Time Out Beijing Food Review Oct 2010: Singapore Fling

Despite having a name that sounds neither Singaporean nor particularly enticing, Orchard 7 A Singapore Restaurant does honest and tasty renditions of local Singaporean fare.

The stark, brightly lit restaurant filled with lackluster white furnishings could not take us further away from the sunny tropics, but the menu is comprehensive. We found typical local favourites and a list of local drinks from teh tarik (17RMB), milk tea to a pink breeze (17RMB), a somewhat Chinese version of bandung, a rose syrup, concoction with evaporated milk with the untraditional addition of passionfruit that adds a pleasant taste and texture to the traditional Malay beverage.

Achar (13RMB), a small dish of pickled vegetables of cucumbers and carrots is delightfully crunchy with just the right amount of spicy, sweet and tart. Assam squid (38RMB) and kangkong belachan (25RMB), a stir-fried green with that pungent shrimp paste, both lack in the spice but were well-executed, palatable and enjoyable.
The Hainanese chicken rice set (38RMB)—a dish that sets the standard for any Singaporean restaurant, comes with slightly watered down condiments of chili and lacks tart lime juice, pounded ginger in oil and a bit of dark soy sauce. Alongside, the meat is faultless—boneless, smooth and luscious, served with sesame-soy sauce drizzled over the top. The rice however, while fragrant, lacks the rich flavours of greasy goodness of chicken fat and stock.

The laksa (33RMB) unfortunately is a disappointment—a sad case of bland, oily curry gravy masquerading as assam gravy with fish cake slices lacking a smooth consistency and texture. It’s chewy.

No cold desserts here, but a range of traditional desserts include tau suan(13RMB)a thick concoction made from skinless green beans in a sweet sticky soup of rock sugar and water, thickened with tapioca flour served with youtiao—Chinese savoury fried crullers, on top. That and the black glutinous rice with coconut cream (13RMB) are both hot, sweet and heavy like they should be but too similar in consistency, each lacking its own personality. We think it might be due to teething problems before they get the formula right.

While not exactly worth the trip to find its remote location for dinner, it is worth checking out the set menus for lunch (27RMB-43RMB) if you’re in the area. They also deliver within a 2km radius and take orders 30 minutes before the kitchen closes at 10pm.

Orchard 7 A Singapore Restaurant Second Floor Unit 2220 SOHO Shangdu, North Tower, 8 Dongdaqiao Lu, Chaoyang district (5869 7173). Open daily 11am to 10pm. Meal for two around 150RMB. SOHO商都北塔二层E2220, 朝阳区东大桥路8号

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