COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Step into the new Six Senses Duxton and the first thing you’ll notice is its distinct color palette of black, gold, and yellow. The shop house space is dark enough that you may find yourself losing your way in an attempt to locate the dining area, but it’s also cozy enough that you can’t wander too far off.
Restored under the care of British designer Anouska Hempel, the heritage hotel is home to modern Chinese restaurant/bar Yellow Pot, which makes it a point to do things the healthy way, with organic, sustainably-sourced ingredients mostly from Singapore and around the region, as well as broths and sauces painstakingly made in-house from scratch as much as possible. Goodbye, additives and flavor enhancers.
Yellow Pot’s inclination towards healthy eating isn’t surprising, considering how the hotel dedicates a little nook by the reception area to the art of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It’s not quite ready yet, but when the medicinal herbal dispensary is set up, guests will be able to approach the in-house physician for consultations.
Just like the restaurant’s name suggests, the 50-seater space is adorned with yellow pots of all shapes and sizes, with two semi-private dining corners and a striking 20-seater lounge area with a kaleidoscopic stained glass ceiling where guests can kick back for post-dinner drinks.
A meal at Yellow Pot leaves you feeling nourished, like you just paid a visit to grandma and got lovingly lavished with home-cooked comfort Chinese food — with an elegant slant, of course.
Start off your meal with plump little nubs of palette-cleansing chilled organic vine-ripened tomatoes ($8) that pleasantly burst with the juices of Li Hing plum when you bite into them. Then tuck into sesame-coated braised duck spring rolls ($14), where the locally-sourced duck is braised in cinnamon and clove essence for 48 hours before it’s crisped in a traditional hickory wood-fired Apollo oven.
Next up, the soups. The slow-cooked chicken with shimeji-stuffed tomato ($12) is just the kind of warmth you want on a dreary, rainy day, while the hot and sour ($12) — more spicy than sour — comes with wood ear mushrooms, bean curd slivers, and drizzles of Sichuan chilli oil.
Now for the main meats. Crispy Sichuan chicken ($24) is just as tongue-numbing as you’d think it is, tossed with dried red chillies, roasted peanuts, and spicy bean paste. But if you’re after something light, the steamed Kühlbarra barramundi ($22) served with ginger scallion pesto goes nicely with braised white cabbage ($12) and wolfberries immersed in Shaoxing wine.
Our favorites, however, have to be the plate of pork cheek ($12) marinated with lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and celery, then seared with cumin chilli powder to flavorful tenderness, as well as the roast duck ($32/half) marinated in herbs, fermented tofu, cinnamon, and a locally-produced five-spice powder.
Oh, and let’s not forget the organic grass-fed beef tenderloin cubes wok-seared to medium rare in a honey pepper sauce ($36) and paired with flakes of crispy garlic — they’re like chips; you just can’t stop at one.
For those who need carbs in every meal, the stir-fried mee sua ($18) with tiger prawns, Hokkaido scallops, beansprouts, and chives gives off a nice, smoky wok hei flavor. Otherwise, you’ve also got forest mushroom ee-fu noodles ($14) and Yangzhou fried rice ($18) to choose from.
Just like the rest of the menu, desserts tend towards the lighter side here, with options like lemongrass and calamansi jelly ($8), hand-blended almond tea ($7), and house-made ice creams or sorbets ($5/scoop) in flavors such as chocolate-chilli and bee pollen.
If you’d rather end off with a pot of tea, the family-run Yixing Xuan Teahouse (a neighbor to the hotel) has curated a selection of brews including the likes of Yunnan black tea dian hong gold ($12) and high mountain oolong ($22).
For something a little stronger, head to the bar for local craft beers, wines, and cocktails mixed with Chinese herbal ingredients. Signatures ($22 each) include Escape to Kaifeng, of house-made chrysanthemum cordial and Tanqueray London dry gin; Hong Long Choc, a blend of whisky, chocolate liqueur, aromatic bitters, and lapsang souchong; and Canton Sour, a concoction of whisky and Luxardo amaretto, with Angostura bitters and some toasted black sesame seeds tossed into the mix.
Bar bites like lemongrass pork sliders ($12) and Sichuan-style popcorn chicken ($14) are also available.
88 Duxton Rd, Six Senses Duxton.
Bar: Daily 11am-midnight, Restaurant: Daily 6:30am-10:30am, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm.