Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tung Lok Signatures

I guess Tung Lok doesn't need any introduction...a old name in high end Chinese cuisine in Singapore, this chain of restaurants have outlets occupying the entire strata of price ranges to suit one's wallet. From the high end and quite expensive Tung Lok Signatures, to the more down to earth Zhou's Kitchen and Lao Beijing...both of which are permanent favourites of the family.

But a celebration warrants a higher end location, with a higher end budget to match. It was my mother's 79th Birthday, so we decided to splash a little...at Tung Lok Signatures at Vivocity.

We started with an unusual grilled foie gras with sliced duck served on a light pastry:



Quite superb. The foie gras was lightly seared...the insides were beautifully smooth and creamy. The outside crisped a little. The duck meat was nicely done, though not spectacular. And the pastry light and very complementary to the duck. Interesting migration of French culinary style over to Chinese.

Next we had the Tian Jia style braised shark's fin. Yes, we still eat sharks fin...



Rather nice. There was generous combs of shark's fin...small strands, which are crunchy to the palate. And the gorgeous chicken and seafood stock which lifts the dish. The stock is no ordinary stock...I can tell its been prepared with long hours over the fire...causing the protein in the chicken and seafood to denature, and completely meld into the soup...giving it a thick, and slightly sticky collagen consistency.

Next were sauted prawns with greens and yam spring rolls:



Excellent dish too. The prawns were nice, fresh, crunchy. Good breath of the sea was evident in the prawns as one bites into it. The spring rolls were also nicely done. Even though deep fried, the skin remained crisp and dry. The insides, as one bites into it, releases the rich, creamy fragrance of yam.

Fish was next, and we had steamed soon hock:



Not much to look at this fish...but the steaming was very well done. The fish was firm, but yet tender and juicy. The doneness was such that at the core...where the bones are, it is slightly pink. But thouroughly cooked. The sauce is what makes or breaks a simple dish like steamed fish, and this was equally simple with a superior soy and ginger and chilli. Not my favourite for the evening, but nice.

Next dish was the interestingly named Bomber chicken...



It turned out to be a whole chicken done like har cheong kai. Decently done, but I have tasted better har cheong kai elsewhere...and indeed even at home. But while this passes the mark, not one to write home about.

Braised beancurd with spinach was next:



Served with snow fungus and some vegetables, the tofu was fragrant, and very soft within its leathery, slightly crispy outer skin. The sauce tempered the taste and brought it up a level. I liked this quite a lot.

The rice dish was lotus leaf rice with dried seafood:



I found this to be very good as well. As the lotus leaf was being cut, the wift of the gorgous fragrance enters one's nostrils and thrills. The rice seemed to be a combination of regular long grain fragrant rice and sticky rice. Beautiful dish.

The desserts: Chilled aloe vera gel with lemon sherbet:



Kind of western inspired as well. The aloe vera jelly was very nice. Had a springy consistency, and allowed the chunks of fresh aloe vera to shine. The sherbert was a lime sorbet, and I suspect home made...the ice crystals were a little irregular, but the taste authentic and very good.

As we were nearing Father's Day, the menu included a serving of Longevity Peaches:



These were quite good...the skin and pastry outer was nice and soft...like a light pau...the filling was ling yong. And was rich and creamy.

Of course, as this was a birthday celebration, we had a cake brought in. The Tung Lok staff are used to birthdays...they gathered around, sang the birthday songs. Had the cake delivered on a large plate with birthday greetings hand written on. And the the cake, or rather fruit tart which we purchased from Fruit Paradise Tart Shop.



The tart is superb:



Loads of fresh strawberry on fresh cream, on a marscapone filling a tart case. Beautiful.



Tung Lok Signatures
QB House - Vivocity
1 Harbour Front Walk, 098585
6376 9555
Subway: HarbourFront
Open Daily 11am-10pm
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