The Scholar is a Chinese restaurant tucked away in the relatively new premises of the National University of Singapore Society’s clubhouse at Kent Ridge. Having been here for both their dim sum and their Chinese cuisine, the Scholar is no doubt one of my favourite destinations in the West for a nice and casual lunch. Craving for dim sum one day and lazy to travel far from where we were, we decided to adjourn to the Scholar to satisfy our gastronomical cravings.
Part of the National University of Singapore’s Kent Ridge campus, the Scholar is located in a secluded corner on the first floor of the two-storey clubhouse. Stepping into the well-lit restaurant, we were seated in a cosy corner next to the full-length windows which overlooks the courtyard.
Like most club restaurants, I enjoyed the generous space allocation for diners such that one could enjoy their meals with a proper amount of privacy and personal space. Décor wise, the Scholar, with its modern and comfortable furnishings, exudes a minimalistic and clean feel.
Congee with Century Egg and Lean Meat $4.00
In my excitement and craving for dim sum, I ordered slightly too much for the two of us to share. Starting off with one of my favourite dim sum dishes and just about the only porridge dish I enjoy, we had a Congee with Century Egg and Lean Meat. One of the better renditions of this dish I have had in Singapore, the serving size was generous and could easily be shared amongst two to three persons. The porridge was well-prepared, tasting rich and flavourful from the chicken stock, with large chunks of century egg and tender pork slices.
Siew Mai – Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling $4.20
As always, I would base my assessment of a dim sum restaurant on the classics such as Siew Mai and Har Kow. To this end, the Scholar passed both with flying colours. The Siew Mai as positively large with chunks of mushroom amidst the minced pork and topped with fish roe. Made and steamed to near perfection, the yellow skin encased soft tender and tasty minced pork.
Har Kow – Crystal Shrimp Dumpling $4.20
Everything in the Scholar seemed to be larger than life, even the Har Kow was larger than usual. Fresh and succulent prawns wrapped in a moist and soft thin flour skin, it was simply delicious. Unlike many dim sum restaurants where they can’t get the flour skin right, either making it too chunky that the flour taste overpowers the taste of the prawns or too thin that it breaks easily; the Scholar’s Har Kow skin was of perfect thickness.
Shanghai Xiao Long Bao $4.20
The Xiao Long Bao was also pretty good with a thin skin encasing soft and tender minced pork bathed in a tasty broth. Thankfully the skin was strong enough to not break and the burst of soup as one bit into the thin skin was just wonderful.
Barbeque Pork Buns $3.50
Another favourite of ours, the BBQ pork buns were delicious as always. Tender, juicy chunks of char siew in honey barbeque sauce in a fluffy and soft bun; this was good as always. With a generous amount of char siew filling, the tasty and sweet meat complemented the light and fragrant bun.
Fresh Prawn Cheong Fun $4.80
Using fresh, large and juicy prawn chunks enclosed in a silky smooth cheong fun, this dish was yet another winner. The cheong fun was thin and went well with the naturally sweet prawns. Served with several stalks of green vegetables, the soya sauce base also added extra flavour.
Liu Sha Bao – Steamed Buns with Custard Cream & Egg Yolk $4.80
Saving the best for last, this is my favourite dim sum dish and the best dish of the meal! The Scholar’s rendition of this dim sum staple was pretty flawless. Soft fluffy bun encasing steaming hot custard and egg yolk mixture, the yellow mixture flowed smoothly like hot lava out of the bun upon the first bite. With a perfect blend of salty and sweet, the smooth and well mixed custard and egg yolk combination was heavenly. Having tried so many different renditions of this classic, I must say this is one of the best!
Very satisfied with our meal and totally stuffed, we left the Scholar happy people. With reasonable prices and generously large servings, the Scholar is definitely high on my list for a dim sum lunch. Quiet surroundings make this a perfect place to catch up with a friend or two. Great company paired with delicious food; what else could one ask for?
9 Kent Ridge Drive
Level 1 NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House
*Only for NUSS Members
Contact No: 6586 3710
Mon–Thu: 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10pm
Fri & PH Eve: 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm
Sat: 11.30am–4pm, 6pm–10.30pm
Sun & PH: 11.30am–4pm, 6pm–10pm