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 close friend celebrating his birthday. normally we would buy dinner. but this time somehow he bought some groupon deal & insisted on buying dinner @ ah yat abalone forum at hotel grand pacific on 16.7.2014. we bought him a cake instead. 🙂
i had not been to ah yat abalone forum (but was a regular visitor to ah yat turf city for past many years until about 2 years ago), so this was a good choice for me to try out the food here. 🙂
#1 the sharkskin soup was very good (a surprise actually as usually sharkskin in such sets are no better than, or i should say usually poorer than a good lie tong), a very tasty stock, and much better than ah yat turf city. 🙂
#2 sliced chicken with veg – this had to be the poorest in the set, quite edible but essentially a nothing dish, i guess understandably to make up the numbers…haha. 🙂
#3 the deep-fried fish fillet with thai sauce was again above my expectation. i had this couple times at chao yue xuan (a ah yat group restaurant at mohamed sultan) & they were mostly sickly sweet. this one was crispy & good. 🙂
there is nothing to say about the #4 chinese cabbage with golden mushrooms, competent like any usual veg accompanying a set.
#5 the baked rice with small abalones & mushroom was good. came with 3 small abalones & a thick slice mushroom. 🙂
#6 glass jelly with dried longans was i guess better than the red beans, green beans often served at ah yat turf city & chao yue xuan just to make up the numbers for the set. 🙂
a friend went to pick up a nice looking cake from flo at taka food hall. 🙂
the groupon was i think S$29.80, which i considered a rather good deal for the quality of food, better than ah yat turf city S$156 for 4pax set on account of the much better quality sharkskin & baked abalone rice but not better than chao yue xuan’s S$38pax 8-course set. 🙂
P.S. several photos courtesy of a friend
another quick update – went back for the S$38pax groupon 7-course set @ chao yue xuan wth my brother & sister on 28.10.2013. food was pretty much the same as the memorable lunch i had with 4 friends on 21.8.2013. most dishes were still good, especially the soup, abalone & kurobuta. this time however, the lobster was much below par. 🙂
the chicken salad looked pretty, was quite good though kind of heavy & sesame sauce a bit overpowering.
the soup was good, though not better than a good lie tong.
the abalone was excellent, good in taste & bite accompanied by the defining brown braising sauce. 🙂
the kurobuta was tasty & my brother liked it especially.
the 1/2 lobster though was a tremendous let down. the meat was not bouncy – seemed not live & overcooked (something that don’t happen much these days with all the controlled kitchen environment). this really took away the shine from this set – look at the corresponding photo of the lobster when i had it here on 21.8.2013.
the vege & noodles were run of the mill & i didn’t take the green bean dessert of the day included in the set. overall, the set was poorer in quality c/w what i had here previously though menu items were same. i guess it was still very good value at S$38nett (chao yue xuan & ah yat though charged S$2.40pax for tea & peanuts whether or not you take them, & the tea was quite ok).
but price aside, the poorer quality overall made it less “wow”and just another good value above average set. so i would choose to go back to tunglok signature for the lobster & seafood set with palate 50% weekend discounts even though that cost a bit more.
(P.S. also had dinner ala carte orders here at tunglok signature on 28.11.2012).
had a best value dinner & among the best lobster dinner at tunglok signature at orchard parade hotel on 19.10.2013. 🙂 tunglok has a rather unusual arrangement with palate/amex where you get the usual 1 person off ie 50% discount for 2pax but then only for alacarte during weekdays and only for set meals during weekends. the latter is odd (surely if you give discounts for sets you should also give discounts for alacarte?) but quite fine with me as long as i get my discounts….haha. 🙂
we chose the S$98 lobster & seafood set. it was of exceptional quality, both in terms of quality of ingredients & quality of cooking. 🙂
the first course was a foie gras, smoked duck & crispy beancurd skin in pancake wrap (top 2 photos). this was excellent. fusion stuff are novel but frequently fail in taste (and/or matching) departments, but this was excellent! the texture & flavours of the foie gras & smoked duck & beancurd skin combined with the thick pancake wrap was unique & wonderful. 🙂
the crabmeat & roe soup was chokeful of ingredients – sharksfin, crabmeat & lots of roe (the photos tell it all). it was sweet & tasty enough but still lacking c/w the very flavourful braised crabmeat sharksfin soup (or the fishmaw soup) at majestic. we added vinegar & it tasted better (we don’t add vinegar when savouring the soup at majestic). still it was a rather good soup.
the steamed soon hock in light soya sauce was likewise super. flavour-wise almost as good as a chilean seabass done the same way, though soon hock would be inferior in taste & texture c/w chilean seabass. 🙂
the kurobuta was for me the least competent among the very good dishes. it was quite “well done” & little dry & did not taste much different from an ordinary pork chop, and not as good as the kurobuta steak served at the lobster set at chao yue xuan.
the lobster noodle though was par excellence. the lobster & superior sauce flavours were much better than chao yue xuan & as good or better than that offered at the lobster & abalaone set at xin cuisine. the lobster at the recent set we had at ah yat would be far down the list. 🙂
& the dessert 杨枝甘露 with ice cream was super as well. in other joints like ah yat & chao yue xuan, they often give you red bean soup etc for dessert just to pass off the course numbers. here we had very good tasty dessert, as we did also at xin cuisine.
the cost for the scrumptious meal was just S$98++ for 2pax PLUS S$3++ for 2 tea covers (ah yat charges S$2.40pax tea covers). this is one excellent deal which i will certainly do again, & i would also try the other S$78pax set.
had our dining quartet monthly lunch at ah yat @ turf city on 26.8.2013. the host bought a S$156 voucher for 4pax 7-course set. a very good deal with lobster, abalone, soon hock etc. 🙂
i used to go ah yat at turf city a lot. they had 50% discount (now 40% discount) during weekdays & the cooking & service were good. i had not been there though for more than a year so i took a look with a friend at the tanks & the (discounted) prices. my favourite items razor clams was now $5.80 each (before S$4,80), frog S4.80 (before $3.50), boston lobster S$8.88/100g (before S$5.90/100g) & tilapia S$1.50/100g (before i think was S$1.10/100g)..anyway prices had gone up but still ok, probably i would come back for these ala carte dishes.
for the set, we had braised sharksfin with crab meat. the soup was good with very generous helping of fins. the deep-fried soon hock was good as always, though i always prefer steamed for live fish (even for tilapia which has some “mud” taste). 🙂
next was a mexican spiky sea cucumber (supposedly more expensive variety) with minced pork stuffing & brocoli. the brown braising sauce was good & the brocoli “to the bite” al dente=excellent, the sea cucumber though was rubbery, not sure why? but something was not right with the preparation, not soaked long enough or something.
next came an impressive plate of boston lobster in 4 halves. the menu said garlic butter baked lobster & it came with a batter layer. i estimated 2x600g=1.2kg at the current discounted price of S$8.88/100g would cost S$125nett after 10% service & GST, so S$156nett for the set was very good deal.
my first bite though & i turned to my dining companion – “there is no taste in this lobster”..for a live lobster, it was really lacking in taste in this preparation. later we asked the server if we were to come back again could we change the cooking style to super sauce (上汤局). the reply was ok. it was a waste that we did not ask earlier!
the ee-fu noodles was plain but tasty & the 4 of us managed to wipe clean the plate! 🙂
the almond birds nest dessert was good too. i liked it. there were lots of birds nest which i did not care for much so i was not bothered whether they were fake or not. anyway it was a nice dessert.
this really quite a good deal, and i would come back again if the promotion is back. though if i were to make a comparison with the S$38 lobster & abalone set at chao yue xuan (another ah yat restaurant at mohamed sultan), just food-wise this would pale by comparison. the lobster made a huge difference. the one in superior sauce (上汤局) at chao yue xuan was par excellence, & the abalone was huge by comparison & very tasty. the stone pot garoupa soup was not sharksfin but was very good & in place of soon hock they had a very nice kurobuta & a chicken salad. chao yue xuan does have some negatives. we had a private 6pax table at a corner for lunch the other day & 1/2 the tables were filled in the small restaurant.in the evening sometimes there were tables occupied by tourist & the place looked messy c/w ah yat @ turf city.
anyway i liked both the sets & will do this again when the promotion is back. 🙂
See also my update on 28.10.2013.
P.S. there was another S$156 4pax 7-course set promotion at ah yat @ turf city but this was still better!
this was a superb 8-course set at chao yue xuan and for just S$38 + S$2.50++pax for peanuts, tea & towels. 🙂
in terms of quality of ingredients & taste, it was quite superior to the value lobster set i had there previously. i would say it was equal or even better than the fine dining lobster & abalone set at xin cuisine.
the 5 of us were there at 1pm on 21.8.2013, the restaurant was 1/2 full & we had a table at a private corner.
the starter was a shredded chicken in sesame salad. it was good, tasty & the helping was rather large.
next we had star garoupa fillet with beer in hot stone pot (the ala carte price for this dish alone was S$28++), & it was very good, very tasty & the fish fillet were excellent. 🙂
the braised whole yoshihama abalone was top quality, excellent in taste & bite & it came with 花胶(fishmaw) & brocoli. 🙂
the 1/2 baked lobster (top photo) was again par excellence, very very tasty with the superior soup.
same with the pan-fried kurobuta pork chop. i thought it looked & tasted like a galbi beef rib cut served in majestic restaurant but the menu said kurobuta. anyhow taste was great!
the poached vegetable with beancurd skin was also very good. i supposed by comparison the ee-fu noodles was ordinary, but it was still a good, not poor, dish.
& the snow fungus with date dessert was refreshing & enjoyable too…really every item was good & i could only sing praises – such excellent ingredients & preparation for soup, lobster, abalone & kurobuta. 🙂 actually i think it was an incredible deal at S$38 + S$2.50++pax= about S$41nett. 🙂 i have already bought more vouchers to go back!
see also the new S$38 8-course lobster & abalone set (21.8.2013).
bought 2xS$35nett 8-course Chao Yue Xuan (潮悦轩) groupon vouchers, so duly visited the restaurant. 🙂
This is the same Ah Yat branch & location at UE Square along Mohamed Sultan Road, only they have changed the name to mean a “pleasing teochew pavilion”..at S$35nett the meal did turn out pleasing enough though nothing teochew 🙂
decor & ambience wise though the place is a bit dowdy, and in fact though this branch is located at UE Sqaure, Turf City has better ambience! there were 3 tables of Chinese tourists this evening – I guess F&B is really competitive here & people do need to survive. 🙂
the salmon sashimi was actually quite good but not really the belly or fatty type which now even some buffet serve, but it was good, not poor.
the double-boiled fishmaw（花膠）soup was very good really – sweet, smooth, tasty.
the garlic steamed razor (bamboo) clam with tanhoon (glass noodles) was good (every restaurant should really be able to do this well) though Ah Yat at Turf City was better & Long Beach @ Dempsey was better than both, and we didn’t think that serving it without the shell instead of on the shell was a great idea. btw, i also did a good steamed razor clam in garlic oil myself.
I cannot really fault this fish chop (2 pieces – very large serving) . The deep-fry was done right crispy & not soggy, but the meal was really filling & we were not into this sweet strawberry sauce thingy & this asian fusion? dish did not match well with the other menu items. I took 1 piece. My wife did not touch it.
the lobster in pumpkin sauce was very nice. It was a mid-size maine lobster, about 450g (& larger than the one we took subsequently at Xin Cuisine). pumpkin sauce is a favourite cooking style with Ah Yat & goes well with crab, I think more so than lobsters. Comparing this with the very light cheese gratin lobster at Xin Cuisine I would think this is better (& of course larger) – though my wife would disagree – but I guess this was more robust in taste & presentation c/w Xin Cuisine’s which can be said to be more fine.
This nai bai vege was very good! 🙂
I didn’t get this dish though – the prawn was large & fresh (live right..) & in superior sauce how to go wrong? but it was soggy, not “QQ” (al dente)..& with the fish chop, would be the weakest links in this set.
The red bean dessert does not really deserve mention or a photo..haha.:-)
anyway, it was difficult to fault this S$35nett 8-course set – the ingredients like lobster & razor (bamboo) clam were good quality, the salmon & prawn were fresh, soup & vege were good; quality of cooking was not quite there but still above average.
I may not do this too often but I have bought another 2 vouchers, so I am planning to go back before voucher expires. 🙂
I had not tried Xin Cuisine, despite it being included in Amex Palate dining privilege for a while already. and though I did have intention to try out the food here using palate discounts, it was ANZ card marketing that got me to ask about this lobster & abalone 1 for 1 menu. We were still not sure though, as you could not really tell by menu alone the quality of cooking, so when we got ourselves seated I studied the ala carte menu a little in addition to the the promotion set menu below (which as it turned out payment could be made by any credit card). 🙂
We had always felt that Majestic offered the best Chinese fine dining set, and others like Tunglok could not compare on a price vs quality of ingredients & quality of cooking basis though it might be a bit more debatable when comparing fine dining over the whole ala carte menu & ambience etc. For us though since quality of cooking pipped the other considerations, we had more confidence that a dish in Majestic would turn up tasty c/w another place (and of course as justified by the price).
On this occasion, we decided on the set menu, and it was a very good decision! 🙂
We started with a duo appetizer. There was a roast duck on a pan seared foie gras & cucumber (seems that Xin is famous for their suckling pig with foie gras), & a small saucer of thick spicy jellyfish. Both were very nice. The roast duck felt like a sous vide item, very tender & totally consistent. In terms of fine dining, it was no less fine than western fine dining.
Next was chicken & mushrooms in a egg skin dumpling in pumpkin soup. This was very, very, very good. It was such a beauty to look at, and the soup was so very, very tasty, as good as Majestic’s 黄焖鱼翅 which was a lot better than Tunglok’s version. And the dumpling was so delicate to behold & so tasty to eat. Very few western fine dining restaurants here offered something this fine!
The next item was the 5-heads abalone on a bed of spinach with sea cucumber in brown sauce (5-heads mean the size is 5 abalones to 1 kati though I am clueless whether it is the HK old kati=600g or the China kati=500g. In China it is now 1斤10 两 & 1 两= 50g)。 This was as good as Chinese braised abalones went in terms of 口感 bite/texture & taste.
and there was the 1/2 lobster, done with a very light cheese gratin. The lobster was smaller (about 350g). My wife preferred the 上汤焗 style so cheese lobster not her favourite but I must say the taste was good & this was really very nicely done. This was a good illustration of quality of cooking – Chao Yue Xuan for example offered a larger 1/2 lobster in a good value set which we had recently, but the quality of cooking & presentation made a huge difference between fine dining and not so fine dining. 🙂
and then we had the egg fried rice & spicy pork & this very plain fried rice was very very good – such crisp long grains & so fragrant it was as good as Imperial Treasure’s crab meat fried rice with dried scallops & egg white which was our perennial favourite – & so both of us who avoided carbo mostly had to evoke our “worthwhile carbo” philosophy and finished up all the rice. The spicy pork collar was very nice too.
For dessert,we had the snow lotus in almond cream. Both of us were not very “dessert persons”, and cream 糊 was not my favourite & very less so for my wife. This though was only very slightly sweet & extremely smooth which was what defined a good 糊, be it almond (杏仁) or walnut (核桃) or combined (鸳鸯). I don’t remember eating snow lotus before – thought it was hasma but it wasn’t, texture was good. For us I guess it was an ok above average dessert but it was “fine” alright in terms of quality. 🙂
P.S. – see here for Restaurant Promotions update.