Cassia – Traditional and modern
Nestled in the oasis of Singapore's Sentosa island is the five-star
luxury Capella hotel that houses the modern contemporary Chinese restaurant Cassia. Despite the modern Chinese style undertaken by the restaurant especially in the design of the dining room, there is no mistaking that the fundamentals of Cantonese cooking still remain key here.
54 year-old Executive Chinese Chef Lee Hiu Ngai, who grew up near Temple Street in Hong Kong, was inspired by his mum's home-styled Cantonese cooking as a cook in a small canteen. Chef Lee's mum was able to churn out simple yet delicious dishes that piqued his cooking interest. It was with this in mind that inspired him to do an apprenticeship with his uncle who was a head chef at a hotel restaurant. After eight years of learning the basics, Chef Lee then moved to other restaurants and honed his craft with different chefs.
More than thirty years later, having worked in top restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong and China, he now helms the kitchen in Cassia redefining Cantonese cuisine by bringing the best of the traditional style of cooking with the best of modern ingredients. While the plating of the dishes might be modern, one can clearly taste that the cooking still stays true to the Cantonese style of cooking where the freshest ingredients are cooked in the shortest possible time to preserve the original taste and freshness of the ingredients.
However, it is also important to note that the foundations of certain Cantonese dishes, while seemingly simple, take a long preparation time and Chef Lee's speciality of double-boiled soup with crab claw, bamboo pith, lotus seeds served in young Thai coconut is Cantonese cooking at its best. The soup stock is rich and flavourful yet remains light to the taste that is further enhanced by the sweetness of the Sri Lankan crab claw. The Thai coconut brings a light nose of the tropics that gently reminds you that you are on a luxury holiday resort and in the good hands of a master chef and his capable kitchen team of 15 chefs.
The modern interpretation of prawns with tangerine peel and orange sauce is wellbalanced with the sweetness of the orange sauce controlled to not overpower the natural sweetness of the prawns. The quick frying technique also ensures the prawns are not overcooked and remain firm to the bite.
The signature wok-fried Australian M9 Wagyu beef with black pepper retains the original taste of the Wagyu without being overwhelmed by the spices. The intense cooking heat generated from the wok created the meat sear that locked in the moisture kept the beef tender and was paired with just the right amount of heat from the black pepper.
The steamed siu mai, or pork dumpling, topped with a nice-sized Japanese abalone was simply a bamboo steamer of pure luxury. The siu mai made with the freshest pork and prawns fillings was
encased in a thin flour skin and steamed perfectly.
Lukus Grace, Capella hotels and resorts Assistant Director of Food and Beverage, wants guests to have a new experience with Cassia that is focused on personalised service enhanced with good food and emphasizes that the service factor plays a key role. This 80-seater restaurant stands out based on the personalised service lead by restaurant manager Law Lai Yong and her team of eight front of house team. Lai Yong takes an effort to find out more on a customer’s preference before making any menu suggestions.
Together with Chef Lee, they assess the acceptance of the dishes based on feedback and from there, make changes or help guide customers to order based on their preferences and understanding of Cantonese cuisine. Lai Yong will also make the additional effort to remember each customer in a bid to help build an ongoing relationship that adds on the experience that Cassia wants to achieve.
Chef Lee wants his guests to feel like they are eating at home when they dine at Cassia where they can choose what they like to eat and drink in a comfortable setting. Cassia is worth a visit to experience how traditional Cantonese cooking paired with modern ingredients provide a sensory harmony.
Cassia scored 75 points of 100 points in our rating system. View our Top 60 of the world. Back to the reviews.
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island
Phone +65 6591 5045