Chef Kang is a familiar name to us. Every time he relocated, we followed, albeit just once or twice. When we read about this new place, we immediately placed a reservation, only to postpone our date because it was full.
The restaurant, located at 25 Mackenzie Road, is small, perhaps with only 10 tables of various sizes with seating from 2 to 10. The decor warned us that the restaurant aims to be upmarket, with satin table clothes and waitresses appropriately attired in the matching fabric of decor.
We ordered the house specials and while they did not disappoint, we were shocked by the bill, rightly or wrongly.
The deep fried brinjal with pork floss ($30) was less crispy than I remember. My 2-year-old niece enjoyed the brinjal, an acquired taste for kids, which meant the dish was good.
The double meat platter was delicious. I read Chef Kang invented the coffee ribs which was quickly copied by Tze Char stalls. The added almonds added a nice texture to the ribs. I preferred the mustard mayo ribs, which reminded me of wasabi mayo prawns.
The special tofu ($$28) was served in a cute serving bowl shaped as a mill grinder from yesteryear. I thought it was forgettable but then I am not exactly particular about tofu.
We came especially to try the Patin fish ($168). The waitress asked how we would liked it cooked and gave us a few choices. I chose for it to be steamed in Teochew style with a kind of fruit. While the fish did not disappoint, my mother was appalled by the price as she claimed she could her a similar sized fish for S$5 at the market.
The chicken in lotus leaf ($48) reminded of old world cooking which I had not had for a long time. The small kampong chicken dish is stewed in mushrooms, black fungus and went well with rice.
The egg white gourd was highly recommended but it tasted only so so. ($28)
The KL noodles ($38 for Large) had everyone, including my two-year old niece slurping up every single strand. It was cooked generously with prawns and shabu shabu slices of pork, soaked in lard-filled gravy.
At the end of the meal, we couldn’t agree f the price ($445.50) was worth a return visit. Rice was $1.50 for a small bowl each, tea $2.50 per person which was topped up very frequently and wet tissues was $0.50 each, higher than most restaurant. But then, they didn’t charge us for the four small dishes of steamed peanuts and there was no GST. Yes, service charge was included.
My sons and I had an interesting discussion on we bulked at the high price even though we enjoyed the food, but are willing to pay the same amount at hotel restaurants even if the food doesn’t match up. hmmm…..