(THE NEW PAPER) - When New Majestic Hotel closed last June, foodies lamented the loss of Majestic Restaurant.
But the mourning period was brief because in January, the restaurant re-opened at Marina One with an updated menu and renewed vigour.
Chef-owner Yong Bing Ngen has come up with a series of new dishes but has also retained the signatures - the Stewed "Mee Sua" Baby Abalone, Vegetable and Crab Roe Gravy ($22) is back - and added a full selection of dim sum for lunch.
I was surprised that the Pan-Fried Diced US Beef Tenderloin in Singapore Style Satay Sauce ($24) ended up as my favourite.
Chef Yong is known for his classic seafood dishes and Majestic is largely a Cantonese restaurant, so satay was unexpected.
But it was such a great version: The cubes of beef were tender and the peanut sauce aromatic and soulful. The flavours were strong and may overwhelm the other dishes, but who cares? You must try this.
The other winner was the Crispy Mangalica Pork Belly Marinated with Five Spice ($14). There was a crispy coat surrounding the piece of meat, giving texture to each bite. There was also enough juiciness to counter the crisp.
The Black Truffle with Crabmeat and Egg White Fried Rice ($20) was another must-try. Chunks of sweet crab meat were worked into the rice, and the scent of truffle with the wok hei smokiness sensation in my mouth made this memorable.
I believe the true measure of a kitchen is how it handles its basics, and there's nothing as basic as hor fun.
This rice noodle dish has been done with varying degrees of success in so many kitchens and the best gauge of a good hor fun is how it makes you feel.
The Claypot Hor Fun with Fresh Prawn in Egg Gravy ($24) made me happy, and even though I was full from my dinner, I was tempted to finish it.
Majestic serves lunch and dinner sets too, and from its $88 dinner menu (minimum two diners) comes the Baked Mangalica Pork Belly with Chef Yong's Secret Sauce. The sauce - Tabasco, tomato paste and mustard are some components - was tart but mellow, and the pork was just the right mix of fatty and lean.
Friends working at Marina One warned me that the restaurant is packed during lunch, and that it is easier to get a table for dinner.
That works out better anyway because the view at night is quite magical.