Upscale Chinese restaurant Mott 32 at Marina Bay Sands, which has 5 outlets globally, is under the Hong Kong-based group, Maximal Concepts.
Its name is taken from 32 Mott Street in New York, where the city’s first Chinese convenience store opened in 1851. From their name, you can tell that their branding is international in scope. Their chefs use modern international cooking techniques on Cantonese cuisine with some influences from Beijing and Sichuan flavours.
First of all, making a reservation is a hassle and it shouldn’t be. You want to earn money, so why make reserving tables so difficult? Why are so many restaurants using in-house online reservation system? STOP IT. In-house reservation system is terrible and unreliable. Just use Chope. I wanted a table at noon but the system showed that tables were all out and I had to email them, and it turned out tables were still available. It was a waste of my time.
Secondly, they don’t allow us to bring birthday cake. It was my sister’s birthday but in the end, we didn’t celebrate it at all. F&B is a service industry to make people happy, so why not just provide that small service? Even casual restaurants allow birthday cakes.
But when I entered the restaurant, I was in a great mood because it is so beautiful. Accents of olive green with gold give a soothing and luxurious vibe. It’s 1920s Shanghai meets Japanese tech sci-fi decor. Soft jazz plays in the background. Who is their interior designer?
We were there for brunch so we had mostly dim sum items.
The dim sum items are abysmal and extortionate.
Comments for Traditional Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumplings xiao long bao ($10 / 4 pieces):
“Crystal Jade and Din Tai Fung are nicer.”
“Why no soup in the XLB?! It’s called SOUP dumpling.”
Sheng jian bao is a specialty of Shanghai but the Pan Fried Minced Angus Beef Bun (Sheng Jian Bao, $12 for 3 pieces) tastes more Xinjiang with cumin and other Xinjiang spices. Not a bad thing. It tastes okay.
The Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai ($9 for 2 pieces) is crazy expensive. It’s just a tiny siew mai with a quail egg within. There isn’t even much Iberico pork and truffle. And it doesn’t even taste good. It tastes ok, but not great.
The prawn cheung fun (rice roll, $18) is also crazy exorbitant. There are only 6 slices (about an inch each)! Each slice costs $3? Are you kidding me? But luckily, unlike the rest of the items, this one is actually amazing so I don’t mind the cost so much. The prawn is done in a Japanese ebi tempura style, so it gives a nice crunchy contrast to the silkiness of the rice roll skin. And the sweetness of the prawn gives a depth to the saltiness of the soy sauce. This is outstanding.
The har gow is har gow. Nothing special.
You need to pre-order the Iberico pork char siew ($48) one day in advance. It’s unbelievable how they can sell a mere EIGHT slices of char siew for $48.
There are some good things and bad things about this char siew.
It’s tender, which some people may like, but it’s so unnaturally tender (my guess is it’s sous vide first) that it lacks integrity. It is so tender that it doesn’t hold char properly and has no sense of smokiness. The texture feels almost minced-like.
But the good thing is the marination is awesome. There is much depth and complexity and you can taste the different layers of spices. It’s not just one-dimensional sweetness.
But I won’t pay $48 for it.
Mott 32 is best known for its Peking duck ($108) at a very high price. You have to pre-order it a day in advance.
Weighing 2kg, each duck is hand selected at 42 days old. It is prepared over 48 hours in their custom fridge and special marinading technique before finishing in a brick oven smoked with Applewood.
It is hand sliced at gueridon, using a traditional technique with a special Mott signature cut to lock in all the juices.
They don’t fold the duck into pancakes for you unless you request for it. Here, you can eat it Beijing style by adding brown palm sugar. Unlike other restaurants where you just eat the skin with crepe, here they include some meat.
Even though we ordered in advance, we still had to wait for about an hour for the dish to be served.
The quality of the duck is very good, way better than the Iberico and Angus beef nonsense we had earlier for dim sim. Pristine. Clean. The skin is so fat it has a lardy taste.
Although the duck is excellent, the crepe skin is so thick it diminishes the enjoyment of the duck. It’s better if you just eat the duck straight.
For the leftover duck, we requested it to be fried with rice at an additional $28. What rice did they use that is so expensive? But the duck fried rice is fantastic. Each grain is coated with duck fat. And unlike other leftover duck dishes, there is ample duck meat. The elusive wok hei presents itself here. Outstanding.
Dim sum is the cornerstone of Cantonese cuisine but the dim sum here really cannot make it. Even coffeeshop Kimly has better dim sum. Perhaps they are better for their non-dim sum items? The Peking duck and the fried rice are outstanding.
That said, the food is outrageously expensive and I feel like I’m paying more for rent and ambience of the restaurant than the food. We paid $301 for 4 persons.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands B1-42, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Galleria Level, Singapore 018956
tel: +65 6688 9922
11.30am – midnight daily
Price / value: 2/10
Service: 6/10 (service should score higher but I’m peeved that they didn’t allow us to bring a birthday cake)
You may be interested in…
–Koma, Marina Bay Sands: The Most Beautiful (Culturally Appropriated) Restaurant in Singapore That Won’t Put You in Food Koma
–Forbidden Duck, MBFC: #sparkjoy Cantonese Cuisine And Outstanding Service
–Jiang Nan Chun, Four Seasons Hotel: Revamped and One of the Best Chinese Restaurants in Singapore
–Taste Paradise, Ion Orchard: Popular Restaurant but Not As Good As Eight Years Ago
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.