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The W hotel, in which Sing Yin is housed, is an expression of new China – bold, brash and flash. This theme carries through to the restaurant, located on the ground floor. Guests are greeted and if you’re lucky, seated at one of the booths that run along the left-hand side. “Private” rooms are in name only, with transparent panels allowing people to look both in and out. The rest of us get to catwalk down the black marble runway, past the fish tank, real and video, into an open, if somewhat dull main room with mirrored ceilings. On the evening of our visit, there is a particularly loud group of Chinese business people in a private room, their shouts and laughter easily heard out back.
The interiors might be contemporary, but the menu draws mostly from classic Cantonese in its barbecued, steamed, boiled, fried and braised dishes. From the chef’s recommendation section, a single steamed crab claw is attractively presented on a custardy bed of egg steamed with Chinese wine. It’s a good match with the sweet crab meat and leaves you wanting more. We are ambivalent about a single serving of the pan-fried foie gras with crab roe sauce. The thin slice of foie gras is well cooked, so a gluggy addition probably isn’t necessary. The use of Spanish iberico pork has taken char siu to new heights at several restaurants around town, but sadly, that’s not the case here. It’s dry and chewy and all the more disappointing because we were really looking forward to it. Things look up with the wood fried crispy chicken with black truffle. The skin is golden and crisp and saves the meat, which is a little dry, though we wish we were told the truffle came as a side sauce. We are glad we ordered the braised crispy rice with fresh shrimps in lobster bisque. It’s like congee made fun, Rice Krispies adapted for supper, the slightly charred rice retaining crunch. It’s worth noting that many items are served as individual portions, and we commend that the menu highlights dishes that contain pork or nuts, or are vegetarian.
Tea, supplied by Ming Cha, is given prominence at the front of the food menu and tea pairings are suggested for several dishes. A concise wine list contains a decent selection of wines by the glass. There are more reds than whites, a reflection of consumer taste rather than what might go best with some of the delicate flavours of the food. The list would benefit from some half bottles.
Service is inconsistent, with a helpful manager advising on wine and food to start. Dishes came out too quickly, but it really fell apart at the end, when staff failed to clear any plates. Our table was still full of dirty dishes when we left.
A meal for two comes to about $700 per person for appetisers, main, rice or noodle, veg, dessert and a glass of wine, which is reasonable, though costs can add up quickly.