$40-$60

Yan Palace Restaurant 燕阁大酒楼, Chinatown

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Located under a block of HDB flats, this restaurant is as Singaporean as it can be. The worn furnishing adds to the charm of the restaurant, telling a history of a grander past. Besides the cavernous common dining hall, catering for menus for two to ten people, you can get the VIP room with a minimum spending of $350 (the cheapest set menu for 10 is $358++, so no problem hitting the target). The VIP room is huge! enough to accommodate a table for ten, a couch at a corner, a side table for the waitress and KTV facilities! The VIP room is tended by a personal waitress. If you’ve a talented family looking for a reunion dinner restaurant, look no further. Sing your guts out.

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Since the RERG team is a talented bunch, and it was our friend’s birthday, we had the VIP room. When we cajoled our personal waitress to sing with us, she said, “Wow, you guys should go join a talent contest.” We–actually Wise Guy tipped, the rest are all stingy buggers–tipped her $30 at the end of the meal. Haha, seriously, we tipped her because her service was immaculate, as good as any Michelin star restaurants. We never once had to ask her to refill our tea. She changed the plates on her own accord and she even asked Wise Guy if he wanted to take photos before she distributed the dish.

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There are three set menus for 10 people, and we took the most expensive set at $438++, paying about $55 per person at the end of the meal. The 9-course set includes roasted suckling pig combination, braised sharks fin with crabmeat, roasted crispy duck, steamed garoupa, deep fried Thai style beancurd and bacon roll, braised conpoy with vegetables in superior broth, fried prawns with golden strips, fried udon noodle, and–we changed the dessert to–orh ni, yam paste.

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We didn’t expect such a gimmicky restaurant–KTV while you eat?–to have such good food. Most of the dishes were quite delicious and there were definitely more hits than misses.

IMG_6678 IMG_6679 Among the hits: in general, anything roasted was excellent. The appetizer, roasted suckling pig combination, was wiped out within seconds and everyone sang praises of the roasted duck. Wise Guy loved the steamed garoupa because it was fresh–he likes steamed fish in general–while Chiobu thought the sauce hadn’t imbued into the dish.

The dish that didn’t fare well was the deep fried Thai style beancurd and bacon roll (pictured left). While we found it admirable that the restaurant tried to be innovative, we thought the deep fried bacon roll was tough and too strange.

Another deep fried dish we didn’t like was salted egg-yolk prawns. While the taste was ok, the limpness of the prawns betrayed its staleness.

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When we were there, the restaurant was quiet. We despaired that such an old school restaurant should be thus desolate and afraid that it may not sustain much longer. There shouldn’t be a reason why the restaurant shouldn’t thrive. We had a very fun experience and the food was generally good.

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Yan Palace

Blk 531 Upper Cross Street
#01-49 Hong Lim Complex
Singapore 050531
T: 6222 2516
Website

M-Sat: 11am-2.15pm
Sun & PH: 10am-2.15pm
Daily: 6.30-10pm

Rating: 3.750/5 stars

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