The concept behind the Tung Lok Signatures restaurants is promising; at one place you can enjoy signature dishes from the various Tung Lok restaurants. The appealing prospect of enjoying the “best of” dishes all under one roof has drawn a large clientèle of families and working professionals, as evident by a full-house capacity on a weekday evening.
With most dishes priced above S$30, budget at least S$40-50 a person. And if you pick any of the shark’s fin or abalone dishes, be prepared to reach deeper into your pocket. As part of the American Express SELECTS programme, cardholders get a 10% discount with the minimum spending of S$200. On top of that, if you make payment with your AmEx card before 29 January 2012, you may also qualify for the weekly Volkswagen car giveaway.
And so, on to the food…
As with all Chinese meals, rice is a staple.
If you have to pick just one rice dish from the menu, definitely go for the baked fried rice with seafood. Presented on lotus leaf, the rice is chock-full of delicious ingredients like prawns, egg and other assorted seafood. Even when eaten by itself, the rice is robust with flavour and very satisfying.
The poached crispy rice is one that looks really tantalising on paper. In fact, you would find two types of rice in it – crispy rice and regular white rice – soaked in a claypot of broth with crab meat. You get to see the waitress pour the crispy rice into the broth before serving it in individual bowls.
As it turns out, the dish is disappointingly dull and nondescript in comparison to its counterpart.
From the fish section, the deep-fried cod fillet is a safe bet. The cod is of good quality – tender white flesh sequestered beneath the perfectly browned and crispy salted egg yolk coating. Paired with organic vegetables and tangy fruit cubes, this dish is a delight to savour without the need for any additional dip or sauce.
The sautéed scallops don’t fare as well. Topped with crab meat and roe, the dish is lacklustre and eminently forgettable.
The Beijing-style crispy duck initially stumps us by arriving in pulled shreds rather than the usual slices with roasted skin a la Peking duck. All is well though, as it is undoubtedly the best dish of the night.
Eating this can be a rather fun activity in its own right. There’s just… something about eating with your fingers that makes the food that much more enjoyable. You wrap in a wafer thin pancake the duck meat, shreds of scallion and cucumber sticks. Don’t forget the superb sweet bean paste – oh I can’t get enough of that; it’s the catalyst that propels this dish out of the realm of the ordinary.
Despite offering the “best of” items from various restaurants, I do notice that some popular items, such as the intriguing coffee pork ribs from Zhou’s Kitchen aren’t on the menu here.
The desserts section offers some wondrous possibilities at very reasonable prices. Here are some of our picks.
Durian lovers would have the easy choice of the chilled durian purée, paired with purple rice purée and ice cream in a young coconut. You get a sizable amount of durian in this that should be enough to temper any craving.
Another dessert that is equally up to the mark is the chilled mango cream with pomelo, diced mango and sago which is similarly served with ice cream in a small coconut.
From off the menu, the excellent chilled taro pumpkin is the chef’s special for the day. With ice cream, pumpkin mousse and yam paste in a gorgeous shade, this is one triple-layered treat for both the eye and the palate. The pumpkin mousse in particular beguiles the taste buds with its feathery richness.
Service can be a bit on the tentative side, especially the waitresses who seem particularly befuddled with the available credit card privileges. There are some hits and misses with the meal, but for the most part, the kitchen hits the ground running.
What is your favourite restaurant under the Tung Lok Group? Share with us in the comments!
Lunch 11:30am – 3pm (Mon to Sat), 11am – 3:30pm (Sun & PHs)
Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm daily
Tung Lok Signatures VivoCity
1 HarbourFront Walk #01-57
Tel: +65 6376 9555
Tung Lok Signatures The Central (Clarke Quay)
6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-88
Tel: +65 6336 6022
Tung Lok Signatures Changi
5 Changi Business Park Centre 1, #01-26/27
Tel: +65 6636 0606