Sunday, November 30, 2014

Restaurant HOME with Chef Tan Yong Hua - Lychee Wood Peking Duck

Chef Tan Yong Hua is a familiar face in the Singapore culinary scene. He was most famously known for being the first Singaporean to defeat the Iron Chef of Thailand.

He has also been at the helm of a number of reputable Chinese restaurants and now, he has decided to venture out on his own at the very appropriately named Restaurant HOME at the Rail Mall.

The setting itself is simple but elegant, and despite being housed at a rather isolated location of the island, it feels like a perfect getaway from the daily hustle of city life.

Most recently, I also had the pleasure and privilege of working with Chef Tan at the recently concluded Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 where Chef Tan presented his signature Peking Duck for the event.

It is also the duck which I will start with here as it is one of the best roasted ducks that I have had in Singapore.

Roasted Peking Duck with Lychee Wood

Unlike most roast ducks, Chef Tan takes the effort and time to use lychee wood to infuse an intoxicating smoky aroma into his duck dish. I really enjoyed how the scented wood fragrance was just right, neither too overpowering nor too light.

The meat itself was beautifully cooked to a perfect pink tenderness. But it was the outer skin that will win you over almost instantly. Best eaten with a wrap and some plump spring onion, cucumbers and a well judged sweet, plum sauce, the combination of flavours and textures of the classic Peking Duck was marvellously produced here. A definite winner.

Homemade Pi Pa Tofu

Besides the duck, there are a number of specially concocted dishes that are both unique and well thought out. I particularly loved this homemade tofu dish. Being homemade, the texture was more grainy and the shrimp and crab paste mixture was incredibly flavourful and tasty. Garnished with a simple selection of Chinese greens, this was a superb tofu creation.

Baked Marble Goby

This claypot cooked fish dish also displayed Chef Tan's light handed touch in his cooking and seasoning. The flavours are more subtle than typical Chinese fish courses and the fish was simply garnished with lemongrass, galalgal and a dash of Chinese wine. Light and refreshing.

Fried Peking Duck

As per the tradition with Peking Duck, the remaining duck meat is usually put aside to cook up another dish, usually as a noodles accompaniment. Chef Tan elected to slice them thinly to fry with dried chilli and garlic.

Though the meat was a tad dry and chewy, I can imagine this going very well with beer as the meat was heavily salted and the thought of cold beer washing down the aromatics of the duck would be just about ideal.

Chef Tan Yong Hua

Besides the above, Chef Tan also has a selection of set lunches when he will pair his famous roast duck with noodles and while I was not too crazy about the noodles, I really cannot complain about his roasts and they do make a great value for money lunch alternative.

Chef Tan himself is a very passionate man when it comes to his cooking and he takes the time to explain how he came up with each dish and the thought processes behind making them.

And after working with him on UHF 2014, it is a privilege to make his acquaintance and certainly, I hope to see more from him in the near future and his delightful culinary creations.

Restaurant HOME
392 Bukit Timah Road
The Rail Mall

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