Mott 32 Singapore review at Marina Bay Sands: Its famed Peking duck, elevated dim sum, and delicious cocktails
This Chinese New Year, Marina Bay Sands welcomed a new entrant that would by now, be a global household name amongst gourmands and industry players. Mott 32, which riffs off the name of a street that opened the first Chinese grocery store in New York. In line with the same vein of 'East meets West', the restaurant stands to be a successful representation of modernising Chinese cuisine no matter where in the world you are today.
Perfect for metropoles like Hong Kong, Vancouver, and now Singapore — where prior franchises of the snazzy space had attained critical acclaim and praise. Which is why our city's grand opening at Marina Bay Sands felt like a fitting notch in Marina Bay Sands' bedpost of acclaimed and celebrity restaurants.
By the hands of Joyce Wang Studio, Singapore's outpost is seductively green — alluding inspiration to our country being a garden city. The entrance's façade reads colonial: Almost like a refined bank building, leading in to the dimly-lit space festooned with porcelain botanical motifs and oriental Chinese inspired lanterns hanging from a netted copper ceiling, which happens to be a Mott 32 signature.
The first thing every patron would land their eyes on? The beautiful bar, grounded by stoic Chinese tiles and apothecary drawers. There's just the right amount of ancient juxtaposed by mod furnishings like tones of terracotta, millennial mint sofas, and a standout peacock chair. Contrasting elements might stand to clash typically, but for Mott 32 Singapore, the result is sexy, fresh, and remaining a place that our grandparents would feel pretty much at home.
The dim sum selection is varied but recognisable. Simply put, what sets Mott 32 apart from traditional Chinese restaurants and those that are tagged with a fusion label, would be a premium interpretation to classics that are near and dear to us. For instance, their Peking duck bun (a Singapore exclusive) sees black charcoal spheres with a crisp outer and doused with sugary powder. The run-of-the-mill siu mai prides on Iberico pork and withholds a runny quail yolk within. Although we do wish more black truffle could have been weaved into the Chinese dumpling, each mouthful felt meatier and more flavourful than the typical bites served from a dim sum trolley. And when it comes down to it, the taste of traditional classics still remain to be a fixture — ringing true to Mott 32's M.O. of time-honoured recipes.
That wasn't the last we've seen of Iberico pork. Why, in a quintessential roast, of course. A juicy slab of pork glistening with yellow mountain honey — albeit on the heavy profile but we urge you to go easy on that bowl of rice. In fact we held out in exchange for the claypot vermicelli that came bearing chunks of Alaskan king crab and golden roe. Piquant and a joy to devour, and a true ode to the noodle dish at every Chinese restaurant we know. At this point, you should be sipping on tea just to cut through the grease between each course. But the bevy of cocktails here would too make an enticing alternative. With special concoctions created just for Singapore, expect to see infusions of pandan and herbs within the elixirs here. To start, call for The Velvet Crane, a sweet gin-based cocktail sparking floral and fruity notes and binded by a creamy egg white.
Of course, the highlight boils down to Mott 32's famed Peking duck. A dish that they have resiliently stuck to — a fragrant smoked applewood whole duck. It doesn't come alone; apart from the special born-and-bred duck (up to 49 days to be exact), comes a basket of chewy paper thin skins. Unlike the usual grease that you'll find from Peking duck wraps, which at times could besmirch the entire experience, these pillowy soft circles make up the glue that holds the entire dish together, followed by a deft mix of sesame and peanut sauce. When it comes to smoking their mains, the indulgent smoked black cod comes in as a close second. Because A: It's lined with a glorious sheen of honey and B: It's deep-fried.
Other field notes we took away from the experience? A 'Lazy Susan' that got its overdued makeover. The matte gold rotating sphere was constructed seamlessly into the roundtable, so yes hats off to any place that can gentrify a contraption like this.
2 Bayfront Avenue, B1-42-44, Galleria Level The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
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