For a good two hours, we feel like high-ranking officials of the imperial Chinese palace, discussing state matters. An army of servers pad up and down the wooden steps of our pavilion in a steady stream, filling the table with mouth-watering dishes and Pu-erh.
Yet, they are as unobtrusive as the calming tunes of the zither in the background. Past the wooden pillars and bronze sculptures, a small bamboo grove beckons from beyond the glass windows. So complete is the illusion.
Despite a full house on a Friday afternoon, the pacing of the meal is on point – as are other aspects of the meal. We had expert help in navigating the tomes, filled with a dizzying array of a la carte choices. For each type of dish (such as chicken, fish or tofu), there is a full page of options, sometimes two.
The wine list is no less impressive, as the restaurant draws upon the hotel’s collective cellar. Through the knowledgeable server, we even get an education on seasonal offerings.
Standouts from our meal include the steamed cod fillet topped with preserved mei cai – a humble dish, expertly prepared and representative of the quality ingredients in Cherry Garden. The barbecue meat platter is also not to be missed, with well-selected cuts of meat and the right amount of glaze and char.
Level 5 Mandarin Oriental Singapore