We remembered Lao Beijing (老北京食堂) at Plaza Singapura to be bright and cheery. When we revisited it recently, we saw that it had been transformed into something dark and rather mysterious. Lao Beijing at Plaza Singapura now looks like a hip modern cafe designed to resemble an old Chinese teahouse, with a mix of classic Chinese paintings and modern art pieces on the premises. You would expect a restaurant named old Beijing to serve Northern Chinese fare, but Southern Sichuan dishes are also on its menu. Is this a case of 一腳不踏二船 (yī jiǎo tà liǎng chuán) – straddling two boats at the same time?
We have no real quarrel with the new decor of Lao Beijing at Plaza Singapura. It looks quite attractive. However, we think it looks like a modish restaurant you may find in present day Beijing rather than something reminiscence of old Peking.
The menu is not extensive as Lao Beijing seems to be positioning itself as a casual diner rather than a full fledge Chinese restaurant. It offers popiah (which looks like the local version), soup, rice & noodles and a variety of Northern and Southern dishes. Pictures of the menu are below.
We ordered a bowl of Zha Jiang Noodles ($8.80) and a few dim sum items to share. The Zha Jiang Noodles came nicely presented. The portion was not a large one but reasonable. The dark sweet sauce with minced meat mixed with the smooth thin noodles combined to make the dish quite delicious and enjoyable.
We also ordered Pork wrapped in Pancake ($6) and Guo Tie ($6). The Pork wrapped in Pancake was a disappointment. The pancake was thick and doughy. The filling was bland. We could eat it only with a large helping of chilli sauce. We would not order this dim sum item again.
The Guo Tie, or pot stickler, was not the best we had tried. However, it was good compared to the pancake. The Guo Tie was well fried so that parts of the skin was crispy and the shrimp, pork and chives filling was tasty enough.
Lao Beijing used to be of one of the top places to head to for good Crispy Skin Roast Duck, Xiao Long Bao, Dan Dan Noodles and other Beijing style dishes. We think Lao Beijing at Plaza Singapura, by trying to keep up with the trends and cater to a new set of clientele, has lost its way somewhat. It is difficult to straddle two boats at the same time. By trying to be more than just a cosy family friendly Chinese restaurant it has become a rather ordinary modern casual diner. Overall it is not bad but not outstanding or memorable in any way – it is an eatery we would go to if we need a quick simple meal.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Plaza Singapura #03-02
68 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6738 7207
Opening Hours: 11:00AM – 10:00PM
Nearby MRT Station : Dhoby Ghaut
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