Chin Lee Restaurant
This restaurant serves Teochew cuisine, specialty of the Chinese dialect group, Teochew, native to the Chaosan region in eastern Guangdong province, southern part of China (info taken from Wikipedia). The restaurant is located at Block 115 Bedok North Road, #01-285, which is on the ground floor of a HDB flat (public housing).
To be honest, I have never heard of this restaurant until a week ago, and it was my husband who told me about it. He was looking for a Chinese restaurant for his dad’s birthday dinner. Initially he thought of Canton Paradise restaurant at 112@Katong mall. But since we had been there a few times, he decided to check out something new near our house. He discovered this restaurant on Hungry Go Where, and it receives good reviews. So we decided to check out the restaurant two Saturdays ago to figure out where exactly is its location and to try the food.
It was a busy Saturday night for the restaurant even at almost 9pm. There is alfresco dining in addition to the air-conditioned indoor dining area which was full that evening, and so we sat outside. But that is fine since there are ceiling fans running at top speed.
Anyway we ordered a few dishes such as salted vegetable soup, stir-fried broccoli with garlic, stir-fried asparagus with garlic, and a diced chicken in black peppercorn sauce. Note that none of these are the signature dishes which are fish maw soup and fried pork ribs with coffee etc. My husband, who did the ordering, wanted to have mostly vegetables for dinner.
The soup is pretty flavorful and the vegetables are fried to a nice crunch, done just right. The diced chicken was also nicely flavored with the black peppercorn sauce.
We tried the signature dessert, yam paste with ginkgo nuts and mashed pumpkin (‘Orh Nee’ in Teochew). It has a nice smooth creamy flavor, the pumpkin provides a different subtle sweetness to the syrupy sweetness of the yam paste. The portion is not big but it’s sufficient given that this is calorie laden.
We enjoyed the food; though the presentation is nothing to shout about it was pretty tasty, and the prices are also rather reasonable. In fact my husband was amazed at how a restaurant can offer an expansive dish like the ‘Buddha jumps over the wall’ soup (佛跳墙) at S$900 for 10 as well as the cheap salted vegetable soup at S$5.50 for a small pot for 2. So I booked a table for my father-in-law’s birthday dinner held last Friday, and requested for an indoor table.
We were 15 minutes late for the dinner, but I had already confirmed the reservation with a staff in the early evening. I asked for our table upon arrival, and a staff informed me we have to wait while they prepare the table for us. (Yes I know that sounds strange since you would expect the table to be ready. But it does happen in Chinese restaurants when they turn around a table a couple of times.) So we waited around, after like a couple of minute, I was told by the same staff that the initial assigned table was too small for our party and so they were preparing another table for us. Hmmm… This was starting to sound fishy since I had already requested for a table that can accommodate a stroller when I made the reservation, and I repeated this request earlier during the confirmation. We were made to wait some more.
Another wait staff came over and asked me for number of pax. I told her I had a reservation already, and she checked the reservation book. She saw the first wait staff and told her the reserved table was occupied, and the latter then gave the same explanation. My husband and I were not buying it; in fact he suspected the staff gave away our table and had to scramble to find another one for us. But the restaurant was full inside, though there were a couple of tables available outside. Still we were made to wait. I was getting rather pissed and was tempted to suggest we leave. It turned out that my husband had the same thought too. Eventually after nearly 25 minutes of waiting, the chef came out and ordered the staff to prepare a table outside the restaurant for us. I’ve no idea how he got involved.
My father-in-law ordered the two signature dishes mentioned above, as well as a fried prawn ball, tofu with enoki mushrooms and minced pork, braised cabbage with dried Chinese seaweed (发菜), and the diced chicken with black peppercorn sauce. Below is the tofu dish which I felt the tofu didn’t have enough flavor though it was well made.
During the dinner the staff apologized for making us wait and she explained it was because of the mid-autumn festival which caused the restaurant to get so crowded. I’m not accepting this excuse. It’s not as if this a new start-up and not experienced full house. It has been around for donkey years and so should be able to handle numerous guests. My husband suspected that they probably double booked the table and so ours was already taken by another group. I find this totally unethical, all for the sake of making more money from volume business. We are boycotting this restaurant!
DB Bistro Moderne
We have been to db Bistro Moderne, opened by Daniel Boulud, located at B1-48 Galleria, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, not long after it first opened. But I didn’t have a blog then and so didn’t review the food. I remember I had the egg Benedict which we thought was a tad too saltish. To be honest we weren’t very impressed with the food, so we haven’t been back since till yesterday. We decided to give the bistro another try and maybe they would hold the salt a little. Another reason for returning is also because we wanted to try the French fries.
On weekends, between 11.00 and 3.00pm, the bistro serves brunch. There is a 3-course brunch set at S$65++ including a drink. But I wanted to have foie gras and the set doesn’t have it included, so I opted for the ala carte menu. I had the foie gras terrine, a crepe with potato, onion and cheese, while my husband had a tomato salad and a Yankee burger.
The foie gras terrine is accompanied with apricot jus, mâché (otherwise known as lamb’s lettuce), 2 sliced apricots and 2 sugared walnuts, and served with 3 slices of brioche. I have to say the savory foie gras goes very well with the sweetness of the apricot, with a delectable creaminess. Granted it doesn’t have the melt-in-your-mouth texture like that of a grilled or pan-fried foie gras, it’s still sumptuous.
My husband likes his appetizer of tomato salad, which is made up of different types of tomatoes with goat cheese, and seasoned with basil oil and white vinegar dressing. You can see from the picture below how pretty it looks, with the vibrant colors if green, orange and red. My husband thought it was such a pity to eat it.
My main, which is the crepe, is pretty good. It’s made of buckwheat, accompanied with an egg sunny side up and side salad. The combination of cheese with potato, onion and bacon makes the crepe really yummy. The egg is very well flavored with none of the raw eggy taste.
My husband’s main course is the Yankee burger, which comes with fries. It’s a plain burger with lettuce, tomato and beef patty and is half the size of the Carl Jr’s famous star burger. Condiments of mayonnaise, tomato sauce and mustard are provided on the side. So in this respect, the burger is healthier than the usual ones.
My husband is underwhelmed by the burger. It was tasty but not spectacular. He expected the wow factor since Daniel Boulud is based in New York and would have created really good burger. I tried the fries and frankly, it was no big deal. I thought they should at least have been fried in duck fat, if not truffle oil. The Veganburg’s fries taste better than these. My husband feels he would have better burger and fries at Krazee Burger, a Korean burger joint.
Our verdict is that we should come to the bistro for French food, not so much for the burger.