Sunday, November 16, 2008

China Clubbing

China Club in Hong Kong is a retro-chic Shanghai themed restaurant that is strictly members only. A highly successful concept there - making business dining and wining both exclusive and very sexy. Thus, it was with high hopes that the same establishment was transplanted in Singapore back in late 2001.

This restaurant has all the right ingredients - the impeccably designed space with dark wood furniture, high ceilings and quality chinaware (all embossed with the club's red star emblem), housed atop the 52nd floor of the Capital Tower in Singapore's Central Business District. The views from the restaurant are spectacular and the service is spot on.

Whilst it doesn't boast an inventive dim sum menu that we sampled for a late lunch... most items here are well executed and hard to fault. The pork buns were fluffy with a deliciously sweet char siew filling... the vegetable crystal dumplings with its crunchy filling and chewy exterior provided a great contrast in textures... the steamed carrot cake was perfectly light and the pork trotters stewed in black vinegar and quail eggs... simply divine.

But surprisingly, I was told that the restaurant has not been doing well since it was established - as a matter of fact we were only one of three other tables dining for a Sunday lunch in the expansive restaurant.

Clever packaging, decent food, good service, great views - what's not to love? Well for one, being a members only establishment does have its pitfalls - you only cater to those who care to fork out for membership and a monthly subscription fee (that isn't cheap) just to gain access to the restaurant. And for that price - I better hope the food is outrageously spectacular.

Maybe Singaporeans are more discerning in terms of what they pay for as compared to their Hong Kong counterparts... but for the sake of China Club, I sure hope they let down that velvet rope just a little so that exclusivity does not prevent more from enjoying a fine dining experience.


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