Sometimes it seems like the Chinese food market here is dominated by just a few names, like Crystal Jade, Imperial Treasure or the Tung Lok Group.
Search a little harder, however, and you will find that there are plenty of other Chinese restaurants, some with very illustrious histories, which still exist and continue to serve very fine food. Sometime last week, I went to just such a place: Spring Court was founded in 1929 and is still a family-run business that now operates out of Upper Cross Street.
Although pretty unassuming from street level, the restaurant is actually huge, occupying a towering four floors, and on a Sunday night, the place was packed. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that Spring Court is currently celebrating its 82nd anniversary, so there are a number of promotions going on, making it extremely value for money. The promotion we enjoyed, for instance, lasts till the end of September, and allows you to order a Peking duck for only 82 cents if your bill comes up to $82 or more. It's hard to think of a better deal than that, if you ask me.
What's really special about Spring Court, however, is the fact that you can still tell it's a family-run restaurant from some of the food it serves, because some of these dishes are like something out of someone's (very professional) kitchen.
The scallop porridge, for instance, is a nice bowl of congee (a little thinner than I am used to) with plump, sweet scallops lurking within. With a sprinkling of freshly-cut chives, this is probably one of the healthier things I've eaten in a Chinese restaurant.
Speaking of eating healthy, I really enjoy eating popiah, but it's not something I get to eat very often because it's so tedious to grate the ingredients and stew them into the sweet, juicy filling they have to become. Why don't I just buy popiah from food courts or hawker centers then? Well, for one thing, I'm quite particular about my popiah, and I find that most commercial sellers don't do a very good job, because the filling tends to be bland, mushy, and not very generous in terms of what you get.
At Spring Court, however, I was happy to see that there was no such problem. The popiah rolls were enormous, and stuffed so full with ingredients that they were virtually bursting at the seams. In fact, they're so large that it's probably difficult for one person to finish one all by him or herself, so you can imagine how we had a slight problem with 8 rolls for 7 people.
Although Upper Cross Street may be a little inconveniently located, it should be said that parking is a breeze as a result of two public car parks located across the road from the restaurant. Service is brisk and pleasant enough, so if you're getting a little tired of the same old Chinese cuisine, maybe it's time to try something more homely at Spring Court.
52-56 Upper Cross Street
Tel: +65 6449 5030