I love lunches with my colleagues, it's always lively and full of laughter and camaraderie. Even before I joined the firm, I've long heard of their reputation for loving their food and drinks. Indeed, during my interview, the partner interviewing me found out that one of my passions was cooking and eating, and told me that I'd fit right in because of the firm culture. And 3 years later, it's little wonder I'm still in the firm.
Although we did not make reservations, the restaurant was only half full when we arrived for lunch. We were quickly ushered to a spot that was brightly lit, great for taking pictures!
Beeps got right to work ordering her favourite items the second we sat down. We got the Deep Fried Mango Roll ($7.50 for 5 pieces), crunchy prawns and sweet mango wrapped in flaky pastry and deep fried. We all felt this was a little too oily.
We ordered 2 portions of the Pork and Century Egg Congee ($9 for 2 bowls). I personally don't eat century egg, but I tried a spoonful of the congee. It was smooth, thick and flavoured with the essence of pork bones. And of course I removed the spring onions. :)
We also got Steamed Bbq Pork Buns ($6 for 5 pieces). I liked this, the pork was sweet, smoky and fatty and the buns was soft and fluffy.
A closer look at the sweet bbq pork.
We also ordered the Yam Puff Pastry with Minced Chicken ($7.50 for 5 pieces). We also agreed that this was a little too oily.
We also got the Pan Fried Turnip Cake with Preserved Meat ($6 for 5 pieces). CC and The Professor had to add sweet chili sauce to spice up the turnip cake. The Professor was of the opinion that a dish fails if it requires chili sauce to perk it up.
Another dim sum dish was the Steamed Beancurd Skin with Pork and Prawns ($6.75 for 5 pieces). I took a liking to this. There were julienned black fungus and bamboo shoots for texture and crunch.
We got one last dim sum item, the Steamed Rice Roll with Bbq Pork ($5). The layers were a little too thick for my liking and there weren't enough bbq pork.
We also got soup. I got the Fish Maw Thick Soup with Seafood ($12 for an individual portion). The soup was bright yellow and came filled with enoki mushrooms (golden mushrooms), conpoy (dried scallops), thick chunks of crabmeat, diced prawns, diced fresh scallop and silvers of fish maw. I liked this. It was rich and thick.
The rest got the really healthy and nourishing Black Chicken Soup with Red Dates for sweetness and other chinese herbs ($38). It's said that black chicken is good for women after childbirth, because it expels wind and promotes renewal of the body. Please note that this is a 'heaty' soup, so it's good for you if you have the cold. But if you have fever, it is not advisable to eat black chicken.
After they dished up the soup into individual portions, they also ladled the edible ingredients, black chicken, conpoy and pork, unto a separate plate.
We happened to talk about crabs and CC remembered that it was the hairy crab season, and then I remembered that Tung Lok imports the seasonal delicacy. The birthday girl hence got the rare treat of a Hairy Crab ($48) all to herself, lightly steamed so the clean, fresh flavours of the creamy golden roe came bursting through every bite.
Service was amazing, they peeled the crab for the birthday girl, so she (almost) did not have to use her fingers or nails to pick at the crab.
We also got a Steamed Garoupa Fish, Hongkong style ($72). This was huge. I love steam fish. I used to stay away from fish because of the unfortunate occurrence of way too many episodes of fish bones lodged in my throat when I was younger. Until I met the BF, who taught me how to love fish. The light, clean, sweetness of really fresh fish. I'll be happy eating steamed fish everyday.
After all that meat and fish (the Chinese will call it "da yu da rou"), we had to get some obligatory greens for fibre and to help move all that protein along, Beeps' favourite Broccoli doused with Crab Meat Sauce ($38).
The staff was unfailingly polite and showed a lot of initiative. Our cups got refilled before we realised that our cups needed refilling. They asked if I wanted to take pictures of the food for every dish, before proceeding to deal with the dish.
When Beeps was eating the hairy crab, they got ginger tea for her and told her that because crabs are very 'cooling', she should drink ginger tea for 'heat' to balance out the 'cooling' element of the crab. And when she was done picking at the crabs, they provided some kind of mint paste for her hands to wash out any pungent smell of the crabs.
Many of the service staff were from China, and they were ALL courteous to a fault. Sometimes, we shouldn't be so hard on foreigners who are unable to speak English well. I have found that many service staff from China are tenacious, hardworking, down-to-earth folks. Besides, some of our own Singaporeans are unable to pronounce the simplest of English words (Ris Low, anyone?) despite presumably having scored well in the English subject in primary school. So who are we to judge?
It's amazing we actually finished all the dishes and still managed to stay awake at work in the afternoon. The bill came up to a staggering $327.50 inclusive of chinese tea ($5), herbal water chestnut drinks ($15) and peanuts ($2.50). THANK YOU CC!
And happy birthday babe. You're the best secce ever.
Update 29 Feb 2012: The restaurant is now closed because UIC Building is slated for demolition.
5 Shenton Way #06-13
Tel: 6227 0933
Open daily from 11am to 3pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 11pm for dinner.