No more dining in the clouds on top of the Pan Pacific Hotel in Marina Square, the famous Chinese restaurant Hai Tien Lo 海天楼 has been brought down to earth and is now located at level three of the hotel. We decided to try the Hai Tien Lo dim sum at their new premises recently. The difference in the decor and atmosphere of the restaurant was instantly noticeable. The once bright and airy Chinese restaurant is now dark and serious. We prefer the old look but there is no doubt that the new restaurant looks polished and impressive. More importantly, how was the food?
There are two sections of the restaurant – the inner area where the private rooms and larger tables are located and an outer zone where the tables are lined along the atrium. Hai Tien Lo dim sum can be ordered a la carte or by way of an all-you-can eat weekday buffet. The latter costs $56 per person. Being relatively small eaters, we opted to go a la carte. Here are some pages from their menu.
For the steamed items, we had the Teochew dumpling, xiao long pao, spinach dumpling ($5.20 each). In general, they looked fine but their tastes were quite underwhelming and bland.
The pork pastry ($5.20) was more flavourful but the pork had some ‘porky’ taste. The lotus root item (I forget the actual name) was more interesting – shaped like cylinders, they were mashed lotus root wrapped in a layer of crisp pastry.
The pan-fried rice roll $12) with crabmeat was the best dish of the day, we could taste the crab and the very slight charred rice roll was tasty.
The pork porridge ($8) was the disappointment of the day. The presentation was nice but it was like plain porridge with some pieces of pork inside, plus a soggy piece of dough fritter.
We were glad when the final dish of fried kai lan with garlic ($22) arrived. It looked and tasted like what good Cantonese food should.
We did not order any desserts that day. The experience of the Hai Tien Lo dim sum was quite different from our fond memories from past visits to the restaurant at the top of the stairway to heaven. The mood of the decor may have also affected the staff. Smiles were few and sullen expressions were the norm. Tea costs $6 per person.
By the way did you know that 海天楼 means stairway to heaven? This makes proposing a theme song for the restaurant very easy. Here it is.
Overall Rating: 2 TOPs
Hai Tien Lo Restaurant
Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard,
Tel : +65 6336 8111
Nearby Stations: Esplanade, City Hall, Promenade