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WHERE TO EAT: Jade Restaurant, Fullerton Hotel Singapore

Fine dining Cantonese restaurant within The Fullerton Hotel Singapore reopens to unveil refocused culinary direction and fresh spring-inspired interiors.

The new interior is brighter, better, and a worlds-apart from the restaurant’s past makeup: dark, traditional and somewhat somber. 

For almost a decade, Asian cuisine ace Leong Chee Yeng has proven his culinary and creative chops at Jade Restaurant. The 51-year-old chef, who started off washing woks as a young man before climbing the ranks, also dabbles in ceramic-making and food-sculpting. Much of Jade’s recent interior-facelift looked to Leong’s table-top creations as muse. And it’s not solely his Cantonese food specialties that inspire the brightly lit room at The Fullerton Hotel.

A ‘Shou’ figurine, with its pale-orange small stature made entirely out of sugared dough sculptured by Leong, may have informed the restaurant’s new earthy accents and pastel palette. Hand-sculpted ceramic vases, some for keeps and some to be eventually given away, line the display cabinets. His prized gelatine centrepiece, depicting a bird perched on a petite tree, became the basis for Jade’s specially commissioned wallpaper. Kingfishers, sunbirds, peacocks and other local birds greet patrons from mammoth dividers and lengthy walls.

The beautification evokes a seasonal change, much like from Autumn to Spring. Everything is brighter, better, and a worlds-apart from the restaurant’s past makeup: dark, traditional and somewhat somber.

Of course, the transformation spills into Leong’s cooking as well. New fanfare includes the Char Siew Lamb Rib Loin, using New Zealand ribs slathered with an in-house sauce of fermented beans, sugar and rose wine. It is topped with bruised lemongrass. Overall, the dish was a delightful match of sweet and savoury, accentuated by the slightly charred meat’s unique flavour profile. Served alongside slices of pineapples and cucumber, the acah-like sides lent a refreshing reprise to the palate.

The Chilli Crab Mantou was also a great hit. Probably the easiest and laziest way to enjoy one of Singapore’s staples. A fried bun stuffed with crab meat and chilli sauce may only just satisfy your chilli crab cravings but you can always order a plateful of simmered egg noodle with Boston lobster drenched in XO chilli sauce as your main.

To cap it all off, order the Pistachio Muah Chee as it clearly takes the cake as the restaurant’s best dessert with its concentrated and fine nutty flavour wrapped in a glutinous shell.

Apart from lunch or dinner, head to Jade for a weekend dim sum brunch-buffet. The items are made fresh and include a long list of choices, from siew mais and congees to egg tarts and custard buns.

Complete with its gorgeous revamp, the space is set to attract a new crowd of Chinese cuisine-loving diners and multi-generational families who appreciate the mix of traditional and modern food on offer.