Saturday, 4 April 2015

The end of dining in the museum

Group photograph with Micheal Tio and two of his staffs with the famous panel inside Chef Chan's as our backdrop.
I’m heading to Singapore again in a couple of days and the usual me will fill my lunches and dinners appointments to the max besides my official work. For years, I’ve been adapting a leisure pace of life by mixing work with a bit of sightseeing and gastronomical indulgent, after Bell’s palsy and protein inflammation raised the red flag of stress.  

Out of a sudden, I have terrible cravings for “Or Ni”, smashed yam steamed with ginko and dried mandarin orange peel, topped with a bit of coconut milk and macademia nuts. Arghh….and I know no place serve this dish nicer than Chef Chan’s Singapore, 神厨三绝 in Chinese. Since I was first being introduced to it by my good friend Peggy in 2006, it is one of my favorite dining places in Singapore alongside Royal China at Raffles Hotel, Jade at Fullerton Hotel and Por Kee Eating House (closed in 2014). I guess, what attracts me most, of Chef Chan’s, besides its delicious food, are the Chinese antiques that adorn the place as well as the thrill of dining in the museum. Chef Chan’s is located at the Singapore National Museum.

Another group photo, with Su Yen, Lee Ying, Li Fong and Mavis, circa 2008. 
I would have to admit that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this place because of the poor service rendered by some of its waitress. They made you feel unwelcomed you entered, with their icy cold greetings, limited flexibility in exchanging some items on the set menu and when the clock struck 9.30pm, they just can’t wait for you to leave with their expressions. More than often, we have to adjourn to another place for tea and to continue our discussions. Soon,  the pull to dine at Chef Chan’s diminish except for the occasion cravings.

The last straw happened in December 2014 when friends celebrated my birthday there. We were denied a private room for unknown reason even though they knew we were regulars and all rooms were empty that day, and in the past, we’ve always have a room. Finally, after showing a bit of displeasure, we were given one. I’m allergy to noise when I dine, prefer a quiet corner or room where conversations can flow freely and happily without having to shout when conversing. After that day, we made a mental note that we are not going to dine there anymore but I know somehow, we will succumb, with the past forgotten and forgiven.

The memories will lingers on. 
However, it is sad to note that Chef Chan’s at Singapore Museum officially closed its door on the 31st March 2015, when its lease expired and owner, Michael Teo decided to move. The new Chef Chan’s will be located #03-17 APERIA, 12 Kallang Avenue, Singapore, thus, ending the experience of dining in the museum surrounded by objects de art which Chef Chan’s are renowned for. As the Chinese saying goes: 不在于天长地久,只在乎曾经拥有 (it doesn’t matter if it lasts forever as long as I once have it), I cherish the moments that I have had while dining at Chef Chan's at Singapore National Museum.

P/s: I look forward to hear from Micheal soon to announce the re-opening of Chef Chan's, and hopefully, with better waitresses and service. 





1 comment:

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