we had our november RI friends dinner @ ban heng harbourfront centre on 24.11.2014. 🙂
this was the smallest turnout, with 7pax.
i had not been to this ban heng outlet before. the last time G20 had a 23pax dinner at ban heng at orchard central, food was quite average.
this outlet has 2 ala carte buffet menu – one pried at S$28.80++ here, and the other at S$21.80++. from what i can see the main difference is for the S$28.80 menu you get to pick 1 order of abalones, crabs, froglegs, live prawns, scallops.
we took the S$28.80++ menu.
#1 roast duck was passable. but c/w the beautiful roast duck at both canton paradise star vista & canton paradise J-cube or with the noodles restaurant at centrepoint, this would be a poor & distant cousin.
#2 drunken chicken was average, competent.
liked the vegetables, #3 garlic spinach & #4 sambal kang kong.
#5 deep-fried soon hock was a standard dish. it was done well. 🙂
#6 beef with bitter gourd black bean sauce was also done well. i personally would prefer fish head & meat with black bean bitter gourd, but this was as good as any good zi char, say kok sen at keong saik street or hong kong street chun kee at commonwealth crescent or ah orh at bukit merah.
#7 steamed prawns was good like any good seafood restaurant.
surprisingly the #8 sharks fin soup though gluey like any served at weddings in yesteryears, had very tasty stock. this was much better than ban heng orchard central.
#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions was also a competent dish. not so different from what my family used to have often at ah yat turf city (now grandstand) long in the past.
#10 roast pork. all my friends liked this a lot. we had a second order. meat looked great, was tender & tasty & skin was crisp. i would say presentation & taste-wise still a tad below what i had recently at tunglok central.
#11 fried prawns with celery – passable, nothing interesting.
#12 char siew looked & tasted great. of the 2 dishes, my friends liked the roast pork better.
#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach. this was quite good dish also. the braising sauce though was nothing like the really good brown sauce served in good cantonese restaurants say ah yat abalones forum restaurant for abalone dishes (also goose web & spiky sea cucumber dishes) or at chao yue xuan.
#14 deep-fried tilapia in thai sauce was an interesting dish. it had less meat so some friends preferred the soon hock dish to this.
#15 scallops in yam nest. scallops were average & overall this dish was poor, below par, not even comparable with a good yam basket say at ah orh w/o expensive scallops.
#16 chai poh minced pork with steamed bean curd, i think this was really poor.
#17 sweet & sour soup. this was a pretty good soup.
#18 pepper crab was quite the usual seafood restaurant standard, for sure better than spices cafe.
self service dessert were quite standard. aloe vera with jelly was quite refreshing & pulut hitam the usual.
overall, food here was better than ban heng orchard central but not as good as (service especially) peach gardens miramar (menu had wider spread though at ban heng harbour front). for S$28.80++ pax it was 2/3 the price of spices cafe w/o the lobster. i guess quite an ok deal.
a good friend bought me an excellent lunch at tunglok signature @ orchard parade on 30.10.2013. according to the service staff, they wanted to promote their set menu hence they offered palate discounts only for set menus on weekends (i had an excellent dinner set here recently on 19.10.2013), this was a weekday, we could only do ala carte to have the discounts. 🙂
ala carte was good too. 🙂
we ordered the razor clams. this was steamed with the usual minced garlic. the sauce looked a bit darker than light soy sauce. the taste was good, and the bite was almost there though my friend felt it was still a wee bit tough. so it wasn’t perfect but still pretty good. btw, i also did a good steamed razor clam in garlic oil myself. 🙂
the lie tong as usual was super! 🙂 the 1/2 pot was enough for 4pax & we had 2 bowls each.
the star garoupa fillet with brocoli & lily bulbs were ok but missing the very evident wok hae, & the fish was not as firm & sweet as the ones i had recently at tunglok signature branch @ central.
the lobster in 2 ways – the flour gratin part was flavourful & the other was sweet & watermelon refreshing. 🙂 still, it was not quite worth S$32pax & both my friend & i would go with lobster steamed with superior sauce (上汤局) anytime. 🙂
for dessert my friend ordered the durian puree in coconut. i tried a teaspoon of the duran. it was excellent! i had the aloe vera with lime sorbet. it was very good too. i love it! 🙂 we also had some complimentary 5 juices in a test tube. 🙂
it was a very enjoyable lunch! the cost came to S$96 for 2 after 50% palate discounts. they only charged S$1.50pax for tea. we had pu er & tea was good tea too. they should see me around more often.
for october G8 get-together, we decided to go for the S$40++pax restaurant week lunch at summer palace at regent hotel on 7.10.2013. 🙂
i don’t do restaurant week lunch these days as the offers are not great at dining city ‘star’ restaurants (often worse than credit card like UOB offers & more restrictive in menu than cheaper set lunches). also many ‘star’ restaurants do not provide menu so it is a “trust me” deal, when there are so many other good deals to pick & choose from? 🙂
anyhow summer palace provided the menu which looked fine. & we checked at the restaurant the usual lunch menu started at S$68++pax & the restaurant week menu looked better by comparison. 🙂
we had trio of dimsum. the mango puff was ok, har gao with birds nest was good consistent with good dimsum restaurant but bird nest was too small a helping to be relevant. the puffy char siew pao was good too sweet like a char siew soh (the reason i don’t take char siew soh) whereas HK Timhowan’s version was a crispy not puffy dough & less sweet & much better.
the sliced fish century egg tan chai soup was quite strange as 1 of my friends observed. it was quite tasty (though no better than a good lie tong), a bit heavy & confusing in taste & kind of poor in presentation for fine dining.
the 1/2 baby lobster in superior sauce (those small 300g ones), which ought to be the centre-piece attraction, was kind of disappointing to me taste-wise. the meat texture was also not bouncy like usual live lobsters & the superior sauce not flavourful enough.
the 烧肉面线 – mian sian was ok not as tasty as chui huay lim. the roast pork however was a disaster. hard & tasteless. i thought it was a poor dish for such a classy restaurant.
the trio of dessert was very average. the osmanthus jelly was ok but harder jelly not as soft & tasty as HK Timhowan’s or the ones they served at the Lantau Big Buddha vegetarian kitchen. the aloe vera & mango were just ok, average.
water & cashew nuts were free. they charged S$2.50pax for chinese tea, quite fair. 4 of us took the poh lei tea. ambience was great, service professional, but the food standard was kind of below par c/w majestic or even tunglok! there was a 1/2lobster but overall taste wise this specially discounted S$40++pax menu gave less satisfaction than a similar priced 6-course lunch set at majestic. of the menu dishes, actually the dimsum were better items (except for dessert) so maybe dimsum here but it sure would be ex.
one last thing, because it was restaurant week, they gave only 1 complimentary parking coupon for 6pax. there were 3 of us who parked at the hotel & my friends kindly let me have the coupon & i noticed on leaving the carpark that the charge was S$10.75 or something! goodness!
we had our G8 dinner at crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao @ takashimaya on 2.9.2013. 🙂
the food was mostly excellent overall for the price, though 1 of our friends could not take fatty food and was just having plain chicken soup lamian & another could not take some of the mala dishes.
for starters we had 2 cold dishes, saliva chicken (口水鸡) & salt water duck (咸水鸭). both were very good! 🙂 the saliva chicken was mala (麻辣) with peppercorn (花椒), & very flavourful with a kick but you must like mala to enjoy! the duck was good & tasty but still not the standard of shin yeh, tunglok’s taiwanese restaurant at liang court.
the xiaolongbao at crystal jade is very good, and they were having 50% discount for the 4-coloured xialongbao – vege (green), mala (orange), truffle (black). usual (plain) – so 4 for S$3.10 instead S$6.20. we ordered 4trays x4 for 8pax. the spicy dumpling here was also very good, c/w the spicy dumplings we had at royal china. 🙂
for mains, we had a stir-fried beef (the usual bicarbonate tenderised version) with 2 mushrooms & black fungus – this dish not so “lak ku” (in demand). the 剁椒鱼头 (sichuan version using song fish head) fared much better. it was very good but i still prefer the HK style or chilli black bean sauce style, like those at 香港街 stalls or food centres.
for carbo we ordered 2 seafood fried rice. this my new love affair. rice was very “tiok tiok” (means al dente not mushy each long grain separate & not sticking together) very fragrant & with lots of seafood ingredients. we ordered 2 portions (2xS$14.50) for 8pax.
we also had 1 plain chicken soup la mian 清汤拉面 for 1 friend who could not take fatty food, and 1 beef brisket + tendon lamian to share. it was very good but 1 friend like me preferred the HK ngaolammeen (牛腩面) – why cannot find in Singapore leh?
all 3 desserts we ordered were good. the osmanthus aloe vera with wolfberries was very refreshing. so was the almond taohuay with black jelly (forgot to take photo) & the sesame dumplings in ginger tea 姜茶汤圆 were just great! 🙂
dinner was S$194 for 8pax, just over S$24pax. we had a jolly good time & good food, a bit heavy on the carbo side though. haha! 🙂
a group of my friends had been going for the Zaobao Maybank chinese classics series lunch. the series combine Singaporean’s favourite activity (eating!) with games & quizzes to raise profile, interest & understanding of chinese culture. 🙂 the current series is based on the 4 chinese classics 红楼梦，三国演义，水浒传 & 西游记 (dreams of the red chamber, romance of the 3 kingdoms, water margin & journey to the west).
for this Zaobao lunch on 27.7.2013, the theme was romance of the 3 kingdoms (魏- 曹操、蜀 – 刘备、东吴- 孙权). 🙂
this the first time i was joining the lunch series. the 6-course lunch (i understand that previously there were even more courses) was priced at S$96nett (S$48nett for Maybank cardholders). 🙂
we had 2 tables of 8pax, and very nicely 2 of our friends brought their 86 & 87 years old moms to savour the lunch & outing, & they had been doing this everytime….toast to my wonderful friends! 🙂
each item of the menu was named after some major events (stories) from the 3 kingdoms. 🙂
we had a trio of appetizers – crabmeat salad with what felt like goma (sesame) sauce, a crispy prawn fritters with thousand island dressing & a jellyfish with thai sweet & sour sauce. 🙂
i must say the food was really quite outstanding & much better than expected for this kind of large group lunches (which sometimes could be quite bad even when prepared by famous kitchens) so all credit goes to Mandarin Court (previously Pine Court) and executive chef Sunny Kong. 🙂
next was a minced chicken ball with 黄酒chinese yellow wine soup – & a very tasty one-excellent soup! & here the story was 曹操煮酒英雄. 🙂 soup was followed with steamed Canadian sea perch (top photo), similar in taste & texture as Chilean seabass – both my absolute favourite. another superb dish! 🙂
in between the various quizzes, games & prizes, our 2 tables participated in a art & craft game. above was 1 of the 2 better valiant attempts at retelling the story of 孔明’s 草船借箭! haha. 🙂
next item was a baked pork rib. this was very good as well. 🙂
& we had a lovely wok-fried brown rice with chinese sausage – very fragrant, tasty dish. 🙂
the last, a dessert item, was very good as well. nice refreshing aloe vera in fruit cocktail & jasmine tea. 🙂
i enjoyed this lunch very much, of course the great company of friends especially. 🙂 i generally do not go out of my way to have quizzes & games distracting me from the food & conversation, but i didn’t mind it really. i knew some of the stories of 3 kingdoms (from watching TV serials) & though several friends commented the loudspeaker was too loud, i was overall quite ok with the way the lunch was managed by the organisers. 🙂
will be looking forward to more zaobao lunches. 🙂