You can scour the city to experience some of the finer things Singapore has to offer, but a chance to live like actual royalty will still be worlds apart.

From the view of our local life, gazing upon kings and queens on their regal thrones is a faraway concept. We can’t relate, but we’ll admit it’s fun to imagine what it might be like. 

If you want to get a taste of the high life, take to the seas and Dream Cruises will lay out a spread fit for an emperor. 

Their signature culinary extravaganza “Taste The Dream – Wine and Dine at Sea” returns this year with a royal spin, thanks to two internationally acclaimed chefs who’ll be making their debuts on board the Genting Dream and World Dream cruise liners.

In East-meets-West fashion, Chef Darren McGrady and Chef Ivan Li present two unique dining experiences to choose from, The Queen’s Feast and The Forbidden Banquet. The craziest thing is, they’ll be serving dishes that have been tasted and praised by the royals themselves.

In his 15 years of service at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace, Chef McGrady has been trusted with crafting the favourite foods of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry. He brings to the table some of his culinary wonders that have gotten their seals of approval.

Chef Ivan Li is just as impressive, coming down the line from his great grandfather who headed the imperial kitchen to the last Qing emperor. He’s now the second generation owner of Family Li Imperial Cuisine, a prestigious restaurant that has carried on the legacy feeding numerous dignitaries and celebrities since 1985.

Here are some dishes they’ll be serving at sea that are bound to make anyone feel grand.

Juniper Crusted Venison with Truffle Oil Risotto

Combining two of The Queen’s most favoured delights in one masterpiece, Chef McGrady’s venison takes your taste buds to the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

Queen Elizabeth loves a serving of game for her main courses, and this dish was prepared for her with the abundant venison on the Balmoral Estate.

If you’re a chocoholic, that’s one thing you can say you have in common with The Queen, before you get swept away by the surprising twist of a chocolate-infused grand veneur sauce topping this delectable cut of meat.

Another dimension of flavour comes from the fluffy bed of risotto it lies upon, made with wild mushrooms and truffles, and adored by Prince Charles.

Ballotine of Salmon, Tomato & Dill Mousse, Herb Marinated Lobster Tail

The life of royalty sure looks magnificent, but it isn’t all indulgence either. When Chef McGrady was the personal chef to Princess Diana at Kensington Palace, she had him turn her meals fat-free to help her maintain a healthy lifestyle, and he did this with her favourite tomato and dill mousse.

His new rendition does away with the full-fat mayonnaise and heavy cream, while it still packs a rich flavour and smooth texture.

Served alongside a fresh piece of lobster was just the way Princess Diana loved it. On top of that, guests will enjoy the addition of a supple ballotine of salmon, finished with avocado and caviar.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Chef McGrady’s bread and butter pudding was another dish famously treasured by Princess Diana. In fact, she loved it too much to keep it to herself and often raved to her friends that it was the best in the world.

It became so iconic that many have tried to recreate it, describing it as a heavenly cross between a traditional bread pudding and a crème brûlée, sprinkled with raisins and slivered almonds. But none can match up to the original, of course.

The treat gets sweeter as it’s drizzled with salted caramel sauce, and accompanied by the chef’s masterfully made drambuie blueberry compote and vanilla bean ice cream.

Mashed Green Beans with Minced Scallops and Ginger

If you’d prefer a taste of oriental grandeur, Chef Li’s imperial menus will take you deep into the Forbidden City. More than just delicacies, some of his creations are rightfully a work of art too.

Specially invented for Empress Dowager Cixi, who was a great lover of jade, this unusual appetiser is coined ‘Tofu of Jade’ for its distinctive pale green hue. Achieved by mashing green beans into a smooth, silky, curd-like texture, it truly shows that the simplest ingredients can be turned extravagant in the hands of a master.

Along with it, savour Chef Li’s delectable deep fried prawns wrapped with egg, and duck meat with sweet sauce.

Bird’s Nest with Pheasant Meat and Vermicelli

Just like it is today, bird’s nest has historically been prized in Chinese cuisine. Back in the courts of the Qing dynasty, it was one of the most highly favoured ingredients to use.

Bird’s nest with rock sugar was served to Emperor Qianlong for breakfast every morning, while Empress Dowager Cixi would request to have different dishes made from it on a daily basis.

Chef Li makes this dish even more classical with the addition of pheasant (we’d like to think of as the nobleman’s chicken), also another symbolic favourite of the royals of China.

Ready Your Crown, It’s Time To Set Sail!

If you’ve been holding out for the perfect opportunity to #treatyourself, it probably doesn’t get more luxurious than being served with the royal treatment out at sea.

Catch Chef Li on his voyage with World Dream from 13 – 20 October 2019, followed by his next sailing on Genting Dream, departing from Singapore for a 3-night getaway from 17 November 2019.

Chef McGrady embarks on Genting Dream from 11 – 13 November 2019, before he sets sail on two back-to-back sailings on World Dream from 29 December 2019 – 3 January 2020.

Besides a gastronomic experience, guests on the cruises can also enjoy a lineup of programmes including a Peking opera, British garden tea party, workshops and concerts on board.

To view the full menus and find out more about A Taste of the Palace, click here!

This article was written in collaboration with Dream Cruises.

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