and red sugar is a nostalgic, classic dessert that never fails us.
We’ve always liked The Square for its consistency, execution and professional, straightforward service, and this visit reminded us why this restaurant has been a long-standing fixture in the busy Central business district all these years. It’s a great spot to dine with clients right before you close that deal.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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