The Mooi Chin Place Restaurant in the Landmark Village Hotel is said to be the oldest Hainanese restaurant in Singapore. They started in 1935, but we can only remember them from the 80s when they were situated in the basement of the Funan Shopping Centre. There are not many restaurants serving food from Hainan in Singapore. So we decided that it was time to check it out. We were there for lunch.
This is a picture of an old Mooi Chin Restaurant & Bar that was displayed at the restaurant. The current Mooi Chin Place Restaurant is located at the lobby level of the Landmark Village Hotel. The hotel is annexed to an old shopping mall that looks like an aged version of Far East Square. The hotel is located at the junction of Victoria Street and Arab Street. Taxi and car park access is from Arab Street.
The Mooi Chin Place Restaurant is decorated simply. It is spacious and the tables are well spaced out but certain parts of the place have seen better days. The table cloths and the menu that we saw that day were probably due for retirement. We understand that Mooi Chin is a popular lunch destination for tour groups. A full house was expected that day but they agreed to squeeze us in as we were there early. It was in our interest to eat quickly before the influx of hungry tourists.
Mooi Chin Place Restaurant Menu
Mooi Chin Place Restaurant Menu contains quite an interesting mix of Hainanese Specialties, Western dishes (such as pasta and sandwiches) and regular Chinese restaurant items. We opted for three of the Hainanese Specials and a couple of other items. Here are pictures of the menu.
The dishes were prepared quickly and served at the same time. We would have normally preferred a constant flow rather than a shotgun approach. But we were grateful for it that day as the thought of 300 hungry guests arriving was at the back of our minds.
The three Hainanese specials that we tried were the Hainanese pork chop ($14), Hainanese poached chicken ($20 for half chicken) and fried foo yong crab ($12). The pork chop was the best dish of the day. The meat was soft but with a crisp surface. The tasty gravy enhanced the flavour of the meat. We think that this is the ‘must try’ item at this restaurant.
The poached chicken was similar to the chicken that is served at a good chicken rice stall. We ordered some chicken rice ($1.20 each) to go with the dishes. The chicken itself was good but not the best that we have tried. The rice was better – among the best.
We were curious about the fried foo yong crab. In the end it was a bit disappointing. There was no taste of crab. So it was just a plate of fried egg with some onions and other ingredients inside. The taste was not bad but not special.
The Hainanese chicken curry ($18) was not in the Hainanese Specials list, but it was very good. The curry had very complex flavours – spicy but not hot. In fact it was a bit sweet. The chicken pieces were moist. The potatoes, fully saturated with the curry, were the best bits of the dish. Highly recommended.
Finally, we added some vegetables to our diet with a fried kai lan dish ($12). It was well cooked with a lot of garlic and with the stems still crunchy.
Mooi Chin Place Restaurant does not charge any corkage fees. So we brought along a bottle of 2015 Domaine Huet Le Mont Demi-Sec from the Loire Valley, France. A mildly sweet and versatile wine that was well received during our lunch. The restaurant provided some nice glasses and a chiller for the wine.
A generous array of sauces was provided by the restaurant without any prompting. Service at Mooi Chin was friendly and helpful. We managed to finish our meal just when the first groups of tourists started trooping in. Overall, while it is not the most luxurious of restaurants, Mooi Chin is a place with good food and good service.
In case you are interested, here is the spread that was prepared for the tour group.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Mooi Chin Place Restaurant
#03-12A Landmark Village Hotel
390 Victoria Sreet
Nearby MRT Station : Bugis