First, let me just say this place is AWESOME. So much of the awesomeness of this spot comes from the vibe. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such an elegant Chinese restaurant to chow down.
The dark wood with the high ceilings and the thoughtful accents with textured silk panels make the space feel so grand. The decor is reminiscent of what I imagine Shanghai would’ve been like in the 1920s – antique furniture, paintings, and soft, comfortable seats. I’ve only been here for lunch, but I can imagine the ambience at dinner would be even better.
The food definitely upped the experience even more. I love Chinese Food so I had high hopes for Canton Road at Shangri-la The Fort and it did not disappoint. The menu has mostly traditional dishes featuring the Huaiyang Cuisine in the Jiangsu province but includes other regional Chinese options with a few new-school items thrown in for good measure. They did several of my favourite Cantonese dishes really well.
Okay, let’s not kid ourselves here – This is the kind of place that you need to be ready to spend a little money, remembering that what you are paying for is not just a drink or a meal. You can go to a fast food Chinese restaurant and pay much less if that is what you want. Here, you are paying for the atmosphere and the experience, to which Canton Road delivers in bulk.
For appetizers, we had some Poached free-range Chicken in Shaoxing yellow wine, Jiangnan Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs, and Marinated White Raddish in aged white vinegar. These are simple yet sophisticated meal starters and will surely whet anyone’s appetite.
Next, we had their Flamed Trio Barbecue Sampler. This platter truly stole the show and was one of the highlights of our lunch. It had Honey-glazed Iberico Pork, Roasted Peking Duck, and Macau-style Crispy Pork Belly. My favourite of the bunch would have to be the Roast Duck. It had the shiniest skin and the juiciest meat. While these meats are good on their own, I reckon they’re also best eaten with fried rice.
Then, we had their Soft Bean Curd Soup with Yunnan Ham. It may look like your typical soup but I kid you not when I tell you that the method of making this soup wasn’t like a walk in the park. The bean curd and the Yunnan Ham were thinly-sliced; So thin you wouldn’t even recognize that it was in fact, tofu. The knife skills of the Chef was just mind-blowing and absolutely impressed everyone in the dining room. This soup was mildly-flavoured but the Yunnan Ham provided a deep “umami” taste.
Another favourite item on the menu was the Mingnan Five Spice Marinated Pork Wrapped with Dried Bean Curd Sheet (or in plain words – Kikiam, the legit kind). Honestly, I’ve never had Kikiam this good. It was crunchy in all the right ways, juicy, extremely flavorful but still very light.
We then moved to sampling a few of their best-selling dumplings. The steamed Iberico Pork Dumpling with Abalone and Black Truffle was without a doubt, a cut above the rest. The Pork Dumpling on its own was already amazing but it was generously topped with Black Truffle and Abalone really packing in a punch. The richness of the pork, the saltiness of the abalone, and the earthy flavor of the truffle complement each other really well, and this may very well be THE BEST “Siomai” I’ve eaten yet.
Aside from the food, we also got to try some of the finest teas (hot and cold) they offer. Their signature tea – the Canton Garden Tea had a very distinctive but delicate smoky taste. I enjoyed it iced, but I bet it’s also best served warm.
To sweeten the palate, the lunch concluded with Mango Pudding, Baked Swan Taro Puff, and some seasonal fruits. Pudding was creamy, light, and not overly sweet. The fruits were fresh and the perfect palate cleanser.
All in all, the meal was excellent! The food was impeccable, beautiful, and impressive. The appetizers and entrées are so good that I recommend getting different items and sharing them for the table. The service is wonderful with knowledgeable and attentive staff. Dining at Canton Road definitely feels more like an experience.