Monday, May 5, 2014

Char Restaurant new kid on the block for roast meats

Regular readers of this blog would recognise my love for roast meats, especially char siew and sio bak.

Here is a tale of a rather new, and interesting roast meat joint...traditionally Chinese in character, but with a distinctly English feel to it...no doubt, as the owner is one UK born Chinese young man....plying his trade of traditional Chinese...rather Cantonese/Hong Kong style roast meats by using perhaps some Western techniques.

All the interesting talk is nought, if not for the taste...so how does it go?

We began with an order of their 3 meats platter...char siew, sio bak and roast duck

They also offer platters of two meats, or each of the signature 4 roasts (sio bak, char siew, roast duck and roast chicken) in individual servings by the 100g, min 300g. I guess this is for the large groups or for real afficionados.

We dismiss the passable first...the duck was not impressive. Rather normal, and similar in quality as one can easily get in the better hawker centres or food courts. But the two other meats were quite interesting...

The char siew was dark, brooding...promising a crisp, burnt finish to a rich, fatty pork. This is the dark, sweet char siew exemplified by the exponents of the art in KL. And indeed, it does not disappoint.

The sweetness seem to come from the dark sweet sauce smothering the outer edges, seeming applied only when the meat is cooked, or close to being cooked. I think the KL stalls not only coat the meat before slicing with the sweet sauce but as it roasts, building up layer upon layer of sweet, slightly bitter (from the charring) of the sauce, leaving a final beautiful glazing and burnt edges.

I would have preferred a bit more crisp and burning on the outer edges, and a bit less fat. But there was precious little to complain about. Quite, quite good...on the fragrant steamed rice...almost perfect. But just short of what is offered by Oversea (now defunct, and the tradition continued by Garoupa King), and the offerings in KL.

But for me the star was the sio bak, or siu yoke...roast pork with crackling..

Very nicely done indeed. The crackling was very crispy, very beautifully light. The meat was fat, but not too greasy on the palate. Nice. Very nice. Perhaps edged out from being my reference by the folks at Keith, but very close.

We also had the sambal kangkong, which was rather nice too...but suffered from being a bit too oily and a touch too peppery.

They serve nice English ales and ciders as well...though not from the tap, but by the bottle.

Overall, excellent place for roast meats. The ambience is more akin to a very clean canteen than a fine dining establishment. Service was ok...above average. We noticed the owner going around talking to the diners, but he did not come to ours.

Highly recommended.

Char Restaurant
393 Guillemard Road
6842 7759
info@char.com.sg
www.facebook.com/charrestaurant

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