Thursday, September 9, 2010

Old Hong Kong Kitchen

Old Hong Kong Kitchen
This, being the first of my eatery reviews, thought it best to focus on places that Pauline and I do like, and would be focusing on places that might not be that well known to folks.

Well, Old HK may not necessarily be unknown, but it is tucked away in one hidden corner of Novena Square 2, and we ourselves, had found it by accident one night.

We had gone back again this time with the deliberate intention to blog and feature as my maiden review.

The place itself has a rather pleasant decor but just had a bit too much air con for Pauline's liking.

We decided to go with the Signature Dish Set Dinner for 2, at S$38++ per person. It had basically a mix n match option of which we could chose 1 appetizer out of 4, 1 veggie dish out of 4, 2 mains out of 7, a choice of 2 sharks fin soup, a choice from 3 rice/noodle dishes and 1 dessert out of 3 choices. Whew!

And yeah, it did take awhile to figure what to pick, and the only downside is we had to choose a similar dish of each category to share rather than each picking our own dish. But the abundance of selection certainly beats what you would normally get at a Crystal Jade outlet's similar set menu.

Roast Duck and Tea Smoked Duck Breast

The appetizer we chose was a combo of tea smoked duck breast and roast pork. As expected, the roast pork was crisp on the skin and popped right into our mouths with little effort.

The duck was pleasant and had a sweet sauce, and had that typical smoky flavor to it. Not bad at all, but nothing unexpected.

Shark's Fin Soup with Shredded Fish Maw and Chicken

Out of the 2 shark's fin soup, we opted for the fish maw one and again, it was pretty much what you would expect from a Tung Lok outlet. Felt that there was some MSG involved, but then, almost all Chinese restaurants would have that in the chicken broth. The fish maw and shredded chicken did give it a nice texture to the soup and the portion was quite good considering that in certain places, the cost of the shark's fin soup was as much as the whole meal. Don't expect too much fin though ...

Stewed Beancurd with Greens in Abalone Sauce

The stewed tofu was very pedestrian and the abalone stock was again slightly savory. Overall, nothing to shout about, but still palatable.

Rack of Lamb with Red Wine and Black Pepper Sauce

Next came the highlight of the evening. The lamb was roasted perfectly, tender and pink in the middle.  Couldn't really taste the red wine though, as the black pepper was rather overpowering, but because the lamb was really perfectly cooked, we really didn't mind that much.

Stir-fried Garoupa with Goose Liver Sauce

Our 2nd main was an interestingly stir-fried garoupa wrapped around a stalk of asparagus, garnished with some broccoli on the side. The goose liver sauce felt a bit too savory for me, and the fish was, well, a bit fishy tasting for my liking. But it was nicely crisp on the outside for you to enjoy the crunchiness of it all.

Stewed Noodle with Ginger and Scallion in XO Chilli Sauce

The noodles was again pretty much what you get from most other similar restaurants. I did felt the sauce was a bit drier than what I would have liked, and the dish had a bit too much heat. Was alright in the end, but you wouldn't think it too stellar.

Chilled Mango Puree with Sago and Coconut Ice Cream

The desserts were a different story. We both had the mango puree (the only part of the set menu where we could have a different choice, and guess what? We had the same!). But it was really different from the usual mango pudding, and the puree was smooth and tangy, and the sweetness of the coconut balanced the flavors pretty well. Had a nice presentation too.

Glutinous Rice Ball with Mango Custard

Surprisingly, the complimentary rice balls were even better! Served cold, the mango custard within had a nice fragrance of egg and mango, which proved to be a nice combination. I could have another 2 or 3 of these.

Servicewise, we were a bit frustrated at the long intervals between dishes, but the staff did apologise at the end so it did buffer that a bit. We liked it mainly coz Old HK proved to be a nice break from the usual, almost workmanlike experiences of the Crystal Jades and Tung Loks. Certainly, there is a quite a bit to like here, especially the lamb, which most Chinese outlets tend to overcook and make a mess of.

Old HK Interior
Pricewise, for the set, it's pretty reasonable considering the number of dishes we had. I would almost nominate the complimentary item as the best thing we had on the menu, but the lamb won it for me on the night.

Overall, there are still some enhancements to be had, but for a rather new kid on the Chinese eatery block, this bodes well for a rather auspicious beginning.

Old Hong Kong Kitchen
10 Sinaran Drive
#02-80 Novena Square 2

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