My frequent business trips mean that I often miss special occasions like weddings and birthdays of my friends and families. This is something I have to accept, although I try to make myself available whenever possible. Due to my 3-week trip in November to Brisbane, I missed my mom’s birthday and decided to make it up by bringing the family to a dim sum lunch at Royal China in Raffles Hotel.
We used to come here quite often before the renovation but somehow stopped after that. There was no particular reason for that, and I always order their seafood rice wrapped in lotus leaf. It is possibly the best in Singapore. I made a booking 1 week before and was told that there is 2 seatings for lunch. I opted for the 130pm on as 1130 was way too early for us. We were about 10 minutes early but were shown to our table promptly and I noticed that the restaurant was quite empty. Commenting to my mom that the restaurant’s duo timings policy was not effective as there is nobody at all. Boy, was I wrong. By 145pm, the restaurant was running in full capacity with waitresses hopping around different tables to take orders.
I was pleased to see that the dim sum menu was quite extensive, with some creative dishes which I never ordered before. We order the polo buns, fried taro dumplings, some steamed dim sum, cheong fun and stone pot rice. I was secretly disappointed that I didn’t get to eat my lotus leaf rice but then again the stone pot rice was Mom’s idea. The fried taro dumplings were very good, however, my aunt found a staple inside her dumpling and was very upset over it. Most likely, the staple accidentally fell in during the processing of food. I personally think it wasn’t a big deal, granted that the staple may cut her mouth if she wasn’t lucky. I would have been more mad if there was a cockroach inside. Anyway, the staff were very apologetic and promptly removed the item from our bill, and because she continued complaining they gave us a 10% off as well. I was very embarrassed by her outburst but opt to keep quiet lest it worsens the situation.
The hot pot rice was surprisingly good. The rice was served in a sizzling pot, topped with pork, yam and mushrooms in gravy, a flavorful yet light dish. The steamed har gao and vegetarian dumplings were alright, not too spectacular. The cheong fun we ordered had dough fritters inside. Although they were nice and hot, the dough fritters were fried twice (or more), resulting in it being crunchy and oily. Fail!
As it was mom’s birthday, I also ordered longevity buns in advance. Since there was only 4 of us, we got the small portion, which consists of 8 mini longevity buns. I was quite annoyed when they served it in 2 separate bamboo baskets. Obviously they should know it is for a birthday, so wouldn’t it make more sense to arrange it nicely on a plate? Instead, they unceremoniously plonked the two baskets at our table. That was a major disappointment. I would come back for the food, but they really need to improve on their service standard. After all, to serve good food is only one of the qualities of a good restaurant.