Summer Pavilion is one of the most refined Cantonese restaurants in town. The stalwart, which snagged one Michelin star over the past two years, has a strong following. The contemporary space, anchored by snazzy cream and black hues with woody accents, looks as refreshed as it did in late 2015 after its last renovation. With its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, the restaurant’s ambience changes dramatically from day to night. At lunch, it is bright, airy, and flooded with natural light. Come dinner time, it is illuminated by soft lighting. Whimsical, gargantuan, lalang-like centrepieces lend a touch of glamour.
Chinese executive chef Cheung Siu Kong’s mastery of Cantonese cooking shines through the dishes that we order for dinner. The steamed fresh garoupa is well cooked throughout, boasting firm meat. The fish is laced with light soya sauce, and crowned with julienned spring onions and ginger. Also working up a crunch are the green dragon chives (qing long cai) that are stir-fried with crispy strips of dough sticks (you tiao). The naturally sweet greens, scented with rice wine (hua diao jiu) and sesame oil, are juicy and toothsome.
The stir-fried diced beef has just the right amount of wok hei and umami kick from the red wine and black pepper sauce that cut through the fat. We are glad to see that the popular poached special fish noodles dish remains on the menu. The springy and chewy strands – rolled out from yellowtail fish meat – are thinner than when we last had them, but we enjoy their bouncy texture coupled with the sweetness from the curl of Boston lobster meat swimming in the broth. Equally comforting is the signature poached rice with succulent chunks of lobster meat bathed in a light and satisfying lobster broth.
Service-wise, we wish that it could be on a par with the food. The pace of service on a weekday night is rather sluggish and could be a little more attentive.